A Reminder of Why We Go to Concerts

15th season finale of “con vivo” yields some surprises   I hadn’t thought about it specifically in a while, but I suppose when I go to a concert, it’s either for the performer(s), the music that is to be played, or most often, some combination of both. It had been at least two seasons since… Continue reading A Reminder of Why We Go to Concerts

Madison Symphony Closes Its Season on Very Human Notes

Long-awaited hearings and a farewell mark the final weekend Madison Symphony Orchestra music director John DeMain has made it (or continued?) a tradition of closing each season with a major work for chorus and orchestra. He has said on occasion in recent years that he has long wanted to program Brahms’ A German Requiem—but waited… Continue reading Madison Symphony Closes Its Season on Very Human Notes

Madison Opera’s “Flute” Finds Plenty of Vocal Magic

Mozart’s late hybrid stage work proves a hit Friday night   Okay, let’s get this out of the way right now: Yours truly is not the optimal critic for a performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. I didn’t fall under its spell when I first heard it about 45 years ago, and no version since,… Continue reading Madison Opera’s “Flute” Finds Plenty of Vocal Magic

Bianconi Soars; Overture Hall Roars

MSO players get their wish—and audience approves that, too It was one of those nights at Overture Hall on Friday. John DeMain returned from his recent forays into Turandot with Virginia Opera (a reliable source indicated the reviews were off the charts), and we had another return that was as welcome. There’s some sort of… Continue reading Bianconi Soars; Overture Hall Roars

2017 “Final Forte”: No “Bracket Busters” Here

As usual, we get one champion (and four winners) (Pictured above: Julian Rhee, Naomi Sutherland, Michael Wu and Yaoyao Chen, courtesy of Madison Symphony)   The last round of the Bolz Young Artist Competition, in which we are treated to four teen-aged prodigies at various stages of producing artistic fruit, is of course known as… Continue reading 2017 “Final Forte”: No “Bracket Busters” Here

Madison Symphony Scales New Heights

Two returning guests take the audience to rarefied air   Even when John DeMain is away (he’s been at Virginia Opera, rehearsing Turandot), he gives his orchestra—and guest artists—the kind of fun agenda he would lead himself. On Sunday afternoon, the last of three performances of the latest Madison Symphony program of the season, we… Continue reading Madison Symphony Scales New Heights

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