By Jacob Stockinger
The Ear doesn’t see a unifying theme to this week’s events at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music. But there is a lot of varied and appealing music and events — by acclaimed faculty members, guest performers and prize-winning students — on tap.
All concerts are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
Here is the lineup by day:
At 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall, oboist Aaron Hill (below) will give a recital featuring “Oboe Music From the Big 10.” The program includes works by three contemporary composers: Theresa Martin, Teddy Niedermaier and Daniel Black. Also performing are his UW colleagues bassoonist Marc Vallon and pianist Christopher Taylor.
For more information about the performers, the composers and the music, go to:
From 11:30 to 1:30 in Music Hall, guest conductor Gary Thor Wedow (below), who will conduct the Madison Opera’s upcoming production of “The Magic Flute” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, will give a public master class. Singers from the University Opera and the UW opera program will be featured.
For more information, go to:
At 7:30 in Mills Hall, clarinetist Amy McCann (below) will perform a recital featuring two works: the Sonata for Clarinet and Piano by Argentinean composer Carlos Guastavino; and the Clarinet Trio by Johannes Brahms. Pianist Martha Fischer and pianist Parry Karp will perform with McCann.
At 3:30 p.m. in Morphy Recital Hall, the all-student Perlman Trio will perform its annual recital.
The program includes the Piano Trio in D Major, Hob. XV/7 by Franz Joseph Haydn; the Piano Trio N. 4 in E Minor (“Dumky”), Op. 90, by Antonin Dvorak; and the Piano Trio No. 2 in C Major, Op. 87, by Johannes Brahms.
Members of the Perlman Trio, which is funded by a gift from Dr. Kato Perlman, are (below, from left, in a photo by Katherine Esposito): cellist Michael Cheng, pianist Chan Mi Jean and violinist Adam Dorn.
For more information about the performers, go to:
At 3:30 in Morphy Recital Hall, the winners of the 32nd annual Beethoven Sonata Competition will perform. The program is: Kangwoo Jin playing the Sonata in C Major, Op. 53 (“Waldstein”); Leah Kang playing the Sonata in E Major, Op. 109; and Alberto Peña-Cortes playing the Sonata in A Major, Op. 101.
For more information, go to:
At 7:30 in Mills Hall, the UW Symphony Orchestra will perform its last concert under professor of conducting James Smith (below), who is retiring after 34 years at the UW-Madison.
The program includes the Overture to “Romeo and Juliet” by Peter Tchaikovsky; the Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; and the music from “Fancy Free” by Leonard Bernstein.
For more information go to:
For information about the many student degree recitals that were scheduled, go to:
By Jacob Stockinger
The Ear has received the following press release about one of the fun cultural highlights of the summer, which was started by the late Ann Stanke 15 years ago.
In The Ear’s experience, the whole event is a kind of light opera in itself, with food and amusements as well as community social interactions and of course great music that is beautifully performed.
Madison Opera’s FREE Opera in the Park will celebrate its 15th year on this Saturday, July 23, at 8 p.m. in Garner Park on Madison’s far west side.
The annual free concert of opera and Broadway favorites closes the company’s fantastic 2015-16 season and provides an enticing preview of the upcoming 2016-17 season.
A Madison summer tradition that attracts over 15,000 people every year, Opera in the Park brings the best of opera and Broadway to the community, creating an enchanting evening of music under the stars.
Opera in the Park 2016 stars soprano Emily Birsan (below top), soprano Angela Brown (below second), tenor Scott Quinn (below third) and baritone Sidney Outlaw (below fourth).
They are joined by the Madison Opera Chorus and Madison Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the returning Gary Thor Wedow (below) instead of John DeMain, who is spending the summer guest conducting at the acclaimed Glimmerglass Festival in upper New York State.
The evening is hosted by Madison Opera’s General Director Kathryn Smith and WKOW TV’s 27 News Wake-Up Wisconsin anchor Brandon Taylor.
“Opera in the Park is without question my favorite night of the year,” says Smith (below, in a photo by James Gill). “When you combine a live performance of beautiful music with thousands of people from across our community, all under a gorgeous night sky, you get the most important performance Madison Opera gives.
