SCV residents get a taste of opera at Santa Clarita United Methodist

Michael O'Halloran, Vincent McPherson and Ben Lowe sing in the opening of the Mozart's opera Cosi fan tutte at Santa Clarita United Methodist Church Sunday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

The walls of Santa Clarita United Methodist Church echoed throughout the performance of “Cosi fan tutte,” hosted by Mission Opera, on Sunday.

“I’ve been looking to direct ‘Cosi,’ in fact, without knowing what that would involve,” said stage director Carson Gilmore. “This is a gigantic opera.”

Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as a comedy, the opera follows two soldiers who decide to return to their wives following their deployment. They decide to disguise themselves as they pursue each other’s wife. Although the opera was written in the 18th century, the directors dressed their performers in mid-1950s America attire.

Sunday’s performance of “Cosi fan tutte” is part of Mission Opera’s spring concert series, with the next performance set for May 31 at Los Angeles Mission College.

Mission Opera was founded by Joshua Wentz, conductor and music director at Santa Clarita United Methodist Church. The opera company, which also functions as a nonprofit, accepted donations to help expand the company and provide more opportunities to perform opera for not only the Santa Clarita Valley, but also the San Gabriel Valley Foothills and the San Fernando Valley.

Baritones and sopranos from around the world played each of the characters. Wentz’ choir students from Los Angeles Mission College also performed as the show’s chorus.

The nonprofit organization arrived for the opera company’s first show in Santa Clarita to bring something unique for non-church goers, Wentz said. He added he saw little in terms of opera productions offered in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“The point of it is to get non-church people who don’t really attend churches into the doors of our church and experience our music ministries and things that way,” Wentz said. “This whole spring concert series is a secular concert series like they would have at Concerts in the Park. We want to grow to where people start to follow it.”

To learn more about Mission Opera, go to  

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