The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music best bets for Nov. 4 -10: Madison Opera’s ‘Carmen’ and many UW events

November 4, 2009
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By Jacob Stockinger

Big opera is the big news this week in Madison, although there are plenty of other classical music concerts, events and lectures to engage your interest.

The week kicks off with a concert THURSDAY, NOV. 5, at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall when Symphony Strings performs a concert that is free and open to the public.

The performance includes Divertimento in F major, K. 138 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; “Little Suite,” Op. 1 by Carl Nielsen with Ching-Chun Lai, conductor; “Travermusik” by Paul Hindemith, with Christine Liu, viola; “Holberg Suite” by Edvard Grieg. The conductors for the performance are Grant Harville and Ching-Chun Lai.

But the week really gets underway with a grand performance of a grand opera.

On FRIDAY, NOV. 6, at 8 p.m. in Overture Hall, the Madison Opera will present its production of George Bizet’s ever-popular “Carmen.” Adding to the excitement is that the Madison Opera will be hosting its first-ever Blogger Night. (See The Ear’s post of Oct. 12.)

Carmen Act IV(1)

That means that a half dozen various local bloggers – including The Well Tempered Ear – will be on the scene, blogging live before the concert, during intermissions and after the end of the performance.

“ ‘Carmen’ sets the perfect tone for our new season,” says Madison Opera General Director Allan Naplan. “It’s a thrilling dramatic work with beautiful music everyone will recognize, and our production is sure to please. From principal singers to jugglers to our stage crew, Madison Opera has employed 238 people to bring Bizet’s masterpiece to life on the grand scale it was written for.”

Mezzo-soprano Katharine Goeldner stars as the seductive gypsy Carmen. The national Opera News raves, “Goeldner’s Carmen has been widely praised, and it’s easy to see why. She’s a delectable creation: sexy and intelligent, alive to musical and dramatic detail.” Recently seen in Madison Opera’s Opera in the Park 2009, rising-star Adam Diegel sings opposite Goeldner as the soldier Don Jose, with Korean baritone Hyung Yun (“Faust,” 2009) as Escamillo and Cuban-American soprano Elizabeth Caballero as Micaëla.

Coming off of critically acclaimed productions for the Dallas Opera, director/choreographer and Madison-native Candace Evans makes her company debut with “Carmen.”  Conductor John DeMain returns for his first Madison Opera production since “The Tender Land” in 2008.

Given the well known music and an outstanding cast of singers; the torrid drama, which is an ideal vehicle for acting; DeMain conducting the Madison Symphony Orchestra players, the Madison Opera Chorus and the Madison Youth Choirs; and, from what I’ve seen, the eye-catching sets and costumes as well as plans for live dancing by the Tania Tandias Flamenco Dancers and local bloggers in the Overture Center lobby, this event – and it is AN EVENT — gets a MUST-HEAR, MUST-SEE rating from The Ear.

The performance will be repeated on SUNDAY, NOV. 8, at 2:30p.m.  in Overture Hall, but without the bloggers.

Tickets are $16 to $112 with special rate s for students. Call 258-4141 or visit

Also on FRIDAY NIGHT at 8 p.m., UW’s Guest Artist Series will offer pianist Barbara Lister-Sink, who will also lecture of preventing hand and finger injuries and improving piano performance on Saturday. Lister-Sink

Her free public program will include “Variations serieuses,” Op. 54 by Felix Mendelssohn; “Three Piano Pieces,” Op. 11, by Arnold Schonberg; “Preludes for Piano” by George Gershwin; and “Gaspard de la Nuit” by Maurice Ravel.

SATURDAY, NOV. 7, is a busy day over at the UW:

Here’s a link:

On Saturday, starting at 10 a.m., music students, families, and teachers are invited to come and see what Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras has to offer at the season’s first Open Rehearsal.

The event will begin with a meet-and-greet featuring doughnuts and cider in the Strelow Lounge of the UW Humanities building. Guests will be able to talk with WYSO staff and parents of current members, and will get a chance to tour WYSO’s four orchestras in rehearsal. After the tour, guests will have an opportunity to speak with current WYSO members in a Q&A session. WYSO2

Since 1966, WYSO has been providing excellence in musical opportunities for more than 5000 young people in southern Wisconsin. WYSO includes three full orchestras and a string orchestra, a chamber music program, a harp program, a percussion ensemble, and a brass choir program. The orchestras rehearse on Saturday mornings during the academic year, perform three to four public concerts per season, and tour regionally, nationally and internationally. The Youth Orchestra toured to Eastern Europe in 2005 and has toured to Canada, Japan, Scotland, Spain, France, Colorado, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. in the past.

