Idaho Falls will be treated to a three-night performance this month from musicals and operettas, as well as a preview for a future production.
The Idaho Falls Opera Theatre is set to perform “Opera and Broadway,” featuring music from new and old operas, operettas and Broadway musicals. The show will be 7 p.m. Oct. 22; 4 p.m. Oct. 23; and 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at the First Presbyterian Church, 325 Elm St. in Idaho Falls.
The Idaho Falls Opera Theatre board chose a variety of music to give audiences the opportunity to hear music from many sources.
“For example, someone might say, ‘Oh, I don’t like opera, but they come to hear Broadway and say, ‘Hey, that opera stuff is pretty good too’ or vice versa,” said Rob Farnam, Opera Theatre president.
The board usually chooses a specific theme for a new program, “and the music follows the theme.”
Both solos and group numbers are on the program. Members of the Opera Theatre board “tried fitting a lot of the voices together, and since there were so many auditionees, we couldn’t have everyone just sing a solo,” said Jessica Wright, a performer and member of the opera board.
“So, we tried getting them in groups that, you know, the tonal quality, or the vocal range or age just kind of melded well together,” Wright said.
Preparing for an ensemble piece is rather different compared to a solo number. In an ensemble piece, a performer isn’t just relying on themselves.
“So, the dynamic (is) … relying on somebody else to research as well as practice and time it right with you and try to mesh voices, so that when you’re both singing at the same time it sounds pleasing,” Wright said.
Ensemble pieces also offer the opportunity for a singer to act more since there are other performers to play off of.
As a part of this acting, the singers get into character for the pieces they perform.
“By knowing the opera and the character that’s singing that song, you do a better job performing it,” Farnam said.
To truly convey the song properly, getting in character takes the performance to the next level.
“For my particular piece, it wouldn’t come across very well if I wasn’t in character,” Wright said, “I think that’s the point of the show (the song is from) — for ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,’ is that she’s kind of a little bit of a ditz, and it wouldn’t make sense if I didn’t act that way.”
Wright’s ensemble piece is humorous in tone. But not all of the songs have the same feel to them. The Opera Theatre board arranged songs in order of contrasting tones and genres.
“So, I think we tried to give it enough of variety so it didn’t feel like it was more of a Broadway show or more of an opera show,” Wright said.
“It’s a good blend and mixture, where once you’ve finished the hilarity of one musical, you’re brought into this dramatic scene in an operetta,” Wright said. “It’s got to pull your emotional heartstrings but keep it fun and upbeat.”
The numbers will be primarily accompanied by a piano.
“I know one of the pieces will also have the sounds of a harpsicord … but most of them for our fall show, it’s mostly piano,” Wright said.
There will also be a special performance of “Agony” from the musical “Into the Woods.” This will be a preview of the Opera Theatre’s 2022 spring show.
“We’re really excited,” Wright said. “Even though we’re an opera board, this is a production that we believe has plenty of music in it, and a lot of people are going to love and enjoy it. So, we’re kind of breaking out of that opera thing and throwing it out with a musical.”
“Opera and Broadway” is free to attend but contributions are accepted. Audience members are required to wear masks.