Madison Opera, originally known as The Opera Workshop, was established in 1961 as part of the Madison Civic Music Association, which also included the Madison Symphony Orchestra. It was led by stage director Arline Johnson and conductor Roland Johnson. The first production, “La Bohème,” took place in 1963. Initially, the company staged one opera annually with a modest budget of $6,000.
Over time, Madison Opera expanded alongside the growth of the city and became independent from the Madison Civic Music Association and Madison Symphony.
When the Overture Center for the Arts opened in 2004, Madison Opera became a resident company in Overture Hall. This move allowed for larger-scale productions and the addition of a third production in the Capitol Theater.
Madison Opera has showcased over 70 operas in the past six decades from the 18th to the 21st century, performed in seven different languages.
Opera in the Park
Saturday, July 22 is Opera in the Park. The free outdoor concert is held in Garner Park and features soloists, the Madison Opera Chorus, and the Madison Symphony Orchestra.
Schedule | The concert runs from 8 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. with a 20-minute intermission following a rendition of Poscini’s “Te Deum.” Check out the full repertoire of the evening’s performances.
Parking | Free parking will be available at TruStage and University Research Park.
Accessible parking | There will be a drop-off point at the Garner Park walking path on Rosa Road. Find accessible parking spots on Rosa Road, Driftwood Avenue, and South Hill Drive. Golf cart shuttles will also be offered to those with limited mobility before + after the show.
Food | Soda, water, and ice cream will be available for purchase on-site. Otherwise, attendees are welcome to pack a cooler with their favorite picnic fare — booze included.
Rain check | Sunday, July 23 at 8 p.m.