Michael Ballam, a Utah native and tenor who has sung in leading roles on the stages of every major opera house in North America as well as most major opera houses in Europe and around the world, will perform Friday evening in the Auditorium Theatre at Southern Utah University in a benefit for the Utah Shakespearean Festival, hosted by the Festival Guild.
After performing in such prestigious halls as La Scala Opera House in Italy and with the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York, Ballam returned home to Cache Valley to found the Utah Opera Festival. (The festival is based in the Ellen Eccles Theatre, formerly Logan's historic Capitol Theatre, which Ballam was instrumental in saving from the wrecking ball.)When Ballam performed at a USF fund-raiser in 1993 in the Randall L. Jones Theatre, the event was an immediate sell-out.
Fred C. Adams, executive director and founder of the Utah Shakespearean Festival, calls Ballam, "one of the most exciting performers of his time. We are grateful and thrilled he will be gracing our stage to benefit our festival."
Tickets, priced at $10, $12.50 and $15, can be reserved in advance by calling the USF box office at 586-7880 or 1-800-752-9849.
When not performing (including recitals and concerts), Ballam is an associate professor of music at Utah State University.
His repertoire ranges from legitimate theater and Broadway musicals to opera. He has sung opposite Lucianno Pavarotti, Kiri Te Kanawa and Joan Sutherland.
Ballam has gained distinction for his performances in such operas as "Doktor Faust," Haydn's "Il Mondo della Luna" (sung at the Kennedy Center's Haydn Festival), Offenbach's "La Belle Helene" and David Amram's "Twelfth Night," plus such popular works as " Madama Butterfly," "La boheme," "Tales of Hoffman," "Gianna Schicchi," "Rigoletto" and "Die Fledermaus."