BOISE — On Saturday, July 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Gene Harris Bandshell in Julia Davis Park, Opera Idaho is embarking on a new and ambitious venture: a free, family-friendly outdoor concert with world-class soloists, the Opera Idaho Opera Chorus and Orchestra. Opera in the Park will not only include beautiful music from the canons of opera and musical theatre but will also serve as a sneak preview of sorts for the upcoming Opera Idaho season.

This first annual free event is planned to be a summer tradition in the community for years to come.

KTVB’s Mark Johnson and frequent Opera Idaho performer Leslie Mauldin will be hosting Opera in the Park.

Featured singers include soprano Cecilia Violetta López, Opera Idaho’s newly appointed Artistic advisor. Most recently, USA Today recently named Lopez  one of Idaho’s Top 10 Most Influential Women of the Century.

Opera News has named López one of opera’s “25 Rising Stars.” Cecilia is also the recipient of an Idaho State Concurrent Resolution honoring her life as an Idahoan and her work in the world of opera. 

Joining Lopez  are mezzo-soprano Tahanee Aluwihare, who was part of Opera Idaho’s Young Artists Program for the 2018-2019 season; tenor Ben Gulley, who appeared in our 2016 production of Die Fledermaus; and baritone Ryan Bede, who made his Opera Idaho debut as Papageno in The Magic Flute and whose Papageno adorns the Opera Idaho van along with Lopez’ likeness.

Free outdoor opera concerts are a tradition in many cities, including Madison (WI), Indianapolis, Chicago and San Francisco. In recent years some of these concerts have been performed in sports stadiums. Opera Idaho chose Julia Davis Park for its first annual Opera in the Park because of the opportunity for the community to gather post-pandemic in a spacious setting and utilize the historic, newly renovated Gene Harris Bandshell. 

Originally opened 93 years ago this Boise staple was damaged due to a human-caused fire in 2018. After a $900,000 rebuild, it was rededicated in April this year.

Musical selections will feature opera favorites from Carmen, including “Toreador Song” and “Habanera,” and The Merry Widow, Opera Idaho’s return-to-the stage production scheduled for The Morrison Center Oct. 8 and 9, 2021. Also included are well-known duets from The Pearlfishers and Lakmé, the quartet from Verdi’s Rigoletto and Verdi’s “Anvil Chorus.” 

Musical theater selections will include those from West Side Story and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, including the musical‘s theme song and “Home.” The evening will conclude with an audience sing-along, “It’s a Grand Night for Singing.”

The public is invited to bring blankets and chairs to watch the concert. Attendees can bring food and drink, but glass bottles are not allowed. There will be no food or drink vendors at the concert.

For more about Lopez, visit ceciliaviolettalopez.com

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