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Beyond the Score® Elgar: Enigma Variations
What Secret?

One Performance Only
Sun., Mar. 18, 2018, 2:30 p.m.

Live actors | Visual projections | Entire work performed in the second half
This special concert may be added to your subscription order. Single tickets go on sale to the public Sat., Aug. 12, 2017.
Tickets: $15-$65| View seating and pricing charts.

Music Program

Elgar | Enigma Variations


John DeMain, Conductor
James Ridge, Actor
Colleen Madden, Actor
Brian Mani, Actor
Norman Gilliland, Narrator
James Ridge, Colleen Madden, and Brian Mani from American Players Theatre, and Norman Gilliland from Wisconsin Public Radio appear with the MSO for this exciting and insightful production.

Beyond the Score®

Discover what inspired the creation of this great work of art. Beyond the Score® is a multimedia experience that reveals the illuminating stories found “inside” the score. The first half of the program features live actors, visual illustrations, and musical examples. Following intermission, you’ll experience Elgar’s Enigma Variations in its entirety—listening with a deeper understanding of the composer and the music.

Enigma Variations

What Secret? is still somewhat of a mystery, though the seeds of Edward Elgar’s work grew from an improvisation to which his wife Alice remarked “That’s a good tune. What is it?” To which he replied “Nothing yet.” Elgar continued to improvise and imagine what his friends would do with the tune. What came about was his much-loved Enigma Variations, depicting “friends pictured within,” and tagging their initials and nicknames to each of the variations. This Beyond the Score® performance delves into those special personalities that are the basis for this most famous and heart-warming musical masterpiece.
“My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us, the world is full of it and you simply take as much as you require.” —Edward Elgar

Seating Chart

Read the Program Notes

Read more about the music you'll hear live at the Symphony!
Beyond the Score® is a production of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Gerard McBurney, Creative Director for Beyond the Score®


Major funding
provided by
Additional funding
provided by

Forte Research
Systems & Nimblify

John A. Johnson Foundation,
component fund of the
Madison Community Foundation

Fred A. Wileman

Wisconsin Arts Board funding comes with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.