The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music Best Bets for Jan. 13-19: A piano recital, the Madison Opera warm-ups and winners of the Madison Symphony Orchestra youth concerto competition stand out; Met’s hi-def ‘Carmen’ is sold out.

January 13, 2010

By Jacob Stockinger

AN UPDATE: Here are the results of the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s “Final Forte” competition (see below) Tuesday night: Marimba player Greg Riss won and violinist Alice Huang won second; pianist Joel Weng and violinist Leah Latorraca were the runner-ups.

This is the last week before the Great Thaw comes. After this week, the winter intermission comes to an end and the classical music season picks up for the second semester as well as for the summer.

There isn’t a lot this weekend, but what takes place is worth noting.

On Friday, the First Unitarian Society’s free Friday Noon Musicale, from 12:15 to 1 p.m. at 900 University Bay Drive, will offer pianist Minyoung Lee who will perform, Variations on a Theme by Rode, Op. 33 “La Ricordanza” by Carl Czerny; Beethoven’s Sonata in D major, Op. 10 No. 3 – a great piece that often languishes in the shadows of bigger and more famous nicknamed sonatas — and “Gargoyles” (1989) by Lowell Liebermann.

The Friday noon concerts take place in the original sanctuary and are a great break in the day. Coffee will be provided and tables are set up if you want to eat a lunch you bring.

On Saturday, Jan. 16, at 2 p.m. in the westside Sequoia Library (4340 Tokay Blvd.; 608 266-6385), the Madison Opera’s director of communications Brian Hinrichs will lead a discussion for the Madison Book Club of Henry James’s novella “The Turn of the Screw.”’ It is a warm-up to the Madison Opera’s production of the 1954 opera by Benjamin Britten in the Overture Center Center’s Playhouse Jan. 28-31. The book event is free. And if you haven’t read the book, maybe attending this discussion will make you want to. (An artist’s rendering of the production’s original set design is below.)

That opera warm-up continues on Sunday, Jan. 17, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s Lecture Hall in the Overture Center. The Madison Opera’s general director Allan Naplan and guest artists will present “Opera Up Close: The Turn of the Screw Preview.” The admission is $20, and free with a student ID). This special Opera Up Close will include a complimentary screening of the classic 1961 film “The Innocents,” based on “The Turn of the Screw,” starring Deborah Kerr.

Final Forte: If you didn’t get to attend the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Bolz Young Arists Competition: The Final Forte” at the free live concert Tuesday night – I’LL POST THE NAME OF THE WINNERS AS SOON AS THEY ARE ANNOUNCED, SO COME BACK AND CHECK THIS BLOG IF YOU WANT TO KNOW — or you couldn’t catch it on the live broadcast by Wisconsin Public Radio, you can see and hear it this Saturday night from 7 to 9 pm. on Wisconsin Public Television (in the Madison area, WHA). It will also be repeated on WHA on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at 9 p.m.

This year’s contest participants, chosen after two preliminary rounds, are (below, from left to right, in photo by James Gill): marimba player Greg Riss, violinist Leah Latorraca, pianist Joel Weng and violinist Alice Huang. Ansel Norris has stepped aside to participate in a national event.

A WORD OF CAUTION: If you hope to attend the Metropolitan Opera’s live hi-def broadcast of Bizet’s “Carmen” noon at the Point Cinema, forget about it. The screening is SOLD OUT, according to Marcus Theatres. But you can tune in to the live performance of Wisconsin Public Radio starting at noon. In the Madison area, that’s WERN 88.7 FM.

Of course, there should also be some fine music-making – usually it’s not classical but sometimes it is — to celebrate the 30th annual Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration Monday in the state Capitol. You can attend the ceremony for free. Wisconsin Public Radio will broadcast it live starting at noon.

If there is more out there, The Ear would like to hear.

Posted in Classical music

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