The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Wisconsin-born, UW-educated and Vienna-based dramatic soprano Elizabeth Hagedorn will replace Julia Faulkner at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the next school year. But Faulkner’s leave of absence could become longer or even permanent.

July 18, 2013

By Jacob Stockinger

As I have written before, the University of Wisconsin School of Music is facing some serious challenges in terms of staffing in the near future and probably over the long-term.

One of the challenges that The Ear has just learned about is that the acclaimed dramatic soprano Julia Faulkner — who returned from Europe to the U.S. and Madison in 1994, doing part-time teaching as a lecturer at the UW from 2003-2005, and then was hired in 2005 to a full-time tenure-track professorship — will be spending the next academic year on a leave of absence. She will spend it teaching at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where she will be on the faculty of the program for Young Artists.

Anyone want to bet that the Lyric will see a good deal and offer her a permanent position?

That is a major temporary loss for the UW and for Madison since Faulkner (below), like many of the professors at the UW, is both an accomplished performer and a popular teacher with very successful students. (I have sat in on her impressive classes.) Just read the ratings and remarks from her students at this link:

As a performer, Faulkner, who remains on the roster of the Metropolitan Opera, has sung often with the Madison Opera and with the Madison Symphony Orchestra , whose music director John DeMain admires her work and her professionalism. Faulkner, who possesses a large voice and beautiful tone, has also sung with the UW Choral Union and the UW Chamber Orchestra among other local and university groups.

Here is a link to Faulkner’s impressive bio and discography at the UW School of Music’s website:

And here is Faulkner’s official resume, loaded with recognizable big names in music:


But as luck would have it, Faulkner will be replaced next year by a woman who almost qualifies as her Doppelganger or double: another dramatic soprano, Elizabeth Hagedorn. Like Faulkner, Hagedorn, who is  based in Vienna, was educated in the U.S. but built her career in Europe; she attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point while Julia Faulkner attended Indiana University and the Eastman School of Music; but like Faulkner, she also is a Wisconsin native. (Hagedorn hails from Milwaukee.)

Also like Faulkner, Hagedorn (below) is well-known in Europe where she has sung with many opera companies and symphony orchestras and has made some recordings. Apparently, she gave some master classes at the UW-Madison this past season and was very well received.

Elizabeth Hagedorn  BIG

Here is a link to Hagedorn’s home website, where you should check out her bio and especially the PRESS and REPERTOIRE sections with critical acclaim for her many diverse roles and also the PHOTO gallery:

Still, apparently there is a possibility – no one will say how strong it is at this point – that Faulkner, who as already moved to Chicago for the leave of absence – will stay on in Chicago, despite having family near to Madison. That would be a major loss to the UW’s music program, which was lucky to have landed Faulkner.

But all hope of retaining Julia Faulkner is apparently not in vain. According to Benjamin Schultz, the assistant director of the UW School of Music, “Her heart is here. Julia loves the UW and her students love her. Some of them have even gone to Chicago for lessons with her and might continue to do so, depending on whether she can fit them in.”

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