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A Musical Interlude
The Friday Five for Oct. 5


Barbara Cook performs at Alverno Presents

It’s a busy time on the arts scene. Shows that opened last week’s blockbuster weekend are still around, including Danceworks’ What’s So Funny? And, of course, the Milwaukee Film Festival. But here are some new things you won’t want to miss.

#5: The Prometheus Trio at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music:

Why? Because the trio—Scott Tisdel, Stefanie Jacob, and Timothy Klabunde—opens its 13th season with a characteristically rich program that spans a couple of centuries. A little “diversion” from Mozart, Camille Saint-Saens youthful and exuberant 1864 Piano Trio, and the 1929 trio by Frank Bridge, which proves that not all English music from the early 20th century was sweet and pastoral.

#4: Early Music Now’s Ensemble Caprice at UWM’s Zelaso Center:

Why? Because Montreal’s Ensemble Caprice is one of the great music groups in North America (the New York Times says they are a group that encourages listeners to “rehear the world’), and they are particularly celebrated for their early music programs. Here, they explore the connections between Spain and Latin America in the 16th and 17th centuries, featuring both European and South American composers and the indigenous music that inspired them.

#3: Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at the Marcus Center:

Why? Because after last weekend’s vacation in the Steppes—a Russian concert program that had patrons Mazurka-ing in the aisles—the MSO turns left at Red Square and heads west to Paris. In this program of Ravel and Debussy, Estonian conductor Olari Elts has chosen both the familiar and the not-so-. Debussy’s Prélude à l’Après-midi d’un Faune and Ravel’s Rapsodie Espagnole are probably not strangers to Impressionism fans. But Ravel’s song cycle Shéhérazade, is perhaps not on your radar—even if it should be. Soprano Karen Wierzba joins Elts in Ravel’s three richly orchestrated songs that reflect Europe’s fin de siècle fascination with the exotic East.

#2: Alverno Presents’ Barbara Cook at the Pitman Theatre:

Why? Because she’s come a long way from her 1950s Broadway debut in Candide and The Music Man. Today, at 85, Cook is still the reigning interpreter of the Great American Songbook, a fact—yes, a fact—that was recognized by her place in the 2011 Kennedy Center honors. Since her debut, she’s weathered personal problems and professional doldrums, but in the last decade, she has been at the top of her game, singing in recital programs in which her simple and tasteful takes on the classics—Stephen Sondheim in particular—can fully flower.

#1: The Nightmare Room at In Tandem Theatre:

Why? Because Arthur Conan Doyle wasn’t only about Holmes and Watson. The Nightmare Room (not to be confused with the kids horror series by R.L. Stine) was one of Conan Doyle’s Tales of Terror and Mystery, first published in 1921. Produced recently in London as a two-person dramatic thriller by John Goodrum, In Tandem is giving the play its American premiere. You might think of it as a Victorian version of The Bachelor—two women vie for the love of a desirable movie star. But instead of kitsch, this story is filled with surprising twists and turns. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone. 

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