Utah Opera Resident Artists Brings Operatic Talent to SUU

Students and locals gathered on Feb. 7 in the Thorley Recital Hall for “Freeze Frame: Elixir of Love,” followed by a tribute to Leonard Bernstein. The performance, sponsored by the Southern Utah University music department in collaboration with Utah Opera Resident Artists, featured a Western setting of Donizetti’s classic about a young man’s reliance on a love potion.  

The performance, which was in English, began with a story parallel to Ron Weasley and the “liquid luck” as seen in the sixth Harry Potter film. When another man tries to steal away the love of his life, ranch hand Nemorino gets his hands on a magic potion to give himself courage.  Similar to the situation in Harry Potter, the elixir itself has no powers. However, Nemorino believes the liquid works, and wins the girl’s heart over in the end.

The second half of the program featured a tribute to Leonard Bernstein, a well-known composer and conductor famously known for creating music for “Candide,” “West Side Story” and “Trouble in Tahiti.” The tribute featured a five-person ensemble performing songs famously written for the previously mentioned musicals. Performers included pianist Robert Bosworth, and vocalists Jesús Vicente Murillo, Abigail Rethwisch, Christopher Oglesby and Melanie Ashkar.   

Though the performance was serious in nature, the audience did laugh at props like Gatorade and signs that mentioned Moab.

The blend of Western atmosphere, operatic gestures and storytelling provided viewers with a deeper understanding of what opera is and can be. From overalls to a trio performance full of emotion, “Freeze Frame: Elixir of Love” showed that even small town folk can fall in love. The characters were brilliantly portrayed not only lyrically, but also visually.

“My favorite part was honestly anytime the soldier came on stage; you could hear him marching from a mile away and everyone on stage would react to it. I found it very entertaining,” Joshua Culbertson, a freshman graphic design major from Cedar City said.

Story By
Cassidy Japerson for SUU News

Photo By
Haleigh Clemens