The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music datebook: Best Bets for July 14-20 include a collision between Opera in the Park and the finale of the Madison Early Music Festival as well as the return of native son pianist Eric Daub. Plus, Happy Bastille Day!

July 14, 2010
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By Jacob Stockinger

It still amazes me.

You wouldn’t expect a city of Madison’s size to have so many classical music events that listeners are forced to make uncomfortable choices.

But that is indeed the reality.

Such scheduling conflicts usually happen several times during the regular concert season.

But it also happens this week during the summer: On this Saturday night, for example, you can attend the free, popular and superbly done Opera in the Park (below top); or you can attend an appealing all-choral concert that culminates the week-long Madison Early Music Festival. (It isn’t the first time the two worthy events have conflicted in scheduling.)

Both events will be treated more at length on this blog later this week. But here are summaries that may help you make up your mind.

The Madison Opera’s ninth annual Opera in the Park will feature four imported vocal soloists, instrumentalists from the Madison Symphony Orchestra and the Madison Opera Chorus -– all under the baton of Madison Symphony Orchestra maestro and Madison Opera artistic director John De Main.

The event – to start at 8 p.m. Saturday night in Garner Park on Madison’s far west side – has drawn more than 13,000 listeners. The park opens at 7 a.m. and people start putting down blankets right then, some 13 hours before curtain time.

This year’s program includes excerpts from the Madison Opera three productions during the upcoming season (Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” Kurt Weill’s “The Three-Penny Opera” and Verdi’s “La Traviata”) as well as an 80th birthday tribute to Broadway titan Stephen Sondheim and the 50th anniversary of “The Sound of Music.”

Here is a link with more information about the event, the performers, the program and the park including parking at CUNA Mutual and Research Park:

Also on Saturday night in the All-Festival concert by the Madison early Music Festival (MEMF), below, which this year has explored English music from the 11th through the 16th centuries.

(Other festival events this week include a free lecture today at 11 a.m. on Chaucer; various faculty artists performing secular Medieval, Renaissance and Elizabethan music on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; and the acclaimed scholar-performer Benjamin Bagby in a harp-oral performance of the epic poem “Beowulf” in the original Anglo-Saxon on Friday at 7:30 p.m.)

The All-Festival performance – which will be lucky to draw 5 percent of the house that Opera in the Park will draw — will feature major choral works by Thomas Tallis, John Taverner and others including Robert Carver, Robert Johnson and Christopher Tye. The concert will be conducted by Bruce Gladstone and David Douglass. Performers will include professional early music groups that have acted as faculty members, festival “students” and community members.

Tickets at the door are $17, $14 for senior over 62 and students.

Tickets include a free one-hour pre-concert lecture by UW emeritus professor of Medieval history John W. Barker at 6:30 in Mills Hall.

For more information, here are links:

Earlier on Saturday, the festival also offers a FREE public  roundtable discussion on scholar-performer Benjamin Bagby about his performing “Beowulf” in the original Anglo-Saxon with an Anglo-Saxon harp. The roundtable, sponsored by Wisconsin Public Radio, will be held at 1:30 p.m. in Mills Hall. WPR host Norman Gilliland and UW scholar John D. Niles will also participate.

Then later on Sunday a native son returns to Madison. Concert pianist Eric Daub (below), will appear in a salon concert at 7:30 p.m. at Farley’s House of Pianos, 6522 Seybold Road, on Madison’s far west side.

Daub’s program includes 32 Variations on an Original Theme, WoO 80 by Beethoven; selections from “Impresiones íntimas” by Federico Mompou; the Sonata in A minor D 784 (op.143) by Franz Schubert; and “Andalucía” by Ernesto Lecuona.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students with ID.  A reception follows the concert.

Tickets can be reserved with a credit card by calling 271-2626. You can purchase tickets at Farley’s House of Pianos, 6522 Seybold Road, Madison, or Orange Tree Imports on Monroe Street.

Daub, who holds a doctorate in Piano Performance from the University of Texas at Austin, is a professor of piano and music theory at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas. He was born in Kyoto, Japan, and grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, and Madison, Wisconsin.

He received a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Wisconsin in 1982, studying the piano with Tait Barrows and Leo Stephens, and jazz piano with Ted Jackson and Richard Davis.

In 1985, he moved to Austin, Texas to pursue a Master of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance at the University of Texas at Austin, studying piano and accompanying. His doctoral thesis was on composer Frederic Mompou.

Daub has a wide range of experience as a solo recitalist, chamber musician, recording artist, accompanist, church musician, arranger, jazz, blues and gospel pianist, and rock keyboardist.  He has worked repeatedly with various singer-song writers in the Austin area co-writing, arranging, and recording music in a variety of styles. His musical collaborations have brought him into contact with musicians from many stylistic genres.

For more information, visit:

If you go to any of the events — Opera in the Park or the Madison Early Music Festival – be sure to let the rest of us know what you thought of it.

Be a critic.

The Ear wants to hear.

And to mark today’s celebration of Bastille Day, here is superstar tenor Robert Alagna singing an operatic arrangement by Berlioz of the French national anthem “La Marseillaise.”

Posted in Classical music

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