Happy New Year from the UW-Madison School of Music!
University Opera’s Albert Herring wins award from the National Opera Association
Albert Herring, an opera composed by Benjamin Britten and produced by University Opera in October, 2014 at Music Hall, has won third place in Division III of the National Opera Association‘s annual opera production competition. The opera was directed by interim director David Ronis and conducted by Kyle Knox, a graduate student studying conducting with professor James Smith.
It is the first NOA award for UW-Madison and the fourth for Ronis, whose previous wins came while he taught at Queens College in New York City.
All photographs by Michael R. Anderson
This past weekend, Ronis collected the award at the association’s yearly meeting in Indianapolis. “When I arrived in Madison, I felt that the quality of the work being done by University Opera was of a very high caliber, certainly of the level of other college and university opera departments that I had seen win awards,” Ronis said in an email. “So I thought, ‘Why not? We’ve got nothing to lose.’ So I submitted both last year’s productions of Albert Herring and The Magic Flute and I guess it paid off.”
“Good opera has been produced by UW-Madison for years. It’s just very gratifying to have the recognition of a national organization,” he continued.
The competition is blind, meaning that performing companies are not identified to judges. Those eligible include small professional opera companies and opera training programs from academic institutions, music conservatories, summer opera training programs, and opera outreach programs. Entries are separated into seven divisions by the judges; the criteria include the size and scope of institution’s music and opera program and the level of vocal training of the singers in the cast.
Congratulations to University Opera!
Mark your calendars now for University Opera’s spring show, Transformations, Conrad Susa’s thought-provoking opera from 1973. Susa’s chamber opera for eight singers and eight players is an adult re-telling of ten classic fairy tales (among them, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel) as seen through the eyes of poet Anne Sexton. Sexton’s struggle with mental illness frames the darkly humorous and audaciously recounted tales, filled with mid-twentieth-century references, both literary and musical. Performance dates are March 11-15, 2016. Buy tickets here.
Third “Schubertiade” coming January 30 to Mills Hall!
(Please note ticketing and parking tips below!)
In homage to a beloved composer, the UW-Madison School of Music will present its third annual Schubertiade, an evening of songs, piano duets and chamber music by Franz Schubert, one day before the composer’s 219th birthday.
All photographs by Michael R. Anderson
The concert will take place on Saturday evening, January 30 at 8 p.m. in Mills Concert Hall. The concert is hosted by pianist Martha Fischer, who is professor of collaborative piano and piano at the School of Music, and her pianist husband Bill Lutes, emeritus artist-in-residence. Alumna soprano Jamie-Rose Guarrine, who has sung with many major opera companies including Wolftrap in Washington, D.C., the Santa Fe Opera, the Minnesota Opera, as well as Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera and Madison Opera, will be a guest soloist. Guarrine now teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
The program will include a major work for piano duet, the Allegro in A minor, known as “Lebensstürme” or Life’s Storms, performed by Fischer and Lutes. Guarrine will sing one of Schubert’s final works, the delightful “Shepherd on the Rock,” along with Fischer and clarinet faculty Wesley Warnhoff.
Additional guests will include UW-Madison voice faculty Mimmi Fulmer and Paul Rowe; current University Opera director David Ronis; alumni singers Daniel O’Dea and Benjamin Schultz; current DMA candidate Sara Guttenberg; soprano Marie McManama; UW-Madison horn faculty Daniel Grabois; UW-Madison faculty violinist Soh-hyun Park Altino; UW-Madison faculty violist Sally Chisholm; adjunct professor of clarinet Wesley Warnhoff; alumnus cellist Ben Ferris; and Leo Altino, cellist, the husband of Park Altino.
Tickets are $15.00 for adults. Students of all ages are free.
Tickets are available through the Union Theater Box Office. Patrons may buy online ($4 fee) or save the fee and buy in person at Memorial Union or in Mills lobby day of show.
Please note: We recommend that patrons arrive early, both to secure a parking spot and to buy a ticket (if you haven’t already). Parking will be tight due to UW hockey, but parking passes may be ordered two weeks in advance to guarantee a space.
To buy a parking spot, complete this online request form or call the Special Events Office at (608) 262-8683. Please allow two weeks for processing. In the box for “special instructions,” please indicate “Schubertiade.” [Note: This form may be used for any concert.]
Meanwhile, Martha Fischer has won “Musician of the Year” from local blogger and former Capital Times arts editor Jake Stockinger.
He writes: “Fischer is a first-rate collaborator who performs and records regularly with other faculty instrumentalists and singers. They include UW trombonist Mark Hetzler, trumpeter John Aley and singers, baritone Paul Rowe and soprano Julia Faulkner, who has since moved on to the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
“A model of the Wisconsin Idea in action, Fischer also serves as a juror for piano competitions, gives talks around the state and helps recruit talented students.
“As a researcher, Fischer – who trained at the Juilliard School, Oberlin College and the New England Conservatory of Music — traveled to England and interviewed famous collaborative pianists about playing Schubert’s art songs.” Thanks, Jake! Read his full post here.
And one more: UW-Madison’s classical side was lauded in Isthmus’s “Best of 2015” list, via concert reviewer and emeritus history professor John Barker. Among his favorites were last year’s “Schubertiade” concert in January with pianist Martha Fischer, Bill Lutes and many friends; pianist Christopher Taylor at the Madison Symphony in Feb; David Ronis, James Smith and University Opera’s Marriage of Figaro in Sept; David Ronis and Marc Vallon with Madison Bach Musicians; and many alumni who performed with the brand-new Willy Street Chamber Players over the summer. Meanwhile, jazz studies prof Johannes Wallmann was complimented by writer Marc Eisen. “A jazz scene plus,” Eisen writes.
Mark your calendar! Pianist Christopher Taylor will perform solo at the School of Music on February 26. On the program: the French Suite No.1 in D minor, BWV 812 of Johann Sebastian Bach; 12 Etudes, Op.8 of Aleksandr Scriabin; and Piano Sonata No.1, Op.1 of Johannes Brahms. Read more here.
NEXT ISSUE: We’ll announce the winners of our annual Concerto Competition and invite you to hear them perform solo at Symphony Showcase, Feb. 14.
Alumni News: Nathaniel Wolkstein, Jonathan Posthuma.
Hire a Musician!
Do you seek one or more musicians for your wedding, private party, corporate event, or church service? Our students routinely gig in the community and now there’s an updated place for you to advertise. See this website and send your request to the email listed. Note: All arrangements are made between the students and the employer.
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