Announcing the Opera in the Park 2010 Guest Artists

Madison Opera is thrilled to announce the guest artist line-up for Opera in the Park 2010! Without further ado:

Rodrick Dixon, tenor

  • Rodrick Dixon’s dramatic stage presence and stunning vocal qualities have established him as one of the rising stars in opera, contemporary opera, oratorio, concert/recital, musical theater and television.”

Anya Matanovič, soprano

  • Praised for her ‘thrilling vocal color’ and ‘sweetly winning presence’, American soprano Anya Matanovič  (ma ta’ no vich) made her international opera debut in Franco Zeffirelli’s captivating production of Puccini’s La bohème as Musetta during the New Israeli Opera’s 2008-09 Season.” 
  • Fun Fact: Though raised in Washington, Anya was born in Madison, Wisconsin, and will return in the fall as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro.


Stephen Powell, baritone

  • “The dynamic American baritone Stephen Powell brings his handsome voice, elegant musicianship, and robust stage presence to a wide range of music. Opera magazine has hailed him, writing ‘the big news was Stephen Powell’s gorgeously-sung Onegin,’ while The Wall Street Journal lauded his ‘rich, lyric baritone, commanding presence, and thoughtful musicianship.'”
  • Fun Fact: Stephen’s wife, opera singer Barbara Shirvis, will also be performing at Opera in the Park 2010!

Barbara Shirvis, soprano

  • “Hailed nationally for her opera and concert performances alike, soprano Barbara Shirvis’ 2009-10 season currently includes returns to Toledo Opera as Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, and the Rochester Philharmonic in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.”  
  • Fun Fact: Just days after Opera in the Park, Barbara will sing the title role in Tosca with the Minnesota Orchestra, opposite her husband Stephen Powell as the villain Scarpia.

    High School Apprentice Masterclass

    Last night, Madison Opera’s 2009-2010 High School Apprentices gathered in Morphy Hall at UW-Madison for a masterclass with soprano Julia Faulkner.This year’s apprentices hail from Oregon High School, River Valley High School, Madison East and Madison West High Schools. Throughout our season, they have been attending rehearsals and performances, and meeting with guest artists to learn more about opera, from the page to the stage. The masterclass is the culminating event of the apprenticeship, and as with last year’s, it was a thrill to hear these young singers perform and learn from Professor Faulkner. The program included a range of material, from Cesti to Barber, and it’s safe to say everyone rose to the occasion. Here are some pictures from the event:

    Recording session humour

    A nod to Chrstie Connolley of Operagasm for bringing to my attention this really fantastic footage of Birgit Nilsson during a recording session of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung (the final notes of the final opera in his epic Ring Cycle, to be exact). The orchestra and crew decided to play a little joke on Ms. Nilsson…

    A few of us here in the office are gearing up for our own encounter with The Ring in June. We’re seeing Die Walküre at LA Opera during Opera America’s 2010 Conference. More on that soon.

    Madison Opera on Wisconsin Public Radio

    Get ready to relive the magic: Wisconsin Public Radio will broadcast Madison Opera’s 2009-2010 season performances of Bizet’s Carmen and Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman starting this Saturday, May 15th at Noon with Carmen. The Flying Dutchman will air on Saturday, May 22nd at Noon. Listen online or tune into WERN 88.7 locally. Click here for more information and to view in-studio interviews with General Director Allan Naplan, Artistic Director John DeMain, and guest artists Katharine Goeldner and Turid Karlsen.

    *Note: Due to constraints in The Playhouse, The Turn of the Screw was not recorded for broadcast.

    Where are they now?

    The opera world is small to begin with, but lately it seems like Madison Opera artists are in the news every day. Here’s an update on some recent Madison Opera singers (and conductors, and composers) making headlines:

    • Bradley Garvin (The Flying Dutchman, 2010) will sing the role of the Animal Trainer in Lulu at the Metropolitan Opera, opening this weekend.
    • Mr. Garvin replaced David Pittsinger (Faust, 2009) in the role, who has also had an exciting season at the Met. He was most recently seen as the ghost of Hamlet’s father in Ambroise Thomas’ Hamlet, broadcast nationally as part of the Met Live in HD Series. Mr. Pittsinger continues his run in South Pacific on Broadway as well.
    • Susanna Phillips (La boheme, 2007) was just named the Beverly Sills Award Winner by the Metropolitan Opera.
    • Katharine Goeldner (Carmen, 2009) will reprise her seductive performance in the title role of Carmen at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in October 2010.
    • Jill Gardner (Faust, 2009) will perform the title role in Tosca with the Boston Lyric Opera in November 2010.
    • Caroline Worra (The Turn of the Screw, 2010) will perform the title role in Agrippina with the Boston Lyric Opera in 2011.
    • Tenor David Lomeli (Faust, 2009) makes his New York City Opera debut as Nemorino in The Elixir of Love in the spring of 2011.
    • Tenor Stephen Costello (Rigoletto, 2006) is currently receiving rave reviews for his performance as Greenhorn in the world premiere of Moby Dick at Dallas Opera.
    • Soprano Nicole Cabell (The Magic Flute, 2006) recently performed the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Musetta in La boheme at the Metropolitan Opera.
    • Conductor Leonardo Vordoni, who made his U.S. debut conducting Madama Butterfly in 2008 with Madison Opera, recently made his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut with The Marriage of Figaro, followed by performances of Moses in Egypt with Chicago Opera Theater.
    • Shining Brow (1993) composer Daron Aric Hagen will have his opera Amelia premiered at Seattle Opera this month.

    Of course, the list could easily go on. So many wonderful singers who have worked with Madison Opera continue to do exciting, exceptional work around the world. Do you have a favorite Madison Opera artist you’d like us to check in on?