The Utah Symphony is going on another road trip. Three years after the Mighty 5 Tour took them to the state's five national parks, Thierry Fischer will lead the orchestra in five outdoor performances at state or national parks and monuments. The 1,200-mile tour, dubbed the Great American Road Trip, will run Aug. 29-Sept. 2.
Guests are composer-instrumentalist Brent Michael Davids, soprano Abigail Rethwisch and baritone Andrew Paulson. Davids, a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohican Nation and founder of music company Blue Butterfly Group, will perform a movement from his concerto "Fluting Around" on traditional wood flute. Rethwisch, a participant in Utah Opera's Resident Artist program who stepped up on short notice to sing the title role in the company's "Lucia di Lammermoor" last month, will sing Davids' "Spirit Woman Song" and will join Paulson, her husband, in operatic and musical-theater selections. Pieces by composers such as Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Antonín Dvorák will round out the three orchestral programs in or near Zion National Park and Natural Bridges/Hovenweep and Dinosaur national monuments. A brass quintet led by principal trumpet Travis Peterson will perform at Cedar Breaks National Monument and Goblin Valley State Park.
Apart from the concert in Springdale's O.C. Tanner Amphitheater just outside Zion, "we'll be creating [performance spaces] from the ground up," Utah Symphony general manager and operations VP Jeff Counts said after a Tuesday news conference at the Natural History Museum of Utah. The orchestra trucked a portable stage from park to park on the Mighty 5 tour. "We do know how to do this now," Counts said. "There are unique challenges at each venue, but we feel pretty prepared." Orchestra staff have made three or four visits to each site already.