The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: Madison Opera announces its new season will feature three company premieres by Tchaikovsky, Philip Glass and Rossini | April 21, 2011

By Jacob Stockinger

The Madison Opera has announced that the company’s 51st season, 2011-12, will feature three company premieres and the annual summer concert, Opera in the Park (below, from 2010).

Highlights include the company’s first Tchaikovsky opera, “Eugene Onegin”; a new production of Philip Glass’ “Galileo Galileo” to mark the American composer’s 75th birthday; and a production of Rossini’s “Cinderella” (La Cenerentola), updated to 1930s Hollywood. (below are photos provided by the Madison Opera.)

“This is an exciting and important season for Madison Opera, one that builds on our tradition of expanding the operatic repertoire while engaging subscribers and new audiences alike,” said Madison Opera Artistic Director John DeMain in a prepared statement.

The Madison Opera is still conducting a nationwide search for a new general director. The former left Feb. 15 to head the Minnesota Opera. The final choice is expected to be announced soon, possibly at the two performances of Verdi’s “La Traviata” on April 29 and May 1 in Overture Hall.

For more informaiton about the new season, visit:

Here are comments from the company’s press release:

Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” will open the new season in Overture Hall on Nov. 4 and 6, 2011. The opera tells of the country girl Tatiana and her youthful love for the mysterious and worldly Eugene Onegin. While she dreamed of passion, her love instead brings rejection and triggers the undoing of her family in this epic drama based on the novel by Alexander Pushkin.

Baritone Hyung Yun and soprano Maria Kanyova return to Madison Opera in the roles of Eugene Onegin and Tatiana, with Wisconsin-native and acclaimed tenor Scott Ramsay making his Madison Opera debut as Vladimir Lenski. Candace Evans returns to direct the production, with John DeMain conducting.

Galileo Galilei,” an opera by Philip Glass (below), will be produced in The Playhouse at Overture from Jan. 26 to 29, 2012, just days before the composer’s 75th birthday. Featuring Glass’ trademark minimalist style, the opera traces the life of the famed astronomer Galileo Galilei, beginning with his final days—blind and defeated by the Inquisition—and ending in his youth, as an audience member witnessing an opera by his father.

Renowned tenor William Joyner stars in the title role, with soprano Jamie-Rose Guarrine returning to Madison Opera as Marie Celeste. Baritone John Arnold debuts as the Young Galileo. A. Scott Parry returns to direct this new production, and Kelly Kuo conducts. Galileo Galilei premiered at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in 2002.

Rossini’s Italian take on the classic fairy tale “Cinderella” will be presented in Overture Hall on Apr. 27 and 29, 2012. In Madison Opera’s production by director Garnett Bruce, the action is updated to the swinging Palace Pictures studio of 1930’s Hollywood, where the put-upon maid Angelina soon finds herself the star of her very own rags to riches tale.

Rising star mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack makes her Madison Opera debut in the title role. Tenor Gregory Schmidt returns as her Prince Charming, Don Ramiro, and Grammy Award-winning baritone Daniel Belcher makes his Madison Opera debut as Dandini. John DeMain conducts.

Subscriptions for the 2011-2012 Season are now available online at and by phone at (608) 238-8085. New subscribers save 15 percent.

Contact Director of Marketing and Community Engagement Brian Hinrichs at (608) 8085 or at

Sounds like a great and unusual season to The Ear.

What do you think?

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music


  1. When I read that they were going to be doing a Philip Glass opera I was kinda hoping it would be “Einstein on the Beach.” No such luck!

    Comment by Rose — April 21, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

    • Hi Rose,
      Well that would be a good one, an iconic one. I hope to see it live here one day too.
      But Galileo is also a terrific one– and very timely during a period where so many people do not trust science and don’t know the origins and importance of the Scientific Revolution.
      I don’t know for sure but I also suspect that staging and casting considerations come into play, given the venue of The Playhouse.
      Maybe we will find out more.
      But thanks for reading and replying with a good observation that raises some good questions.

      Comment by welltemperedear — April 21, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

  2. I applaud the Madison Opera for going in a different direction next year. After last’s years success with their first Wagner opera, I think programming a Russian opera (I think their first) next season was a strong programming move. And while they haven’t ignored American opera (Copland’s Tender Land a few years ago comes to mind), I find programming the Glass appropriate (although I wouldn’t say the same necessarily for Einstein on the Beach…). La Cenerentola ought to be a pleasure, too, and the staging looks intriguing.

    Ultimately, it’s nice to have a season without the operas that are in frequent rotation (the Tchaikovsky might technically be one of them, but I find it admirable that they’re doing Russian).

    Comment by Kenneth Kusiak — April 21, 2011 @ 9:04 am

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