The Music Continues
Madison Opera’s Digital Fall
Although the pandemic has closed the Overture Center for the Arts this fall, Madison Opera is not going silent. We are creating a fall season that lasts from September through December, and includes both digital content and live performances at the Margaret C. Winston Madison Opera Center, our home in downtown Madison.
All content will be available to subscribers for at least one month from the “live” date, so you can watch at your leisure, and as often as you wish.
Below is the initial scheduled of content; more will be added in the coming months.
Digital Fall Subscription
A Digital Fall subscription is just $50 per household. It can be purchased on its own, or as part of a new subscription package.
How does Digital Fall work?
About 48 hours before each event, subscribers will receive an email with the private link to that event. (You may need to check your spam folder). If you have not received an email the day before an event, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you the link directly.
The link remains active for one month, so if you cannot watch an event live – or want to re-watch it – you won’t miss out.
The theaters may be silent, but the Margaret C. Winston Opera Center will not be! Our Rehearsal Hall is perfect for music-making, shared directly with you. All concerts are available to subscribers for one month, so if you miss the live stream, you can still enjoy the music.
Jeni Houser and David Blalock
Saturday, September 26, 7:30 pm
Featuring the world premiere of “Keep Moving” by Scott Gendel
Married singers Jeni Houser and David Blalock have a long history with Madison Opera. Jeni was one of our first Studio Artists in 2012, and has returned many times, most recently as Anne in A Little Night Music. David debuted in Fidelio (2014), and both artists sang at Opera in the Park 2019. This past season, Jeni and David made (separate) Metropolitan Opera debuts, and were slated to sing the leads in Orpheus in the Underworld in Madison.
The Wisconsin residents will launch our Live from the Opera Center series in a joint recital, accompanied by principal pianist Scott Gendel. Scott is also an acclaimed composer, and the recital will feature the world premiere of his song cycle “Keep Moving,” set to poetry by Maggie Smith, which he is writing specifically for Jeni and David.
Sunday, November 1, 7:30 pm
A Tribute to Giorgio Tozzi
Kyle Ketelsen is in regular demand by the world’s leading opera companies and orchestras. In the past year, he has sung leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Zurich Opera, Hamburg Opera, and Washington National Opera.
Kyle makes his home here in Wisconsin with his wife and teenage children. He sang with Madison Opera early in his career – including at the very first Opera in the Park in 2002 – and has continued to stay close to the company.
Now he sings at the Madison Opera Center for the first time in a tribute to the great American bass Giorgio Tozzi, who was Kyle’s teacher at Indiana University.
Tozzi’s career spanned decades at the Metropolitan Opera, as well as many Broadway musicals – even dubbing the vocals for the film of South Pacific. Kyle’s salute to his late teacher will feature music from great operas and musicals – and probably a story or two. Soprano Emily Secor joins him for this special evening.
Emily Fons and Amanda Majeski
Saturday, November 21, 7:30 pm
An Evening of Friendship
Mezzo Emily Fons met soprano Amanda Majeski when they were young artists in the Ryan Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, where they sang in many operas and concerts together. They have remained friends ever since, as their careers have taken them separately to stages around the world, from the Metropolitan Opera to Santa Fe Opera, from London to Tokyo.
Both singers make their homes in Wisconsin – Emily in Milwaukee, Amanda in Sheboygan – and now they come to Madison to sing together at the Madison Opera Center. Join them for a program of arias and duets that embrace the magic of story-telling and the comfort of harmony.
Saturday, December 19, 7:30 pm
An Evening of Holiday Cheer
Will Liverman debuted with Madison Opera in 2015 as Figaro in The Barber of Seville and returned for Charlie Parker’s Yardbird and Opera in the Park. In recent seasons, the baritone has sung leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and more. The winner of the 2020 Marian Anderson Vocal Award, he will open the Met’s season in September 2021, starring in Terrence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones.
A truly versatile musician, he is also writing a new opera with DJ / recording artist K. Rico, which will be developed in partnership with Lyric Opera of Chicago. Called The Factotum, it reimagines The Barber of Seville, placing it in a present-day Black barbershop in Chicago.
Now Will returns to Madison for a special holiday evening, sure to brighten spirits. Join us!
We are following local health authority advice carefully.
What Makes a Man a Man
Kenneth Kellogg, bass
Kevin Korth, piano
“As a Black Artist, more often than not, when I take on a role, I’m stepping into characters that were written for people who don’t look like me. I’m a visitor, even in that imaginary world, and I have to act the part.” – Kenneth Kellogg
Join Madison Opera online for an important part of our Digital Fall. Bass Kenneth Kellogg, who was scheduled to sing Ferrando in Il Trovatore with us, shares a very personal musical journey in “What Makes a Man a Man.”
