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Hailey Boy Returns as Opera Star
Monday, August 21, 2023


“Keep It Local” is the theme of Sun Valley Opera’s upcoming Diva Party and Concert.

That’s because it will feature Baritone Andrew Garratt, who grew up in Hailey, accompanied by his mentor R.L. Rowsey, who needs no introduction since he has his fingers in so many musical pies in the valley.

Garrett will sing selections from Stephen Sondheim, “Les Miserables,” “Sweeney Todd,” Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and other operas and musicals at a private garden on Tuesday, Aug. 29.

The Diva Party will start at 6:30 p.m. followed by the concert at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $175 per person, available at or by calling 208-726-0991.

“Andrew Garratt is an exciting young baritone with a very bright future ahead of him,” said Robyn Watson, executive director of Sun Valley Opera. “The fact that he was raised here makes presenting him in concert all the more exciting. His program includes opera, musical theater and jazz standards showcasing his broad range and strong voice.”

Garrett developed his love for music under the tutelage of Rowsey and Max Stimac and for years participated in the Advanced Opera program that Sun Valley Music Festival provides for youth every summer.

He had hoped to follow in his father’s footsteps and attend the Air Force Academy and fly jets. However, a rare heart condition kept him from military service and so he turned to his lung power to pursue his other passion.

He received a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance this past spring at Western Washington University where he performed in such productions as “Die Fledermaus” and “Orpheus in the Underworld.” And he will begin his Master’s program in Music and Opera performance this fall at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Garrett and Rowsey’s performance was preceded by another beautiful opportunity to partake of opera and musical theater in a garden.

Sun Valley Opera’s earlier garden concert featured Soprano Ibidunni Ojikutu, Strawberry Woman in Seattle Opera’s “Porgy and Bess,” who sang songs like “My Man’s Gone Now” from “Porgy and Bess” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”


“I was the weirdo watching TCM, The Movie Channel, when my friends were watching MTV,” Ojikutu said as she talked of the many changes her voice took between the time she was 20 and 30.

Ojikutu was joined on ”You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Raine Filbert, who received the Thomas S. Perakos Family Cares Foundation/Sun Valley Opera scholarship in 2019 and just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance.

Attendees agreed that their investment in Filbert had been a wise one.

“She has an amazing voice,” said Sharon Wellsandt. “The background stories of these people are amazing—so many came from simple backgrounds.”

 Those attending that concert got a bonus on a lovely summer evening as the concert was held in Kyle Johnson and Judith Kindler’s lovely garden where those in attendance could view some of Kindler’s latest art.

This year, Kindler said, is the Year of the Rabbit and so she is revisiting some of her earlier work as she creates “Bunny in a Box” and other art revolving around rabbits.

“The rabbit is symbolic of good fortune, the joy of life. I was extremely ill during the height of the COVID pandemic and I wanted something that reflected turning around into a joyous life, something that depicts sorrows slipping away,” said Kindler, whose mixed media work and sculptures have been featured in galleries and museums worldwide and locally in Gail Severn Gallery.

Kindler’s home near Hailey was designed around her studio--the studio is the first thing guests see as they enter. And Kindler was happy to show opera guests through it, pointing to common themes of hers, such as red shoes. bears and other animals in her life, as she went.

“It was a beautiful night in a beautiful garden and coupling different mediums of art, visual and performing was an enriching experience,” said Watson. “Ibidunni's diverse program and Judith Kindler's varied and unique art were a perfect pairing.”


Fifteen percent of all sales from noon to 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 25, at J.McLaughlin in Ketchum will be donated to Sun Valley Opera.


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