“I often brag to my colleagues around the country about our Opera in the Park, as it is so distinctly important in our community – not to mention having the highest per capita attendance of any such concert in the U.S.
“I am so proud that we are celebrating our 15th summer of this incredible event, and grateful to all who make it possible.”
Opera in the Park 2016 features arias and ensembles from Charles Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, which opens the 2016-17 season in November; Daniel Schnyder’s jazz-inspired Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, which will be performed in February; and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute, which will be performed in April.
In celebration of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, the concert will also offer selections from Shakespeare-based operas and musicals such as Hamlet, The Boys from Syracuse and Kiss Me, Kate.
Classic selections from Aida and Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi, The Pearl Fishers by Georges Bizet; Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin and more round out this spectacular evening, which always includes one number conducted by the audience with light sticks (below).
Garner Park is located at 333 South Rosa Road in Madison’s far west side. Parking is available in the CUNA Mutual Group and University Research Park lots.
Attendees are encouraged to bring picnics, blankets and chairs.
Alcohol is permitted but not sold in the park.
On the day of the concert, Garner Park will open at 7 a.m. Audience members may NOT leave items in the park prior to this time.
The rain date for Opera in the Park is Sunday, July 24, at 8 p.m.
Madison Opera is grateful to the major sustaining donors who support Opera in the Park not only this year, but have done so for many years, enabling the concert to reach this 15th anniversary: CUNA Mutual, the Berbeewalsh Foundation, the John and Carolyn Peterson Charitable Foundation, Full Compass Systems, University Research Park, Colony Brands, the MGE Foundation, and an Anonymous Friend.
Opera in the Park 2016 is also generously sponsored by the Richard B. Anderson Family Foundation, BMO Harris Bank, Starion Financial, Wisconsin Bank & Trust, National Endowment for the Arts Wisconsin Arts Board, Dane Arts, the Evjue Foundation, and the Madison Arts Commission. WKOW, Isthmus, Madison Magazine, Wisconsin Public Radio, Triple M, Mix 105.1, and WOLX are media sponsors for this community event.
RELATED EVENT: PRELUDE DINNER AND FUNDRAISER
The Prelude Dinner (below) at Opera in the Park 2016 is at 6 p.m.
This annual fundraiser to benefit Opera in the Park helps support Madison Opera’s free gift to the community.
The event includes dinner catered by Upstairs Downstairs, VIP seating at the concert, a complimentary light stick and a reception with the artists following the performance.
Tickets are $135 per person or $1,000 for a table of eight. More information is available at www.madisonopera.org
By Jacob Stockinger
Unfortunately, The Ear didn’t get to see and hear the opening night performance on Friday night at Old Music Hall of the season-opening production by University Opera at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.
But The Ear is going to today’s matinee performance.
And two local reviews, by critics The Ear respects highly, agree that is a very successful production and puts another feather in the cap of guest director David Ronis (below, in a photo by Luke Delalio) from New York City.
But also praised highly are set designer Dana Fralick, the student singers-actors and the student orchestra players under UW-Madison professor and conductor James Smith (below, in a photo by Michael R. Anderson). You can hear the infectious Overture in a curious but eye-catching and mind-engaging “bar graph score” in a YouTube video at the bottom.
That makes The Ear, who loved last year’s production of “The Magic Flute,” all the more pleased and excited about going today.
Here is a review by John W. Barker (below), who often reviews concerts for this blog, for Isthmus:
And here is the review by Greg Hettmansberger (below) for his column “Classically Speaking” in Madison Magazine and for WISC-TV Channel3000.com:
If you want to go, tickets are $25 for the general public; $20 for seniors; and $10 for student.
Here is a link to details about the show and about getting tickets:
By Jacob Stockinger
The University Opera at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music will stage Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro” in Music Hall (below, at the foot of Bascom Hill) this coming Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m., Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. and next Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $25 for adults; $20 for seniors; and $10 for students with ID.
The stage director is David Ronis (below, in a photo by Luke Delalio), a guest director from the Aaron Copland School of Music at CUNY in New York City who is here at the UW-Madison for a second year in a row.
