In the Park with Kyle Ketelsen

In the Park with…


Kyle Ketelsen
Bass-Baritone, Opera in the Park

1.  Where were you born / raised? 
I was born and raised in Clinton, IA.  In many ways it’s your standard, working-class, mid-America town.  On a lovely stretch of the Mississippi, and a strong music tradition in the schools.  Quite similar to my current town, Sun Prairie, WI.

2.  What is in your ideal picnic basket?
Cheese, meat, and fruit.  Along with delivery vehicles like bread and crackers.  Red wine and/or Belgian beer.  And because that’s not fatty enough, some form of chocolate for dessert is needed.

3.  My most memorable moment performing outside was…
I think it’s a toss-up between two “Carmen” productions.  One was at the Hollywood Bowl, which is such a festive atmosphere, not to mention the amazing performers who have stepped foot on that stage.  The other was just a few weeks ago in Orange, France, in a Roman theater built in the first century.  Tremendously appreciative crowd, and the history of such a venue is exhilarating.

4.  My favorite outdoor performance I’ve attended was…
Probably the Three Tenors concert, Tiger Stadium, Detroit in 1999.  It was a wedding gift to my wife, and I was just beginning my own career.  Fascinating juxtaposition with the three men on stage, and their body of work.  Amazing!

5.  My favorite summertime activity is…
Anything with my family outside.  The Dells.  Baseball and softball games with the kids.  Cookouts!  We’ve been to many Madison Opera “Opera in the Park” concerts as viewers.  Also, NOT shoveling snow.

6.  My ideal vacation is….
Really anywhere with my family.  Opening our kids’ eyes to the world.  Historical destinations are among our favorites.  Otherwise, I think I prefer lakes and mountains to sun and beach.  So many lovely places in Wisconsin that do in a pinch!

Join Kyle for Opera in the Park on Saturday, July 25 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE admission; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

In the Park with Eleni Calenos

In the Park with…

Eleni Calenos
Soprano, Opera in the Park

1.  Where were you born / raised? 
I was born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece.

2.  What is in your ideal picnic basket?
One that includes Spanish tapas and wine.

3.  My most memorable moment performing outside was…
Singing a Mozart opera in Barbados where the stage was set by the Caribbean and the orchestra included the sounds of local birds.

4.  My favorite outdoor performance I’ve attended was…
A performance of the Bolshoi Ballet in my hometown as a child.

5.  My favorite summertime activity is…
Swimming and reading.

6.  My ideal vacation is….
A small and remote Greek island in the Aegean Sea.

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  To what extent did you have to withdraw from the common game of life to dedicate yourself to opera, and is it worthwhile after all?
A:  Every detail of my life has definitely been modified to fit the career.  I am not engaged with opera – it is marriage we are talking about.  It is true and devoted love.  So, there is no doubt that it has taken me away from usual everyday activities.  You ask me if it’s worthwhile…  My answer is, every bit.  I am hugely grateful for this never-ending source of happiness in my life.

Join Eleni for Opera in the Park on Saturday, July 25 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE admission; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

In the Park with Harold Meers

In the Park with…

Harold Meers
Tenor, Opera in the Park

1.  Where were you born / raised? 
I was born on Long Island, New York, but was raised in Pittsburgh, PA and Visalia, CA.

2.  What is in your ideal picnic basket?
Salami, soppressata, prosciutto, cheeses, and crackers.  And perhaps a vodka and soda…

3.  My most memorable moment performing outside was…
Watching the sun set over the horizon while singing La Bohème in Minneapolis.

4.  My favorite outdoor performance I’ve attended was…
Hearing my wife sing with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra in Golden Gate Park.

5.  My favorite summertime activity is…
Golf.  No contest.

6.  My ideal vacation is….
Either a golf vacation to Scotland or enjoying the sun and blue water of Hawaii (and they have golf there, too!).

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  If you could possess any other skill, what would it be?
A:  I’d love to have the ability to play killer jazz piano.

Join Harold for Opera in the Park on Saturday, July 25 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE admission; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

In the Park with Anna Laurenzo

In the Park with…

Anna Laurenzo
Mezzo, Opera in the Park

1.  Where were you born / raised? 
I was born in Des Moines, IA and grew up 15 minutes away in the suburb of Urbandale, IA.

2.  What is in your ideal picnic basket?
If someone packed me up a picnic with a nice bottle of Pinot Noir, a variety of Wisconsin cheeses, hummus, and pita chips, I would be a happy girl.

3.  My most memorable moment performing outside was…
I’ve never performed opera outdoors before!

4.  My favorite outdoor performance I’ve attended was…
Luke Bryan’s Farm Tour outdoor concert in Tallahassee, FL was truly amazing.  It had it all:  cowboy boots, pickup trucks, and crowds singing along with live country music out under the stars!

5.  My favorite summertime activity is…
Playing lawn games.

6.  My ideal vacation is….
Up north sitting on a lake in Minnesota with a cooler, limited cell phone reception, and the people I love.

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  What is one quality you wish you could change about yourself?
A:  My highly competitive approach to board games.  I absolutely love them all and it’s always fun, until I start losing….

Join Anna for Opera in the Park on Saturday, July 25 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE admission; visit madisonopera.org for more information.