The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The “Met Live in HD” starts its 10th season this coming Saturday with Verdi’s “Il Trovatore.” Plus, today is your last time to hear the acclaimed opening concert by the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Read the reviews here. | September 27, 2015

ALERT: Today at 2:30 p.m in Overture Hall is your last chance to hear the season-opening program of music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Aaron Copland and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky by the Madison Symphony Orchestra. The performance won acclaim from local critics.

Here is a review by John W. Barker for Isthmus:

And here is a review by Jessica Courtier for The Capital Times:

And here is Greg Hettmansberger’s review for Madison Magazine:

By Jacob Stockinger

Next weekend sure is a train wreck for local music. Not that this past weekend wasn’t or that future weekends won’t be.

So much is happening that The Ear sometimes gets discouraged rather than excited. You begin to think not about what you will see or hear, but about what you will miss!

And then there are the major non-local events.

One such big one is the opening this coming Saturday, Oct. 3, of the 10th season of the series of “Live From the Met in HD,” the broadcast of live opera performances that are broadcast via satellite to thousands of cinemas around the globe.

Met Live IlTrovatore poster

The series has been one of the Metropolitan Opera’s outstanding success stories and money-makers over the past decade and of the controversial tenor of the Met’s general director Peter Gelb.

Here in Madison, you have a choice of two locations: Eastgate cinemas on the far east side and Point Cinemas on the far west side.

Here is a link to the Marcus Theatres web site where you can find out about other locations in the area, state and region:

The opening production is Giuseppe Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” (The Troubadour, 1853) with the famous Anvil Chorus (heard from a previous production at the bottom in a YouTube video). The staging and production of the opera with a Spanish theme is the dramatic and disturbing art of Francisco Goya.

Met Il Trovatore anvil

The cast features soprano Anna Netrebko and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky.

The show will start on Saturday at 11:55 a.m. Running time, with one half-hour intermission, is about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Admission is $24 for adults and $22 for seniors 60 and over; and $18 for children 3 to 11. Tickets to the encore productions are $18.

Here is a link with the title of the 10 other productions – including works by Richard Wagner, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Gaetano Donizetti, Richard Strauss, Giacomo Puccini, Alban Berg and Georges Bizet for this season.

And you can follow links to plot synopses, cast notes and other information.


  1. Good thoughts. Does someone have the tech savvy to set up an online calendar. Legit organizations simply enter their events and the software does the rest. One stop shopping. Another alternative is a Madison Classical Music Fans site on Facebook. Finally, what about Isthmus on line. Could they have a dedicated page for this?

    Comment by Ronnie Hess — September 27, 2015 @ 10:07 am

    • Isthmus seems to be perfectly content to ignore classical music entirely, with the lone exception of the occasional 2-inch column for John Barker. They basically write about clubs and bars now.

      Comment by Mikko Utevsky — September 28, 2015 @ 12:43 am

  2. If one were writing about rock music, a weekend with many events would be described as “a lively and vibrant club scene” and not “a train wreck”. (And a weekend with only one live music event would indicate a dying town.)
    I can understand your mixed emotions with too many things you want to do all at once, but how about we reframe that as a lively and vibrant classical music scene with multiple options for a growing audience?
    I would have preferred that, when opining that the weekend will be “a train wreck for local music”, you had listed all of those events so we could start planning, rather than waiting for articles to come out one by one.
    Would you consider a calendar listing at the beginning of the week for those weeks when you think there is just too much going on?

    Comment by Steve Rankin — September 27, 2015 @ 8:41 am

    • Hi Steve,
      Thank you so much for reading and replying.
      I appreciate what you say. But one person’s vibrancy is another person’s strain. It is indeed subjective, you are right. And increasingly there is just too much of me.
      In addition, so many competing events can cut into audiences and hurt the individual performers or organizations.
      As for a calendar-type listing: It is a lot of work and would be very long. Plus there are only so many days in the week, so that a calendar will take something away from someone — a preview or a review.
      To be honest, there is so much happening these days that doing this blog as a hobby is already something of a burden on my time and effort.
      For this particular post, it said it just as a background to the Met Live in HD. How many events can one do in one day? Or even in one weekend?
      Sometimes I do list all the events at the UW or put on by several organizations. But that is becoming too frequent.
      I guess I and my readers will just see where it leads us.
      Does anybody else want to do a weekly calendar for the blog and get credit for it?
      Just let me know.
      Thanks again.
      My best wishes,

      Comment by welltemperedear — September 27, 2015 @ 8:56 am

      • I agree strongly with Steve Rankin’s comments, especially those about the silliness of using the term “train wreck” when what is really meant is an abundance of exciting cultural events. As he says, that means a vibrant city, not a dead or dying one.

        Comment by fflambeau — September 28, 2015 @ 2:38 am

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