The Ear recalls that last year’s eclectic and sold-out production by Ronis of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” was a highlight of the season. Ronis drew incredible performances from the students and the costumes and sets, which mixed India‘s Bollywood aesthetic with a traditional Western monastic aesthetic. The opera was well sung and eye-popping in the best sense. It was Big Fun.
So The Ear has big expectations of this opera, which he likes even more, and which will be performed by the same stage director and music director, James Smith (below, in a photo by Michael R. Anderson), conducting the UW Symphony Orchestra.
In fact, The Ear is willing to bet that once again Ronis, Smith and student performers will deliver the goods and sell out all four performances, not just the three that were typical of past productions.
The Ear asked Ronis, who is among the national pool of candidates who have applied to fill the post of University Opera director permanently, why he chose another Mozart opera. (Last year, he also did Benjamin Britten‘s “Albert Herring.” This coming April he will do Conrad Susa’s and Ann Sexton’s “Transformations.”)
Here is his answer:
“As far as why we’re doing “Figaro” in light of just having done “The Magic Flute.” Simple: it was the best choice for the group of students that we have this year in terms of educational value and the current talent pool. It happened to be Mozart (below) – with absolutely nothing planned or any connection between the two.”
If you would like to know more about the production and about the cast – and also about how to buy tickets — visit this site with the comprehensive press release from the UW-Madison:
But even more importantly, The Ear says it is worth a seeing if for no other reason than hearing the sublime forgiveness quartet at the end. (You can hear it in a YouTube video at the bottom.)
The music is otherworldly and heart-wrenching in its beauty.
And as Mr. Mozart knew so well: Who doesn’t need love and isn’t moved by forgiveness?
ALERT: UW-Madison School of Music student Mikko Utevsky (below) seems a musician for all seasons.
Primarily a violist, he is also a conductor who founded and directs the Madison Area Youth Chamber Orchestra (MAYCO). He is also an informed and fluid writer. For this blog, he wrote about the European tour to Prague, Vienna and Budapest that the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) undertook) three years ago, and he reviews Madison Opera productions. He also sings and was in the University Opera’s recent production of “The Magic Flute” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Utevky’s unusual FREE student recital, with UW-Madison alumnus pianist Thomas Kasdorf, this Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in Capitol Lakes Retirement Center, 333 West Main Street, off the Capitol Square, highlights two of his talents. Utevsky, a baritone, will sing Robert Schumann’s song cycle “Dichterliebe” (A Poet’s Loves), then pick up his viola and play the famous “Arpeggione” Sonata by Franz Schubert.
By Jacob Stockinger
A musician friend who is a trombonist writes:
The Madison Area Trombone Ensemble (MATE, below) is back for another spring concert, featuring bass trombonist Alan Carr.
Join us at 7:30 p.m. on this Thursday, April 16, at First United Methodist Church, 203 Wisconsin Avenue, off the Capitol Square.
Parking is available in FUMC’s lot, or free on the street after 6 p.m.
Admission is free, but a suggested donation of $10 is greatly appreciated.
Alan Carr will join MATE to perform “The Chief,” composed by UW-Madison Professor Emeritus John Stevens (below) who taught tuba and euphonium. The concert will also feature works by Peter Phillips, Richard Wagner, Fisher Tull, Eric Whitacre, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Eric Clapton and more.
Directed by Madison freelance trombonist and University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music alumnus Kevan Feyzi (below), MATE is comprised of top UW-Madison trombonists in groups such as Phat Phunktion, the Madison Brass Band, the Madison Mellophonium Jazz Orchestra, and the Madison Jazz Orchestra.
In just its second year of existence, MATE numbers 16 strong and is already being lauded as a leading community ensemble. (At bottom is a YouTube video with an excerpt from the inaugural concert in 2014 by the Madison Area Trombone Ensemble.)
