Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Press Release

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Opens Classic Season with Don Giovanni

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra opens the 2014.15 Classics series with Don Giovanni on September 13-14 & 16, 2014

By - Aug 27th, 2014 02:48 pm

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra opens the 2014.15 Classics series with Don Giovanni on September 13-14 & 16, 2014, led by Music Director Edo de Waart. This concert production features an international cast alongside the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra for an unforgettable operatic event.

Mozart composed Don Giovanniin 1787. The composer visited Prague following performances of his opera Le nozze di Figaro and subsequently was commissioned to write a new opera to premiere in Prague. Mozart turned to his collaborator on Le nozze di Figaro, Lorenzo da Ponte, for the libretto and to adapt the story of Don Juan. MSO program annotator Isaac Thompson said, “It is both a psychological drama in the true Romantic sense while seamlessly exhibiting the best characteristics of classical form and style. It is no wonder that many composers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries looked to Don Giovanni as the composer’s magnum opus.”


Edo de Waart enters his sixth season as the sixth music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in 2014.15. He also serves as chief conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic and conductor laureate of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. Regular guest conducting appearances include the Chicago Symphony, NHK Symphony, and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic orchestras as well as the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra where, as with the San Francisco Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic, he has previously held a post. At the end of the 2013.14 season, he returned to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

As an opera conductor, de Waart has enjoyed success in a large and varied repertoire in many of the world’s greatest opera houses. He has conducted at Bayreuth, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Opera de Bastille, Santa Fe Opera, and The Metropolitan Opera. His most recent appearance at The Met received rave reviews for Der Rosenkavalier, and he will return to the house in future seasons. In addition to semi-staged and concert opera performances with his orchestras in the United States, he regularly conducts opera with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw’s Zaterdag Matinee series, most recently Richard Strauss’s Salome.

Edo de Waart’s extensive catalogue encompasses releases for Philips, Virgin, EMI, Telarc, and RCA. His most recent recording is with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic; Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 was released in April 2013. Future releases include Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde: Nachtgesang und Isoldes Liebestod (arr. Henk de Vlieger) with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic.

At the age of 23, de Waart won the Dimitri Mitropoulos Conducting Competition in New York which resulted in his appointment as assistant conductor to Leonard Bernstein at the New York Philharmonic. On his return to Holland, he was appointed assistant conductor to Bernard Haitink at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In 1967, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra appointed him guest conductor and, six years later, chief conductor and artistic director. Since then, he has also been music director of the San Francisco Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra, chief conductor and artistic director of the Sydney Symphony, and chief conductor of De Nederlandse Opera.

Daniel Okulitch is a Canadian bass-baritone whose career first garnered attention as Schaunard in the original cast of Baz Luhrmann’s Tony Award-winning Broadway production of La Bohéme. In opera, Okulitch has gained acclaim in major baritone roles of Mozart which have been seen in New York, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Palm Beach, Warsaw, Vancouver, Dallas, Portland, Detroit, and Hawaii. Other roles have included his Teatro alla Scala debut as Theseus in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Swallow in Peter Grimes, and Escamillo in Carmen at Vancouver Opera.

Matthew Rose is a bass who this season sings Bottom at the Metropolitan Opera, Leporello at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, and Enrico for the Opera de Bordeaux. He has appeared in concert at the Edinburgh Festival, the BBC Proms, and the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York. Recent engagements have included the London Symphony Orchestra with Sir Colin Davis, the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Dudamel, the Swedish Radio Orchestra with Harding, the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Sir Andrew Davis, and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia with Pappano.

Tamara Wilson, soprano, was recently awarded the Revelation Prize by the Argentine Musical Critics Association and is a Grand Prize winner of the Annual Francisco Viñas Competition in Barcelona, Spain. In the 2014.15 season, Wilson makes her role and house debut at the title role in Norma at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, and she returns to Oper Frankfurt for her first performances as the Empress in Die Frau ohne Schatten. In concert, she returns to Ravinia Festival as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni under James Conlon and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Nicole Cabell, 2005 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, is a lyric soprano whose career has taken her to opera halls around the world. Her solo debut album, Soprano, was named Editor’s Choice by Gramophone and has received incredible critical acclaim. Her current season includes role debuts as Violetta in La Traviata with Michigan Opera Theatre, then as Medora in Il Corsaro with Washington Concert Opera. She will reprise the role of her triumphant San Francisco Opera debut, Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.