UW Humanities Building, is located at 455 N. Park St. Madison. Contact Nicole Sparacino, WYSO Communications Manager at 608 263-3320 x 11 for more information or to RSVP.

Here’s a link:

Also on Saturday night at 7 p.m., keyboard player and harpsichord builder Trevor Stephenson, who teaches at Edgewood College and directs the Madison Bach Musicians, will perform a concert-lecture on 12 preludes and fugues from J.S. Bach’s famous “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” Book I. His will perform at the home of William and Dorothy Hawkes, 3322 Mound View Road, in Verona. Admission is $30. Refreshments will be served. Reservations are required. Email or call 608 238-6092.

Also on Saturday at the UW are:

10 a.m. in Morphy Hall: a piano master class – “Freeing the Caged Bird: Injury prevention for keyboard players” — by Barbara Lister-Sink. (See The Ear’s post of Oct. 30.) The class is free, open to the public and unticketed.

At 1 p.m. in Morphy Hall: a piano master class “Piano Performance” will be given by Barbara Lister-Sink. The event is free and unticketed.

At 2 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Horn Choir will perform under director Douglas Hill. The program includes “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks” by Richard Strauss, transcribed for 10 horns by Richard Goldfaden; and the Allegro from Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 8 in F Major” transcribed for eight horns by Lorraine Sharp.

There will also be performances of a “Mass to St. Hubert” by Sombrun, a Prelude and Fugue by J. S. Bach, songs by Henry Mancini including “Moon River,” “Dreamsville,” and the “Peter Gunn Theme,” a medley of Beatles favorites, and the ever popular “Malaguena,” all arranged for horn octet by Dick Meyer.

The concert is free and unticketed.

At 4 p.m. in Mills Hall, the Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble, under the direction of UW professor and composer John Stevens will perform a concert.

The performance includes the world premiere of “Prometheus and the Gift of Fire” for Solo Trumpet and Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble by John Stevens.

Also included are “Talisman” by Stevens; “Funeral March” by Edvard Grieg, arranged by Bruce Chrisp; “Five Dances” by Tylman Susato, arranged by Stevens; “Dance of the Comedians” by Bedrich Smetana, arranged by Pat Stuckemeyer, with John Aley, trumpet; “Fifth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman” by Joan Tower; “Music 4 Tubas” by Stevens; “Profiles for Tuba Quartet” by Patrick Schulz; “Loch Lomond,” a Scottish Folk Song arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Michael Forbes; and “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Louis Prima, arranged by Forbes.

The concert is free and unticketed.

At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Faculty Concert Series presents violinist Tyrone Greive (who specializes in Polish music) and pianist Ellen Burmeister in a program will include four selections from famed polish composers: “Second Polonaise Brilliant “in A major, Op. 21 (1870) by Henryk Wieniawski; “Allegro de Sonate, Op. 2” by Henryk and Józef Wieniawski; “Nocturne in E flat major, Op. 9, No. 2″ by Frédéric Chopin, and Sonata in F major, Op. 10, No. 1 by Joseph Elsner, who was the teacher of Chopin.

The program will also include Sonata in D major, Op. 12 (1853) by the French violinist-composer Edouard Lalo and the Sonata No. 3 for Solo Violin (1971) by the world famous Milwaukee-born composer Otto Luening.

The concert is free and unticketed.

On TUESDAY, NOV. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, pianist Jeffrey Siegel starts his season-long exploration of Chopin (2010 is Chopin’s 200th birthday) with “Chopin for Lovers,” works written for various women, including waltzes, preludes and the Fantasy-Impromptu. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of Siegel’s Keyboard Conversations. JeffreySiegel

Tickets are $35 for the public, free for UW students. Call 262-2201.

Here’s a link:

Siegel starts his Madison appearance with a master class on Monday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. in Morphy Hall that is free and open to the public.

Whatever you go to, consider posting a min-review under the Comment section.

The Ear wants to hear.

And so do others – including the performers.

Posted in Classical music

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