Alan Carr (below) currently completing a DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) at the UW-Madison — where he is a Collins Fellow — and is Adjunct Professor of Low Brass at Concordia University. He holds degrees from the Julliard School in New York City and the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
He has also been a finalist in several competitions and was selected as a participant in the prestigious Alessi Seminar. Alan performed and toured for seven years with the King’s Brass, and has appeared with Ensemble ACJW, the American Brass Quintet, Isthmus Brass, and the Baltimore, Hartford, and Dubuque Symphony Orchestras.
Recently, Alan formed a consortium with a dozen other prominent American bass trombonists to commission John Stevens’ newest composition: the Kleinhammer Sonata for Bass Trombone. Premiered this spring by Alan and other consortium members, Alan will release the first recording of the piece on his forthcoming solo album “The Elephant in the Room.”
Find out more about Alan and the Kleinhammer Sonata at http://www.carralan.com
ALERT: The new season of the Madison Symphony Orchestra will be announced here starting at midnight tonight.
By Jacob Stockinger
The University Opera and University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music have sent out the following announcement about an upcoming production.
In a departure, the opera will run for four performances instead of the usual three, adding a Saturday evening show that will allow lead roles will be split evenly among singers. The show will involve over 80 singers, instrumentalists and stage crew members.
Performances are Friday, March 13, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 14, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 15, 3 p.m.; and Tuesday, March 17, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $22 for the general public, $18 for senior citizens and $10 for UW-Madison students, available in advance through the Campus Arts Ticketing office at (608) 265-ARTS and online at http://www.arts.wisc.edu/ (click “box office”).
Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Wisconsin Union Theater Box Office Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays, noon-5 p.m. and the Vilas Hall Box Office, Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and after 5:30 p.m. on University Theatre performance evenings.
Because shows often sell out, advance purchase is recommended. If unsold tickets remain, they may be purchased at the door beginning one hour before the performance.
The Carol Rennebohm Auditorium is located in Music Hall (below), at the foot of Bascom Hill on Park Street.
The Magic Flute marks the second production by Interim Opera Director David Ronis (below top, in a photo by Luke DeLalio) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ronis recently earned distinction when his 2014 production of Dialogues of the Carmelites by Francis Poulenc at Queens College in New York was awarded third prize in the National Opera Association’s Opera Production Competition. James Smith (below bottom), conducting the UW Symphony Orchestra.
Full of surprises and delights, The Magic Flute is a treat for both seasoned opera lovers and those new to opera.
The familiar plot centers on Prince Tamino, sent by the Queen of the Night to rescue her daughter, Pamina, from the Sorcerer, Sarastro.
As the opera unfolds, Tamino’s quest for love evolves into one in which self-actualization becomes equally important. Along for the ride are Papageno, his comic sidekick, searching for his own soul mate; the Queen’s Three Ladies; Three Spirits who serve as guides; and an assortment of other memorable characters.
Ronis comments about his concept for The Magic Flute: “When planning the production, I kept seeing Sarastro and his Masonic principles as being related to those of Eastern philosophy. So, in order to create the polarity between the opposing forces of Sarastro and the Queen of the Night, I characterized Sarastro as coming from the East vs. the Queen of the Night, coming from the cultural West.
“Thus, the Queen and her Ladies wear Victorian bustle dresses, while the basic costume for Sarastro’s followers is the shalwar kameez, the traditional garment of South and Central Asia.
“To complement this, the scenic design combines pan-Asian, Victorian, and surreal elements with a few contemporary comedic references thrown in. This works nicely, framing the story as well as creating an exotic environment in which the fantasy can take place.”
The large cast of The Magic Flute includes Thomas Leighton and William Ottow, who will split the performances as Tamino, Nicole Heinen and Anna Whiteway (below) as Pamina, and Joel Rathmann and Brian Schneider as Papageno. The Queen of the Night will be played by Sarah Richardson and alumna Olivia Pogodzinski, and the role of Sarastro will be taken by alum Thomas Weis. (You can hear the Queen of the Night’s famously difficult and haunting aria, performed by Natalie Dessay, in a YouTube video at the bottom.)
