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Utah Symphony, Utah Opera Return With Shows Built Around Pandemic

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The pandemic has impacted everything from schools to jobs, even sports and the arts. For the first time since March, performers with the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera were live on stage, with shows built around the pandemic.

Life during a pandemic can sometimes feel like being on a deserted island.

With social events on hold, the stage of the Utah Opera went dark.

“For part of the summer, we ended up having to furlough everyone just to reserve cash and make sure that we could start the season up again,” said Steven Brosvik. “Once everybody came back, it has been lightning speed.” 

President and CEO Steven Brosvik said they’ve been forced to take a fresh look at how they do shows and consider what shows they can do. 

“The last six months, you can imagine, have been pretty chaotic,” he said. “Trying to take the season we had already planned, which was full scale (and) very large, and try to reimagine that so we could safely distance everyone on stage, all the crew backstage, and also the audience in the hall.”

From social distancing, to wearing masks inside the theater, even going mobile for tickets and show programs — the season was reimagined both on and off the stage in a matter of weeks, a process which usually takes years.

“Normally, we’re planning a season two years out,” said Brosvik. “Normally, we’d be planning now for the 2022-23 season.”

For the first time since March, performers warmed up for a whole new kind of performance, in front of an audience of just 300 in a hall which holds 1,700.

“It’s incredibly important for musicians to get back to performing live. It’s what they’ve trained all their lives for,” he said. “It’s all very personal to them.”

Brosvik said while it’s important for the performers, they’re there for the audience.

“Getting them out to enjoy an evening and try to get back to something that’s normal and something that’s entertaining and something that can actually change their lives,” he said.

The curtain for the Utah Opera, a performing art that has stood the test of time, will finally reopen.

“Everyone is excited, thrilled, focused, and ready to go,” said Brosvik.

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