Philip Glass joins the Sun Valley Opera honorary board

The legendary Minimalist composer has signed on to be the opera's honorary adviser. The company that started as a very casual organization, performing in private homes is positioning itself to grow and expand, says Mary Jo Helmeke, the opera's new executive director.

Getting Glass on board is a coup for the small opera company that has yet to produce a full opera. "He is world renowned and, I think, the premier contemporary opera composer."

“We’re still a long way from thinking about producing and opera. Our primary focus is on exposing people to this art,” Helmeke says.

Glass has 20 operas to his credit, including "Galileo Galilei," "Akhnaten"and "Einstein on the Beach."

I took an elevator ride with Glass at the Lyric Opera of Chicago back in 1986. I was in the world premiere movement cast for "Satyagraha," Glass's opera about the years Ghandi spent in South Africa. He was humble, very sweet and appreciative of having dancers added to the cast. We talked about his excitement of coming for the Chicago premiere of his opera, the city where Glass once drove a cab and I remember he was not looking forward to wearing a tux on opening night.

On July 11, the Sun Valley Opera will present "Miz Saigon," a concert performance of the music of "Les Miserables," "Miss Saigon" and opera classics at the Sun Valley Pavilion. Click HERE for concert and ticket information.

He's not actually doing anything though. Does he get paid?

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