Friday, July 30, 2010

WPR video of Opera in the Park

Wisconsin Public Radio was at Opera in the Park as a lead media sponsor, and their team created this fantastic video of the evening. Check it out!

Friday, July 23, 2010

What our fans are saying

 Stage view from park path (C) Brian Hinrichs

Madison Opera's Facebook fans have been vocal about their feelings for Opera in the Park. Here's what they're saying:

"What a wonderful event. It was a celebratory evening." -Michael

"It was SENSATIONAL!!! A literal sea of people for as far as you could see.... some 14,000 of us! Way to go, Madison Opera!" -Pete

"Congratulations on another spectacular Opera in the Park!" -Cate

"Came from Rockford for the show, truly wonderful" -Dena

"Bravo!!!! In a word... Wonderful!!! What a beautiful night for beautiful voices singing beautiful music ~ It is as if I slipped someone my personal request list. Again... Wonderful... Thank you to all of you~" -Rebecca

Our youngest fans (C) Brian Hinrichs

Monday, July 19, 2010

What the critics are saying

 Tenor Rodrick Dixon and soprano Anya Matanovic (C) Lucas Keapproth

Opera in the Park 2010 was a HUGE success! And we do mean huge, as a record setting audience of 14,000 people came out despite soaring temperatures and the threat of storms! I think it's safe to say they were aptly rewarded for their bravery, especially according to these stellar reviews:
 View from the chorus (C) Tom Stone

And of course, it's not too late to show your support for Opera in the Park. Donate online or simply text the word "Opera" to the number 20222 to contribute $10!

UPDATE - Here's some more coverage of the event:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Everything to know for tonight

It's here! Tonight at 8 p.m. the curtain goes up on Opera in the Park 2010. Dress rehearsal last night sounded fantastic, the weather is cooperating, and we are good to go. A great evening of opera under the stars awaits!

Here are some helpful links to prepare for your Opera in the Park experience:
It is also good to remember that food for sale in the park will include Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream and a popcorn stand, with water and Pepsi products also available for purchase. Pack accordingly, arrive early if you can, and don't worry if you can't - there's always a great spot to be discovered in the park!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Opera in the Press

Opera in the Park previews have all been published, here is a master list of links:
Plus, check out The Isthmus in print: "Bold Choices: Classical groups innovate with 2010-11 seasons," or tune into WISC-TV today at Noon and WKOW27 today at 5 and 6 p.m.

UPDATE:  Click here to watch General Director Allan Naplan on "Wake Up Wisconsin" discussing Opera in the Park, or here to watch soprano Anya Matanovich on News at 12 on WISC-TV.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

OITP Preview: Barbara Shirvis

Last but not least in our "Preview" series is Barbara Shirvis, an "authentic blonde beauty" (Opera News) and powerhouse soprano. Ms. Shirvis will be performing excerpts from The Marriage of Figaro, Rusalka, Phantom of the Opera, and A Little Night Music at Opera in the Park, and we couldn't be more excited to have her with us in Madison.

In addition to her performance with Madison Opera this summer, Ms. Shrivis will sing the title role in Tosca in concert performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, opposite her husband and fellow OITP guest artist Stephen Powell as Scarpia. Throughout her career, Mozart has been her calling card, with triumphs around the country as Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte in particular. But Ms. Shirvis's range of repertoire is wide, having conquered everything from Verdi to Ricky Ian Gordon. A frequent concert artist and recitalist, she has partnered with Powell for programs spanning the American songbook, and the Opera in the Park audience will be treated to her rendition of "Do, Re, Mi" come Saturday.

Click here to listen to a sample of Barbara Shirvis singing "Come Scoglio" from Cosi fan Tutte.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Madison Opera on TV

Madison Opera's General Director Allan Naplan and our Opera in the Park guest artists will be making the rounds on local news channels over the next few days. Here's where you can find them:
  • Thursday, July 15, 4 p.m. /  News with Carleen Wild on NBC15
  • Friday, July 16, 6:40 a.m. /  Wake Up Wisconsin on WKOW27
  • Friday, July 16, 12:20 p.m. / News 3 at Noon on WISC-TV
  • Friday, July 16, 5 & 6 p.m. / News at 5 and News at 6 on WKOW27

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Text to donate at Opera in the Park

Madison Opera is excited to announce a mobile giving option to support Opera in the Park 2010. The free event annually attracts over 13,000 people to Garner Park and offers the company a unique opportunity generate new support. Through a partnership with Give by Cell and the Mobile Giving Foundation, those interested in donating to Madison Opera can now text the word "OPERA" to the number 20222 to make a contribution of $10 in support of the Opera in the Park Fund.

Visit the Madison Opera website for details, or read below:

Here's how it works: on your mobile phone, prepare to send a text message to the number 20222, and enter the word "OPERA" as the message. After the message is sent, you will receive a confirmation text in return, prompting you to reply "YES" to finalize the transaction. Once you reply "YES," the donation is entered!

A one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. Messaging and Data Rates May Apply. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on most carriers. Donations are collected for the benefit of Madison Opera by the Mobile Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at You can unsubscribe at any time by replying STOP to short code 20222; Reply HELP to 20222 for help. 
Madison Opera will not use your phone number for future SMS solicitation. View our privacy policy.

