The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music datebook: Best bets Oct. 27-Nov. 2 include Mahler on PBS TV, Madison’s twin sister pianists, the Pro Arte String Quartet and two Puccini one-act operas | October 27, 2010

Reminder: On Friday, Oct. 29, former Madison twin sisters Christina and Michelle Naughton, (guest artists with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra performing the Mendelssohn Concerto for Two Pianos in E major on that same night, see below) will be interviewed in Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Midday” starting at noon (WERN 88.7 FM in the Madison area). For more information about them and the concert, visit

By Jacob Stockinger


At 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, Wisconsin Public Television will broadcast “Great Performances,” which features the “Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Pierre Boulez (below) Conducts Mahler’s 7th.”

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Conductor Emeritus Pierre Boulez leads the Windy City’s internationally renowned orchestra in Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 7,” taped over two nights, Oct. 14 and 15 for “Great Performances.”

Boulez replaces the orchestra’s ailing Music Director Riccardo Muti who was to have led the orchestra in a different musical program over those nights.

One of Chicago’s most popular conductors, Boulez, winner of 26 Grammy Awards, is a composer, conductor and tireless advocate for new music and one of the most important musical and intellectual figures of our time. He served as CSO’s principal guest conductor – only the third person to hold that title – from 1995 until 2006, when he was named Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus.


At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW’s Pro Arte Quartet (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot) will perform in the UW Faculty Concert Series. The program includes:  “String Quartet in A major,” Op. 18, No. 5 by Beethoven; “String Quartet No. 5 in B-flat major,” Op. 92 by Shostakovich; and “String Quartet in A minor,” D. 804, by Schubert.

The all-masterpiece program and great performers make this a MUST-HEAR.

Admission is free and open to the public.


Friday is one of those nights filled with conflicting events that seem  to be happening more and  more in Madison.

At 7:30 p.m. in Old Music Hall, the University Opera will perform “Suor Angelica and “Gianni Schicchi” from Puccini’s series of three one-act operas comprising “Il Trittico.”  “Gianni Schicchi” is especially beloved for the heart-breaking aria “O mio babino caro.” (Casts for both are below.)

Repeat performances, with alternating leads, are on Sunday at 3 p.m. and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

The production is directed by William Farlow — see my interview with him tomorrow. It will be sung in Italian with projected English surtitles.

Farlow’s cast includes undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, supported by the UW Symphony Orchestra under the direction of James Smith (below).

The title role in “Suor Angelica” is shared by Lindsay Sessing (Oct. 29 and Nov. 2) and Celeste Fraser (Oct. 31) while the role of La Principessa is performed by UW-Madison alumna Kathleen Otterson (below).

The title role in “Gianni Schicchi” is performed by John Arnold, with Megan Gryga as Lauretta and J. Adam Shelton as Rinuccio.

In addition to a sizeable ensemble in both casts, other roles are performed by: Amy Sheffer (Abbess), Katherine C. Peck (Monitor) and Leslie Lukas (Mistress of Novices) in “Suor Angelica” and Benjamin H Schultz (Simone), Michael Roemer (Marco) and Kathleen Otterson as Zita in “Gianni Schicchi.”

Production staff includes costume designers Sydney Krieger and Hyewon Park, technical director Greg Silver, lighting designer Steven M. Peterson, set designer Angelina Paoli, vocal coach Bill Lutes and chorus master Susan Goeres. The English surtitles are by Christine Seitz.

Tickets are $20 general admission, $18 for seniors/non-UW-Madison students and $10 UW-Madison students. Call 608 262-1500 or (608) 265-ARTS or visit, or 608 262-1500.

Also this Friday night at 8 p.m. in the Overture Center’s Capitol Theater, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (below) will perform the second of this season’s Masterworks concerts.

The concert is special on two counts.

First, it is another in the ongoing celebration of the Music Director Andrew Sewell’s 10th anniversary with the WCO.

It also marks a special appearance by professional piano-playing twin sisters – recently signed by Columbia Artists management Inc. — Christina and Michelle Naughton (below), formerly of Madison.

The program includes Schubert’s popular “Unfinished” Symphony, Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Two Pianos and “Adjustable Wrench” by Milwaukee-born Michael Torke (below).

Tickets are $15-$62. Call the Overture Center box office at (608) 258-4141. For more information, visit:


At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet (below) with guest pianist Martha Fischer performs on the UW Faculty Concert Series.

The program includes “Quintet for piano, two violins, viola and cello,” Op. 57 by Shostakovich, adapted for brass quintet by UW composer and tubist John Stevens; and “Quintet in B-flat major for flute, clarinet, horn, bassoon and piano” by Rimsky-Korsakov, also adapted by Stevens. Doctoral student Douglas Lindsey is the new second trumpet of the WBQ.

Admission is free and open to the public.


“Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen” will feature the UW’s Pro Arte Quartet on Sunday 12:30-2 p.m. in Brittingham Gallery III at the Chazen Museum of Art.  The program is Dmitri Schostakovich’s String Quartet No. 5 in Bb Major, Op. 92 (1951) and Franz Schubert’s String Quartet in A Minor, D. 804 (1824).

It will be broadcast live by Wisconsin Public Radio, on WERN (88.7 FM in the Madison area).

The historic Pro Arte Quartet was founded in 1912 by violinist Alphonse Onnou and continues to be one of the most popular string chamber groups in Madison. The group consists of University of Wisconsin Madison faculty Parry Karp on cello, David Perry and Suzanne Beia on violins and Sally Chisholm on viola.

Members of the Chazen Museum of Art or Wisconsin Public Radio can call ahead and reserve seats for Sunday Afternoon Live performances. Seating is limited. All reservations must be made Monday through Friday before the concert and claimed by 12:20 p.m. on the day of the performance.

For more information or to learn how to become a museum member, contact the Chazen Museum at (608) 263-2246.

A reception follows the performance, with refreshments generously donated by Fresh Madison Market, Coffee Bytes and Fair Trade Coffee House. A free docent-led tour in the Chazen galleries begins every Sunday at 2 p.m.


At 3 p.m. in Old Music Hall: The University Opera in two Puccini one-cats. See Friday above.


At 7:30 p.m. in Old Music Hall: The University Opera in two Puccini one-acts. (The cast for “Suor Angelica” is below). See Friday above.

Posted in Classical music


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