Sun Valley Opera and Sun Valley Resort announce The Greatest ABBA Show Ever! (performed by ARRIVAL from Sweden) in the Sun Valley Pavilion on Sunday July 7th at 8 pm along with the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra. Playing to rave reviews throughout world, this is the only group sanctioned by ABBA to perform their music. With voices, physical appearance very close to the original group, costumes which are all made under license from Abba’s original designer and the same mannerisms, people who attend the concert will feel as though they have gone back in time and were watching the original ABBA in concert.
ARRIVAL From Sweden works together with the designer Owe Sandström who designed and also owns, all of the original ABBA staging clothes. ARRIVAL From Sweden is the only band worldwide, who has the exclusive rights to make exact copies of the design protected staging clothes. It is the only group who has been given an unreleased ABBA song directly from Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA. The song “Just A Notion” is soon due for a worldwide release.
The group has toured 45 nations in addition to appearing on TV and radio throughout the world. Since 2007 ARRIVAL has made 25 successful tours in the US playing to sold out arenas and venues. If schedules allow some of the original band members will also be there. The original group’s songs topped the charts worldwide from 1972-1982. They will perform ABBA’s hits like: Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia, Does Your Mother Know, Take A Chance, SOS, The Winner Takes It All, Super Trouper, Money Money Money, Waterloo, Honey Honey, Fernando, I Do I Do I Do, Chiquitita, Knowing Me Knowing You, Summer Night City, Thank You For The Music, Lay All Your Love On Me, Gimme Gimme Gimme and more.
Joining in The Music of Abba is The American Festival Chorus and Orchestra which was founded in 2008 by Dr. Craig Jessop former director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He is the Artistic Director and conductor of 270 talented singers from Utah and an orchestra which is a professional ensemble made up of instrumentalists from Utah State University including members of the highly acclaimed Fry Street Quartet of Utah State University.
Tickets go on sale April 1st. Diva Tickets are available at www.sunvalleyopera.com or by calling 208.726.0991 and include a cocktail party in a private residence on July 5th, preferred seating and valet parking at the Sun Valley Pavilion at the concert. They are also selling Intermezzo tickets which are the preferred seats behind the Divas. General admission tickets are available at seats.sunvalley.com or by calling 208.622.2135 or 888.622.2108.
Creedence Clearwater Revisited rocked the Sun Valley Pavilion last night
Something strange happened last night. It was as if the Pavilion was caught in a time warp. It started out in 2012, with the regular crowd of Sun Valley visitors and residents sitting sedately in their seats at the pavillion, seemingly ready for the symphony to perform or for a San Francisco ballet reprise. Instead, however, they were waiting for the debut of Creedence Clearwater Revisited in Sun Valley. As Roger the roadie surveyed the crowds with an expression of amused disbelief across his wide, friendly face. I asked him if this was a different type of crowd for the band. He replied, “Not different. Just more so.”
Roger, a member of the CCR sound crew, surveys the somewhat sedate Sun Valley Pavilion crowd prior to CCR's performance last night.
As the band comprised of American Rock icons Stu Cook and Doug “Cosmo” Clifford took the stage, the crowd politely clapped, emitting the occasional cheer. After a couple songs the cheering grew louder, and by the time lead singer John Tristao belted out Susie Q the Pavilion was transported back to 1970s. The crowd was out of their seats, dancing wildly in the aisles, and not a single muttering along the lines of “That young chap needs to sit down as its awfully rude,” was heard. This was a rock concert.
The band takes the stage.
Out of nowhere, dusted-off leather jackets and tight trousers accessorized with studded belts appeared, legs clad in cut off jean-shorts and more denim than you could shake a stick at were suddenly up and bopping along to the music. Sun Valley was rocking.
But it didn't take long for CCR to get the Sun Valley crowd going...
As CCR rolled out hit after hit after hit, the crowd couldn’t take it anymore and by Bad Moon Rising there was barely a bottom on a seat and an honest-to-goodness mosh pit had formed up front. Now that is not something you see at the symphony. When Stu Cook belted out “Are you ready to rock Sun Valley, Idaho?!” we really were.
The Symphony Cottage is nestled just down the hill from the Sun Valley Pavilion
As regular readers of this blog will know, I hail from the old country, where if you told someone they were going to be staying in a cottage they would expect a quaint, cozy abode complete with a chimney, gabled windows, and maybe a picturesque thatched roof. If they were planning on staying in Sun Valley Resort’s Symphony Cottage however, they might need to change those expectations.
For our fourth installment in the Rooms from the Resort series (where I take a peek inside the accommodations on offer at Sun Valley Resort, providing you with a traveller’s-eye-view of your Sun Valley vacation), we are pushing the word “room” to its limit.
