Madison, Wis. – Madison Opera has announced the company’s 56th season, which will feature a Midwest premiere and two returning classics. It opens in November with Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet, followed in February by the Midwest premiere of Daniel Schnyder’s Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, and in April by Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

“I am so proud of this season,” says Kathryn Smith, Madison Opera’s General Director. “These operas span 224 years and two continents. We have a classic tragedy, the story of a modern jazz master, and one of the most famous operas in history. What they have in common is that they are enthralling stories set to glorious music, which is exactly what makes us fall in love with opera.”

Charles Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet starts the season in November in Overture Hall. The operatic telling of Shakespeare’s tale of star-crossed lovers premiered in 1867 in Paris and features soaring arias, impassioned love scenes, and plenty of sword fights. Returning to Madison Opera are Emily Birsan (La Bohème) as Juliet, John Irvin (The Barber of Seville) as Romeo, and Liam Moran (La Bohème) as Frère Laurent. In their debuts are Sidney Outlaw as Mercutio and Stephanie Lauricella as Stephano. Doug Scholz-Carlson (The Barber of the Seville) directs this traditional production, with John DeMain conducting.

The season continues in February with the Midwest premiere of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird by Daniel Schnyder in the Capitol Theater. As his body lies unclaimed in the morgue, saxophone great Charlie Parker returns in spirit to the jazz club Birdland, determined to compose a final masterpiece. Family and friends blend in and out of his memories in an acclaimed new opera that tells of his tortured, brilliant life “with a pulsing, jazz-infused score” (The New York Times). Charlie Parker’s Yardbird premiered in 2015 in Philadelphia to wide acclaim; Madison Opera will be only the second opera company to present this opera and will be partnering with other entities to present an array of related activities in the months leading up to the production.

The cast features both debuts and returning artists, including many who were involved in the world premiere of the opera. Debuting with Madison Opera is Joshua Stewart as Charlie Parker; Angela Brown as his mother, Addie Parker; Rachel Sterrenberg as Chan Parker, his third wife; Krysty Swann as Rachel Parker, his first wife; and Julie Miller as the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter (“Nica”), in whose hotel room Parker died. Returning to Madison Opera in roles they sang in the premiere are Will Liverman (The Barber of Seville) as Dizzy Gillespie and Angela Mortellaro (Acis & Galatea) as Doris Parker, Charlie’s second wife. Ron Daniels makes his debut directing the production he premiered in Philadelphia; John DeMain conducts.

Mozart’s The Magic Flute closes out the mainstage season. Written in the last year of his life, Mozart’s sublime opera is part fairy tale, part adventure story, and all enchantment. Its tale of a prince, a princess, a bird-catcher, and a host of other fascinating characters has been enjoyed around the world since its 1791 premiere in Vienna, and returns to Madison Opera in all its fantastical beauty.

Making their Madison Opera debuts are Amanda Woodbury as Pamina and Andrew Bidlack as Tamino; both artists sang leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera this past season. Returning to Madison Opera are Alan Dunbar (La Bohème) as Papageno, Caitlin Cisler (The Daughter of the Regiment) as The Queen of the Night, Nathan Stark (The Daughter of the Regiment) as Sarastro, and Scott Brunscheen (2013/14 Studio Artist) as Monostatos. Dan Rigazzi directs in his debut, with Gary Thor Wedow (Opera in the Park 2012) conducting.

Subscriptions for the 2016/17 season will be available in late April at and by phone at (608) 238-8085. Subscribers save up to 15% off single ticket prices while enjoying this enthralling season!

Please contact Marketing Manager Steffanie Berg at or (608) 238-8085 for press images or for more information.


Romeo & Juliet

Music by Charles Gounod; Libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, based on Shakespeare Sung in French with projected English translations

Friday, November 4, 2016 • 8 p.m. Sunday, November 6, 2016 • 2:30 p.m. Overture Hall

Romeo Mercutio Stephano Frère Laurent

Conductor Stage Director

Emily Birsan
John Irvin
Sidney Outlaw* Stephanie Lauricella* Liam Moran

John DeMain
Doug Scholz-Carlson

Charlie Parker’s Yardbird

Music by Daniel Schnyder; Libretto by Bridgette A. Wimberly Sung in English with projected text

Midwest Premiere
Friday, February 10, 2017 • 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 12, 2017 • 2:30 p.m.
Capitol Theater at Overture Center for the Arts

Charlie Parker Joshua Stewart* Addie Parker Angela Brown*

Dizzy Gillespie Chan Parker Doris Parker Rachel Parker Baroness Nica

Conductor Stage Director

The Magic Flute

Will Liverman Rachel Sterrenberg* Angela Mortellaro Krysty Swann*
Julie Miller*

John DeMain Ron Daniels*

Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder Sung in German with English dialogue and projected English translations

Friday, April 21, 2017 • 8 p.m. Sunday, April 23, 2017 • 2:30 p.m. Overture Hall

The Queen of the Night Sarastro

Monastatos First Lady

Conductor Stage Director

*Madison Opera debut

Amanda Woodbury* Andrew Bidlack* Alan Dunbar
Caitlin Cisler

Nathan Stark
Scott Brunscheen Amanda Kingston*

Gary Thor Wedow Dan Rigazzi*

Please note: All casts subject to change.