Two of Puccini's One Act Operas Performed Live in Cedar City

Published: March 01, 2022 | Author: Ashley H Palmer | Read Time: 5 minutes

SUU Opera StudentsSUU Opera Theatre will perform two of Puccini's Il Trittico one act operas, Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica, on March 23 through March 26, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. in the Randall L. Jones Theatre. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for alumni with card, and $5 for youth. SUU faculty/staff (and one guest) and students can attend for free with a valid ID card. Tickets can be purchased at the America First Event Center Box Office, at the door the night of the performance, or online at

Gianni Schicchi is a comic opera where Schicchi outwits all of the relatives of Buoso Donati. It takes place in Buoso's bedroom where the relatives have come to mourn his death, but of course what they are interested in finding is Buoso's will. Believing he has left all of his wealth to them, they find out that he has left his money to the friars in a nearby monastery. Suor Angelica takes place in an Italian convent. This opera centers around Sister Angelica whose aunt, the princess, comes to visit her after seven years with tragic news about Angelica's son.

Carol Ann Modesitt, Director of Opera at SUU, shares, “I am excited that we are bringing back two of our alumni to sing the lead roles of Gianni Schicchi and Sister Angelica. These two former students are Janese Pentico singing the role of Sister Angelica and Gregory Watts singing the role of Gianni Schicchi. It is my hope that Janese's and Greg's interaction with the students will be inspiring to them. They were both members of our opera program when they were students at SUU.”

Soprano, Janese Pentico made her role debut as Mimì in La bohème at the Midwest Institute of Opera and in the title role of Madama Butterfly at Operfestival di Roma. Fresh out of her graduate work, she was heard last fall as Contessa Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with New York Lyric Opera Theatre. In 2020, Ms. Pentico joined the Young Artist Program at Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, where she covered the role of Madama Butterfly.  She also performed as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, was heard in a variety of educational outreach programs, and sang in the popular Sundays at the Basile series while she was a resident artist at Indianapolis Opera. Following her residency at IO, Ms. Pentico prepared the title role in Rachmaninoff’s Francesca da Rimini with the prestigious Russian Opera Workshop by virtual means.

Baritone, Gregory R. Watts has appeared on stage in the title roles in both Verdi’s Falstaff and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, both Marcello and Alcindoro in La Bohème, Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore, Javert in Les Misérables, among others. This summer he returns to Italy with La Musica Lirica to sing the title role in Verdi’s Rigoletto under the baton of Joseph Rescigno. Mr. Watts has been heard with Utah Opera, Lyrical Opera Theater, The American West Symphony, High Desert Opera, Grand Junction Symphony, the Orchestra of Southern Utah, and the Sacramento Messiah Society.

Anne Turner, a sophomore Vocal Performance major from San Antonio, Texas, says, “Working in the opera program the last few years has been the best experience of my life, but this semester, being able to do two full Puccini operas has been eye opening. It is incredible to work with a full orchestra and co-stars to create a truly wonderful performance. The music is quite difficult to master, between rapidly occurring tempo changes and obscure syncopated rhythms, it is pretty challenging. These shows are going to be extremely compelling and so fun to watch. This is the perfect opportunity to escape the outside world and enjoy music, comedy, tragedy, and compelling emotions that have been missing for years now due to COVID. The fine arts have a way of affecting people that is hard to explain, but man is it beautiful.”

The SUU Opera performs once every semester to help train students for their future careers in the field. Students develop their acting and singing talents, culminating in fully staged, costumed, public performances. Productions range from operatic scenes and musical theatre productions to dramatic and comic opera.

Lehi Moran, a sophomore Vocal Performance major from Delta, Utah, states, “We’re performing two operas back to back. Gianni Schicchi is a very fast paced comedy and Suor Angelica is the exact opposite, a dramatic work that is deeply moving. I’m super excited for the opera this semester because it’ll be my first time on a stage in a production since before the COVID-19 pandemic started. I can’t wait to share our hard work with everyone!”

Be captivated by the emotions of Puccini’s one act operas, Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica, March 23 through 26, 2022. For more information about arts events at SUU, please visit

About the College of Performing and Visual Arts

The College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA) at Southern Utah University comprises 26 academic programs including liberal arts (BA/BS) and professional (BFA, BM, BMEd) degrees in art, design, dance, music, and theatre. It includes graduate programs in the fields of arts administration (MFA, MA), music education (MME), and music technology (MM). More than 60 full-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring over 900 majors in the College. CPVA presents over 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year and is affiliated with the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Center for Shakespeare Studies. Southern Utah University is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) making SUU the first public university in the state of Utah to be accredited by all four associations. For more information about the College of Performing and Visual Arts, visit

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