A 7 bedroom mansion, the Symphony Cottage is pretty awesome. From a hot tub to a sauna, marble bathrooms to a wet bar, English country cottages would quake in their foundations at the sight of this palace.
At least one part of its name is apt however, the “cottage” sits right next to the Sun Valley Pavilion, making it the perfect accommodation for (a large group of) symphony-goers or any party looking to enjoy the summer’s many performances in the state-of-the-art facility, just steps from their front door.
Here are some pictures I snapped from inside the grandest accommodation on offer at Sun Valley Resort:
The "cottage" door is a beautiful piece of art work.
The interior of the door features a stunning sun motif, which is carried on throughout the cottage.
An elaborate stone fireplace (one of three in the house) dominates the living area.
The large split-level living room is decorated in traditional Lodge style.
One of the seven bedrooms in the cottage.
This tub could fit the entire Sun Family!
The spacious deck/patio area offers a great space for entertaining while listening to the sounds emanating from the nearby Pavilion.
Despite being located in the middle of the resort, there's a real feeling of rural living in the "cottage," with lovely views of Dollar Mountain over Sun Valley Lake.
If you are planning on staying here, drop me a line, I’d love to come hang out!
Details: Priced from $1,000 – $2,200 a night (price varies based on season and weekend versus weeknights), the cottage is newly renovated and offers seven bedrooms, lake view and hot tub, and a sunken living room complete with a wet bar. The 7 bedrooms include 3 King, 2 Queen, 2 Doubles and 1 couch bed. For more details click here or call 1.800.786.8259.
Baby Sun with Grand Marshal Carol Knight in The Toy Store's 33rd Annual Doll Buggy Parade. Baby Sun loved the whole event, Little Sun (just behind her in the hat), not so much. "Mom, I'm not a girl." he complained to me.
This past Saturday in Sun Valley was the unofficial family day of the summer season. Over the past few years, two great family-friendly events have chosen to combine on this second Saturday of August, creating the perfect Saturday afternoon outing for myself and my two little ones. Thankfully, the dreadful smoke that had shrouded the valley the previous few days, caused by wildfires many miles away, was taking a much needed day off, providing the ideal afternoon for some fun in the sun.
Starting at 1:30 p.m. from outside the Sun Valley Inn, The Toy Store’s 33rd Annual Doll Buggy Parade saw a bevy of beautiful baby dolls all trussed up in their finest cowboy gear congregating for the traditional stroll down through the Sun Valley Village. The Sun family arrived a little late (as usual) and Baby Sun objected initially to being woken from her slumber. However, when she saw the cornucopia of dolls, dressed-up buggys and little girls, her delight was quite uncontrollable. When The Toy Store owner and parade Grand Marshal Carol Knight lent her her own baby doll, complete with fetching cowboy bandana, it was the icing on the proverbial cake and nothing could stop her now (not even a full orchestra and stone stairs… more on that later).
Ashley Brown of Ketchum pushes her gaily decorated buggy through the Sun Valley Mall. While the theme for this year's parade was Cowboy Bill, it was liberally interpreted. It's hard to separate a girl from her tutu!
The Doll Buggy Parade has been part of Wood River Valley life for more than three decades, moms strolling with their daughters today remembered when they were in the parade as children. Traditionally the trail of pushchairs, prams, strollers and anything with wheels that can carry a doll, winds its way from the Inn to the lawn outside the Sun Valley Pavilion, where it is greeted by the sounds of Sun Valley stalwart Tim Eriksen. Tim is a resort favorite, he has also been serenading guests, at The Roundhouse and Trail Creek Cabin, with his instrument of choice – the accordion, for many years. He told me that this gig is definitely one of his favorites. ”I love playing for the children,” he said.
The much-loved accordion player Tim Eriksen delighted the parade participants with some cheerful tunes, warming them up for the fun to come...
Following the fun of the accordion, the gaggle of girls (and occasional boy) proceeded into the Sun Valley Pavilion, carefully parking their buggys alongside its outer walls, just in time for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony’s annual Family Concert. A lovely tradition, the family concert is designed to introduce youngsters to the joys of classical music, and each year this one concert is just for them. From an orchestra petting zoo to a far more relaxed atmosphere, it was the perfect first experience for Little Sun (4 and a half). He was very excited to sit in his chair inside the pavilion, “read” his program and feel like a “grown-up boy.” Granted, the highlight of the event for him was the family behind us sharing their Goldfish crackers, but I’m sure some of the experience soaked in.
Little Sun, sitting in the Pavilion, was very proud of his "program" - an instruments of the orchestra guide and coloring book.
