A Journey Through Madison's Classical Music Scene
Classically Speaking
A Singer without a Pedigree Gives a Life and Death Performance

04/17/14

A Singer without a Pedigree Gives a Life and Death Performance

Baritone Michael Mayes brings his definitive portrayal of the title character of 'Dead Man Walking' to Madison

Posted at 11:53 AM | Permalink | Comments

Farlow’s UW Opera Farewell an Afternoon of Smiles

04/14/14

Farlow’s UW Opera Farewell an Afternoon of Smiles

In his last production for University Opera, William Farlow directs an attentive and great sounding cast in Berlioz’s “Beatrice et Benedict”

Posted at 05:20 PM | Permalink | Comments

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra Goes Big Before Going Home

04/13/14

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra Goes Big Before Going Home

Andrew Sewell invites a whole bunch of old friends on to the Capitol Theater stage to close the indoor season

Posted at 07:57 AM | Permalink | Comments

When DeMain Is Away, How Does the Madison Symphony Play?

04/07/14

When DeMain Is Away, How Does the Madison Symphony Play?

Guest conductor Julian Wachner produces a blistering first half, followed by a mostly fine Mozart “Requiem”

Posted at 09:45 AM | Permalink | Comments

St. Bernard Players’ 'South Pacific' Has Enchantment and More

03/21/14

St. Bernard Players’ 'South Pacific' Has Enchantment and More

The community theater group serves up a classic where the whole experience is greater than the sum of its parts

Posted at 09:31 AM | Permalink | Comments

Fresco Opera Brings a New Kind of March Madness to Madison

03/11/14

Fresco Opera Brings a New Kind of March Madness to Madison

“Opera Smackdown” is the company’s latest scheme to introduce opera to the wary—and spice it up for traditional fans

Posted at 09:56 AM | Permalink | Comments

A Piano Concerto Doubleheader, and Beethoven to the Max

03/08/14

A Piano Concerto Doubleheader, and Beethoven to the Max

Yefim Bronfman teams up with DeMain and the Madison Symphony for some unforgettable Beethoven

Posted at 07:39 AM | Permalink | Comments

Sound Ensemble Wisconsin Gives Chamber Music the Gourmet Treatment

03/04/14

Sound Ensemble Wisconsin Gives Chamber Music the Gourmet Treatment

“SEWing Taste & Sound, Bite by Byte” highlights Beethoven and…A Pig in a Fur Coat

Posted at 09:56 AM | Permalink | Comments

For Pro Arte Quartet, the Hits Just Keep On Coming

03/03/14

For Pro Arte Quartet, the Hits Just Keep On Coming

It wasn’t just a world premiere that made Saturday’s performance special

Posted at 01:28 PM | Permalink | Comments

Pro Arte Quartet’s New CDs Renew a Legacy

02/24/14

Pro Arte Quartet’s New CDs Renew a Legacy

Albany Records’ 2-CD set “The American Premieres 2011-2012” captures the heart of a the Pro Arte’s centennial season

Posted at 04:28 PM | Permalink | Comments

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About This Blog

Years before I contributed my first classical review to the Los Angeles Times in 1988, I started a class in music appreciation for adults that had one aim: to put a few cracks in the “ivory tower elitism” I found pervasive in the classical music world since my boyhood days. Whether as a critic, program annotator or band director, that goal has never changed. After all, Mozart and Beethoven and the gang wrote their music for people like you—not critics or professors!

After growing up in the suburbs of New York City, and spending twenty years in and around Los Angeles, the last twelve years here leave me more amazed than ever at the musical riches of Madison. I’m a cheerleader at heart, because I always think more people would become classical fans if they’d give it a chance—but I’m also quick to tell you when you’re not getting your money’s worth. Classically Speaking brings you as much news and as many reviews as possible, and I hope you’ll join me for a fabulous musical journey.

–  Greg Hettmansberger
Follow Greg on Twitter @ghettmansberger

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