The year 2018 is winding down, and 2019 lurks just behind the corner. This time of year always brings with it countless parties and celebrations, full of singing, dancing, feasting and merrymaking.
All of the above will be part of Sun Valley Opera’s upcoming “Sparkling Winter Gala,” a proper sendoff to 2018. Whether the year was kind to you or not, it is always appropriate to take stock and look back. The gala’s program will feature musical arrangements from throughout history.
The evening will begin with cocktails followed by an exclusive concert starring world-renowned, award-winning mezzo-soprano Kate Aldrich.
After the conclusion of Aldrich’s performance, guests can enjoy a buffet dinner catered by Sun Valley chef Judith McQueen.
Finally, local Ketchum band All Night Diner will play a set-list of both originals and familiar rock ’n’ roll favorites from the 1950s to the present. Dancing and general merriment are heavily encouraged.
Aldrich is considered one of the world’s foremost mezzo-sopranos. She garnered widespread acclaim in 2001 for her performance as Amneris in Franco Zeffirelli’s production of Verdi’s “Aida,” presented on the centenary of the composer’s death.
Just a few years later, she was lauded by the San Francisco Sentinel as “the Carmen of this generation” for her turn in the title role of Bizet’s famous opera.
She has performed in some of the most famous opera houses around the globe, including New York Metropolitan Opera, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Opernhaus Zurich and operas in Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing.
Earlier this year, she sang Wagner in Lyon, France, and reprised her breakout role as Carmen for a special open-air performance at the ancient Odeon Herodes Atticus beneath the Acropolis in Athens.
Though she has sung all over the planet, this will be Aldrich’s first time visiting Sun Valley.
“I’ve never been to Idaho at all,” she said, “But as a New England girl, there’s something about the Wild West that excites me.”
For this special end-of-the-year bash at the Argyros, she has personally assembled a program that spans centuries of musical history and incorporates several genres.
“It’s a pretty broad range,” Aldrich said. “The program includes a mix of operatic arias from various periods all the way through to some musical theater, some cabaret-style pieces and even some jazzy pieces.”
Highlights from the program include excerpts from Aldrich’s forte, “Carmen,” and Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville,” as well as some popular Leonard Bernstein show tunes and selections from modern American composers.
Aldrich said organizing a program can be a “tricky thing,” especially when given the daunting task of ringing in the new year.
“It’s fun, exciting, and hails the party that follows,” she said.
Pianist Sean Rogers will provide musical accompaniment to Aldrich’s diverse lineup.
Sun Valley Opera was founded in 2001 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the Herzogian task of providing world-class opera to the Idaho Rockies.
The Sun Valley Opera also presents regular festivals and concerts. In addition to those, it organizes screenings of livestreamed performances from the New York Metropolitan Opera at Big Wood 4 Cinemas in Hailey. Check the opera’s website for details on the 2018-19 streaming season.
In terms of live, in-person events in the Wood River Valley, February and March will see a performance by award-winning operatic tenor Michael Fabiano, a cabaret concert with baritone singer Emmett O’Hanlon and a continuation of the opera’s Signature Salon Series featuring mezzo-soprano Emily Fons.
The “Sparkling Winter Gala” will be held at the Argyros Performing Arts Center on Main Street in Ketchum. Festivities will commence at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 28.
Given the limited parking onsite at the Argyros, the parking lot of Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church on Sun Valley Road will be made available and a shuttle will ferry guests back and forth between the lot and the venue.
Tickets for the gala are available for $300 per person or $400 to include a door-to-door chauffer service.
For more information on the gala or to buy tickets, call 208-726-0991 or visit sunvalleyopera.com.