Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Two Celebrations of Classical Music This Month

Events go in waves. Last week we had Brian Leahy Doyle writing about renovated Wisconsin opera houses (the book is called Encore). Tonight we have the Florentine Opera presenting Opera Insights, a preview of "Tosca", which, by the way, got a standing O at the Wauwatosa Public Library.)

Alas, this is the same time that theaters around the country are showing the new Metropolitan Opera Production of "Tosca." Thanks to Third Coast Digest for pointing out that opera collision. Let's just say that according to the New York Times, this Met production didn't fare as well. I normally wouldn't hawk these tickets ($22, our event is free), but eh, what the heck? It's hard for me to resist a link.

We've got two classical music events coming up too.

On November 8th, Norman Gilliland is doing a presentation on "What's Wrong with Classical Music?", somewhat based on his new collection, Scores to Settle. Gilliland is known to Milwaukeeans for his hosting of "University of the Air" and "Old Time Radio" on WHAD, but in other cities where you get Wisconsin Public Radio's classical music network, he's a well-known classical music announcer (for some readon, DJ doesn't seem to work here). Gilliland's book itself is a collection of anecdotes about the stories behind great classical music moments.

Then, on November 30th, Stephen Basson is talking about the legacy of Kurt Oppens, acclaimed annotator of the Aspen Music Festival. Basson is the retired principal bassoonist of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and we had an interesting conversation on what an icon Oppens was for him and for other musicians. The book, Kurt Oppens: An Aspen Legacy, is edited by Nancy Thomas and Jane Jaffe. Here's a story about Oppens from the Aspen Times.

So will we be able to keep up these events highlighting classical music and opera? Well, a talk with the Skylight is in the works, and we're expecting to do more Opera Insights with the Florentine as well. In fact, it's time to start reading Elmer Gantry--we're not only doing a preview, but we're also reading it in February for our in-store lit book group.

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