The first time Michael Ballam played the role of Don Quixote in <em>Man of La Mancha</em>, he was just 17 years old. Ballam, founding director of Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, says he has played the role many times since then and he will portray the role in his company’s 23rd season.
The season opens July 8 and continues through August 8 in the Ellen Eccles Theatre.
Ballam says he identifies with Don Quixote who had a goal of bringing a measure of grace to the world.
“As a result of that sometimes one has to, as Don Quixote puts it, ‘march into hell for a heavenly cause.’ Somehow when one tries to make a difference,” Ballam says, “it often causes battles.
“In Quixote’s case, he battles with ogres and with giants and windmills to try and keep him from his quest, which is to bring beauty to the world.”
Ballam will be singing The Impossible Dream which he says is “one inspired piece of music.”
The other main-stage productions are <em>La Boheme</em>, <em>Carousel</em>, and <em>How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying</em>. Ballam says there are other highlights of the festival as well, as it shares the masterworks of Puccini, Loesser, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Carl Orff and Cervantes. There will be chamber music concerts, late-night cabarets and the gala dinner coming up on Saturday, July 11.