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Monday, February 28, 2011

"Little Women" @ Utah Opera (March 12 - March 20)

Date: February 25, 2011

CONTACT: Hilarie Ashton
Public Relations Manager, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera
(801) 869-9027, hashton@usuo.org


SALT LAKE CITY –Utah Opera will present its company premiere of Mark Adamo’s remarkably successful new opera, “Little Women,” at the Capitol Theatre on March 12, 14, 16 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and March 20 at 2:00 p.m.

Based on the beloved novel by Louisa May Alcott, the story follows the four March sisters as they experience life, love and loss in 19th-century New England. Adamo’s affectionate 1998 adaptation seeks to capture the original characterizations and themes of the book, giving particular weight to Jo’s continual aversion to the changing relationships in her life and how she learns to overcome it. An excellent starter opera for those who know and love the story and a stunning new experience for the veteran opera-goer, this production will strike a chord with a vast array of audience members.

Cast members include Audrey Babcock as Jo, Jamie Van Eyck as Meg and Tanner Knight as Laurie, Directed by David Gately. The Utah Symphony will accompany each performance, conducted by Christopher Larkin – who also conducted the premiere of the opera in 1998. The opera will be sung in English with English supertitles.

With one twenty-minute intermission, approximate final curtain time will be 10:15 p.m. for evening performances and 4:45 p.m. for the matinee.

April Greenan will deliver a free Opera Preview Lecture on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the 4th floor meeting room of the Salt Lake City Library. Music professor and founding director of the McKay Music Library at the University of Utah, Dr. Greenan has written chapters on women in music and on the multicultural origins of Western music, created program notes for The Kennedy Center and The Lincoln Center and served on the musicology faculty of the University of Maryland at College Park.

Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth will hold a Q&A session immediately following each performance in the Founders room on the mezzanine level at Capitol Theatre.

Tickets for the evening’s performances start at $15 and can be purchased by calling (801) 355-ARTS (2787), in person at the Abravanel Hall ticket office or by visiting www.usuo.org. Students can purchase discount tickets with a student ID. Season ticket holders and those desiring group discounts should call (801) 533-NOTE (6683). Ticket prices will increase $5 when purchased the day of the performance.

For each performance of Little Women, Utah Opera is also offering discounted dinner packages that include a dinner at Benihana’s and a ticket to the opera. Special family deals will also be offered for the Wednesday performance. For more information, contact the Abravanel Hall ticket office.

Little Women
Composed by Mark Adamo based on the book by Louisa May Alcott

Jo Audrey Babcock
Meg Jamie Van Eyck
Laurie Tanner Knight**
Donna Donna Smith
Beth Angela Theis*
Alma Stina Eberhardt
John Brooke Chad Sloan**
Professor Baehr Christopher Clayton
Gideon Darrell Babidge
Dashwood John Buffett
Aunt March Kimberly Barber

Conductor Christopher Larkin
Director David Gately
Set Designer Scott Reid
Choreography Stacey Orlob-Richins
Costume Designer Susan Memmott-Allred
Lighting Designer Nicholas Cavallaro
Wigs and Make-up Designer Jennifer Lloyd
Chorus Master Susanne Sheston
Musical Preparation Carol Anderson, Thomas Getty, Willem van Schalkwyk
Stage Manager Rachel Henneberry
Assistant Stage Manager Kat Slagell

* Utah Opera Resident Ensemble Artist
** Former Utah Opera Resident Ensemble Artist

Massachusetts during the Civil War 1861-1865

In the dark attic of the March house, Jo sits, tired and depressed, writing in her notebook. Her childhood friend Laurie opens the attic door and it is revealed that he has married Jo’s younger sister, Amy. The two argue, and it becomes apparent that they cared deeply for each other, but something has kept them apart.Frustrated, Jo turns back time to discover happier, lighter memories.

Jo is still in the attic, but it is two years earlier, and she and her sisters Meg, Beth, and Amy are teasing each other while doing their chores. The game is truth or fabrication, and Laurie has to learn the game for the first time. After the game, Laurie tauntingly tells Jo that his tutor, John Brooke, keeps Meg's glove because he loves her. Jo, alone, sketching a story, fearfully denies that Meg might love him too.

Two weeks later, in front of the March house Mr. Brooke courts Meg while Jo and Laurie watch, hidden. Jo urges the family to reject him and it is decided that Meg is too young to be married. When Mr. Brooke returns, Meg begins to reject him but is interrupted by Cecilia, the girls' aunt. As Cecilia scorns Mr. Brooke for being poor, Meg becomes resolved to accept him. Her family celebrates; but Jo accuses Meg of abandoning her.

The following summer, in the March family garden, preparations for the wedding are being made. Meg and Brooke adapt their parents wedding vows. A feverish Laurie pleads for Jo's love. She spurns him; stung, he flees. Beth, secretly ill, collapses as Meg cries for help.

One year later, in the offices of the Daily Volcano, a New York City fiction tabloid, a triumphant Jo sells a story. She has moved to the city to give Laurie time to forget about his proposal to her. Back at her boarding house, she writes to her increasingly fragmented family. The letters reveal that Meg now has twins, and Amy is visiting England. Later that night, a new acquaintance, Fredrich Bhaer, invites Jo to join him at the opera.