What makes a man a man? As the opera industry begins to grapple with its culture surrounding issues of racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion, this question becomes a very meaningful one. Who gets the opportunity and who does not? What roles are allowed a certain group of people and which are not? Whose stories are told and whose are not? From what perspective are those stories told?
Mr. Kellogg has assembled a program that features arias from three contemporary operas and one art song:
** “Hello, My Son” from Blue; music by Jeanine Tesori, libretto by Tazewell Thompson
** “The Summer King in Winter” from The Summer King; music by Daniel Sonenberg, libretto by Daniel Nester and Sonenberg
** “What Makes a Man a Man” from Champion: An Opera in Jazz; music by Terence Blanchard, libretto by Michael Cristoer
** “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Howard Swanson, with poetry by Langston Hughes
Mr. Kellogg says: “These operas are the only times I have been able to step into a character that was specifically written for someone who looks like me. Representation matters, and I offer these pieces to give voices to characters that, even in our imaginations and creations, are often unheard.”
to be released October 29, 2020
Weston Hurt Shares Some Favorite Arias
Weston Hurt, baritone
Bethany Self, piano
Weston Hurt made his Madison Opera debut last season in one of his signature Verdi roles, Germont in La Traviata, and was scheduled to return this fall for another great Verdi role, Count di Luna in Il Trovatore.
Although he can’t be in Madison, he filmed some other favorite baritone arias for our digital subscribers: two arias by Verdi (from Un Ballo in Maschera and Falstaff), one by Puccini (from Edgar), and one by Gounod (from Faust).
to be released November 10, 2020
La Voix Humaine by Francis Poulenc
presented in partnership with Austin Opera
Soprano Karen Slack, recently seen at digital Opera in the Park (and originally scheduled to sing Leonora in Il Trovatore this fall) will star in a newly-imagined production of Francis Poulenc’s acclaimed 1959 monodrama about a woman calling her ex-lover on the phone (“the human voice”). Fenlon Lamb, who directed La Traviata last season and was slated to direct Il Trovatore, collaborates with Karen on this unique production.
Release date TBA.
Miss the operatic conversation? Join us online! Opera Up Close is a favorite event for Madison Opera subscribers, usually featuring a discussion of the upcoming opera from a historical context and with cast members. For digital fall, this conversation is reimagined via technology to discuss broader opera topics, featuring favorite Madison Opera company members, interviewed by Kathryn Smith.
Opera Up Close Cocktail Hour takes place on Sundays, 4 – 5:30 pm. Subscribers will have the opportunity to ask questions both in advance and during the talk.
Madison Opera Alumni:
Emily Fons, Kyle Ketelsen, & Will Liverman
Sunday, Sept. 20, 4-5:30 pm
Many singers have debuted at Madison Opera early in their careers, before going on to sing around the world. Kyle Ketelsen (MO debut 2000), Emily Fons (MO debut 2012), and Will Liverman (MO debut 2015) join us for a wide-ranging discussion about their careers, training paths, and so much more.
Fenlon Lamb, Kristine McIntyre, & Doug Scholz-Carlson
Sunday, October 18, 4 – 5:30 pm
In many ways, being a stage director is an isolating job, as every production only has one, and they almost never get to collaborate with each other. Stage directors Fenlon Lamb (La Traviata), Kristine McIntyre (Dead Man Walking, The Tales of Hoffmann), and Doug Scholz-Carlson (A Little Night Music, Romeo & Juliet) come together for a discussion about their work, the paths that took them in an operatic direction, where they see our field headed, and more.
Anthony Cao, Deborah Gil, Robert A. Goderich, Dale Kaufman, & Scott Seyforth
Sunday, November 15, 4-5:30 pm
The wonderful Madison Opera chorus have sung nobility, peasants, nuns, prisoners, and everything in between, in music spanning three centuries. Join chorusmaster Anthony Cao and several choristers for their unique operatic perspective. You get to hear them sing all the time – now it’s time to hear what they have to say!
Karen Brown-Larimore, R. Eric Stone, & Connie Yun
Sunday, December 13, 4-5:30 pm
Opera performances are more than the singing. Every production stars the work of talented specialists who create a world on the stage, drawing the performers and audience into a different place.
Join lighting designer Connie Yun (La Traviata, Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci), set designer R. Eric Stone (A Little Night Music), and costume designer Karen Brown-Larimore (A Little Night Music, Florencia en el Amazonas) for a broad-ranging discussion about their work, their training, and how their creative and technical talents combine to create magic on stage.
*Participants subject to change.
