BYU Vocal Students Celebrate ‘Facets of Love’ in Annual Opera Scenes

The performance will conclude with three scenes from graduate student CJ Madsen’s opera based on chapters from the Book of Mormon

The School of Music will embrace the Valentine’s season in the annual performance of some of the most compelling scenes in opera history.

“We’ve named this year’s Opera Scenes program ‘Facets of Love,’” said director Joshua Lindsay. “Whether it’s a comedic moment or an expression of heartbreak, love is the string that ties these scenes together.”

In addition to composers like Mozart, Puccini, Strauss and Leonard Bernstein, Lindsay is looking forward to showcasing the work of BYU graduate student CJ Madsen in three scenes from “He Shall Prepare a Way” — a full-length opera based on the story of Lehi’s family in the first seven chapters of the Book of Mormon. 

“I’ve been working with CJ for the last couple of years and am excited to be workshopping this opera,” said Lindsay. “We’re going to be hearing these Book of Mormon stories in a new way. It’s also unique to perform work by a living composer and get to hear his thoughts when he comes to rehearsal.”

Madsen began composing the opera in spring 2018, despite a seeming lack of resources and time in his busy school schedule. 

“The prompting just kept coming back that I needed to do it,” said Madsen. “Now I’m at a point where I’ve had these melodies and this story going on for over a year in my mind, so I’m looking at details that the first-time observer doesn’t necessarily see. I’m interested to see how the audience reacts. I hope that they can relate and see the humanity in it.”

Though an opera chronicling stories from the scriptures may initially seem out of place in a show titled “Facets of Love,” both Madsen and Lindsay see profound examples of love and devotion throughout the work. 

“I think Professor Lindsay’s choices of songs for this program were really inspired,” said Madsen. “One of the big questions that I hope my opera causes people to ask is what are they willing to sacrifice to love the Lord. You see the characters making choices related to their priorities. You see who and what they love and the reasons they feel that way. Through Nephi and his family, we see choices that bring a lot of heartache, but we also see how making the choice to follow the Lord brings ultimate peace.”

“That’s the epitome of love,” added Lindsay. “I hope the audience is entertained by these scenes and the beautiful singing, but I also hope they’re touched by the messages. We’re going to end the concert on a high note with the Book of Mormon piece.”

Tickets and Show Details

Performance Dates and Times: Feb. 11-12, 14-15 | 7:30 p.m.

Location: Madsen Recital Hall

Price: $6-7

Tickets: Available in person at the BYU HFAC or Marriott Center Ticket Office, by phone at (801) 422-2981 or online at