Midas in Milwaukee

Kamran Ince conducting the premiere of Judgment of Midas, at UWM's Zelazo Center
Kam­ran Ince con­duct­ing the pre­miere of Judg­ment of Midas, at UWM’s Zela­zo Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts. All pho­tos here by Susan Span­gler.
Pan, sung by Jennifer Goltz  (to left of Kamran Ince), during the music contest
Pan, sung by Jen­nifer Goltz (to left of Kam­ran Ince — yes, the part was cross-cast), dur­ing the music con­test.
Left to right: singers Gregory Gerbrandt and Abigail Fischer, Miriam and Kamran clapping for the orchestra
Left to right: singers Philip Horst, Gre­go­ry Ger­brandt and Abi­gail Fis­ch­er, Miri­am and Kam­ran clap­ping for the orches­tra. The pro­ject­ed image is by Craw­ford Gree­newalt Jr., depict­ing the par­tic­i­pants in the leg­endary music con­test as an ancient mosa­ic.

Judg­ment of Midas pre­miered in Mil­wau­kee last week, and I’m still buzzing. It was an incred­i­ble expe­ri­ence. Kevin Stal­heim, who leads Present Music, and Jill Anna Polasek of Mil­wau­kee Opera The­ater, suc­ceed­ed in mak­ing this won­der­ful pro­duc­tion feel like an opera, even though it was “semi-staged.” Kam­ran Ince, the com­pos­er, con­duct­ed the Present Music ensem­ble, expand­ed to small orches­tra size and includ­ing five Turk­ish musi­cians. The soloists lined up con­cert-style to sing, but each one cre­at­ed their char­ac­ters in place: Fran­ny and Theo, the con­tem­po­rary cou­ple vis­it­ing the ancient ruins of Sardis; the guide Melik/King Midas; and the Gods Apol­lo, Pan and Tmo­lus. Pro­ject­ed images and dig­i­tal light­ing on the Zela­zo Cen­ter stage gave the per­for­mances a visu­al pres­ence and oper­at­ic scale.

I felt the piece com­ing alive, and the audi­ence being pulled in to it, as Kamran’s thrilling, high-octane music, the sto­ry and words, the beau­ti­ful singing and play­ing, and the visu­als came togeth­er into a sin­gle whole. I’m so grate­ful to every­one who gave their best to this pro­duc­tion. Both nights were cap­tured on audio and video, and we are look­ing ahead, hop­ing Midas will con­tin­ue to devel­op and be seen again.


4 thoughts on “Midas in Milwaukee”

  1. Thanks for the vivid descrip­tion of open­ing night events. I could feel your buzz through the com­put­er! Kudos to you and every­one for this fan­tas­tic cre­ative vision and effort.

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