Isabel Leonard is a two time Grammy Award winning mezzo-soprano who has appeared all over the world from the Metropolitan Opera in New York to the Vienna State Opera in Austria. And there she was Thursday evening, with our own Utah Symphony, on the stage of The Noorda Center for the Performing Arts in Orem, Utah. I don’t think we realize what an honor it is to have Isabel here in our state. Not only did Ms. Leonard perform last night in Orem, but she will be performing at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City tonight (January 10) and tomorrow evening.
When I was invited to cover The Hip Hop Nutcracker I wasn’t sure what to think. What exactly was the show going to be like? Was it exactly that? The Nutcracker set to Hip Hop? I went to the show’s website for more information. This is how they described the show.
*This review contains mild spoilers. The main reveals in the show won’t be divulged but if you want to go into the production without knowing anything, please read this review once you’ve seen Miss Saigon.*
The New National Tour of Cameron Mackintosh’s revival of Boublil and Schönberg’s (Les Misérables) musical, Miss Saigon made its Utah premiere last night (Oct. 15) at the beautiful Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City. When the Eccles Theater was being discussed and then constructed one of the reasons for building the theater was to be able to house some of the larger scale musicals that the newly renovated Capitol Theater is unable to fit on its 106 year old stage. Miss Saigon is definitely a large scale musical, both with a 42 person cast and a set design that takes every bit of the stage.
When I saw the 2019 Deer Valley Music Festival Utah Symphony summer lineup, one of the first names that stuck out was Renée Elise Goldsberry. Renée has had an extensive career on Broadway, but the reason she is headlining this concert is due to her originating the role of Angelica Schuyler in the smash-hit musical, Hamilton. Ever heard of it? Not only did she originate that role, but she won a Drama Desk, Grammy and Tony Award for her performance. So I knew when her name was announced, I knew that I had to be at the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater to see this performance. I’m so glad I didn’t miss this.
By: Kevin Rolfe with contributions by Kerriann Haycock
It was the perfect evening for an outdoor concert! Escaping the heat, heading up to Deer Valley, throwing down a couple of chairs and a blanket, eating and drinking with friends, what could be more perfect? How about a concert full of the greatest music from the Disney songbook? Sounds like the perfect evening! As part of their Deer Valley Music Festival series, the Utah Symphony presented Disney in Concert: A Magical Celebration at the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater.
If you were to ask a group of people, “What band/singer do you wish you could have seen live in concert?” who would they say? I’d imagine Elvis is one most people would mention. I would also think that Freddie Mercury with Queen would be another. For me, I would have loved to have seen Buddy Holly or perhaps Whitney Houston. Speaking of Buddy, I’m excited for the chance to “see him” and Roy Orbison in lifelike hologram form at the “Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream Tour” this October at Eccles Theater. But of all the bands and singers and musicians around I would have to think if you asked someone who they wish they could see in concert it would be The Beatles. Even when they were together and all the band members were alive they didn’t play live nearly as much as people would have liked. Unfortunately, John Lennon and George Harrison have passed. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr still tour on their own, but what would it be like to have seen The Beatles in concert? Well, that’s where RAIN comes in. They put on a show that gives you as close a look as you’re ever going to get.
Singing, comedy, and vanilla-wafer top hats, what more could you possibly want? That’s what Rhett and Link brought to the stage at The Maverik Center this last Saturday. The best friend, comedy duo hit the road for their first live concert tour, Salt Lake City, being only their second stop. If you don’t know who Rhett and Link are, or what Good Mythical Morning is then you are missing out on some top notch YouTube content. Rhett and Link are the stars of their YouTube show, Good Mythical Morning (GMM), with over 15 million subscribers who watch their videos religiously, as they upload nearly everyday. I love watching GMM! You never know what these two goofballs are going to do. From watching them eat strange and sometimes questionable food to watching them test women’s clothes, or make a human pizza, their videos are bound to make you laugh! I was super excited to see them live again! I traveled to Seattle in 2017 for their book tour. This time though, they were live in concert! They hadn’t been to Salt Lake in a few years, so fans, old and new, were super eager to see their favorites in person and not just on a small screen.
Stand up comedy is an art form that fascinates me. The ability to stand in front of a group of strangers and cause them to naturally react to something you’re saying with laughter totally blows my mind. I truly marvel at the nerve these people have. I don’t know how they do it. I think it must be the scariest, riskiest in terms of failure potential, and therefore the most rewarding art form out there. When a comic bombs, it’s just them out there. There aren’t other bandmates that they can share in their tanking with. It’s just them. But when done right, what can be better than having an entire comedy club crying laughing because of something you said. Then imagine having an entire theater cracking up at something you said. Then imagine having an entire arena, filling a venue with thunderous laughter because of something you said. That’s how it was on Friday, December 7, at Vivint Smart Home Arena with Jim Gaffigan.
We really classed things up over here at Utah Concert Review last night. Vivint Smart Home Arena was transformed into an opera house, and we attended Andrea Bocelli’s first ever concert in Utah. He has such a strong fan base here in Utah that it was surprising that he had never played here before. Well, it was well worth the wait. Bocelli’s fans were out in full force packing the arena for their favorite tenor’s debut in Utah.
Before I get into the concert itself, I have to mention some things about the audience and the venue. While I enjoy attending concerts at Vivint Smart Home Arena the sound isn’t always the best. It’s just the way the venue was built. Some tours come through and the sound techs can’t figure out how to mix this venue. Other times it’s passable and the show is so good no one cares. And other times the sound is good. I was concerned because of the type of show Andrea Bocelli puts on. It’s opera. It’s the type of music that is usually performed in halls created with the greatest acoustics you’ll find anywhere. But I have to hand it to whoever did the sound at this show. As far as shows go at Vivint Arena, this was one of the best I’ve heard.
Now, with opera being performed, this show is an upscale event. A certain decorum and style are expected as such events. But it’s difficult because we’re all walking into a venue where basketball is played, and Metallica is performing the next night. If you’re going to the Capitol Theater to see The Magic Flute, I think you know it’s the type of show where you throw on your best suit or dress. But I think this audience got the idea. People were dressed to the nines! I saw slick suits and fancy gowns all throughout the arena. I saw furs (hopefully synthetic, or really really old!) and ascots. This audience was gussied up! And for whatever reason, that made me really happy.