August 2012 Event Highlights

August is filled with this-month-only festivals, concerts and celebrations, plus exciting plays and exhibitions

Angels Among Us

If you can’t make it to Florence this summer, head to the Chazen Museum of Art for Offering of the Angels: Paintings and Tapestries from the Uffizi Gallery (August 24–November 25, chazen.wisc.edu). The exhibition showcases forty-five rarely seen works from the world-renowned Italian museum. Find paintings and tapestries by Italian Renaissance and Baroque masters such as Botticelli, Tintoretto and Titian.

Jazzed Up

Jazz at Five (August 8–September 5, jazzatfive.org) brings new fun to Wednesday evenings. The five-week outdoor concert series, held at the top of State Street, features Charles McPherson’s neo-bebop (August 8), the big band sound of the Madison Jazz Orchestra (August 15), the jazz traditions of Cuba and Puerto Rico in MadiSalsa (August 22) and Grammy-winning John Jorgenson’s gypsy swing (August 29).  

Auto Fun

The second Sunday in August brings together some fun elements: wine, food, live music and classic cars. That’s when Botham Vineyards host its Vintage Celebration. (August 12, bothamvineyards.com). Now in its seventeenth year, the event showcases cars from the 1920s to 1990s. Guests enjoy the festivities on the vineyard’s scenic grounds, and some dress in period costume.

Dance Party

The Monona Terrace rooftop is the place to be Friday nights thanks to Dane Dances (August 3–31, danedances.org), the month-long summer music series that combines great bands, eclectic food and four thousand visitors ready to dance and have fun. Musical acts range from funk and Motown to salsa and merengue to rock and R&B. 

 

Classically Speaking

With Greg Hettmansberger

Much of the allure of summer performances of classical music comes from the setting: Mozart wafting toward you while a breeze washes over you during the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s Concerts on the Square (August 1, wcoconcerts.org) can hardly be duplicated in Overture Center.

Since 1989 the performances proper have been indoors—albeit in the rustic enclosure known affectionately simply as “the barn”—but the Token Creek Chamber Music Festival (August 22–September 2, tokencreekfestival.org) always has that outdoors feeling about it. And as John and Rose Mary Harbison bring us the newest addition, they will indeed encompass the outdoors of Rose Mary’s former family farm as never before.

The first event is “Earthwalk Earthtalk,” with Bill Jordan and Steve Glass speaking on the ecological restoration of the area; the evening will be complete with nature walks and informal music and refreshments outdoors.

Three performances of the jazz program will for the first time feature a male vocalist, Ricky Richardson, with much Gershwin, some of it lesser known. The final two performances, “Outdoor Gratitude,” offer a newly discovered Bach aria, Harbison’s “Crane Sightings,” and some Boccherini and Mozart.

As always, tickets may be scarce, as longtime fans know that the Token Creek Festival is the perfect bridge between the close of outdoor music and the beginning of the fall season.

Want more classical coverage? Visit Greg Hettmansberger’s Classically Speaking blog.

Kidding Around

The Kids from Wisconsin show troupe hits Oregon and Monona Grove high school stages this month (August 20 and 25, kidsfromwisconsin.org). The talented young singers and dancers from around the state showcase tunes from Jersey Boys, the big band swing era and more.

Jam On

Fans of folk, country, Cajun and bluegrass music won’t want to miss the Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival (August 3–4, sugarmaplefest.org). Held at Madison’s Lake Farm County Park, the outdoor fest combines workshops, jam sessions and performances celebrating traditional music through a diverse lineup of artists.

Love Songs

Four Seasons Theatre offers a romantic escape with A Little Night Music (August 10–19, fourseasonstheatre.com). Performed in the Overture Center Playhouse, the Stephen Sondheim musical explores love in all its forms through the lives of different couples, along with such songs as “Send in the Clowns” and “Weekend in the Country.” 

Star Power

She’s a guitarist, singer, songwriter. An American music icon and nine-time Grammy winner. And Bonnie Raitt headlines Overture Center (August 20, overturecenter.com) as a stop on her 2012 tour following the spring release of her nineteenth album, Slipstream. Gospel legend Mavis Staples opens.

Less is More

Shakespeare’s epic Pericles is a story of more than fifty characters spanning fifteen years and five countries, typically presented as a costumed romance. Broom Street Theater (August 10–September 1, bstonline.org) takes a more minimalist approach, with seven actors and a handful of props conveying the dramatic story of shipwrecks, reunions, sailors, nuns, prostitutes, knights and goddesses. 

Delicious Sounds

Don't miss the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra in the eleventh annual Concert in the Park (August 8, gialamas.com). Bring a blanket and picnic and enjoy an instrument petting zoo and ice cream social before the performance.  

Katie Vaughn is managing editor of Madison Magazine. Find more arts and entertainment coverage in Liberal Arts.

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