OITP Preview: Anya Matanovic

Soprano Anya Matanovic has been called "radiant", "sweetly winning", and "glorious" by critics from Seattle to Cleveland to Jerusalem. And you can hear her at Opera in the Park this Saturday.

Born in Madison, Wisconsin and raised in Issaquah, Washington to a Slovenian father and American mother, Anya now calls New York City her home. From there, she brings her "thrilling" voice to opera stages across the country. Anya made her professional opera debut, directly from her undergraduate studies at USC, as Mimì in the Los Angeles commercial engagement of Baz Luhrmann’s Tony Award-winning production of La Bohème. More recent engagements include work with the New Israeli Opera, Seattle Opera, Kentucky Opera and Opera Cleveland. 

At Opera in the Park, Anya will sing highlights from The Marriage of Figaro as Susanna, a role she'll reprise with Madison Opera in the fall, in addition to displaying the vocal fireworks of Violetta's "Sempre libera" aria from La Traviata.

Welcome back to Madison, Anya! 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Opera in the Park program now online

I've just posted the Opera in the Park program to our website, check it out! Our four exciting guest artists along with the Madison Opera Chorus, Madison Symphony Orchestra, and Maestro John DeMain will definitely be bringing you some exciting repertoire this Saturday night.

From Mozart, Donizetti, Dvorak, Puccini, and Verdi to Weill, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, and more, there's a great mix, certainly a little something for everyone. In addition to highlighting The Marriage of Figaro, The Threepenny Opera, and La Traviata--our three mainstage productions next season--we're also marking the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music with a medley from that musical. The evening will end with a celebration of the composer Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday, featuring selections from across his legendary career.

Here's a taste of what to expect: "Libiamo" from Verdi's La Traviata, one you're sure to recognize on Saturday night:

Friday, July 9, 2010

The MET on Wisconsin Public Television

Opera lovers in Madison, the following is the July schedule for Metropolitan Opera broadcasts on WPT:
  • Sunday, July 11 at 10:30 pm: TURANDOT (Puccini)
  • Sunday, July 18 at 9:30 pm: LES CONTES D'HOFFMAN (Offenbach)
  • Sunday, July 25 at 9:30 pm: DER ROSENKAVALIER (R. Strauss)
Great repertoire and casts, I'll certainly be DVRing these.

"Opera for Everyone" on Portal Wisconsin

If you aren't already familiar with Portal Wisconsin, I encourage you to take a look at their website. It's a great resource to keep up on all of the arts and culture happening in Wisconsin. They've also just published a guest blog of mine about Opera in the Park, "Opera for Everyone":
The Onion recently published a headline that, predictably, made me chuckle: “Nation’s Boyfriends Dreading ‘Free Event in the Park’ Season.” Yes, it is indeed “Free Event in the Park season,” but personally, that’s what makes it my favorite season. You see, I work for Madison Opera, and every year our staff and production team works hard to put on Opera in the Park (Saturday, July 17, 2010 in Garner Park), our free event in the park that has become a Madison summer tradition.
Click to keep reading!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

OITP Preview: Stephen Powell

Leading American baritone Stephen Powell is in the midst of a continent-spanning career. The Wall Street Journal has praised his "rich, lyric baritone, commanding presence, and thoughtful musicianship," and opera companies and top maestros around the world have taken notice. What a thrill to have him perform with Madison Opera at Opera in the Park 2010!

Some recent highlights from Stephen's busy schedule include: Germont in La Traviata with the San Francisco Opera; Uncle John in Ricky Ian Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath in concert at Carnegie Hall; soloist in Szymanowski's Stabat Mater with Rome's Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Christoph Eschenbach conducting; the Brahms Requiem with the Baltimore Symphony, as well as the Dutch Radio Orchestra at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam,  both with Marin Alsop conducting; soloist in Carmina Burana with the Cincinnati Symphony, Paavo Jarvi conducting. He also makes his Asian debut in La Traviata at the Beijing National Centre for the Performing Arts in China, under the baton of Lorin Maazel. This summer, in addition to Opera in the Park, Mr. Powell will sing his first Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca with the Minnesota Orchestra, with wife Barbara Shirvis as Tosca.

In addition to his operatic credits, Stephen has delved into the American songbook in recitals and concert appearances across the country. Here he is singing "There but for you go I," from Brigadoon:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

OITP Preview: Rodrick Dixon

Opera in the Park is just around the corner, so it's about time we learned a bit more about this year's fantastic guest artists, starting with tenor Rodrick Dixon.

Mr. Dixon is known for having his foot in many genres. Though primarily an operatic tenor (he recently earned raves in the title role of Der Zwerg with Los Angeles Opera, and in the Park he'll perform Donizetti's notoriously difficult aria "Ah! Mes amis"), Dixon has also sung on Broadway in the original cast of Ragtime and with the crossover group known as The Tenors Cook, Dixon, and Young. These YouTube videos are a case in point. Enjoy, and get excited to hear Rodrick live on July 17th!