The Utah Symphony is gearing up for another Deer Valley Music Festival, featuring headliner groups and family programming under the stars, intimate chamber orchestra concerts indoors and even a nod to outdoor opera.
Utah Symphony | Utah Opera CEO Melia Tourangeau said the festival follows the format that has been working well for several years. Weekend concerts at Deer Valley's Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater will feature the Utah Symphony and guests in light classical and family programming on Friday nights, with symphonic pop music and headliners on Saturdays.
Highlights of those shows include the opening concert's celebration of Michael Jackson's music, the rock bands Kansas and Earth, Wind and Fire, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the eclectic band Pink Martini.
A pared-down version of the Utah Symphony will play chamber orchestra music at Park City's intimate St. Mary's Church on Wednesday evenings, as in the past. There is a change this year, however. The festival is dropping its Thursday night series, which presented guest chamber ensembles from around the world. The concerts were expensive to produce, and because the Utah Symphony didn't perform on them, there was a dilution of branding, Tourangeau said.
Tourangeau explained that the festival doesn't have just one audience, but several. Patrons haven proven more likely to buy tickets to several concerts within one genre than to buy tickets for all the activities of a particular week.
"The whole idea of having a weeklong festival experience with something going on every night wasn't fitting what our patrons were looking for," she said.
Tourangeau is pleased that outdoor opera will be getting a new toehold at the festival this season. During DVMF's first years, fully produced light operas were an anticipated feature. The economic downturn made that expensive proposition infeasible.
This year, the festival will present an outdoor evening of opera hits on July 20, featuring artists of international stature. Those include sopranos Celena Shafer and Jennifer Welch-Babidge and baritone Darrell Babidge, who are Utahns.
"We are so fortunate to have this depth of talent in our community," Tourangeau said.
Many of the concerts will be conducted by Utah Symphony associate conductor Vladimir Kulenovic, whom Tourangeau describes as a tremendous asset to the Utah Symphony.
"I am so thrilled to be showcasing [Kulenovic]," she said. "He is an incredible talent who is going to go far in his career. We are lucky to get him at this stage of it. I'm thrilled to give him the opportunity to show this community what he's got."