The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music Q&A: Puccini’s “La Boheme” is a perfect opera, says University of Wisconsin opera director William Farlow. And the chamber music group Con Vivo starts its 10th season tonight with a mostly Mozart concert.

October 28, 2011
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AN ALERT AND APOLOGIES FOR LEAVING AN EVENT OUT OF THE WEDNESDAY DATEBOOK: 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 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.  

By Jacob Stockinger

Tonight, Friday, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in Music Hall (below), University Opera will premiere its production of Puccini’s “La Bohème,” 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/$18/$10), 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).

Director Bill Farlow (below) recently emailed The Ear about why “La Boheme” is such a perennial success:

In your opinion and drawing on your own experience, where do you place “La Boheme” by Puccini (below) in the opera repertoire and why? The music? The plot? The characters?

“La Boheme” is always in the top three most often performed operas. It provides a perfect vehicle for singers, conductors, directors and designers. It has always been at the top for a number of reasons — music, libretto and the incredible distillation of youth’s struggles, triumphs, losses and loves.  In my opinion, it is a perfect opera.

What do you think accounts for the high popularity and long critical esteem of “La Boheme “among both young and old? What makes it so accessible to new opera-goers?

We see ourselves onstage — the young because they see their current experiences displayed and the old because they see fantastic scenes from their own youth, both the beautiful and tragic moments.

What aspects of this University Opera production of Puccini (below) would you like to draw special attention to?

All the singers are age-appropriate for their characters, with the only exception of the young baritone doing Benoit/Alcindoro.

Is there more you would like to add about either the production or the work?

This will be a beautifully integrated production with singing, acting, conducting, and sets and costumes designs at their highest.

Posted in Classical music

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