NCVS: Giving Voice to America
Christopher McBeth,Utah Opera
October 2009 marks an important anniversary for Utah Opera
: exactly 10 years ago, Christopher McBeth
work in artistic direction with the company.
It is fitting that for his
anniversary, the company will produce Macbeth, an opera that is both one of Christopher's favorites among the standard opera repertoire and one that is a near namesake.
is quick to point out that his
name is not unlucky-that there is no little "a" and there is a "big B" (many actors believe saying "Macbeth" instead of "the Scottish play" will jinx a performance).
still a Scot, so he
can't help but enjoy Lucia and Macbeth, two famous Scottish operas.
Despite recent financial downturns and funding challenges, Christopher
has managed to hire great singing actors for our productions, and his
technical staff has continued creating impressive visual spectacles on the Capitol Theatre stage.
did not begin as a lover of opera: his
father was a United Methodist minister in Wisconsin, so Christopher's first musical experiences were singing hymns in church gatherings.
He went to college in Iowa intent on becoming a high school choir teacher, but there was introduced to opera and changed his major to vocal performance (listen to his speaking voice just once, and you'll hear his rich baritone).
married soprano Julie Poe just after graduation, and they both earned master's degrees in vocal performance at Baylor University
But gradually they both decided that they didn't want the separated lifestyle a singing career requires, and they both started exploring the behind-the-scenes side of opera.
Julie now is personal assistant to USUO's CEO, and she occasionally sings in the opera chorus (she will be onstage in Macbeth).
own singing aside to become an administrator.
They found the perfect combination of those goals in their positions with Utah Opera, where, in addition to producing excellent mainstage opera, Christopher oversees the young artist Ensemble program.
especially delights in launching new talents, and in bringing back exceptional artists he
has helped discover to enrich our Utah Opera