UTAH OPERA COSTUME SHOP SEWS HUNDREDS OF FACE MASKS FOR SALT LAKE REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER AND OTHER GROUPS SERVING THE UTAH MEDICAL COMMUNITY
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (April 28, 2020) – The artisans in the Utah Opera Costume Shop are sharing their creative talents in meaningful ways during the shut down of services resulting from the state’s response to COVID-19.
Six stitchers began creating general protection masks for Salt Lake Regional Medical Center using cotton and muslin unused remnants, including left over fabric from costumes for the January 2019 production of “The Little Prince.” The talented costume shop artisans are enjoying this chance to meaningfully serve our community and challenged themselves to see how many masks they might be able to create in a day—their donation to the hospital exceeded several hundred in two weeks! They are also making several hundred stretch extenders for people to use across the back of their heads to alleviate the uncomfortable rubbing of elastic around the ears from prolonged wearing of masks.
“When I called Salt Lake Regional they were genuinely happy for the call. Tammy said that since they were a small hospital they didn’t usually receive offers of help so really anything we could offer would be wonderful,” said Utah Opera Costume Director Verona Green. “In this uncertain world where it is hard to know what to do to help, a simple mask is becomes a positive gift that things will get better. I felt strongly about this and the costume shop joined right in.”
The costume team is also sewing 700 medical grade masks for healthcare workers around the state from kits provided by the Utah chapter of Just Serve, a community service organization.
The Utah Opera scenic shop has also been investigating the possibility of creating face shields for medical professionals, but has not yet been able to locate the materials required.
The Utah Opera costume shop houses more than 150,000 individual pieces in its extensive warehouse, including hats, cravats, capes, shoes and ties in the company’s Production Studios. This amounts to around 45 full productions in its inventory, which it rents out to as many as 20 other opera companies each season in addition to four full productions presented onstage at Capitol Theatre.
Utah Symphony | Utah Opera announced the suspension of 13 performances through May 23, 2020 – including the opera productions of “The Barber of Seville” (March) and “Thais” (May) – in response to the state’s increased COVID-19 precautions for social distancing and Salt Lake County Arts and Culture’s announcement that performing arts venues will be closed through May 15, 2020. USUO Education additionally cancelled all symphony education concerts, all in-school opera assemblies, and every outreach event already scheduled.
About Utah Opera
Utah Opera, established by Glade Peterson in 1978, has been part of the Utah community for 40 years and engages audiences through inspiring operatic performances. The opera company presents four annual productions at the historic Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre and regularly partners with Utah Symphony and other organizations for special presentations. In addition to producing classic works from the operatic repertoire, Utah Opera also emphasizes the importance of contemporary American opera, with notable achievements including the 1996 world premiere of David Carlson’s “Dreamkeepers” and the co-commissioning and Western U.S. premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s “The Grapes of Wrath” in 2007, presenting the Western U.S. premiere of Jeremy Howard Beck and Stephanie Fleischmann’s “The Long Walk” in 2016, the creation of a new production of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s “Moby-Dick” in 2018 that featured a versatile set designed to adapt to a wide range of theater stages, and an all-new production of Rachel Porter and Nicholas Wright’s “The Little Prince,” premiered on the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre stage in January 2019.
Utah Opera operates a full production studio where productions are rehearsed and costumes, props and set pieces are designed, made, rented out and stored. The opera currently has 19 full sets and costumes for 50 full productions in its inventory. Utah Opera also offers a Resident Artist Program, a nationally recognized young artist training program for professional singers and pianists who perform for more than 81,000 students each year free of charge through the organization’s education and outreach activities. The Utah Symphony has performed as part of the Opera’s productions since the company’s founding, and the two organizations merged in 2002.
Utah Opera’s Artistic Director, Christopher McBeth, joined the company in the fall of 2000 and took over primary artistic leadership in 2003. Under his leadership, Utah Opera productions have received acclaim for introducing audiences to the next generation of fine singing actors. Mr. McBeth strives to provide distinguished quality productions that showcase emerging and established artists, celebrate traditional works, and champion the American operatic tradition. For more information, visit www.utahopera.org.