It’s a busy week for classical music in Madison


For those who love classical music, this week is a godsend at the Overture Center.

It started on Sunday when the Madison Symphony Orchestra performed its annual “Beyond the Score” multimedia presentation featuring three American Players Theater veterans and Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.”

On Tuesday, popular OSM organ curator Greg Zelek will welcome countertenor Reginald Mobley to Overture Hall for a program ranging from baroque works to gospel spirituals.

Next Friday and Sunday, Madison Opera’s winter opera, “She Loves Me,” will open at the Capitol Theater.

“Beyond the Score” is a concept developed in 2005 which today includes 30 different programs licensed by local symphonies. APT actors James DeVita, James Ridge and Kelsey Brennan took the stage for the first half of Sunday’s presentation, reading parts of a play purporting to recreate Stravinsky and his choreographer’s planning for the “Rite of the Spring” while the orchestra plays excerpts from the work. The second half of the program featured the orchestra playing the entire piece.

The idea is popular and the technical aspects of the presentation were skillfully done. The somewhat wooden script, however, really wasted the talent of three of Wisconsin’s top actors.

It would seem to me, at least, that the drama part of the program should be in counterpoint to the music rather than serving as some sort of boring tutorial.

Kyle Knox, associate director of the MSO and musical director of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra, conducted and did a great job. MSO bandleader John DeMain was in the audience.

Midwinter opera in Madison tends to be more modern and adventurous than the larger fall and spring productions.

“She Loves Me” is a romantic comedy with a somewhat familiar theme. It includes two clerks in a perfumery who hate each other but who, unbeknownst to each other, are love pen pals.

The theme isn’t too far removed from Cyrano and much the same story as the 1998 film, “You’ve Got Mail” and the 1940 film, “The Shop Around the Corner”. The opera version is, of course, a bit more complicated.

Greg Zelek, on his own, can sell Overture Hall. He is one of the most popular musicians in town. But you owe yourself to Google Reginald Mobley just to get an idea of ​​what a countertenor can do.

A countertenor is a man who can sing notes as high as a soprano, but he does so with the strength and range of a tenor or baritone. Mobley is one of the best around.


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