In Collaboration with Madison Opera’s Studio Artists

The WYSO Youth Orchestra will present its second concert of the 19-20 season on Friday, March 13, in a special collaboration with Madison Opera’s Studio Artists. Under the direction of WYSO Music Director, Kyle Knox, the concert will feature opera scenes and arias by Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, Wagner, Donizetti, Puccini, and Bizet. This special collaborative concert will take place at 7:00 pm at the  Hamel Music Center on the UW- Madison campus.

According to Maestro Knox, the idea for this orchestral-opera collaboration came from conversations with Madison Opera Director Kathryn Smith. Maestro Knox described their thoughts:

“It is so important for young singers to have the experience of singing with an orchestra. For all the practice that happens in vocal lessons and coaching with piano accompaniment, there is no substitute for actually singing with a large ensemble, following a conductor, and hearing and responding to the colors of an orchestra. It is an essential part of any singer’s journey. Unfortunately, the opportunities to do so are quite rare.”

Now in its eighth year, the Studio Artist Program is an important part of Madison Opera’s artistic and educational mission. The 19-20 Studio Artists are four singers in the transition between their education and their professional careers. Soprano Emily Secor, Mezzo-Soprano Kirsten Larson, Tenor Benjamin Hopkins, and Baritone Stephen Hobe all arrived at the Madison Opera via different paths. Yet, over the course of this season, they will perform small roles and under-study major roles in Madison Opera’s main stage productions, and gain significant professional experience. Additionally, in this concert, they will have the opportunity to sing with one of the top youth orchestras in the country, whose members will also have an unusual opportunity.

Maestro Knox continued, “And young instrumentalists rarely get to accompany soloists and singers. Playing opera in particular is something that tends to come much later in their careers, and for many of them, never at all.  Kathryn Smith and I thought a collaboration between her studio artists and our musicians might be (in addition to a lot of fun) a great way to give a special, and horizon- broadening experience to all of our artists.” 

Expect an unusual treat of thrilling and spectacular operatic music at 7:00 pm, March 13, at the new Hamel Music Center, 740 University Avenue, with a reception to follow. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $5 for youth, and available in advance through the Campus Ticket Office, and at the venue 30 minutes before the concert. Full concert repertoire is available below.

The WYSO Winterfest Concert series is funded by Diane Ballweg, with additional funding from the Wisconsin Arts Board, Dane Arts, Madison Arts Commission, American Girl’s Fund for Children, Eric Batterman Memorial fund, and the Coe and Paul Williams Fund for New Musicians. The performance at the Hamel Music Center was made possible by an additional gift from Martha and Charles Casey. The appearance of the Studio Artists in this program has been graciously underwritten by the Charles and Mary Anderson Charitable Fund, Charles and Martha Casey, and David Flanders and Susan Ecroyd.


WYSO / Studio Artists repertoire

Nabucco (Verdi; 1842)        Overture

Rigoletto (Verdi; 1851)         Quartet

            • Ms. Secor, Ms. Larson, Mr. Hopkins, Mr. Hobe

La Clemenza di Tito (Mozart; 1791)     “Ah, perdona, al primo affetto”

            • Ms. Secor, Ms. Larson

The Barber of Seville (Rossini; 1816)    “Ah, qual colpo inaspettato!”

            • Ms. Larson, Mr. Hopkins, Mr. Hobe

William Tell (Rossini; 1829)   Overture

Lohengrin (Wagner; 1850)      Prelude to Act I

The Elixir of Love (Donizetti; 1832)     “Una parola, o Adina”

            • Ms. Secor, Mr. Hopkins

La Bohème (Puccini; 1896)      “O Mimì, tu più non torni”

            •  Mr. Hopkins, Mr. Hobe

Carmen (Bizet; 1875)    Entr’acte to Act II

                                          Gypsy Song

            • Ms. Secor, Ms. Larson

                                          Toreador Song

            • Mr. Hobe, Ms. Secor, Ms. Larson, Mr. Hopkins





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