At the boarding house, Jo and Friedrich Bhaer engage in a flirtatious debate, while simultaneously in Oxford, Amy tests Laurie’s feelings for Jo. At home, Beth rages at the piano, flinging herself at the keys. Mr. Bhaer ardently recites Goethe to Jo but is interrupted by Alma's desperate telegram. Jo spurns Mr. Bhaer and flees to Concord.

Three sleepless nights later, Beth dozes as her family keeps vigil. Jo bursts in; Beth bids her family leave. Beth urges Jo to accept her impending death, while Jo rages against the unfairness of it. Beth falls asleep and gently dies.

At the March house, the following spring, Cecilia baits Jo with Amy’s letter of happiness together with Laurie. Cecilia reveals that she has revised her will so all her property will pass to Jo and tries to convince her of the allures of solitude. Refusing, Jo retreats to the attic.

As in the beginning, Jo, distraught, stands in the attic alone. Laurie, appearing, again reminisces; but now Jo rejects the past. Her sisters materialize as memories: Jo, in emotional exorcism, celebrates and releases them. Bhaer — her future — appears and Jo extends her hand to him.


Christopher Larkin
Most Recently at Utah Opera, The Italian Girl in Algiers
Le Nozze di Figaro, Utah Opera;
The Turn of the Screw, Portland Opera;
La Bohème, Nashville Opera;
Angels in America ,Fort Worth Opera

David Gately
Stage Director ( Seattle )
Most Recently at Utah Opera, Hansel & Gretel
Lucia di Lammermoor, Calgary Opera;
La Bohème, Atlanta Opera;
Before Night Falls, Fort Worth Opera
Little Women, Utah Opera;
Faust, San Diego Opera;
Giulio Cesare, Fort Worth Opera

Audrey Babcock (New York)
Jo March
Utah Opera debut
Carmen, Opera Naples, San Antonio Opera, Toledo Opera, Utah Festival Opera;
Rigoletto, Nashville Opera, Florentine Opera, Tulsa Opera;
Little Women, Syracuse Opera
Carmen, Nashville Opera;
Die Zauberflote, Spoleto Festival USA;
Madama Butterfly, Tulsa Opera

Kimberly Barber (Toronto)
Cecilia March
Utah Opera Debut
Little Women, Calgary Opera;
Coronation of Poppea, Opera Atelier;
Werther, Vancouver Opera
Gala Concert celebrating the life of Maureen Forrester, Stratford Ottawa Chamber Festival;
Das Lied Von Der Erde, Numus Festival

John Buffett (Ohio)
Utah Opera Debut
Hansel and Gretel, Opera Memphis;
La Bohème, Mercury Opera Rochester;
Acteon, Boston Early Music Festiva;
Apprentice Artist, Sarasota Opera;
Resident Artist, Utah Opera
Fellow, Tanglewood Music Festival

Darrell Babidge (UK)
Betto di Signa
Most Recently at Utah Opera, Gianni Schicchi
Mozart Coronation Mass, Carnegie Hall;
Songs of the Valley, Ballet West;
Le Nozze di Figaro, Utah Festival Opera;
I Pagliacci, Intermountain Opera;
Elijah, Salt Lake Choral Artists;
The Redeemer, Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Christopher Clayton
Baritone (Utah)
Most recently at Utah Opera, Yamadori, Madama Butterfly
La Bohème, Sacramento Opera ;
Madama Butterfly, Stockton Opera;
Trouble in Tahiti, Portland Opera;

Jamie Van Eyck (Wisconsin)
Meg March
Most Recently at Utah Opera, Lucia di Lammermoor
Der Kaiser von Atlantis, Boston Lyric Opera;
The Marriage of Figaro, Opera Theater of St. Louis;
The Turn of the Screw, Madison Opera
Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, Madison Symphony Orchestra;
Die Liebe der Danae, Bard SummerScape Festival

Tanner Knight (New York)
Most Recently at Utah Opera, Regina
La Cenerentola, Opera San Jose;
Regina, Utah Opera;
Rigoletto, Palm Beach Opera
Boris Godunov, Utah Festival Opera

Stina Eberhardt (Utah)
Alma March
Most Recently at Utah Opera, The Italian Girl in Algiers
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Utah Festival Opera;
Princess Ida, Ohio Light Opera;
The Pirates of Penzance, Lyric Opera of San Antonio

Chad Sloan (Kentucky)
John Brooke
Most Recently at Utah Opera, Don Giovanni
A Midsummer Night's Dream Wolf Trap Opera
Il Turco in Italia Wolf Trap Opera;
L'Elisir d'Amore Kentucky Opera;
Carmina Burana, Midland Symphony;
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Bar Harbor Music Festival

Donna Smith (Missouri)
Amy March
Most Recently at Utah Opera, Hänsel und Gretel
Messiah, Utah Symphony;
H.M.S. Pinafore, Dayton Opera;
Orpheus in the Underworld, Glimmerglass Opera
La Fille du Régiment, Dayton Opera

Angela Theis (Michigan)
Most recently at Utah Opera, Hansel and Gretel
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Utah Symphony
Holiday Celebration with Jerry!, Utah Symphony
Messiah Sing-In, Utah Symphony
Die Zauberflöte, Bay View Music Festival
Beebe Fellowship Recipient, Universität Mozarteum Salzburg


Hilarie Ashton
Public Relations Manager

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