The Art of Opera Glasses

Madison Opera’s Golden Anniversary Gala on April 30th will include a one of a kind silent auction called “The Art of Opera Glasses”. For the auction, local artists and friends of the opera have generously created unique pieces inspired by the operatic art form, all utilizing opera glasses in some way. Here’s a sampling so far, with more to come:

Artist: Jennie Nuese, “Setting”
Artist: Laurie Rossbach
Artist: Beth Heeney
Artist: Karen Juno

Artist: Phoebe Saunders, “Ric Rac Golden Anniversary Gala Edition”
Artist: Sarah Stob
Artist: Mary Jo Scandin, “La Traviata”

Video: A Conversation with the Cast of La Traviata

If you can’t already tell, we have a fantastic group of guest artists in town for La Traviata. Last week, we were lucky enough to hear what some of them have to say about Verdi’s masterpiece: the characters, the music, the production, and why it makes a great opera if you’ve never been before. Here’s the video:

*On a technical note, apologies for any inconsistencies in the video’s editing/quality – we’re trying out some new technology and haven’t quite mastered it yet!

Italian tenor Giuseppe Varano makes U.S. debut in Madison

Buzz has been building for some time now around the the U.S. debut of Italian tenor Giuseppe Varano. His 2010 performances as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland earned Mr. Varano praise for his “shining” (Osterbottens Tidning) and “breathtaking” (Das Opernglas) voice. A young tenor on the rise with credits throughout Europe, he has also recently appeared as Pinkerton at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna and as Alfredo at Opera Graz, opposite Marlis Petersen as Violetta. Other highlights include Rodolfo in La bohème at the opera houses of Messina, Rimini and Leipzig, and the title role in Faust at the Teatre Principal de Palma in Spain. Future engagements include debuts at Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Colorado and Deutsche Opera am Rhein.

On a personal note, Giuseppe has proved an exceptionally gracious colleague and has expressed great pride as the cast’s “Italian ambassador.” We feel incredibly lucky to have him with us, and look forward to some exciting Verdi singing in La Traviata next week!

(Just in case you can’t wait until next week, check out Giuseppe’s YouTube channel, with excerpts from past productions.)

Join the #operaplot 2011 contest, featuring a Madison Opera prize!

It started as a dorky classical music meme on Twitter and is now a beloved annual contest, with rules, prizes, and formidable guest judges. That’s not to say #operaplot has lost its street-cred. Rather, if you don’t have any clue what we’re talking about, it’s high time you learned and, more importantly, participated!

Here’s the deal: #operaplot is an annual Twitter contest where participants tweet summaries of operas in 140 characters or less using the hashtag #operaplot. You have all week to tweet your ingenious #operaplots, at the end of which world-renowned opera star Eric Owens will pick his favorites. And guess what, if you’re chosen, you get a prize from this list of opera tickets, CDs, giveaways, and more. Details and regulations are online.

If you’re wondering why you should participate, we have even more motivation for you this year: added to the prize-pool is a pair of tickets to any production from Madison Opera’s 2011-2012 season, which we’re announcing on Monday, April 18th! Impress Judge Owens and you may just find yourself front and center in Overture Hall next year.

So what are you waiting for? Start tweeting today!

Confused or need some inspiration? Check out the winning tweets from last year!

A big thanks to #operaplot organizer The Omniscient Mussel!