For the past six years, every production has launched with Opera Novice, an introduction to aspects of opera for the uninitiated. Despite the “Novice” title, the talks have developed into a survey of operatic topics that are likely to interest opera omnivores, too. Reaching both back into her files and then expanding them, Kathryn Smith will present a series of Opera Novice talks online.
All Opera Novice talks take place on Thursdays at 7 pm. Audience will have the opportunity to send in questions both in advance and after the talk.
Opera That Flopped
Thursday, September 10, 7 – 8 pm
Opera and Politics
Thursday, October 8, 7 – 8 pm
Thursday, November 5, 7 – 8 pm
Thursday, December 3, 7 – 8 pm
Kathryn will solicit topics from subscribers and pick one to research and create in December
Upcoming Digital Fall Events
Madison Opera Debut: Jaquino, Fidelio (2014)
Recently at MO: Opera in the Park 2019
Recently: Pong, Turandot (Metropolitan Opera); Alfredo, La Traviata (Arizona Opera); Pelléas, Pelléas et Mélisande (West Edge Opera); Don Ottavio, Don Giovanni (Pensacola Opera, Opera Hong Kong); Nemorino, The Elixir of Love (Piedmont Opera); Sam, Street Scene; Lysander, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Virginia Opera); Ferrando, Così fan tutte (Opera San Jose)
Costume Designer & Supervisor
Madison Opera Debut: The Elixir of Love (1997)
Madison Opera Costume Supervisor since 1997
Recently: Opera for the Young; Madison Ballet; Skylight Music Theater; Madison Savoyards; Northern Skies Theater; UW-Madison Opera and Theater; Children’s Theater of Madison
Madison Opera Debut: The Marriage of Figaro (2010)
Madison Opera Chorus Master since 2010
Director of Choirs, Madison West High School
Madison Opera Debut: Opera in the Park 2012
Recently with MO: The Barber of Seville
Recently: Hansel, Hansel & Gretel (Canadian Opera Company, Michigan Opera Theatre); Angelina, La Cenerentola (Atlanta Opera); Poppea, The Coronation of Poppea (Opera Theatre of St. Louis); Laurene Powell Jobs, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (Seattle Opera); Cherubino, The Marriage of Figaro (San Diego Opera)
Composer and Pianist
Madison Opera Debut: The Tender Land (2008)
MO Principal Accompanist since 2008
As a composer, collaborators include Yo-Yo Ma (Madison Choral Project) and Stephanie Blythe (San Jose Chamber Orchestra); recent commissions include Opera for the Young and Sparks & Wiry Cries.
Former Madison Opera Studio Artist
Madison Opera Debut: Ensemble, Acis & Galatea (2013)
Recently at MO: Opera in the Park 2019; Anne Egerman, A Little Night Music; Olympia, The Tales of Hoffmann; Amy, Little Women; Johanna, Sweeney Todd
Recently: The Queen of the Night, The Magic Flute (Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera, Dallas Opera); The Golden Cockerel, The Golden Cockerel (Dallas Opera); Viv, Companionship (Fort Worth Opera); Frantzi, Die Weiden (Vienna State Opera); La Charmeuse, Thaïs; Susanna, The Marriage of Figaro (Minnesota Opera); Zerbinetta, Ariadne auf Naxos (Austin Opera)
Madison Opera Debut: Germont, La Traviata (2019)
Recently at MO: Opera in the Park 2020
Recently: Rigoletto, Rigoletto (New Orleans Opera); Germont, La Traviata (Seattle Opera, Portland Opera, Opera San Antonio); Sharpless, Madama Butterfly (Seattle Opera); Creon, Medea (Opera Omaha); Scarpia, Tosca (Nashville Opera)
Madison Opera Debut
Recently: The Father, Blue (Glimmerglass Festival); Ulderico / Zenovito, Sigismondo (Opera Rara); Ribbing, A Masked Ball (Opera de Oviedo); Sparafucile, Rigoletto (Sacramento Opera); Father Palmer, Silent Night (Washington National Opera); Ashby, La Fanciulla del West (Maryland Lyric Opera); Young Emile Griffith, Champion (Opera Parallèle); Sam Bankhead, The Summer King (Michigan Opera Theater, Pittsburgh Opera)
Madison Opera Debut: La Bohème (2000)
Also with MO: Opera in the Park (2015, 2005, 2004, 2002); Enrico, Lucia di Lammermoor (2008); Friar Lawrence, Romeo & Juliet (2004); Ferrando, Il Trovatore (2003); Leporello, Don Giovanni (2002)
