Utah Opera: Puccini Tosca
The history of opera and musical theater is filled with unique, perhaps unexpected, choices for booklets to turn into musical stories. This description could apply to Italian composer Giacomo Puccini’s interest in Victorien Sardou’s 1887 play in French Toscawhich Puccini first encountered while touring Italy in 1889. He obtained the rights to make an opera out of it in 1995, but it took Puccini and his collaborators more than four years to figure out how to verbally adapt the text dense from Sardou’s play.
Puccini’s debut in Rome in 1900 Tosca was an immediate popular success, however. The premise involves political unrest, jealousy, mistaken identity and – unsurprisingly for a classic opera – tragedy, set during Napoleon’s assault on Rome in 1800. Much action surrounds the singer Floria Tosca, the lover of the painter Cavaradossi; Tosca is manipulated by the police chief who desires her, while he also pursues political dissident Angelotti, a friend of Cavaradossi who hopes to flee the city in disguise. With beloved tunes like Tosca’s “Vissi d’arte”, Tosca returns to the stage by Utah Opera for the first time since 2015.
The Utah Opera production of Tosca March 12-20 for five performances at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theater (50 W. 200 South), with tickets $15-$110. Utah Opera currently requires face coverings and proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test for all members of the public over the age of 5. Visit utahopera.org for tickets and additional information. (Scott Renshaw)
St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Siamsa @ The Gateway
Annual traditions: The notion has become much more prominent over the past couple of years, with so many of them taking a pandemic break. Still, there’s one tradition we’ve been missing for over two years: the Salt Lake City St. Patrick’s Day Parade that winds through the streets of The Gateway. It’s been five years since The Gateway hosted the Hibernian Society of Utah’s March Celebration, and while the event certainly predates The Gateway and has used other routes from other years, this particular pairing seems to be working. “This is the best place in Utah to hold a parade,” Hibernian Society President Sean Clark said in a statement. “The ability to have spectators on the upper and lower tiers gives a high-energy stadium feel.”
This year’s event brings both the parade and the accompaniment siamsa (Gaelic for “festivity”) at The Gateway, for a full day of fun and entertainment. Live performances on two stages include music from Pladdohg, Murphy and the Giant, Shanahy and An Rogaire Dubh, as well as dance presentations from Scariff, Harp Irish Dance, Smith Irish Dance and Rinceoiri Don Spraoi. Additionally, Gateway merchants like HallPass, Flanker Kitchen & Sporting Club, Mystery Escape Room will be offering special deals on food, drinks and activities.
The parade and siamsa begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 12 at The Gateway (400 W. 200 South), with all events free to the public; food and other vendor items are available for purchase. Visit atthegateway.com or irishinutah.com/parade for more information. (SR)
It’s just not clear when or how fame can strike in the age of social media, but when it does, an artist’s life can be changed forever in a matter of days. That’s what happened to Australian comedian Jim Jefferies in 2015, when a segment of his 2014 Netflix special Naked went viral, in which Jefferies went to town on the idea that Americans’ obsession with guns was about something other than “I love guns.” For many Americans, this made him an immediate liberal enemy; for another big chunk, he was immediately the voice of reason.
It would have been one thing if Jefferies had been a one-trick pony, ready to fade into the background as a pop culture footnote after his five minutes of fame. Luckily for him — and for us — he’s had a lot more fuel to burn in his tremendous acting career. He landed the 2017 Comedy Central series The Jim Jefferies Show for three seasons following new name recognition. And its targets have not always been American culture and its quirks. Some of his best post-Naked Netflix specials including Free, It’s me now and Intolerant focused on himself and his struggles with relationships, fatherhood and mental health.
Now back on the road after a COVID-era hiatus, Jefferies visits Salt Lake City with “The Moist Tour” at the Eccles Theater (131 S. Main St.) on Sunday, March 13, 7 p.m. Tickets cost $34.75 – $174.75; proof of vaccination is required. Visit live-at-the-eccles.com for tickets and additional information. (SR)
The group visit @ Eccles Theater
Over the past 25 years, it’s become far more common for movies to be adapted into musicals than the other way around — and not all of those adaptations have been obvious. Of course, it’s understandable when a comedy that will please everyone like Revenge of a Blonde, The producers Where hair spray gets the Broadway treatment, providing fodder for animated production numbers. But it takes a different view to watch a non-English drama and see the potential for a musical – that’s what writer Itamar Moses and composer David Yazbek did when adapting the 2007 Israeli film. The group visit in the 2017 stage production, which joined classics like South Pacific and Sweeney Todd among the only musicals to have swept the “Big Six” at the Tony Awards.
The premise offers the possibility of an intriguing culture shock, as it begins with an Egyptian police band visiting Israel to perform at the opening of an Arab cultural center. However, when the language cues are crossed, the group finds themselves on a bus not to their intended destination, but to a remote deserted town. There, the musicians find themselves stranded for a day, which is enough time for the band members and residents, respectively, to come to terms with some of the tragedies of their past.
The traveling Broadway production of The group visit stops at the Eccles Theater (131 S. Main) for eight performances, March 15-20, with tickets $49-$119. At press time, face coverings are recommended but not required by the presenter. Visit broadway-at-the-eccles.com for up-to-date health and safety protocols and to purchase tickets. (SR)