Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra can give you a lift

Nicolas LaMorte, Opinion Editor

The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Andrew Sewell, performed Jan. 23, with world famous pianist Ilya Yakushev in the beautiful Capitol Theater of The Overture Center.

I arrived at the box office two hours before the 8 p.m. curtain call time and procured myself one ticket for $10, (for a seat that would have normally been $45) taking advantage of the student-rush discount that the Overture Center provides for the collective collegiate body here in Madison. Using the Center’s user-friendly online seating guide in the hours before the show, I found a seat still available that was very close to the stage. There weren’t too many awesome seats like that left, which is how it works with the rush: come two hours prior to the show and whatever is left is yours, pretty much.

I spent the interim having drinks at The Shamrock a couple blocks away and off the square. I’m far too poor and cheap to pay for Overture Center booze. When I returned, the nice ladies and gentleman driving the herds were somewhat surprised to see me. I wanted to say to Susan as she took my ticket – an eyebrow reaching for the crown molded ceilings, “Yeah. Young people like classical music too. Not everyone would rather see The Blue Man Group over Bach and Mendelssohn.” Instead, I smiled politely.

Once seated, I took to looking around at the chamber as the last of the night’s classical spectators filled nearly every seat in the house. I do always feel somewhat out of place when I go to the orchestra. As per usual, I saw only a handful of young people, and there were only about four children. The rest were in their middle ages or elderly. The woman behind me was one hundred and thirty. I felt sorry that she had to move her giant, puffy coat from my chair when I was ushered into it.

Mendelssohn and Bach are the only two composers of the four whom played that night whose compositions I had already been familiar with, and for whom Yakushev was needed. It was my first time listening to Bach live, as well as Chopin whose “Nocturne in C sharp minor” was played by Yakushev in encore. If you have never listened to it, I implore you to do so. It is – dare I say – one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written, and the moment I heard those first few notes my heart began to race as shivers ran up my spine. I was in Nirvana.

Even if you don’t particularly enjoy classical music, signing up for email alerts from the Overture Center can put super cheap tickets for all kinds of performances in your hands.