If you aren’t already familiar with Portal Wisconsin, I encourage you to take a look at their website. It’s a great resource to keep up on all of the arts and culture happening in Wisconsin. They’ve also just published a guest blog of mine about Opera in the Park, “Opera for Everyone”:
The Onion recently published a headline that, predictably, made me chuckle: “Nation’s Boyfriends Dreading ‘Free Event in the Park’ Season.” Yes, it is indeed “Free Event in the Park season,” but personally, that’s what makes it my favorite season. You see, I work for Madison Opera, and every year our staff and production team works hard to put on Opera in the Park (Saturday, July 17, 2010 in Garner Park), our free event in the park that has become a Madison summer tradition.
Leading American baritone Stephen Powell is in the midst of a continent-spanning career. The Wall Street Journal has praised his “rich, lyric baritone, commanding presence, and thoughtful musicianship,” and opera companies and top maestros around the world have taken notice. What a thrill to have him perform with Madison Opera at Opera in the Park 2010!
Some recent highlights from Stephen’s busy schedule include: Germont in La Traviata with the San Francisco Opera; Uncle John in Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath in concert at Carnegie Hall; soloist in Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater with Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Christoph Eschenbach conducting; the Brahms Requiem with the Baltimore Symphony, as well as the Dutch Radio Orchestra at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, both with Marin Alsop conducting; soloist in Carmina Buranawith the Cincinnati Symphony, Paavo Jarvi conducting. He also makes his Asian debut in La Traviataat the Beijing National Centre for the Performing Arts in China, under the baton of Lorin Maazel. This summer, in addition to Opera in the Park, Mr. Powell will sing his first Scarpia in Puccini’s Toscawith the Minnesota Orchestra, with wife Barbara Shirvis as Tosca.
In addition to his operatic credits, Stephen has delved into the American songbook in recitals and concert appearances across the country. Here he is singing “There but for you go I,” from Brigadoon:
Opera in the Park is just around the corner, so it’s about time we learned a bit more about this year’s fantastic guest artists, starting with tenor Rodrick Dixon.
Mr. Dixon is known for having his foot in many genres. Though primarily an operatic tenor (he recently earned raves in the title role of Der Zwerg with Los Angeles Opera, and in the Park he’ll perform Donizetti’s notoriously difficult aria “Ah! Mes amis”), Dixon has also sung on Broadway in the original cast of Ragtime and with the crossover group known as The Tenors Cook, Dixon, and Young. These YouTube videos are a case in point. Enjoy, and get excited to hear Rodrick live on July 17th!