Baby Sun takes in the sounds and experiences of the Sun Valley Symphony. But not her seat.
For Baby Sun, hopped-up on dolls and balloons, sitting still was not an option, and while the family concert is a tolerant one, after 15 minutes of me chasing her up and down the exquisite stone stairways and walkways we bailed and headed for the freedom of the lawn. But not before she had delighted at clapping along with the crowds and stomping her feet in time with the original composition Board Games, a unique percussion piece performed with metal gloves and wooden board.
Once safely on the symphony lawn, we relaxed and enjoyed the performance of Cowboy Bill. An original piece receiving its world premiere at Sun Valley, Cowboy Bill is the brilliant result of the collaboration of Boston percussionist Alex Orfaly and Sun Valley’s favorite homegrown best-selling author Ridley Pearson, who performed his poem in person at the concert. As conductor Alasdair Neale explains in this video, “It’s Peter and the Wolf meets the Wild West… it serves as an introduction to the orchestra… it highlights individual instruments and sections to introduce young people to the wonderful world of the symphony orchestra.”
And it certainly did its job well, all the way home Little Sun was asking about Cowboy Bill and Bad Bob, the story had captured his imagination – and all without the aid of a television. Amazing! Catch some snippets of the music of Cowboy Billhere.
While a weary Sun family headed home, filled to the brim with music, dolls and ice-cream, we reflected on the extraordinary (and free!) afternoon we had had. Only in Sun Valley!
Baby Sun prowls the pavilion lawn for puppies to pet at opening night of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony season this Monday.
Monday brought my favorite evening of a Sun Valley summer, the opening night of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. The glamorous soprano Deborah Voigt lent her spectacular skills to an evening of Wagner, Wolf and Strauss.
Nestled snugly in a sliver of shade between the Pavilion lawn, where the serious symphony goers lounged, and the free-for-all behind us where children frolicked, the Sun family joined good friends for an evening of pizza, wine and sensational music.
Baby Sun is a year older, and a lot faster than she was at her first symphony visit, so my ability to completely enjoy the sounds wafting from the awesome orchestra were slightly hampered by her extreme excitement. What was capturing her attention, you ask? Dogs. Baby Sun’s first word was dog, and every time she spies a furry four-legged friend she squeals and rushes off to pet it. As any regular symphony attendee will know, dogs are almost a required accessory on the symphony pavilion lawn, and we were surrounded. There was a gorgeous golden retriever on one side, who patiently let Rose clamber all over her, and, yes, an actual puppy on the other side, whose owners seemingly brought him along to be “socialized.” As they were trailed by a band of children wherever they ventured, I think they succeeded.
Besides the secondary entertainment, Baby Sun did enter into the spirit of the evening, stopping mid-puppy-pat to clap whenever the crowd did, and even attempting to match Ms. Voigt’s thrilling arias with her own high-pitched squeals (I’m not seeing an operatic career in my daughter’s future). And therein lies one of the many things that makes the symphony so special, it caters to all. Nowhere else in the world can you enjoy world-class music for free, while relaxing on a lawn with a picnic and good friends, as your 4 year-old safely plays soccer a few feet away. It’s a unique Sun Valley experience.
For more from the first night of the season, the Symphony posted a slide-show on their Facebook page. And be sure to head there tonight at 6:30 p.m. for the second performance, featuring William VerMeulen on the horn. For a taste of the evening’s offerings, here are conductor Alasdair Neale’s video notes on the upcoming performance:
If there is one thing synonymous with summer in Sun Valley it’s the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. It is a Sun Valley original. There is no other place in the world where you can lie on a lawn surrounded by the peaks of the Pioneer, Smoky and Boulder mountains and soak up the sounds of a world class orchestra serenading you.
The symphony has been running for 28 seasons and is the largest privately funded free-admission symphony in America. It gathers together some of the best classical musicians in the country for two weeks every summer. There’ll be oboists from the Omaha Symphony, bassoonists from Baltimore, violinists from Des Moines, cellists from Fort Worth, as well as a slew of guest artists and soloists.
For me, the symphony is an annual must-do. Years ago, before Little Sun and Baby Sun were in the picture, I used to head to the lawn behind Sun Valley Lodge most every night for two glorious weeks in July and August. After a long day in the office, relaxing on the cool grass with a simple picnic garnished from Bald Mountain Pizza moments before, was simply heaven.
