Ballam: opera season featuring perhaps the ‘most important musical in American history’

Wednesday marked opening day for the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre’s 21st season. More than 250 musicians, performers and crew members from renowned stages have been working for months to make sure it is the best season yet.

Founder and general director Michael Ballam said there are four mainstage productions along with Academy classes, backstage tours, breakfasts with the stars, and seven special concerts.

Ballam said Richard Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” is the season opener and the other mainstage productions are “Othello,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”

On <a href=”″ target=”_blank”>KVNU’s Crosstalk show Friday</a>, Ballam said for the first time he will star in “Fiddler on the Roof” playing the important role of Tevya in a production he said will be “real.”

“We’re living in an age where people are persecuted because of their beliefs,” Ballam explained. “The idea of exterminating races of people has never stopped. It continues to this day.

“I believe Fiddler is, very possibly, the most important musical in American history. It has changed the way people look at the Jews or any other people, or philosophy, or religion.”

For Ballam, “Fiddler on the Roof” is a family affair since the cast includes his two daughters Olivia and Vanessa and son-in-law Stefan Espinosa.

Tickets are available at the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre box office in the Dansante Building.

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