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Madison’s Opera in the Park Goes online July 25

A performance by Madison Opera in conjunction with Opera in the Park.
WKOW file photo
A performance by Madison Opera in conjunction with Opera in the Park.

MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison Opera’s Opera in the Park isn’t in a park this year, but it will be available for people to enjoy for free in their backyards, in their living rooms, in their kayaks, or anywhere else with an internet connection.

The digital concert will be released on Saturday, July 25 at 8 p.m. Central, and can be watched on Madison Opera’s website,

The evening is hosted by Madison Opera’s General Director Kathryn Smith and WKOW TV’s 27 News co-anchor George Smith.

Join Kathryn Smith and the Digital Opera in the Park artists for a post-concert discussion immediately following the initial stream on July 25, including an opportunity to ask questions.

The announcement was made Thursday in a news release:

The annual free concert has moved online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a newly created program of opera arias and more. Digital Opera in the Park features soprano Jasmine Habersham, soprano Karen Slack, tenor Andres Acosta, and baritone Weston Hurt. Habersham makes her Madison Opera debut with this unique performance, and will sing Susanna in the company’s production of The Marriage of Figaro next April. Slack debuted with the company in Dead Man Walking, and will be part of the company’s digital fall season. Acosta sang Timothy Laughlin in Fellow Travelers with Madison Opera this past February. Hurt debuted as Germont in La Traviata last season and is part of the company’s digital fall season.

The four singers are joined on the program by violinist Suzanne Beia and a fleet of pianists. John DeMain and Scott Gendel play multiple numbers, including DeMain accompanying Beia on the beautiful “Méditation” from Thaïs. Each singer recorded their arias with an accompanist in their home cities, and chorusmaster Anthony Cao both accompanies and conducts the Madison Opera Chorus in a virtual “Anvil Chorus” from Il Trovatore.

“Reimagining Opera in the Park in the pandemic era has been a challenge, but one we have happily embraced,” says Smith. “Our wonderful artists were game to record themselves in their home towns, to sing duets with each other through headphones, and to share their artistry with our community in a new way. Over 40 choristers joined a zoom call to get instructions, and then recorded their parts of the ‘Anvil Chorus.’ While in some ways this concert has required more work than our live Opera in the Park in Garner Park, it is always a pleasure to present beautiful music for everyone to enjoy.”

Digital Opera in the Park features music from Verdi’s Il Trovatore, originally slated to open Madison Opera’s 20/21 season; Bock’s She Loves Me, which the company performs in January; and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, which will be performed in April. The program also includes selections from The Pearl Fishers, Arabella, Don Pasquale, Tosca, Hérodiade, William Tell, La Tabernera del Puerto, Thaïs, South Pacific, and more.

The concert will remain online until Aug. 25, allowing for both repeated viewing and flexibility for people who are unable to watch on the first night.

While Digital Opera in the Park will be free to watch, it would not be possible without the generous support of many foundations, corporations, and individuals who believe in the importance of music. Madison Opera is grateful to the sponsors of Opera in the Park 2020:

  • Presenting Sponsor: the Berbeewalsh Foundation
  • Sponsors: the John and Carolyn Peterson Charitable Foundation, Full Compass Systems, the Raymond B. Preston Family Foundation, University Research Park, Colony Brands, Johnson Financial Group, MGE Foundation, National Guardian Life, Wisconsin Arts Board, Dane Arts, and the Madison Arts Commission.
  • Media Sponsors: WKOW, Madison Magazine, Wisconsin Public Radio, Magic 98, and La Movida.

Related event details and artist biographies are enclosed. For concert repertoire, press photos, or to schedule artist interviews, please contact or 608.238.8085.

Opera on the Wall | July 25, 2020 | Online

Madison artists Liubov Swazko (known as Triangulador) and Mike Lroy have created artwork around our community, including beautiful murals on State Street storefronts. In an act of artistic cross-pollination, they will create an artwork that comes from their personal response to Digital Opera in the Park, offering a rare glimpse of visual artists responding to musical artists. Their creative process will be filmed in the Madison Opera Center, and shared online starting on July 25. The finished artwork will be displayed in the Madison Opera Center. Visit Swazko’s website at and Lroy’s website at to see their past work.

Digital Prelude Dinner | July 25, 2020 | 7 p.m.

To both support several local restaurants and raise funds for Opera in the Park, Madison Opera has partnered with Food Fight Group to offer a digital Prelude Dinner. Four Food Fight restaurants around town – Cento, Fresco, Bar Corallini, and Craftsman Table and Tap – will offer special 3-course menus for pick-up or delivery on July 25. Prelude Dinner participants will also receive glow sticks, a private pre-show talk with Kathryn Smith and the artists, and more. Each meal is $75 per person and must be ordered by July 17. Menus and ordering information are at

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