André Courville, bass-baritone, is a resident artist at The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. He recently debuted with The Santa Fe Opera singing Marquis d’Obigny in their 2013 production of La Traviata as a member of the Apprentice Singer Program. Following that, he performed Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte and Baron Douphol in La Traviata at The Academy of Vocal Arts. In 2012, he gave a standout performance as Don Alfonso in the Martina Arroyo Foundation’s production of Così fan tutte. He also appeared with them as Rambaldo in La Rondine (2011) and Hermann, Schlémil, and Crespel in Les Contes d’Hoffman (2007).

Grazia Doronzio appeared last season as Mimi with Canadian Opera Company. She then returned to the Hamburg State Opera as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and to Frankfurt for new productions of Don Giovanni and Falstaff.  She was the winner of the Sullivan Award and dell’Elardo International Opera Competition. She also won First Prize at the International Competition of Vocal Chamber Music of Conegliano. Doronzio was a student of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Paul Appleby, tenor, is a recent graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and a recipient of a 2012 Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Performing and Visual Arts. Engagements in the 2013.14 season included the Metropolitan Opera in a new production and company-commissioned premiere of American composer Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, and reprising the role of Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte with the Canadian Opera Company and Oper Frankfurt. Mr. Appleby also made his debut with the Washington National Opera in Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

Matthew Best, bass, began his career as a principal bass with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Highlights from this past season included a reprisal of his role of Commendatore in Don Giovanni for English National Opera, Berlioz’s Romeo et Juliette with the Warsaw Philharmonic under John Nelson, L’enfance du Christ with the Bergen Philharmonic, St. Matthew Passion with The Bach Choir, Tiresias in Oedipus Rex with the BBC Philharmonic, and King Heinrich in Lohengrin for Welsh National Opera. He also appeared in the world premiere of Julian Anderson’s Thebans at English National Opera.

Director, production designer, and visual artist James Darrah’s recent work includes directing the world premiere of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen for the tenth anniversary of Walt Disney Concert Hall, a San Francisco Symphony debut with direction and production design for Ibsen and Grieg’s Peer Gynt conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, and two new productions for Chicago Opera Theater directing, designing, and choreographing Handel’s Teseo and Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Médée. He has taught performance and theater for the Adler Fellowship of San Francisco Opera and directed and designed six new productions for the University of California, Los Angeles.


Don Giovanni
Edo de Waart, conductor
Daniel Okulitch, Don Giovanni
Matthew Rose, Leporello
Tamara Wilson, Donna Anna
Nicole Cabell, Donna Elvira
André Courville, Masetto
Grazia Doronzio, Zerlina
Paul Appleby, Donna Ottavio
Matthew Best, Il Commendatore
Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, Lee Erickson, director
James Darrah, director

Uihlein Hall, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts
Saturday, September 13 | 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 14 | 2:00 p.m.
Tuesday, September 16 | 7:00 p.m.

Tickets range from $25-105. For more information, please call 414.291.7605 or visit Tickets may also be purchased through the Marcus Center Box Office at 414.273.7206.


The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, under the dynamic leadership of Music Director Edo de Waart, is among the finest orchestras in the nation and the largest cultural institution in Wisconsin. Now in his sixth season with the MSO, Maestro de Waart has led sold-out concerts, elicited critical acclaim, and conducted a celebrated performance at Carnegie Hall in May 2012. The MSO’s full-time professional musicians perform over 135 classics, pops, family, education, and community concerts each season in venues throughout the state. Since its inception in 1959, the MSO has found innovative ways to give music a home in the region, develop music appreciation and talent among area youth, and raise the national reputation of Milwaukee.

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