Recently: Leporello, Don Giovanni (Washington National Opera, Staatsopera Hamburg, Opéra de Lyon); Escamillo, Carmen (San Francisco Opera, Metropolitan Opera); King of Scotland, Ariodante (Lyric Opera of Chicago); Golaud, Pelléas et Mélisande (Metropolitan Opera); Selim, Il Turco in Italia; Graf Rodolfo, La Sonnambula (Opernhaus Zürich)
Madison Opera Debut: La Traviata (2019)
Recently: Riders of the Purple Sage (Arizona Opera); Hansel & Gretel, Tosca (Palm Beach Opera); Don Giovanni (Pensacola Opera); Madama Butterfly (Inland Northwest Opera); Carmen (Bar Harbor Music Festival, Annapolis Opera, North Carolina Opera); Scalia/Ginsburg (Opera Delaware); Charlie Parker’s Yardbird (Arizona Opera)
Madison Opera Debut: The Barber of Seville (2015)
Recently with MO: Opera in the Park 2017, Charlie Parker’s Yardbird
Recently: Silvio, Pagliacci (Opera Colorado); Papageno, The Magic Flute; Horemhab, Akhnaten (Metropolitan Opera); Pantalone, The Love of Three Oranges (Opera Philadelphia); Foreman at the Mill, Jenůfa (Santa Fe Opera); Schaunard, La Bohème (Santa Fe Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Dallas Opera); The Pilot, The Little Prince (Tulsa Opera)
Madison Opera Debut
Recently: Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni (Lyric Opera of Chicago); Fiordiligi, Così fan tutte (Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera); Composer, Ariadne auf Naxos (Santa Fe Opera); Iphigénie, Iphigénie en Tauride (Staatsopera Stuttgart); Kat’a, Kat’a Kabanovà (Royal Opera House, London); Vitellia, La Clemenza di Tito (Opéra National de Paris)
Madison Opera Debut: Così fan tutte (2009)
Recently with MO: Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci, Florencia en el Amazonas, The Tales of Hoffmann, Dead Man Walking, A Masked Ball
Recently: La Voix Humaine, Glory Denied, Wozzeck, Flight, Billy Budd (Des Moines Metro Opera); Glory Denied (UrbanArias); Moby-Dick (Chicago Opera Theater, Opera San Jose, Pittsburgh Opera, Utah Opera); Don Giovanni (Palm Beach Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Utah Opera)
Madison Opera Debut: The Tender Land (2008)
Recently with MO: A Little Night Music, Romeo & Juliet, The Barber of Seville, The Turn of the Screw
Recently: Shakespeare in Love, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Cymbeline, As You Like It (The Great River Shakespeare Festival); Romeo and Juliet, The Pirates of Penzance, The Liar, Snow Queen (Park Square Theatre); Romeo & Juliet (Austin Opera)
Former Madison Opera Studio Artist
Madison Opera Debut: Mrs. Nordstrom, A Little Night Music (2019)
Recently at MO: Miss Lightfoot, Fellow Travelers; Annina, La Traviata; 1st Wood Sprite, Rusalka
Recently: Gretel, Hansel and Gretel; Nightingale / Country Lass, The Enchanted Child (University of Northern Iowa)
Madison Opera Debut: Sister Rose, Dead Man Walking (2014)
Recently at MO: Opera in the Park 2020
Recently: Serena, Porgy and Bess (Metropolitan Opera, Fort Worth Opera); Billie, Fire Shut Up In My Bones (Opera Theatre of St. Louis); Tosca, Tosca (Opera Birmingham); Sister Rose, Dead Man Walking (Atlanta Opera, Minnesota Opera, Vancouver Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City); Addie Parker, Charlie Parker’s Yardbird (Arizona Opera); Micaëla, Carmen (Mill City Summer Opera); Emelda Griffith, Champion (New Orleans Opera, Opera Parallèle)
R. Eric Stone
Madison Opera Debut: A Little Night Music (2019)
Recently: Shakespeare in Love, All’s Well That Ends Well, Richard III, As You Like It, The Glass Menagerie, Hamlet (Great River Shakespeare Festival);The Crucible, American Idiot(University of Iowa); Ralph Lemon’s Scaffold Room (Walker Art Center and National Tour). Associate Professor and Head of the Design Program for the University of Iowa.
Madison Opera Debut: La Bohème (2015)
Recently with MO: La Traviata, Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci
Recently: As One, La Finta Giardiniera, Orfeo ed Euridice, La Cenerentola, The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, Così fan tutte (Portland Opera); Black Beauty, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Seattle Children’s Theatre); The Turn of the Screw, Béatrice et Bénédict, An American Dream (Seattle Opera); The Magic Flute (Kentucky Opera); Skylight (ACT Theatre)