This is an archived article that was published on in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah Opera has scored another blockbuster with Giuseppe Verdi's ever-popular "Aida."

The production, which opened Saturday to a sold-out Capitol Theatre crowd, offers stellar singing, top-notch production values and a magnificent supporting performance by the Utah Symphony.

Three powerhouse singers — soprano Jennifer Check, mezzo Katharine Goeldner and tenor Marc Heller — are beautifully matched as Aida, the captive Ethiopian princess; Amneris, the Egyptian princess to whom she is a slave; and Radamès, the soldier with whom both women are in love. On opening night, their roof-raising vocal power, balanced with their sensitivity to the text, made for a compelling love triangle.

Bass Derrick Parker as the high priest Ramfis, baritone Alfred Walker as the Ethiopian king Amonasro, bass Matthew Treviño as the pharaoh and — in brief but memorable appearances — soprano Rebecca Pedersen as the high priestess and Christian Sanders as a messenger, rose to the high standard set by the three leads.

The Utah Opera Chorus, prepared by Susanne Sheston, created some of the night's most thrilling moments.

Playing an equally important role was the Utah Symphony, conducted by Ari Pelto.

Whether in the grandeur of the triumphal scene or the exquisite beauty of the Nile scene, one couldn't have asked for a more inspiring performance of Verdi's score.

Alice Bristow's simple but striking costume designs complemented Michael Yeargan's stunning sets perfectly, and stage director Garnett Bruce took full advantage of them to create one gorgeous stage picture after another. Yancey Quick's wig and makeup design and Nicholas Cavallaro's lighting were also first-rate.

Eight dancers deftly executed Daniel Charon's choreography to add visual interest while moving the story along, with particularly fine results in the scene depicting Egyptian deities. —

Queen of the Nile

Utah Opera presents an outstanding production of Giuseppe Verdi's "Aida," in Italian with Supertitles.

When • Reviewed Saturday, March 12; repeats Monday, Wednesday and Friday, March 14, 16 and 18, at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, March 20

Where • Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City

Running time • 3 hours, including intermission

Tickets • $18-$107 ($5 more on performance day);

In a nutshell • Two princesses, one enslaved by the other, are in love with the same man. All of them are torn between love and duty.

Learn more • Utah Opera principal coach Carol Anderson will give a preview lecture an hour before curtain, and artistic director Christopher McBeth will lead a Q&A after each performance; all are in the Capitol Room on the west side of the theater. Background materials by Paul Dorgan are at