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Tamara Mumford to Sing at Glamour Garden Gala
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Tamara Mumford once apologized for the loudness of her voice. But it has come in handy for projecting her voice over an orchestra without amplification to audiences in large halls.
   
Sunday, June 19, 2022
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Tamara Mumford sometimes sang in her opera voice as a joke while she did household chores as a youngster.

But it soon became apparent her vocal ability was no joke. And, so, her parents found her a classically-trained voice teacher when she turned 16.

Mumford has parlayed her training into a career that includes 140 performances with the Metropolitan  Opera, as well as performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Utah Symphony, the Berlin Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl.

And she will perform for the Sun Valley Opera’s “Glamorous Garden Gala—Opera in Bloom” on Tuesday, June 21. The summer solstice event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception on the lawn of a beautiful garden north of Ketchum.

Raine Filbert, the 2019 recipient of the Thomas S. Perakos Family Foundation and Sun Valley Opera’s four-year scholarship, will offer a short recital, followed by a seated dinner catered by Vintage Restaurant & Catering.

Tickets are available at 208-726-0991 or https://www.sunvalleyopera.com/, and proceeds benefit Sun Valley Opera’s Artists Fund. Afterwards, mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford will present a 50-minute concert of selections from “Carmen” and other favorite operas, as well as a set of Gershwin songs, American Standards, love songs and fun cabaret songs.

Mumford grew up in a large musical family in Sandy, Utah. Her father studied opera at Utah State University and her mother had a nice alto voice.

“While my dad didn’t pursue music professionally, he was an exceptional talent,” she said. “My sisters and I would sing together in four-part harmonies for church and community events from the time I was really small.  We spent many summers doing the community musical together as a family: ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor DreamCoat,’ ‘Annie,’ etc. I have the best memories of that time together.”

Mumford picked Utah State University over Juilliard because she knew the head of the Vocal Department there.

“Cindy Dewey was a real vocal technician and I felt completely comfortable with her in the meetings we had when I auditioned at Utah State.  I knew I wanted her as my voice teacher and I knew I didn’t want to go too far away from home for my undergrad.  A scholarship award at USU sealed the deal.”

Utah State proved a wonderful place for her to grow into her “instrument,” Mumford said.

“It was a safe place for me to gain experience and for my confidence to grow as the ‘big fish’ at USU.  Of course, many flourish at Juilliard, but I don’t know if I would have had as many opportunities as an undergrad at such a large school.”

By graduate school, Mumford was ready to be seen in a larger arena and so pursued a Master’s at Yale University.

“It had an incredible performance-based opera program.  Many agents and casting directors would visit for classes and performances, and I was a train ride away from New York City.”

A year into graduate school, Mumford met her future manager and she was invited to be part of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. She also was invited to solo with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

“It was an honor to be asked to solo with the Tabernacle Choir.  They have a rich history and are an important part of my culture.  The music Director, Mack Wilberg has an extremely high expectation of his group and it was inspiring to see that up close in rehearsals. My brother-in-law sang with the choir for years and he was a member while I was there as a guest artist so it was special to share the stage with him.  I’ve sung many performances of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ in my career with many fine choruses, but none can surpass the wall of sound that I experienced when that choir sang the ‘Hallelujah Chorus.’

Of course, no career is without a few bumps along the way, and Mumford’s bump manifested itself as a pair of fluffy blue slippers.

She was singing the role of Ottavia in “L’Incoronazione di Poppa at the Glyndebourne Opera in the United Kingdom years ago when they performed at BBC Proms in London in what was an important debut for her.

“In one scene, my character is coming in from outside to command my servant to murder my enemy,” she recounted. “It is an intense scene and I was costumed in a sleek black business suit and overcoat, heels, gloves and hat. The scene was going well and then I looked down and realized I had forgotten to change into my costume shoes and was instead wearing the fluffy blue slippers provided for artists to wear around the backstage area.  I got through the scene, but the fluffy blue slippers were surely a distraction and definitely not the look the director had in mind for this pivotal scene in the opera.”

She hopes for smoother sailing in Sun Valley.

“I have never been to Sun Valley and it will be a treat to get to know the audience there!”

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