The six singers playing the Three Ladies will be Susanna Beerheide, Tia Cleveland, Jessica Kasinski, Kirsten Larson, Heather Richardson, and Sheila Wilhelmi. Rounding out the cast will be Alaina Carlson, Eileen Peterson, and Emily Weaver as the Three Spirits; Emi Chen and Gaby Klugman as Papagena; Nathaniel Greenhill and Michael Hoke as Monostatos; alum Benjamin Li as the Speaker; conductor and violist Mikko Utevsky (below) as the Second Priest; and Evan Esslinger and Fabian Qamar as the Armored Men. Assisting Maestro Smith will be Kyle Knox, assistant conductor; Seungwha Baek and Chan Mi Jean, musical preparation; and Dennis Gotkowski, chorus master.
The physical production will be based on designs by Charles “Jen” Trieloff II and realized by Joseph Varga, Greg Silver, and Liz Rathke. Costume design is by Sydney Krieger, Hyewon Park and Sam Fleming, lighting design by Rob Stepek, props design by Dana Fralick, and the production stage manager will be Erin McDermott. Student staff include Emi Chen, costume assistant; Fabian Qamar, props assistant; Emily Hake and Melanie Treuhaft, scenic painters; Briana Miller, master electrician; and Kyle Baldauf, assistant carpenter.
This production of The Magic Flute is dedicated to the memories of Karen K. Bishop and Charles Jennings Trieloff II. Bishop was an UW-Madison alumna who performed in a number of University Opera productions between 2007 and 2011. Trieloff was the original set designer for the production.
University Opera is a cultural service of the School of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Its mission is to provide comprehensive operatic training and performance opportunities for students and operatic programming to the community. For more information, contact email@example.com or visit the School of Music’s web site at music.wisc.edu.
HERE ARE TWO ALERTS FOR SUNDAY:
The “Summer Voices” concert was recorded live last August 22 at Music Hall on the UW-Madison campus. Included are interviews with MAYCO founder and conductor Mikko Utevsky and guest soprano Caitlin Ruby Miller (below).
The program includes: the Overture to “The Magic Flute” by Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; the cantata “Knoxville Summer of 1915” by American composer Samuel Barber; and the Symphony No. 9 in E-Flat Major by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. The hosts of Musica Antiqua yielded the final hour of their early music show so that WORT can provide these young musicians with the station’s largest classical music audience.
Then at 1 p.m. on Wisconsin Public Radio (88.7 FM in the Madison area and online at wpr.org): Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) will broadcast a concert of 16th-century Renaissance music from Italy inspired by “I Trionfi” by Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374). The concert was designed and conducted by Grant Herreid, and was performed at the Madison Early Music Festival’s concluding All-Festival Concert (bel0w) in July 2014 at Luther Memorial Church in Madison. This recording is part of WPR’s new program, “Wisconsin Classical.”
Listen to station 88.7 FM at 1 p.m.or stream it online at http://www.wpr.org/
By Jacob Stockinger
Writing about Strauss is timely, if belatedly so, because 2014 was the 150th anniversary year of his birth.
But better late than never.
Strauss composed in every genre, from orchestra and opera to chamber music, and the last part of his career was controversial because of his involvement with Hitler and Nazi Germany during World War II.
What is your favorite work by Richard Strauss?
Your favorite performances and performers?
Your favorite recordings?
Various critics for The New York Times recently offered their own year-end takes on those questions.
Here is a link:
ALERT: The local wind quintet Black Marigold (below) will give a FREE concert on this Saturday, Dec. 13, from noon to about 1 p.m. downtown at Grace Episcopal Church, 116 West Washington Avenue, on the Capitol Square. The program includes: Overture to “The Magic Flute” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as arranged by David M. Carp; the Wind Quintet by Paul Taffanel (the opening is at the bottom in a YouTube video); “Eight” by Kenn McSperitt; and “La Nouvelle Orleans” by Lalo Schifrin. The concert is part of the Grace Presents series.
By Jacob Stockinger
Here is something in the way of a holiday gift or bonus from scientific researchers to all kinds of musicians — professional, amateur and students.
I won’t say more except to offer a link to the story that appeared on NPR (National Public Radio):
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:
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.)
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.
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.