SALT LAKE CITY — The Cathedral of the Madeleine Arts and Humanities Program will open the Madeleine Festival April 15 and continue every Sunday evening through June 3.
This year the festival will feature two performers associated with the Cathedral of the Madeleine. On April 29, Tyler Oliphant, a member of the Cathedral of the Madeleine Choir, will perform with the Salt Lake Choral Artists in Ernest Bloch’s "Sacred Service." On May 6, Evan Shinners, a graduate of the Madeleine Choir School, will present an all Bach program.
Oliphant, a baritone, has been a member of the Cathedral Choir since 2004.
"Tyler has been a tremendous addition to the Cathedral Choir for many years," said Gregory Glenn, Cathedral of the Madeleine director of Liturgy and Music. "His musicianship and commitment to artistic excellence are noteworthy, but beyond that, Tyler is an incredible person who is very dedicated to the community of the choir, especially the young people and also the members of the Spanish Choir. It is a real privilege to have him working among us."
Oliphant grew up in Salt Lake City the youngest of 10 children in a musical family, he said. "We always sang together and were involved in music and I decided I wanted to pursue a music career in college," he said.
Oliphant received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan in vocal performance. He started his performance career in musical and local community theaters and was 8 years old the first time he appeared with the Utah Opera in a children’s choir, he said. He pursued a performing career after leaving Michigan in 2003.
"As a soloist I first performed with the Utah Opera in about 2005," Oliphant said. "The typical life of a soloist is one of temporary contracts, at least here in the United States. There is a fair amount of auditioning for the roles. However, I don’t necessarily have to audition every single time. I’m starting to become known and am getting called back to perform. There is also a fair amount of competition, so it’s not an easy life."
When Oliphant was in school and performing for the Utah Opera, he spoke to a famous soprano about his career ambitions. She advised him, "‘If you can find something else that makes you just as happy, do it instead, because you certainly don’t perform because you want to get rich or because it’s an easy life, you do it because you can’t find anything else that makes you just as happy,’" he said.
"I love performing, I love doing the music; it’s a great privilege to me to be able to perform and be a part of such wonderful performances."
Oliphant’s favorite opera is "Falstaff." "I first performed it at the University of Michigan and then I performed it in Italy," he said adding that he is looking forward to performing it in the United States. "It’s a hefty role and I’m still pretty young to be singing it. Falstaff is from Shakespeare’s play "The Merry Wives of Windsor." Guiseppe Verdi, put it to music, and it was actually Verdi’s last opera. It’s a long, very complicated and complex opera, but it’s fantastic because it’s a comedic role."
Oliphant recently performed in "The Pilgrim," at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, "Pirates of Penzance, Opera San Luis Obispo, Indianapolis Opera, and "Madama Butterfly" with the Bozeman Opera.
Besides singing, Oliphant teaches private voice lessons at Salt Lake Community College and private lessons out of his home, and stays active with his four children ranging in age from 4 to 14.
The Madeleine Festival will open April 15 and continue Sunday evenings through June 3 at 8 p.m. in the Cathedral of the Madeleine, 309 East S. Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah. The performances are free and open to the public. For information visit www.saltlakecathedral.org/arts&humanities.