Madison Youth Choirs gets the opera treatment

Members of the Madison Youth Choirs and their families were treated to a special presentation by Madison Opera last night. General Director Allan Naplan offered a youth-friendly version of Opera Up Close: The Carmen Preview, featuring the music and history of Carmen and an often hilarious look at the many modern pop-incarnations of Bizet’s famous music. Following the presentation, soprano Elizabeth Cabellero (Micaela) worked the crowd with “Quando me’n vò” from La Boheme. Tenor James Kryshak (Remendado) then sang “Ah! Mes amis” from La Fille du Regiment, wowing everyone with 10 high-C’s and a high-D thrown in for good measure. To end the night, the artists spoke a bit about their lives as opera singers and answered questions from the young choristers, many of whom will be appearing in Carmen.

Education activities update

Carmen artists arrive on Sunday, with our first reherasals starting on Monday. Stay tuned for interviews, videos, and rehearsal photos once things get under way next week!

For now, let’s take a look at what’s coming up under our Creating OPERAtunities education initiative.

  • On Tuesday night, Oct. 20, General Director Allan Naplan and guest artists from Carmen will present a special Opera Up Close event for the Madison Youth Choirs.
  • Saturday, Oct. 24, bring the kids to the Overture Center Rotunda Lobby and join us in creating Flamenco Fans to put on display during Carmen! In partnership with the Monroe Street Fine Arts Center and Kids in the Rotunda, Madison Opera will have coloring and decorating stations set up in the lobby from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Stop by before or after Kids in the Rotunda performances by Wouli!
  • Notifications for the 2009-2010 High School Apprenticeship Program went out this morning, and we’re excited for what looks like a fantastic group of young singers! Participants will go behind-the-scenes with Madison Opera for a year, starting with Carmen.
  • Opera Up Close: The Carmen Preview will take place on Sunday, Nov. 1, 4 – 6 p.m. at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Lecture Hall (Gen. Admisison: $20, Students: FREE). Yes, we know there is some sort of football game going on at the same time, but don’t worry, we’ll keep all attendees posted of the score!
  • On Wednesday, Nov. 4, we’ll hold our annual Student Matinee. This year’s students are definitely in for a treat…it doesn’t get more exciting than Carmen.
  • Pre-Opera Talks are offered by General Director Allan Naplan in the Wisconsin Studio (3rd floor of Overture) exactly 1 hour before every performance. This is your last chance to learn about the music and history of Carmen and the details of the Madison Opera production before you take your seat!

Met Opera National Council Auditions

Tomorrow at 10 a.m., head to the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield to hear opera’s rising stars audition in the Wisconsin district of the nation’s most prestigious vocal competition. General Director Allan Naplan will award special talent with a future Madison Opera role. Two of last year’s winners of the Wisconsin district can be seen in our upcoming Carmen: mezzo-soprano Jamie Van Eyck as Mercedes, and tenor James Kryshak as Remendado. Tenor Gregory Schmidt, who performs Prologue/Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw with Madison Opera in January, is also a past winner. It’s sure to be exciting!


The Habanera. You know it, even if you don’t, and now it just may be your ticket to free tickets.

Madison Opera is excited to announce its first ever YouTube video contest: Show Us Your Habanera! The Habanera is a famous aria from Georges Bizet’s popular opera Carmen. It originated on the opera stage but has since infiltrated our popular culture, appearing on your TV daily in commercials for everything from Doritos to Pepsi.

THE TASK: Create and upload YOUR version of the Habanera to YouTube. The most creative video–be it funny, beautiful, whatever–wins! Videos should be between 1 and 4 minutes long.*

THE PRIZE: A pair of tickets to Madison Opera’s opening night performance of Carmen in Overture Hall on Friday, November 6 at 8 p.m.

TO ENTER: Upload your video to YouTube and tag it “habanera contest.” Then, link the video to our Facebook page or in the comments section of this blog. You can also e-mail it to

DEADLINE: Friday, October 23, 2009.

*Stuck for ideas? Try writing new lyrics, lip syncing, singing along (in English OR French, if you’re fancy), choreographing, animating or otherwise dramatically reworking the Habanera. Surprise us!

Don’t miss your shot at YouTube glory and the chance to win the hottest tickets in town!