The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Opera Student Showcase concert this Sunday afternoon will introduce David Ronis as the new director of University Opera and spotlight University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate soprano Shannon Prickett. | September 12, 2014

By Jacob Stockinger

Here is a the press release for the University Opera’s Student Showcase that will take place this coming Sunday afternoon and will preview the talent and productions of the upcoming season:

“A concert of favorite melodies by Vincenzo Bellini, Giuseppe Verdi and others -– mostly operatic but one clearly comic -– will be presented by students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music’s opera program.

The concert will take place this Sunday afternoon, September 14, at 3 p.m. in the First Unitarian Society of Madison’s Landmark Auditorium (below) at 900 University Bay Drive.


Directing the concert and this year’s University Opera program will be David Ronis (below, in a photo by Luke DeLalio), currently on leave from the Aaron Copland School of Music at City University of New York, and Hofstra University. He is serving as the interim successor to longtime director William Farlow, who retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison last spring. (At bottom is a YouTube video of the work that the versatile Ronis recently did at Queens College with an early music version of Luigi Rossi’s opera “Orfeo.”)

Here is a link to a press release, issued by the UW-Madison School of Music when David Ronis was chosen from a nationwide search last spring, with Ronis’ impressive background:

David Ronis color CR  Luke DeLalio

Most of the singers will appear in this year’s productions of Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring this fall and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute in the spring.

Here is a link to information about the upcoming season of the University Opera:

But one singer -– soprano Shannon Prickett (below top) – is an alumna returning from her current work as Resident Artist at the Minnesota Opera.

While in Madison from 2011 to 2013 and working on her Master’s of Music degree, Prickett performed lead parts in Puccini’s La Bohème, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Luigi Cherubini’s Medea, Pietro Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz, and Verdi’s Requiem.

In the Showcase concert, she will sing arias from Verdi’s I Lombardi, Giacomo Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, and a dramatic duet from Verdi’s Aïda with new mezzo-soprano doctoral student Jessica Kasinski, below bottom. (The Ear has no word on specific works to be performed.)

Shannon Prickett head shot

Jessica Kasinski

Other singers will take on arias by Mozart, Donizetti, Bellini, Richard Strauss and even Flanders and Swann: That number requires good humor as well as pianistic skill from the accompanist, and will provide a treat for fans of the multi-talented and critically acclaimed Thomas Kasdorf (below), another graduate of the UW-Madison.

Thomas Kasdorf

The concert is a benefit for the University Opera that sponsored by Opera Props, which supports the University Opera. Admission is a contribution of $25 per person, $10 for students. A reception follows.


  1. Jake, I made it to the UW Opera Prop Event…What a group of talented young people! Everyone was warm and welcoming- even gave me a name tag. I would definitely like to see more! The amazing chocolates put a final classy touch to the afternoon. Thank you for your help! I am now a fan of UW opera!!!!! Connie


    Comment by Connie McIntyre — September 14, 2014 @ 5:20 pm

  2. Jake, thank you for your quick response! I know I will enjoy it and will surely let you know. I am slowly finding my way around here….so glad to find this site! Much appreciation….Connie


    Comment by Connie McIntyre — September 14, 2014 @ 10:55 am

  3. This enjoyable afternoon at the Landmark Auditorium is the fifth of these concerts, presenting a sample of the vocal talent in the University’s current program – as well as a look at the progress of a recent alumna who returns with a pair of bravura arias!
    And then of course the sociability, the Ambrosius chocolates, …. Not to miss!


    Comment by Dan Shea — September 13, 2014 @ 10:43 am

    • I am new to the area and would enjoy this event. Is it open to the public or must one have a reservation?


      Comment by Connie McIntyre — September 14, 2014 @ 8:38 am

      • Hi Connie,
        Thank you for reading and replying.
        To answer your question:
        Almost all events here are open to the public, even if a ticket is required.
        This is especially true of events by the University of Wisconsin School of Music, where most ever are even FREE.
        You can almost always buy a ticket at the door, unless it is a sell-out.
        And I am sure you would be most welcome at the opera Showcase this afternoon.
        I hope you enjoy it.
        Let me know you it went.


        Comment by welltemperedear — September 14, 2014 @ 8:46 am

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