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.
Digital Fall Highlights
The Digital Fall Season features a roster of favorite Madison Opera singers, including cast members from the cancelled production of Il Trovatore. The current roster features:
- Suzanne Beia (Madison Opera Concermaster)
- David Blalock (Fidelio, Opera in the Park)
- Emily Fons (The Barber of Seville, Opera in the Park)
- Jeni Houser (A Little Night Music, The Tales of Hoffmann)
- Weston Hurt (La Traviata, Digital Opera in the Park)
- Kenneth Kellogg (debut)
- Kyle Ketelsen (Opera in the Park)
- Will Liverman (The Barber of Seville, Charlie Parker’s Yardbird)
- Amanda Majeski (debut)
- Emily Secor (Fellow Travelers, La Traviata)
- Karen Slack (Dead Man Walking, Digital Opera in the Park)
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!
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.”
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).
Released November 10, 2020
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