Month: July 2016

In the Park with Gary Thor Wedow

In the Park with…

Gary Thor Wedow
Conductor, Opera in the Park

1.  Where were you born / raised? 
LaPorte, Indiana.  I’m a native Hoosier, also attended Indiana University (go Big Red!)

2.  What is in your ideal picnic basket?
Fried chicken, potato salad (I’m a curious connoisseur of potato salads), pickles, pea salad, and some sort of cake (carrot???) for dessert.

3.  My most memorable moment performing outside was…
Difficult question to narrow down; several as I am a veteran of the Santa Fe Opera and also a former marching band member.  Perhaps the funniest was when the last act of The Rake’s Progress needed to be delayed because a pair of amorous skunks had taken up residence in the last act set and wouldn’t be dislodged; after much consultation and planning, there was a carefully directed flood of water at their hangout and they scurried away, disgruntled and definitely not fans of opera.

4.  My favorite outdoor performance I’ve attended was…
An Elektra at the Santa Fe Opera which took place in a lightning storm surrounding us as if planned by the gods.

5.  My favorite summertime activity is…
Hiking, walking, gardening, being lazy on a lake.

6.  My ideal vacation is….
I love “staycations” as I travel so much and I love being home in New York City, but also enjoy traveling.  I’m lucky in that often at the end of many of my gigs I can have a mini vacation to explore a new city or area.

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
Q:  How did you get the name Thor?
A:  My grandfather was Carl Thor, a proud Swede, and I inherited his name.  By trade a woolens designer and head weaver, he was always the first trumpet in the local city bands and came from a long line of musicians.  I’m very grateful to him and my family for their musical support.

Join Gary for Opera in the Park on Saturday, July 23 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE admission; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

In the Park with Sidney Outlaw

In the Park with…

Sidney Outlaw
Baritone, Opera in the Park

1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Brevard, in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina.

2.  What is in your ideal picnic basket?
I like food in general and I try to eat clean on a regular basis.  So my ideal basket would be any kind, as long as it had good food in it.

3.  My most memorable moment performing outside was…
A cabaret performance I did for Marilyn Horne at Music Academy of the West.

4.  My favorite outdoor performance I’ve attended was…
I saw Nabucco at L’Arena di Verona while competing in Placido Domingo’s Operalia.

5.  My favorite summertime activity is…
Working out and doing Crossfit / Olympic weight lifting early in the morning.

6.  My ideal vacation is….
Going to Ibiza and hanging out for awhile.

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
Q:  What type of music do you listen to besides opera?
A:  Mainly R&B / hip-hop, but all kinds.  My favorite singer is Janelle Monae.

Join Sidney for Opera in the Park on Saturday, July 23 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE admission; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

In the Park with Scott Quinn

In the Park with…

Scott Quinn
Tenor, Opera in the Park

1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Marshall, Texas.

2.  What is in your ideal picnic basket?
Ribeye steak, mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, and sweet tea.

3.  My most memorable moment performing outside was…
Singing my first Rodolfo in La Bohème at the Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston when it was 90 degrees and I had to pretend it was the middle of winter.

4.  My favorite outdoor performance I’ve attended was…
Watching the Texas Rangers win their first pennant.

5.  My favorite summertime activity is…
It’s a toss-up:  golf or fishing.

6.  My ideal vacation is….
Beach / golf / deep sea fishing in Destin, Florida.  I’ve been going there since I was 3.

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
Q:  If you could have dinner with any three people past or present, who would they be?
A:  Frank Sinatra, Babe Ruth, and Jim Carrey.

Join Scott for Opera in the Park on Saturday, July 23 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE admission; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

In the Park with Angela Brown

In the Park with…

Angela Brown
Soprano, Opera in the Park

1.  Where were you born / raised? 
Indianapolis, Indiana.

2.  What is in your ideal picnic basket?
Cheese, grapes, mock chicken salad (I’m a vegetarian), chips, a bottle of moscato, citronella candles, and good bread or crackers.

3.  My most memorable moment performing outside was…
In Garfield Park, outside Indianapolis, I was singing a moving spiritual, “Lord, How Come Me Here.”  At one of the poignant moments in the song, a bug flew in my mouth and I had to swallow.  The exact words I was singing were: “I wish I never was born”!!!

4.  My favorite outdoor performance I’ve attended was…
The Indiana Black Expo’s Summer Celebration Concert in downtown Indianapolis at the American Legion Mall.  It occurs every summer.

5.  My favorite summertime activity is…
Swimming!!!

6.  My ideal vacation is….
Driving anywhere with my family in tow.

Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer).
Q:  Where do you get your jewelry?
A:  It’s my own creation from my jewelry company, “It’s a DIVA thang!” (www.itsadivathang.com)

Join Angela for Opera in the Park on Saturday, July 23 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE admission; visit madisonopera.org for more information.

In the Park with Emily Birsan

In the Park with…

Emily Birsan
Soprano, Opera in the Park

1.  Where were you born / raised? 
I was born in Appleton, Wisconsin – the Fox Valley.  I was raised in Appleton, Green Bay, Dubuque, and North Carolina.  I went to middle school and high school in Neenah, Wisconsin, so by majority rules…  I was raised in the Midwest.  🙂

2.  What is in your ideal picnic basket?
CHEESE, cheese, and more cheese.  And stuff to put cheese on.  I also love olives, grapes, artichokes, roasted pepper spread, and of course, you can’t forget some wine!  I have been into syrah / cabernet blends lately.

3.  My most memorable moment performing outside was…
I had many great moments in Chicago with the Grant Park Symphony, but a favorite of mine was for a Stars of Lyric concert where I was covering a soprano whose flight was delayed.  I sang the Mad Scene from Lucia di Lammermoor with sirens and the sounds of Chicago in the distance!

4.  My favorite outdoor performance I’ve attended was…
Nina Simone – it was the must fun jazz outdoor vibe I’ve ever seen.

5.  My favorite summertime activity is…
Camping and hiking with a lake nearby.  I live in the Hudson Valley, New York, area, where there are mountains, streams, and lakes.  My dog Rosie loves to hike and explore the trails with me.  It’s a great way to exercise and meditate / enjoy the quiet.

6.  My ideal vacation is….
Bali!!  For the lush forests and beaches.  Rich eastern culture.

Join Emily for Opera in the Park on Saturday, July 23 at 8pm in Garner Park.  FREE admission; visit madisonopera.org for more information.