This Year DeMain Honors Two Traditions

Madison Symphony season opener suitably subtle   He hasn’t always done so in his previous twenty-three seasons as Music Director of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, but in recent years John DeMain has made it a tradition to spotlight the orchestra itself in its season openers. He did so again Friday night in Overture Hall, and… Continue reading This Year DeMain Honors Two Traditions

The Madison Symphony Orchestra, Now in Its 24th DeMain Edition

There’s more to pique the ears this season than some people think Growing up loving classical music and opera, and later as a critic, I always had a personal wish list of works I wanted to experience live in the concert hall or opera house. Living a commuter train’s ride away from Lincoln Center didn’t… Continue reading The Madison Symphony Orchestra, Now in Its 24th DeMain Edition

Porgy Casts a Special Glow over Glimmerglass

DeMain and Zambello recreate a compelling staging of Gershwin’s masterpiece   Cooperstown, NY is probably best known as the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, but in recent years the Glimmerglass Festival has added an ever-expanding luster to an already attractive region. Three hours or so northwest of New York City, the region takes… Continue reading Porgy Casts a Special Glow over Glimmerglass

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