A Journey Through Madison's Classical Music Scene
Classically Speaking
A Magical Musical Tour—With a Whole Bunch of Memories

05/14/14

A Magical Musical Tour—With a Whole Bunch of Memories

“The Original Hyperion Fox Trot Orchestra” returns to delight, instruct—and raise some money

Posted at 01:49 PM | Permalink | Comments

Madison Symphony Closes Season With Two Legacies

05/03/14

Madison Symphony Closes Season With Two Legacies

“A Gershwin Legacy” has a musical meaning for the concert—and for John DeMain’s career

Posted at 01:05 AM | Permalink | Comments

'Dead Man Walking' Conquers Another City

04/26/14

'Dead Man Walking' Conquers Another City

Madison Opera’s presentation of the Prejean/Heggie/McNally masterpiece lives up to all of the advance billing

Posted at 01:28 AM | Permalink | Comments

Full Extension: Madison Opera Ready to Raise the Curtain on 'Dead Man Walking'

04/25/14

Full Extension: Madison Opera Ready to Raise the Curtain on 'Dead Man Walking'

An afternoon and evening with Sister Helen Prejean and Jake Heggie wraps up nearly two months of “Extending the Stage”

Posted at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments

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

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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