UW Opera says goodbye to director Farlow with a Berlioz comedy

Top:  Anna Whiteway (Hero). Bottom: Daniel López-Matthews (Bénédict) and Lindsay Metzger (Béatrice).
Top: Anna Whiteway (Hero). Bottom: Daniel López-Matthews (Bénédict) and Lindsay Metzger (Béatrice).

A Delightful Comedy to Usher Out a Veteran Director

Photographs by Max Wendt

Madison, WI – Veteran director William Farlow’s final opera takes the stage in University Opera’s spring production of Hector Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict. Sung in French with English surtitles by Christine Seitz, the work will be given three performances—Friday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, April 13 at 3:00 p.m. and Tuesday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m.  All shows will be presented at the Carol Rennebohm Auditorium in Music Hall on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

“My time here has been the most extraordinary and rewarding of my career,” says Farlow. “One of my greatest joys has been to help develop young singers for the professional world,” he says. Those singers include James Kryshak, Emily Birsan, and Jamie van Eyck.

For his last show, Farlow has chosen a delightful comedy, full of friendly trickery and an unlikely match made in heaven. The storyline is modeled on Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing, telling the story of a young man who scoffs at love and marriage. “Women are as “gentle as a thistle,” he thinks, but in the end, he is convinced (or is it hoodwinked?) into marrying Beatrice. “The opera ends with a duet, as Beatrice and Benedict admit their true feelings. OK, they concede, they really are in love, at least for today. Perhaps they’ll be enemies again … but not until tomorrow” (National Public Radio, 2009: read more here.)

The opera’s overture is also justly famous. In this video clip, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra is joined by conductor Peter Oundjian in Berlioz’s Beatrice et Benedict: Overture, performed in February, 2011 at the Sydney Opera House.

During his sixteen seasons with University Opera, Farlow has brought to life over thirty opera productions and an equal number of scenes performances. His career has taken him to Scotland, Mexico, Canada, and throughout the United States, and has worked with artists such as Placido Domingo, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Carlo Maria Giulini. Click here for a feature story about William Farlow.

The current show cast includes undergraduate and graduate students as well as alumni from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, supported by the UW Symphony Orchestra under the direction of James Smith.  The roles of Béatrice and Bénédict will be performed respectively by Lindsay Metzger and Daniel López-Matthews, and the role of Héro will be portrayed by Anna Whiteway. Erik Larson will appear as Don Pedro, and Jordan Wilson will perform the role of Claudio. The cast will be joined by University Opera alumni Benjamin Schultz and Kathleen Otterson, who will perform the roles of Somarone and Ursule. Schultz currently works as the assistant director of the School of Music, and Otterson is a senior music instructor at Edgewood College and also serves as music director at Christ Presbyterian Church. Her local career is marked by appearances with Madison Opera and Madison Savoyards, and she is a member of the UW Opera Props Board of Directors.

Chorus members includes Arren Alexander, Aimee Teo Broman, Emi Chen, Tia Cleveland, Kyle Connors, Meg Huskin, Jennifer Kuckuk, Kirsten Larson, William Ottow, Michael Ward, Eric Wilson, and Fred Younger.

Left to right:  Daniel López-Matthews (Bénédict), Lindsay Metzger (Béatrice), and Anna Whiteway (Hero).
Left to right: Daniel López-Matthews (Bénédict), Lindsay Metzger (Béatrice), and Anna Whiteway (Hero).

Production and music staff includes assistant conductor Kyle Knox, costume designers Sydney Krieger and Hyewon Park, technical director and set designer, Greg Silver, lighting designer Steven M. Peterson, scenic artist Liz Rathke, vocal coach and musical preparation Thomas Kasdorf, and chorus master Susan Goeres.

Tickets are $22.00 for the general public, $18.00 for senior citizens and $10.00 for UW-Madison students, available in advance through the Campus Arts Ticketing office at (608) 265-ARTS and online at http://www.arts.wisc.edu/  (click “box office”). Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Wisconsin Union Theater Box Office Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 12:00–5:00 p.m. and the Vilas Hall Box Office, Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m., and after 5:30 p.m. on University Theatre performance evenings.  Because shows often sell out, advance purchase is recommended.  If unsold tickets remain, they may be purchased at the door beginning one hour before the performance.  The Carol Rennebohm Auditorium is located in Music Hall, at the foot of Bascom Hill on Park Street.

In an effort to help patrons find parking on campus, the Campus Arts Ticketing office is offering prepaid parking permits for a guaranteed parking spot on the evenings of ticketed UW arts events for $5.  Preorder your permit online at http://arts.wisc.edu/map (5 days or more in advance; $1 handling fee) or call (608)-265-ARTS (3 days or more in advance; $1 handling fee).

University Opera is a cultural service of the School of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Its mission is to promote professional training and practical performing experience for student singers, conductors and pianists and, when possible, provide opportunities for student designers, actors and dancers.  For more information, please contact Christina Kay at christina.kay2012@gmail.com. Or visit the School of Music’s web site at music.wisc.edu.

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