Mr. Sun, who in our early days in the valley was a wildland firefighter, was always off protecting our forests during the summer months, so it wasn’t until last year that he finally got to share in my favorite summertime activity. We took the whole family along to the Pops evening on the first Saturday of the season. As with many musical events in Sun Valley, the symphony is very child friendly (if they get too rambunctious, an impromptu playgroup tends to form just out of earshot on the lawn). But on this evening my 3 year-old and 9 month-old were transfixed (probably all that classical music I played to them in the womb). Baby Sun was clapping and squealing along with the audience and Little Sun sat blessedly still for almost 15 whole minutes.
This year, I vow to try at least one night inside the Pavilion itself, I’ve always been reluctant to give up my much coveted spot on the lawn, but after my experience at the San Francisco Ballet’s performance earlier this month, I’m beginning to see the light.
Of course the lawn experience has been enhanced in recent years, with a large LED screen displaying the action inside for all the concerts, apart from the Edgar M. Bronfman In Focus series (which begins this Sunday). The season officially begins however, on Monday July 30 – and I’ll be there to cover it. See the full schedule here, but some highlights include Saturday, August 4th for Pops Night and the family concert the following Saturday that features the world premier of a Sun Valley Summer Symphony Commission, Cowboy Bill by Alex Orfaly. The performance also includes narration by writer Ridley Pearson. For the one night I may squeeze in up there without the children, my pick is Thursday, August 9, Musicians Choice Chamber Music, featuring Mozart and Brahms
Orchestra concerts begin at 6:30pm, unless otherwise noted, and last 60-75 minutes. The Pavilion opens for concerts at 5:30pm. Pavilion seating is available from the East Entrance (West Lake Road) for each of the nine evening orchestra concerts. Ushers will direct the line for seating inside the Pavilion. Reserved seats will be released for general seating at 6:15pm.
The Sun Valley Pavilion was buzzing as the crowds arrived on Ketchum-time (meaning 20 minutes late), and although they delayed the dancers, the attendees made up for it by turning out in their finery (remarkable considering I’ve seen people wear bike shorts to a wedding).
It was, as I overheard one lady say, “The official start to the Sun Valley social season.” There was a lot of air-kissing and exclaiming over how wonderful your dress is, and what a fabulous summer it will be. But once everyone settled and the music began, a reverent hush took hold replaced promptly by gasps of wonder as the beautiful ballerinas finally claimed the stage.
I am not a ballet aficionado, and so won’t attempt a review of the performance (my limited experience with this art form includes sleeping through Sleeping Beauty at Sadler’s Wells – I was 12, and the Sun Valley Ballet’s annual performance of The Nutcracker, which is not quite in the same league). But watching arguably the best ballerinas in the country perform in an intimate yet spectacular (if a little windy and wet at times) setting, was an enchanting experience. The delicate dancers magically filled the empty stage, gliding and whirling in perfect synchronicity. With footsteps barely registering on the special springy stage, pliés and relevés won the hearts of the Sun Valley audience.
The physiques were as mesmerizing as the moves. Toned and tiny ladies appeared to be as light as feathers, while the sculpted muscles of the male dancers looked like David had come to life. In Solo, one of the seven dances the company performed, the three male performers provoked enchanting giggles from the young girls sitting next to me, one actually fell off her chair at the sight of such clearly visible muscular beauty.
After a resounding standing ovation, the audience left elated. Comments bouncing around the auditorium included ”That was fantastic,” “What a delight,” and “Awesome.” While the dancers can leave Sun Valley knowing they have a legion of new fans, Sun Valley can wave goodbye to the ballet with the knowledge that it too has gained new admirers, who expressed a wish to return.
Unsurprisingly for a ballet headquartered in the tech hub of the country, the San Francisco Ballet is well-represented on social media, and the dancers broadcast highlights of their six days in the valley on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
A quick scroll through the public social media feeds of a handful of the dancers provides a glimpse of the activities the ballet indulged in during its free time. I’ve collected some of their posts on this Storify , but here’s a quick run-down of their time in the valley from their public feeds:
Spotted: Tired ballerinas finally arriving in Sun Valley after their bus broke down in the middle of rural Idaho.
Despite their bus from Boise breaking down on Wednesday, leaving a company of ballerinas stranded on the side of Highway 20, the dancers appear to have made the most of their Sun Valley sojourn. Principal dancer Joan Boada posted a snap of the tasty filet mignon and Idaho spud he enjoyed at the Pioneer Saloon, as well as a frosty beer with a view of Baldy at the Sun Valley Wine Company.
Garen Scribner (@garen) took in a round of golf, and was highly amused by the makeshift practice room set up for them in Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge, practising in a ski school was apparently a new experience for the soloist.
Edward King, British filmmaker and husband of principal dancer Maria Kochetkova (@balletrusse), snapped some shots of the Fourth of July fireworks over the Lodge, and ventured out to Trail Creek Cabin with his wife, joking that she was “scaring away all the wildlife with her [bright red] shorts.”
