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Madison favorite Opera in the Park will return to Garner Park this July
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Madison favorite Opera in the Park will return to Garner Park this July

Opera in the Park-11.jpg (copy)

Opera in the Park will return to Garner Park this July with a smaller group of musicians. 

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Get out the glow sticks and grab a picnic blanket — Opera in the Park will return to Garner Park in person this summer, Madison Opera announced on Friday. The free, popular concert of arias, choruses and musical theater favorites returns Saturday, July 24, with a few adjustments for COVID-19 safety.

Kathryn Smith, the opera’s general director, said Madison Opera pared down the number of performers onstage to ensure physical distance. There will be four soloists and a small ensemble of instrumentalists led by artistic director John DeMain.

Like this year’s iteration of Concerts on the Square in Breese Stevens Field (opening July 7), Opera in the Park will separate the audience into “pods” of family and fully vaccinated friend groups. Audience members can bring a picnic. Other guidelines could change based on future orders from Public Health Madison & Dane County.

“I’m feeling really positive,” Smith said. “People will still be able to come in safe groups and sit on the hill and have a picnic and wave a light stick.”

Featured on this 20th anniversary program will be soprano Amanda Majeski, mezzo Rehanna Thelwell, tenor Andrew Stenson and bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen. As in other years, there will be arias and ensembles, and likely a preview of the operas to come in Overture Hall in 2021-22.

There are no updates yet as to whether aspects of the event will be available virtually for those who cannot make it to a park concert at night. It was most important, Smith said, to work out what would be onstage first. But she’s looking to “build this for the future, and not just this year.”  

“People want to see music in the park again,” Smith said. “We want to do music in the park again. We need something to look forward to.”

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