The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music datebook: University Opera stages Puccini’s “La Boheme” and the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras hold a music education open rehearsal as the newly re-formed Wisconsin Brass Quintet makes its debut. | October 26, 2011

UPDATE: In yesterday’s blog posting, I reviewed the Pro Arte Quartet’s first events and concert of the centennial season and linked to another review. Here is a third review, Greg Hettmansberger’s for his “Classically Speaking” blog for Madison Magazine:

By Jacob Stockinger

This is an eclectic week in Madison with lots of different kinds of events happening. But the biggest ones seem to me to be University Opera’s three performances of Puccini’s “La Boheme”; WYSO’s open rehearsal for parents and students; and the two debut performances by the newly re-formed Wisconsin Brass Quintet.


From 1 to 3 p.m. in Morphy Hall, Shmuel Magen (below) will give a public cello master class for the Guest Artist Series. Magen is a professor of cello at the Rubin Music Academy in Jerusalem.

At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Contemporary Chamber Ensemble (below top) will perform under artistic director and UW composer Laura Schwendinger (below bottom). No Admission.

The Program features Sonatine (1995) by Olav Berg with Theresa Koenig, bassoon and Kirstin Ihde, piano; 10 Pieces by Gyorgi Ligeti with Mi-Li Chang, flute, Konstantinos Tiliakos, oboe, Laura McLaughlin, clarinet, Katie Johnson, horn and Theresa Koenig, bassoon; Via the Void (2011) by Thomas Lang with Elizabeth Lieffort, flute & piccolo, Peiyun Lee, violin, Christine Liu, viola, Emily Gruselle, cello, Jacob Bicknase and Brett Walter, percussion and Kirstin Ihde, piano; Caprice No. 5 for solo violin by Earl Kim with Mariah Schultz violin; and Sextet for Clarinet, Horn, Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano (2000) by Krzysztof Penderecki with Monica Schultz and Hazim Suhad, piano, Roy Meyer and Mariah Schultz, violin, Daniel Jacobs, viola, Brad Johnson, clarinet and Max Wollam-Fisher, cello.


In Music Hall at 7:30 p.m., University Opera will perform Puccini’s “La Bohème” (below and at bottom) with William Farlow, director, and James Smith, music director and conductor of the UW Symphony Orchestra.

The opera will be sung in Italian with English surtitles.

The undergraduate and graduate singers include Shannon Prickett as Mimi, Aldo Perrelli as Rodolfo, Michael Roemer as Marcello, Lindsay Sessing as Musetta, Benjamin Schultz as Colline, John Arnold as Schaunard, Christopher Apfelbach as Benoit/Alcindoro, Josh Sanders as Parpignol, James Held as Customhouse Official and Erik Larson as Sergeant.

Additional performances are on Sunday at 3 p.m. and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

To purchase tickets ($22 for adults, $18 for seniors and $10 for UW students), visit the Wisconsin Union Theater Box Office website or call (608) 265-ARTS (2787).

In an effort to help patrons find parking on campus, the Campus Arts Ticketing office is offering prepaid parking permits for a guaranteed parking spot on the evenings of ticketed UW arts events for $5.  Preorder your permit online at (5 days or more in advance; $1 handling fee) or call (608)-265-ARTS (3 days or more in advance; $1 handling fee).

At 7:30 p.m. in the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1609 University Ave., across from Camp Randall, the Madison chamber music group Con Vivo!  (bel0w) celebrates the start of its its 10th annivesary season. The concert will feature music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and a piece for solo organ by Flor Peeters entitled “Ten Studies for Pedal Playing.” The performed works by Mozart will include the String Quintet in F Major, K. 515 and the Piano and Wind Quintet in E-flat Major,K. 452. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students.  


On Saturday morning, music students, families and teachers are invited to come and see what WYSO has to offer at the Fall Open Rehearsal.

The event will begin at 10 a.m. with a meet-and-greet featuring breakfast snacks in the Strelow Lounge of the UW Mosse Humanities Building, 455 North Park St. 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.

Since 1966, WYSO (below) has been providing excellence in musical opportunities for more than 5,000 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 will tour to Prague, Vienna and Budapest in July 2012 and has toured to Canada, Japan, Scotland, Spain, France, Colorado, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. in the past.

Call 608-263-3320 ext. 11 for more information or to RSVP.

At 11:30 a.m. in Grace Episcopal Church (below) on Capitol Square, the local chapter of Classical Revolution present a free public concert by the Veldor Woodwind Quintet in recital. Now in their second year, the Veldor Woodwind Quintet is gaining a reputation for dynamic performances of standard and non-traditional woodwind quintet repertoire.  Combing performance backgrounds from the Eastman School of Music, DePaul University, Lawrence University, Luther College, and the UW-Madison, the Veldor Quintet will be performing works by Barthe, Samuel Barber, and Paquito D’Rivera.  This informal concert is during the Farmer’s Market. The concert is free and open to the public.  Freewill donations will be accepted. For more information, email

At 11:55 at the Point and Eastgate cinemas, “The Met Live in HD” presents its production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni” (below). Encore performance is Nov. 16.

At 8 p.m. in Mills Hall, the Faculty Concert Series features the new Wisconsin Brass Quintet (below). The program includes  “Chase Sequence” by James M. Stephenson (b. 1969); “Doggerel Machine” by John White (b. 1936); “Copperwave” by Joan Tower (b. 1938); and “Canzona for Ligeti” by Alan Holley (b. 1954).  Free admission.


“Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen” features the Wisconsin Brass Quintet from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Brittingham Gallery Number III at the Chazen Museum of Art. It will be broadcast live by Wisconsin Public Radio.