Maria was the most prolific in her posting, showing followers images of her visiting Hemingway Memorial, enjoying a game at the Sun Valley bowling alley, feeding the swans at the Lodge pond, and posing with her “mini me” – the promotional cut-out of the ballerina that has been touring town in anticipation of the ballet’s arrival.
Sunday night, an hour after they left the stage to thunderous applause, Maria tweeted “@SunValleyResort we loved it here and the audience was amazing! I hope to come back next year!”
Fire and Ice combine in Sun Valley for a rollicking good Fourth.
As I mentioned a few posts back, the one thing I hate about summer in Sun Valley is that there is simply not enough time to enjoy everything there is to do. The next eight days in the valley will prove me right as the Sun family embarks on a marathon of fun that will barely scratch the surface of what’s on offer. Having experienced it all a few times over, I thought I’d share my plan for getting the family through a week of exhaustive Fourth of July fun.
Saturday, June 30
We’ll kick the week off with a gentle morning in the Wood River YMCA pool, then head out for a family hike, the combination of which will ensure Little Sun and Baby Sun are happily tuckered out for the babysitter. This will allow Mr. Sun and I to enjoy a patriotic evening of pops and arias at the Sun Valley Summer Spectacular, featuring International Diva Alyson Cambridge (I wish I could be an International Diva – how does one get that job title?).
Monday, July 2
Born in the Wild West, Mr. Sun will insist on attending Family Night at the Days of the Old West Rodeo in Hailey. Not that I don’t enjoy rodeos, but having grown up in a city curiously bereft of the need to wrangle cattle I do find it all a little baffling (especially when they lasso those cute little calves). But as long as I can keep telling Little Sun he’s too young for mutton bustin’ all will be well (although I’m sure the fearless Baby Sun will sneak off on the first passing sheep). I’ll just have to console myself with gawping at the gorgeous Rodeo Queens.
Tuesday, July 3
The place to see and be seen (at least until the Symphony rolls in to town) on Tuesday nights is Ketch’em Alive. This low-key, free, weekly concert at Ketchum’s Forest Service Park is perfect for the whole family. Just one of the many reasons I simply love summer.
Wednesday, July 4
The big day itself. Being American-born and British-raised, Independence Day has always sat a little uncomfortably with my dual nationalities, but who doesn’t love a parade? And that’s where I’ll be come noon, jealously guarding a prime slice of Hailey Main Street real estate, ready to wave vigorously as Mr. Sun rolls by in a big red fire truck with Baby Sun and Little Sun dangling out the windows. Then, after strapping the kids down for a nap to get them ready for the long night ahead, we’ll mosey on up to Sun Valley to watch 2011 US Gold Medalist Ryan Bradley spin in the first Sun Valley On Ice of the season, followed by the obligatory spectacular fireworks exploding over the Lodge.
Thursday, July 5
I will tolerate Mr. Sun’s efforts to turn my son into something other than a great British/American Wimbledon Champion by exposing him to the skills of the Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championship riders. The culmination of the week-long biking bonanza Ride Sun Valley, the championship races begin today on Baldy. We’ll watch as the best American cross-country, short track cross-country and Super D riders race for the chance to represent their country at the London Olympics (race start times).
Friday, July 6
Today, it will be Little Sun’s turn to show off his prowess on two wheels as he gets a chance to cover the same trails the pros do in the Ride Sun Valley Kid’s Mountain Bike Race. As you’ve no doubt gleaned by now I’m a bit of a nervous mother, and if it all gets too much for me I will head in to town for some wine and art at the superlative Sun Valley Gallery Association Gallery Walk.
Saturday, July 7
Time to ditch the highbrow (and the kids) for some good old fashioned partying at The Sun Valley Shakedown. There’s quite the line-up, but I’m particularly looking forward to the signature New Orleans-stylings of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
Sunday, July 8
Based on the fact that we have four times as many bikes in our house as people, the chances are high that the whole family will be back at Baldy today to see the culmination of the Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships. From the safety of the River Run Lodge we’ll be cheering on the insanely brave boys and girls careering down Baldy. As thrilling as that sight will be, it’s the one later this evening that I am most excited for. The week from will end in paradise as I watch angels dance on earth when the San Francisco Ballet‘s dancers, including the exceptional Maria Kochetkova, grace the stage of the Sun Valley Pavilion for one night only.
Then, if we actually manage to pull off a miracle and cram all this into one week, we’ll likely hibernate until winter rolls in (in about 2 weeks). But please do share, what will be missing out on? Where will you be this week?