Opera the Way It Was Meant to Be

Madison Opera opens its 59th season with a spot-on La Traviata   Call me old-fashioned—or if you prefer, an old-school conservative—but when it comes to the way an opera should look, I generally want operas such as Carmen to look the way they did when the creative teams created them. Thus I came away from… Continue reading Opera the Way It Was Meant to Be

Madison Symphony Triumphs Over the “Soviets”

Oh, and Rachel Barton Pine makes a long-overdue MSO debut   Apparently it wasn’t the original plan, but when John DeMain and the Madison Symphony Orchestra managed to secure violinist Rachel Barton Pine for their second set of concerts this season, they agreed she would offer the Violin Concerto of Aram Khachaturian—alongside works of Prokofiev… Continue reading Madison Symphony Triumphs Over the “Soviets”

Madison Symphony Opener Evokes a Memory

DeMain and company also provide an interesting musical perspective   John DeMain opened his 26th season as music director of the Madison Symphony Orchestra last weekend, and if he is still four years away from the next “round number” of his storied career, he and the orchestra still managed to provide interesting context, past and… Continue reading Madison Symphony Opener Evokes a Memory

“Rusalka” Proves an Elusive Fairy Tale

Madison Opera closes season with Dvorak’s on-again, off-again near-masterpiece   What to do with Rusalka? Just like the Prince in Dvorak and Kvapil’s telling of the Czech version of “The Little Mermaid,” we can never fully possess her as a woman, and, while he may decide that as a water sprite she really is to… Continue reading “Rusalka” Proves an Elusive Fairy Tale

There’s a New Prince in Town

John Lindsey aims to charm Madison Opera audiences in Dvorak’s Rusalka   John Lindsey undoubtedly cut a fine figure (and surely sang well) in his Madison Opera debut last summer at Opera in the Park. But this weekend will mark his stage debut for the company, as it closes its season with Dvorak’s luminous fairy-tale… Continue reading There’s a New Prince in Town

Madison Symphony Delivers a Better-Late-Than-Never Debut

Pianist Marc-André Hamelin graces Overture Hall at last Any local music lovers who had long desired to be awed by the artistry of Canadian-born pianist Marc-André Hamelin had their wish granted Friday night at Overture Hall. Prior to this opening concert of the penultimate program of John DeMain’s 25th season at the helm, one would… Continue reading Madison Symphony Delivers a Better-Late-Than-Never Debut

Madison Symphony Celebrates Its Own

DeMain gives three players a chance to step out as soloists   For many years now, Madison Symphony Orchestra music director John DeMain devotes one subscription program to highlighting a player from his ensemble as the soloist. Often it is the first concert of the season, but this year scheduling needs necessitated a change. This… Continue reading Madison Symphony Celebrates Its Own