The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Handel Aria Competition fundraiser for the 15th annual Madison Early Music Festival next summer will be held this coming Saturday night. | November 5, 2013

By Jacob Stockinger

One of the highlights of last summer’s 14th annual Madison Early Music Festival was the smack down-type contest of arias from the Baroque operas by George Frideric Handel (below), which are enjoying a renewed popularity.

Handel etching

The first annual Handel Aria Competition was sponsored by long-time early music patrons and local businesspeople Dean and Orange Schroeder. They own and operate Orange Tree Imports on Monroe Street. Moreover, Dean Schroeder studies voice and sings Handel arias.

Carol %22Orange%22 and Dean Schroeder

In case you missed it or have forgotten about it– below is picture of all the contestants on the stage at the end of the competition — here are links to posts with a preview interview with Dean Schroeder and a review of the actual competition.

Handel arias all applaud

The competition last July also was turned into CDs and DVDs. Say the Schroeders: “We have a good supply of the double CD sets from the Handel Aria Competition (not so many DVDs), so we’re happy to make them available to the public for $20 each.

Anyone who wants one could e-mail us at, and we’d put one on hold at the store.  If someone wanted to call or write, the contact info is below. Any proceeds will help defray the cost of the professional recording of the concert, and the creation of videos for the finalists to use to promote their careers.

This is all by way of introduction to a fundraiser this weekend to help support next summer’s Handel Aria Competition (last summer’s was even featured and linked to on Metropolitan Opera soprano and Handel enthusiast Natalie Dessay’s website.)

The Schroeders write:

“The Handel Aria Competition is sponsoring “An Evening of Handel, With Flare” on Saturday as a fundraiser for next year’s competition, which will be held in conjunction with the Madison Early Music Festival on July 17, 2014.

“It is our hope that we will be able to offer travel grants to finalists who have to fly to Madison in order to compete, and also to fund the recording of the 2014 Handel Aria Competition next July.

“The 2013 first prize winner, mezzo-soprano Elisa Sutherland (below), is returning to Madison to perform inAn Evening of Handel, With Flare” on Saturday, November 9 at First Unitarian Society, 900 University Bay Drive, in the Landmark Auditorium, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, at 7:30 p.m.

elise sutherland

She will be joined by many singers with UW-Madison and Madison ties –: Mimmi Fulmer, Melanie Cain, Rachel Edie Warrick, Rachel Eve Holmes, Susanna Beerheide and Christina Kay — for a concert of Handel arias and duets (with a bit of Monteverdi thrown in for good measure).

The singers will be accompanied by Kirstin Ihde (below top) on harpsichord and Anton TenWolde (below bottom) on cello.

Kirsten Ihde

anton tenwolde

Tickets are $25 each, and are available at Orange Tree Imports in advance or at the door the evening of the concert.  For more information, go to: or call (608) 255-8211.

The program, with timings, includes:

  1. Elisa Sutherland, mezzo-soprano: Dopo Notte from Ariodante                   6:30
  2. Elisa Sutherland, mezzo-soprano: Cara speme from Giulio Cesare           6:00
  3. Melanie Cain, soprano and Rachel Eve Holmes, soprano: Oh Lovely Peace from the oratorio Judas Maccabaeus            4:00
  4. Melanie Cain, soprano: Ombra mai fu from Serse                                       3:30
  5. Rachel Eve Holmes, soprano: O Sleep Why Dost Thou Leave Me from Semele 3:30
  6. Rachel Edie Warrick, soprano:  Piangero la sorte mia from Giulio Cesare 6:30
  7. Rachel Edie Warrick, soprano: Oh, Had I Jubal’s Lyre from the oratorio Joshua 3:00
  8. Christina Kay,  soprano: Neghittosi, or voi che fate? from Ariodante         3:30
  9. Mimmi Fulmer, soprano and Susanna Beerheide, mezzo-soprano, singing the final duet from L’incoronazione di Poppea (by Monteverdi)                            4:30
  10. Susanna Beerheide, mezzo-soprano, Scherza infida from Ariodante       10:00

Encore: Elisa Sutherland: As with rosy steps the dawn from Theodora          6:00 

Below is a You Tube video of the encore piece, which helped Elisa Sutherland win the First Prize at last summer’s Handel Aria Conpetition:


  1. Effective immediately, please change email address to:


    Comment by JANICE K GOLAY — November 5, 2013 @ 10:31 am

    • Janice,
      I am not sure what you are referring to
      and what email should be changed.
      In the Handel post?
      If you mean for a blog subscription, you can unsubscribe from your old address and resubscribe with your new email address,
      Please let me know more in details.


      Comment by welltemperedear — November 5, 2013 @ 11:28 am

  2. Orange Schroeder says the following:
    Dean wanted it to be “flare” as a play on Handel’s “Music for the Royal Fireworks. He’s very fond of puns!”


    Comment by welltemperedear — November 5, 2013 @ 9:57 am

  3. Can I assume that “An Evening of Handel, with Flare” is some kind of pun on flair, like candlelight or royal fireworks? And not a mistake?


    Comment by Ron McCrea — November 5, 2013 @ 9:37 am

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