Friday Five: The Season Begins

A Mozart opera and international music party highlight this week’s offerings.

#5: Florentine Opera’s Season’s Sampler at The Center

Leroy Y Davis
Leroy Y Davis

Why? Because it’s a great way to get a glimpse of the season ahead, and to meet the new Florentine Studio artists, who have come here from some of the most prestigious music schools in the United States. Ariana Douglas, Katherine Fili, Leroy Y. Davis, and Thomas Leighton will sing excerpts from the backbone of the season ahead, including excerpts from Madama Butterfly, Die Fleidermaus, and Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers.

#4: Tartuffe at Off the Wall Theatre

Why? Because you never know what Dale Gutzman has in store when he turns to a classic. And it doesn’t get much classic-er than Moliere’s much-loved satire of moral hypocrisy. Gutzman’s new translation sets the play in contemporary times, though we have no idea where he’ll find modern-day hypocrites to poke fun at. Familiar OTW actors Randall Anderson, Jacqueline Roush and Marilyn White lead the cast.

#3: Still Life at UW-Milwaukee’s Inova Gallery


Why? Because Thorson’s Solo Flight—staged here last year courtesy of Alverno Presents—showed her to be one of the more physically and conceptually adventurous dancers working today. The “dance installation” Still Life offers riches as well, exploring the theme of “extinction” and taking inspiration from museum dioramas and exploring the fact and emotional resonances of death and inertia. As an installation, Still Life is open to visitors during the afternoons on Friday and Saturday.

#2: Alverno Presents’ Global Union at Humboldt Park

Why? Because it’s a good time to celebrate 10 years of an idea whose time had come. The city’s favorite day-long international jam session turns the old Humboldt band shell into a showcase for the polyglot music of the world. This year, the music comes from Niger, Poland, Columbia, and that exotic land known as Montreal, the home of Boogat, who has worked with hip-hop musicians from all over the world. The forecast is promising.


#1: The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Cosi Fan Tutte at the Marcus Center

Soprano Brenda Rae Photo by Kristen Hoebermann
Soprano Brenda Rae
Photo by Kristen Hoebermann

Why? Because Edo de Waart is one of the most sought after opera conductors in the world. So why shouldn’t we have cause to hear and see him help shape a composer’s complete dramatic vision? After last season’s rousingly successful Don Giovanni, the MSO presents another Mozart-DaPonte opera, the fizzy and charming comedy about matters of the heart. As before, there’s a first-rate cast of singers, including soprano Brenda Rae and mezzo Cecelia Hall. James Darrah once again is here to direct the semi-staged production, with de Waart at the podium.



Paul Kosidowski is a freelance writer and critic who contributes regularly to Milwaukee Magazine, WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio and national arts magazines. He writes weekly reviews and previews for the Culture Club column. He was literary director of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater from 1999-2006. In 2007, he was a fellow with the NEA Theater and Musical Theater Criticism Institute at the University of Southern California. His writing has also appeared in American Theatre magazine, Backstage, The Boston Globe, Theatre Topics, and Isthmus (Madison, Wis.). He has taught theater history, arts criticism and magazine writing at Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.