$30 general public
$25 senior citizens
$10 UW-Madison students
Benjamin Britten’s intricate and witty opera, Albert Herring will open the 2022-23 University Opera season at UW-Madison following the success of last season’s Two Remain (Out of Darkness) by Jake Heggie and Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. One of Britten’s few comedic operas, Albert Herring explores the themes of lost innocence, social stratification, Victorian morality, and the coming of age.
Three performances will be presented at Music Hall on the UW-Madison campus: November 18 at 7:30 pm, November 20 at 2 pm, and November 22 at 7:30 pm. The Mead Witter School of Music’s Director of Orchestral Activities, Oriol Sans, will conduct a chamber ensemble comprised of members of the UW-Madison Symphony and Karen K. Bishop Director of Opera, David Ronis, will direct the production.
Britten’s score for Albert Herring is equally as complex and beautiful as his most serious operas and the libretto by Eric Crozier inspires some of his most sensitive musical writing. The piece displays a good measure of levity as it tells a story as old as time, contrasting the values of older and younger generations. With the town’s May Day Festival approaching, Lady Billows is scandalized and shocked by the lack of moral virtue in the young women of East Suffolk and is left with no choice but to appoint a King of the May rather than a May Queen. Her committee of advisors suggests the young Albert whom they don’t view as particularly bright but is perceived as virtuous and a good son. Albert, put upon by his strong-willed mother, is forced to accept this appointment. But, in a bold move of self-actualization fueled by a bit of alcohol, he breaks free from small town conventions and uses his prize money to pursue the life experiences he so desperately desires. This all too familiar story of the conflict between generations ignites Britten’s hilarious opera and is bound to put a smile on anyone’s face regardless generational affiliation.
March 3-7, 2023Music Hall
Opera Workshop Performances
November 29, 2022 at 7:30 pm
April 11, 2023 at 7:30 pm
Since 2015, UW-Madison has been the proud recipient of seven National Opera Association Opera Production Awards (Albert Herring, Le nozze di Figaro, Transformations, L’incoronazione di Poppea, Into the Woods, Così fan tutte and The Turn of the Screw). Our production of Transformations garnered the 2nd Place Charles Nelson Reilly Directing Award in the American Prize’s 2018 competition and Into the Woods received a Third Place award in the Musical Theater Production category in 2020.
We present an annual season of two fully staged operas, as well as evenings of opera scenes and one-act operas. In recent seasons, repertoire has also included La bohème, L’incoronazione di Poppea, Into the Woods, Die Zauberflöte, The Magic Flute, A Kurt Weill Cabaret, Don Giovanni, Ariodante and Béatrice et Bénédict.
In addition to main stage presentations, University Opera offers Opera Workshop, a course dedicated to the study of operatic staging skills and opera repertoire, culminating each semester in performances of scenes and one-act operas, as well as Acting for Singers, a two-semester sequence focusing on acting techniques specific to the operatic stage. Students have the opportunity to perform around the state for outreach programs in schools and arts centers.
University Opera frequently hosts prestigious guest artists in concerts and master classes. Recent guests include Ben Heppner, Dawn Upshaw, Brenda Rae, Brenda Harris, Gary Thor Wedow, Daniel Belcher, Nathaniel Stampley, and Barbara Bonney. For 2020, we are proud to present a master class taught by Renée Fleming in the newly opened Collins Recital Hall.
Support University Opera
University Opera’s season is made possible by the support of alumni, friends, and community organizations. Due to the significant costs of producing opera, the university can fund only a small fraction of our budget. Generous donors have helped underwrite productions and support students who would not otherwise have been able to attend UW–Madison.
We are deeply grateful for the assistance of The Karen K. Bishop Fund for Voice and Opera, The Ann Crow Fund for Voice and Opera, and to The Dara Elizabeth Welty Fund for helping make a high-quality season available to our students and audiences. Our goal is an endowed annual operating fund to provide infrastructure for recruiting, training, and performance opportunities to our singers.
We welcome your inquiries about becoming part of our family of donors. To find out more, please contact Rebekah Sherman at the University of Wisconsin Foundation at 608.572.2077 or at Rebekah.Sherman@supportuw.org.
The Karen K. Bishop Fund for Voice and Opera
The friends and family of Karen K. Bishop, utilizing the generous opportunity of the Morgridge Match program, endowed an opera director professorship in her name following her untimely death in January of 2015. A proud alumna of the School of Music, as well as an active scholar, performer and philanthropist, Dr. Bishop was a devoted supporter of the Opera program from which she received her D.M.A. degree in 2011.
With the success of the professorship, Karen’s husband, Dr. Charles W. Bishop, called for the creation of a committee for advancement work to ensure the success of the voice and opera program for years to come. The committee, which consists of Charles Bishop, members of the School of Music faculty and staff as well as friends and supporters from the larger Madison community, has identified four critical needs for the opera program:
1. An additional endowed professorship in voice to ensure that the School of Music can attract and retain the highest caliber of faculty to support its student performers.
2. Student financial support to provide fellowships, teaching assistantships, scholarships and awards for graduate and undergraduate students in order to recruit best quality talent around the country and the world, making UW-Madison one of the best schools in the country for voice and opera studies.
3. Underwriting support for opera productions to provide the highest quality musical and dramatic experiences for our students and audiences.
4. Funding to renovate the Opera Program’s historic Carol Rennebohm Auditorium in Music Hall to provide professional experiences for our students.
You can join in strengthening the UW-Madison opera program by giving at the following levels of support. Donors who make gifts to this fund will be recognized in ongoing opera programs.
Levels of support for the Karen K. Bishop Fund for Voice and Opera, with examples of impact to the program.
Awards for students for travel/summer program; production costs
Awards for voice/opera students; production costs.
Scholarships and awards for students; production costs.
The Prima Donna
Support for scholarships, awards, fellowships and teaching assistants.
The Producer Circle
Underwriters for one or more University Opera productions; fellowships; scholarships.
The Bishop Circle
$50,000 or more
Endow portions of the voice and opera program, including professorships, scholarships and fellowships.
Or, if you prefer, make a check payable to University of Wisconsin Foundation and note “Bishop Fund for Voice and Opera” in the memo line. Please mail your check to University of Wisconsin Foundation, US Bank Lockbox, Box 78807, Milwaukee, WI 53278-0807.
Learn More About Giving
For more information about giving opportunities, contact Rebekah Sherman at 608.572.2077 or at email@example.com