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Arizona Opera Connects To Arizonans With Western Opera

Riders of the Purple Sage
(Photo by Tim Trumble)
Morgan Smith as Lassiter in Arizona Opera's world premiere of "Riders of the Purple Sage."

A truly Western opera has ridden onto stages in the state, as Arizona Opera is presenting the world premiere of "Riders of the Purple Sage," based on Zane Grey’s early twentieth-century novel.

The company still puts on the well-known, traditional productions but it’s made more of an effort in recent seasons to present material that is nearer and dearer to Arizonans.

"Riders of the Purple Sage" is a prime example of that, despite its setting being in Utah.

We learned about the production from Craig Bohmler, who wrote the piece and is currently Composer in Residence for Arizona Opera, and Fenlon Lamb, who directs the production.

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Steve Goldstein was a host at KJZZ from 1997 to 2022.