The Sun Valley Opera’s 2019/20 winter season kicked off right at the end of December and included a number of concerts ranging in size and musical genres, but not in talent, as the organization booked some of the top names in opera and Broadway performance.
As the calendar flips over into March, the Sun Valley Opera prepares to wrap up another season. The winter lineup will conclude next Monday, March 9, with the latest installment in the opera’s perpetually ongoing Signature Salon Series.
These events take place in the warm, intimate settings of private homes, generously provided by some of the opera’s area patrons. Audiences of limited size congregate for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a special performance by a top-class artist. In this case, that artist is award-winning mezzo-soprano Chrystal Williams.
Williams’ repertoire spans centuries and styles, including contemporary operas like Philip Glass’ “Akhnaten,” classics like Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas,” and even some Brazilian folk music for good measure.
Her Signature Salon performance with Sun Valley Opera, she said, will include “a small representation of me--a bit of the old mixed with the new, some opera, some songs, some spirituals and a lot of spirit.”
Whether singing in some of the world’s grandest opera houses or in a more private setting as she will in Sun Valley, Williams said her approach to the spotlight is always the same regardless.
“It doesn’t [change], really. I may choose to deliver some lines to specific people [in a smaller audience], since I can actually see their eyes, but not much,” she said. “It does change the atmosphere as our energies and vibrations are much closer and can readily feed off one another. If the audience feels uncomfortable, I may change a few things.”
One difference that emerges between this kind of recital and full-scale operatic production is that Williams has ownership over the program and the sole ability to curate it. Selecting pieces in a manner that adapts to her audience is key, she said.
“I look at the audience and their exposure to music. I like to bring them a bit of the old and a bit of the new, expanding their musical territory.”
Regardless of the music or the venue, her objective is always the same, as far the audience is concerned.
“I hope they will leave filled with joy, knowing that there was a shift in the atmosphere, an elevation of spirit and release of love and joy into the air,” she said. “I hope people leaving having been transformed and transported to a place where their worries and cares are less and where we are all unified by our love and appreciation of music.”
Tickets are available for purchase directly from the opera and sell at $150 a pop. Visit sunvalleyopera.com to procure admission.