Tom Strini
On Stage 3/15-21

Artsy abundance, wrapped neatly for you, boyo

By - Mar 15th, 2011 04:00 am


Alessandra Volpe, one of two Florentine “Italian girls.”

And Daniela Mack, the Florentine’s other Italian girl.

Both opera companies will open Italian-language comic operas at the same time on the same night. Even more weird: Skylight artistic director Bill Theisen is guest director for the Florentine Opera’s staging of Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri. That’s The Italian Girl in Algiers, as you’ll read in supertitles while they sing it in Italian at Marcus Center Uihlein Hall at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 18-20. It seems the local sultan is smitten with the Italian girl his pirates captured. Hijinks ensue. Tickets are $28-$108 at the Florentine website and ticket line, 414 291-5700.

Fake beatniks put modern love to the test in the Skylight’s “Cosi fan Tutte.” Carol Blanchard costume design.

Meanwhile, over at the Cabot Theater of the Broadway Theater Center, the Skylight Opera Theatre’s cast will sing Lorenzo da Ponti’s libretto to Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte (roughly, They all do it or maybe Woman are like that) in English. (By policy they sing everything in English at the Skylight.) Two soldiers bet that their girlfriends won’t cheat on them while they’re gone. Hijinks also ensue. Only the Skylight’s updated it to 1959; instead of Albanians, sub in beret-wearing beatnik. Cosi opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday and runs through April 3. Tickets are $23-$65 at the Skylight website at the Broadway Theatre Center box office, 414 291-7800.

I’m pleased to say that the two companies are acting like partners rather than competitors. The Florentine, the Skylight and Next Act Theatre are offering a joint package that includes both operas and Next Act’s A Sleeping Country (opening March 24) for $100. Really, you can’t touch that. The Florentine is handling the package; call 291-5700 ext. 224, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. through Friday.


Chaconne dancers Patricia Beaman and Carlos Fittante.

At 5 p.m. Saturday, March 19, Early Music Now will present Sinfonia New York in The Art and Ecstasy of the Chaconne, from the Streets of Spain to the Mind of Bach. The Chaconne started life as a lascivious dance and ended up an intensely brainy organizing principle for non-dance music. (The Spanish Inquisition, as usual, ruined everything.) John Scott, Judson Griffin (violin and viola), Claire Jolivet (violin), Theresa Saloman (violin and viola), Christine Gummere (cello), Sandra Miller (flute and piccolo), Grant Herreid (lute and theorbo), Avi Stein (harpsichord), Nell Snaidas (soprano), and Patricia Beaman and Carlos Fittante (Baroque dancers) will show you what the chaconne is all about. They will play at the UWM Zelazo Center, 2419 E. Kenwood Blvd. (5 p.m. is the correct time; they call it Early Music Now for more than one reason.)

General admission tickets are $25, $10 for students; preferred seating is $40, $20 for students. Buy online at Early Music Now website or call 414 225-3113. Early Music Now’s annual Silent Auction and Chocolate Reception will precede the concert at 3 p.m. Sinfonia New York concert tickets are also available at the UWM Fine Arts Box Office, 414 229-4308.

Iva Bittova performs with Present Music Saturday.

Crossover styles from world music, especially from Eastern Europe, are the hottest thing going in whatever it is we’re calling the classical tradition or the avant-garde or new music. Of course Kevin Stalheim and Present Music are all over it. To wit: Iva Bittová is coming to town to perform with Present Music at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19, at the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center, downtown at 790 N. Van Buren St. Tickets are $30 and $20, $5 for students, at the Present Music website and by phone, 414 271-0711 ext. 2. Bittová, from the Czech Republic, sings and plays violin (often at the same time) and composes. She does straight-ahead folk music, improvises a lot, and blends in jazz and more fully composed music. Like lots of musicians these days, she’s hard to categorize. Also on the program: The second performance anywhere of Steve Reich’s new Double Sextet.

Jazz pianist Vijay Iyer, on Alverno Presents.

So, on Saturday you got your old music, your new music, and now your jazz: The Vijay Iyer Trio will play on the Alverno Presents series at 8 p.m. on March 19, in the intimate Wehr Hall at Alverno College. Pianist Iyer, bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore cover familiar music (Stevie Wonder songs and music from West Side Story, for example) in their own ways. It goes this way:

Tickets are $25, at the Alverno Presents website and box office, 414 382-6044.

If you’re a little green at the gills from the week’s traditional Irish reeling and tootling, check out the MacDowell Club of Milwaukee’s Classical Celtic concert, set for 3 p.m. Sunday, March 20, at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center, 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave. Mezzo Christine O’Meally organized this program of music by Irish, Scottish and Welsh composers, including Judith Weir, Michael MGlynn, Victor Herbert, Hamilton Harty and others.  Seventeen area singers — including O’Meally — and players will perform. Tickets are $10; call 414 345-8800.




Frank Almond, the Milwaukee Symphony’s concertmaster, performs as a soloist and chamber musician all over Europe and the US. That makes it a little easier for him to reach out to A-list players from all over for his Frankly Music series. Pianist Adam Golka, who’s made a big impression as soloist with the MSO and previously on Frankly Music, and Anthony Ross, principal cellist of the Minnesota Orchestra, will play Almond’s program at 7 p.m. Monday, March 21. It will happen at Wisconsin Lutheran College Schwan Hall, 8815 W. Wisconsin Ave. The three of them will celebrate the 200th anniversaries of the births of Robert Schumann and Frédéric Chopin. The program: Chopin, 12 Etudes, Opus 10; Schumann, Five Pieces in the Popular Style, Opus 102 and Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Opus 63. Tickets are $39, $10 for students. Click on the link or call the WLC box office, 414 443-8802.


Milwaukee Chamber Theatre‘s Young Playwrights Festival. More on that here.

Patrick Schmitz listened to 75 actors, comedians and theater fans talk about theater. He drew on what they said to write a play, Back and Forth. It’s set backstage, as five actors talk things over between shows of a whodunit in a small Wisconsin town. The Alchemist Theatre, 2569 S. Kinnickinic Ave., Bayview, will premiere the show at 8 p.m. Friday,  March 18. Repeats are set for 8 p.m. Saturday, March 19; 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 20, 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 24-26; and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 27. All tickets are $15. Order online or call 414 426-4169.

You know Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, right? The one about Syracuse and Ephesus and the guy with the identical twin sons with identical twin slaves named Dromio?
Well, imagine it updated and done in rap. Then you’re getting close to The Bomb-itty of Errors, by Jordan Allen-Dutton, Jason Catalano, Gregory Qaiyum and Erik Weiner, with music by Jeffrey Qaiyum. The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre will preview the show at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and open officially at the Stackner Cabaret at 7 p.m. Sunday (March 20). It will run there through May 8. Tickets are $35 for the previews and for weekday and Sunday evening shows and for Saturday matinees. Tickets are $45 for Sunday matinees and Friday and Saturday evenings. Call the Milwaukee Rep box office, 414 224-9490, or visit the Rep’s website.


Milwaukee Repertory Theater: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Quadracci Powerhouse through March 27.
Fireside Dinner Theater: Annie!, through March 27.
Sunset Playhouse: Tuesdays with Morrie, through April 3.

Last Chance

Dublin’s Traditional Irish Cabaret, Marcus Center Vogel Hall, closes March 16.
Boulevard Theatre: Becky Shaw, closes March 20.

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