Founded in 1972, the Wisconsin Brass Quintet – featuring John Aley and Doug Lindsey on trumpet, new member Dan Grabois on horn, Mark Hetzler on trombone, and John Stevens on tuba – is ensemble-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.

They will be presenting a program of music by contemporary composers James Stephenson, John White, Joan Tower, Allan Holley, and the late Werner Pirchner, as well as the “Langsamer Satz” for string quartet by Anton Webern, arranged by Mark Hetzler himself. It promises to be an innovative and exciting afternoon of music making!

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 Steep & Brew. A free docent-led tour in the Chazen galleries begins every Sunday at 2 p.m.

At 2:30 p.m. in Edgewood College’s St. Joseph Chapel, 1000 Edgewood College Drive, the Edgewood Chamber Orchestra will perform a concert under the direction of guest conductor David Grandis (below). Works included on the program are Mozart’s Don Giovanni Overture, Haydn’s Symphony No. 89 in F Major, Mascagni’s “Intermezzo” from “Cavalleria Rusticana” and Debussy’s “Petite Suite.” Admission is $5, with tickets available at the door.

At 3 p.m.: University Opera’s production of “La Boheme. See Friday above.

At 3 p.m., a Harpsichord Dedication Concert will take place at the Christ Presbyterian Church Sanctuary, 944 East Gorham St. Trevor Stephenson (below) will speak and also perform works by Purcell, Monteverdi, Schutz and others.  The event is free with a reception.

At 7:30 p.m. in Morphy Hall, the UW Guest Artist Series presents Katherine Lewis (below), viola and Douglas Jurs, piano. The program features two major works written in 1919 — “Sonata for Viola and Piano” by Rebecca Clarke and “Suite for Viola and Piano” by Ernest Bloch — as well as Clarke’s “Passacaglia on an Old English Tune” and Bloch’s “Meditation and Processional.”  Free admission.

Katherine Lewis is assistant professor of viola at Illinois State University and principal violist for the Peoria Symphony, Heartland Festival Orchestra and Peoria Bach Festival Orchestra.  Douglas Jurs is associate lecturer in piano at UW-Madison and teaches at Edgewood College in Madison.  He received the D.M.A. degree in piano performance from the UW-Madison in 2010.


7:30 p.m.: See University Opera’s production of  “La Boheme” on Friday.


On Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, the UW Symphony Strings, directed by graduate assistant conductor David Grandis, will perform. The program includes the Scherzo movement from “String Quartet No. 2” by Borodin, two excerpts from “Henry V” by Walton, “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” by Debussy arranged by Schoenberg, and works by Honegger, Lekeu and Roussel.  Free admission.

Posted in Classical music


  1. I’ve seen Bonnie Greene’s work for ~10 years now, and I can’t say enough good things about the way she combines music, teaching, good humor, kindness and philanthropy. I’m thrilled to learn that WYSO is partnering with her Music Makers organization, and I wish them all the best of luck in their endeavors.

    On a side note, “…it would get long to name or single out all the singers and their performances, especially with such a large cast. And that doesn’t take account of all the costumers and set people and musicians.”

    As an instrumentalist who married into a family of singers, I just want to point out that we’re *all* musicians. I’m very careful, especially when communicating with my husband’s family, never to use phrases like “the singers and the musicians.” But the stakes aren’t as high for everyone 🙂

    Comment by Marika Fischer Hoyt — October 27, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    • Hi Marika,
      Thanks for the comments about Bonnie Green.
      And yes, you got me — touche!
      Of course you are right — the singers in operas are musicians too.
      I should say instrumentals to distinguish them from the singers.

      Comment by welltemperedear — October 27, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

  2. I’m impressed with your work and disappointed that you did not mention that Caitlyn Miller is singing the part of Musetta on Sunday afternoon. Caitlin is my wife’s grand-daughter.

    Comment by Leslie R Shultz — October 26, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

    • Hi Leslie,
      Thank you for reading and replying with your kind words about my work.
      I used the information I was sent by the UW School of Music and university Opera.
      I did not intend to leave anyone out or unnamed.
      Good luck to Caitlyn on Sunday.
      Thanks for sending this so others can see it.

      Comment by welltemperedear — October 26, 2011 @ 5:20 pm

      • Caitlin is a wonderful talent. Our daughter admires her, but I think Dr. Jake is right. He gave us what
        he got from the UW. My very best to Caitlin, I will be there Friday night.

        Comment by Barbara DeMain — October 26, 2011 @ 10:43 pm

      • Hi Barbara,
        Thank you for the vote of confidence.
        I would also add that it would get long to name or single out all the singers and their performances, especially with such a large cast.
        And that doesn’t take account of all the costumers and set people and musicians.
        But opera is such an ensemble undertaking that i trust they and their friends and family will understand. No individual mention or lack of it doesn’t mean that I don’t wish all of them great good luck or that I fail to recognize their talent, drive and hard work.

        Comment by welltemperedear — October 27, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

  3. It always amazes me, what we have got in Madison! One of the events I will attend is the Opening of
    “La Boheme” on campus to wittness a young student of the Music Department.

    Comment by Barbara DeMain — October 26, 2011 @ 10:13 am

    • Hi Barbara,
      It is indeed astonishing how much fine classical music there is in Madison and the Madison area.
      After all, it is a city only of some 250,000 in a county of about 500,000 — hardly a huge metropolitan area to draw audiences from.
      Are we not lucky?

      Comment by welltemperedear — October 26, 2011 @ 11:00 am

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