Faux-New (and Tried and True) Heat Up Overture Hall

Madison Symphony matches February heat wave If there is a theme to John DeMain’s 23rd season as music director of the Madison Symphony, it is to perform works that the orchestra has heretofore missed. Friday night’s concert (with repeats Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 2:30) gave us a first half based on that premise.… Continue reading Faux-New (and Tried and True) Heat Up Overture Hall

“Symphony Showcase” More Than Just Great Soloists

The UW Symphony Orchestra takes a starring role, too   It’s hard enough to keep up with the major professional musical groups in this town; if I have one chronic regret, it’s that I never catch up with enough of the great music-making on the UW-Madison campus. Last year I finally made it to one… Continue reading “Symphony Showcase” More Than Just Great Soloists

New Year—But “Old” Tricks from Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

Sewell, Vidovic, WCO instruct and delight all night long If Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra music director Andrew Sewell adopted any New Year’s resolutions, it had to be simply “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The ensemble’s first program of 2017, last Friday night at the Capitol Theater, gave ample evidence that both Sewell’s programming, and… Continue reading New Year—But “Old” Tricks from Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

Madison Symphony Goes Well “Beyond the Score”

Scheherazade gets the multi-media treatment When the Madison Symphony Orchestra offered Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony in the “Beyond the Score” format in 2014, many people were left wanting more. The presentation is one of about 30 works that the Chicago Symphony has produced and rents to other organizations. The basic premise is to take a… Continue reading Madison Symphony Goes Well “Beyond the Score”

Snow or No, “Madison Symphony Christmas” Is Here

DeMain and the usual huge guest roster launch musical holiday cheer Ok, I’ll admit it: After attending my seventh consecutive “A Madison Symphony Christmas” (out of the 23 that John DeMain has led as music director of the MSO), this feels more like a report than a review. After all, who critiques the turkey and… Continue reading Snow or No, “Madison Symphony Christmas” Is Here

Some Teachable (and Cherishable) Moments

University Opera’s Falstaff a worthy addition to all the Shakespeare celebrations I have a unique—if somewhat fuzzy—memory of the first time I saw Verdi’s final masterpiece, Falstaff. It was the very first opera I’d ever seen, it was at the Metropolitan Opera, no less—and painful to admit that the music in general did not make… Continue reading Some Teachable (and Cherishable) Moments

A Perfectly Timed Homecoming

Madison Symphony welcomes the Naughton twins back to town   It’s not unusual for Madison Symphony music director John DeMain to bring back guest soloists over the years, but when Christina and Michelle Naughton (pictured above, courtesy Madison Symphony) return to Overture Hall, it’s a treat on several levels. It’s tempting to say “we knew… Continue reading A Perfectly Timed Homecoming