The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s performance of Handel’s “Messiah” is again headed for a sell-out this Friday night and Sunday afternoon. Plus, on Friday at noon Trevor Stephenson plays a FREE recital of J.S. Bach, Mozart and Chopin on the fortepiano.

December 4, 2012
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ALERT: This Friday’s FREE  Noon Musicale, held from 12:15 to 1 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society’s historic Meeting House, 900 University Bay Drive, features keyboardist Trevor Stephenson (below) of Madison performing works by Bach, Mozart and Chopin on the period fortepiano, a predecessor of the modern piano.

Prairie Rhapsody 2011 Trevor Stephenson

By Jacob Stockinger

What for many years used to be the annual tradition of a  “Sing-Out Messiah” that allowed audiences members to be the chorus has morphed over the past several years into a new tradition and a critically acclaimed, full-scale professional performance of the evergreen seasonal masterwork, the oratorio  “Messiah,” by George Frideric Handel.

handel big 3

Once again the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (WCO) will be joined by the WCO Chorus, the UW Madrigal Singers, the Festival Chorus of Madison (below).


Also singing under the baton of WCO music director and conductor Andrew Sewell will be four guest soloists (from top to bottom): soprano Stacey Tappen; alto Emily Lodine; UW tenor James Doing; and bass Peter Van de Graff, who is also well-known as the host of the weekday night classical music programming on Wisconsin Public Radio.


Emily Lodine BW

James Doing big Katrin Talbot

Peter Van De Graaff

Last year, Peter Van de Graff, who often performs in Madison, did an interview about his all-night radio hosting with The Ear. Here is a link:

This year’s performance of “Messiah” is on Friday night, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m. in the Blackhawk Church (below), 9620 Brader Way in Middleton.  General admission tickets are $30. Call the Overture Center box office at (608) 258-4141. For information, call (608) 257-0638 or visit


A repeat performance will be given on next Sunday afternoon, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m. at the Ringling Theater in downtown Baraboo.

“We are right on track with past years to have a sell-out by the day of the performance,” said WCO marketing director Sue Ellen Maguire.

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