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World of Opera
Saturdays at 6 p.m.

Lisa SimeoneWorld of Opera with host Lisa Simeone brings listeners compelling performances from top American and international opera companies. World of Opera encompasses the seminal operas of centuries past as well as today's masterpieces.
World of Opera is a production of WDAV Classical Public Radio, a service of Davidson College.

World of Opera Site     Lisa Simeone's bio

Program Schedule
September 20, 2014
Reinventing Opera: Rameau's 'Castor and Pollux'

Pygmalion Ensemble
Raphaël Pichon, conductor

Castor & PolluxWhen Rameau died, a French periodical praised the composer as "the God of Harmony," and in retrospect that's easy to understand.  In the era between the seminal dramas of Monteverdi and the revolutionary works of Mozart, few composers wrote more brilliant operas than Rameau.  Castor and Pollux is among his finest.
September 13, 2014
One-Upping the Bard: Verdi's 'Otello'

WoO-1437-Otello-thumbnailRadio France Philharmonic Orchestra
Myung Whun Chun, conductor

Otello, Iago and Desdemona, three of literature's most complex and compelling characters, come to life in what many consider Verdi's most moving opera.  Written when the composer was in his early 70s, Otellotakes one of Shakespeare's finest tragedies and, if anything, makes it even more powerful and heartbreaking.

September 6, 2014
A Triumph in Transition: Catalani's 'La Wally'
La Wally

Suisse Romande Orchestra
Evelino Pidò, conductor

As Verdi's career was winding down, and Puccini's was achieving full flight, Catalani tried to take Italian opera in a different direction, combining Italian passion and lyricism with a German Romantic style of drama. La Wally was by far his greatest success.
August 30, 2014
Epic Introduction: Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'
Das Rheingold

Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Kirill Petrenko, conductor

Das Rheingold gets Wagner's monumental Ring cycle off to a rousing start, in a quickly-paced drama introducing a fanciful world of vivid characters and world-shaping passions. 

August 23, 2014
Venice Plays the Villain, in Donizetti's 'Caterina Cornaro'
WOO Caterina Cornaro
Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon National Orchestra

Latvian Radio Chorus
Paolo Carignani, conductor

it's not one of Donizetti's better known scores, the concise drama and pure, emotional energy of Caterina Cornero make it one of his most compelling.
August 16, 2014
Between Two Worlds: Strauss's 'Die Frau ohne Schatten'
Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Semyon Bychkov, conductor

The librettist of this Strauss opera, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, called it a "magic fairy tale." The highly-symbolic story inhabits both the real world, and a realm of pure spirituality, and while it has often been overshadowed by the composer's more famous dramas, many Stauss aficionados consider The Woman without a Shadow to be his finest opera.
August 9, 2014
Passion vs. Propriety: Monteverdi's 'The Coronation of Poppea'

WOO-1432-Poppea-250Concerto Italiano
Rinaldo Alessandrini, conductor

Monteverdi's Poppea proves that passion was plentiful in the opera house long before Verdi and Puccini hit the scene --  and that virtue doesn't always win out in the end. The opera portrays an illicit love so strong that it threatens to bring down an empire -- accompanied by one of the steamiest love-duets ever composed. 

August 2, 2014
An Operatic Missing Link: Steffani's 'Niobe'

WOO-1431-Niobe-250Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra
Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs, directors

On World of Opera, host Lisa Simeone presents that production of Steffani's Niobe, a colorful jumble of devious politics, lively comedy and passionate romance, all tempered by the wrath of the gods.  It's the Boston Early Music Festival's "road show," presented at Broadcasting Hall in Bremen, Germany, in a performance led by Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs.   

July 26, 2014
Under the Rainbow: Rossini's 'Tancredi'

WOO-1430-Tancredi-250Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra 
Champs-Elysées Theatre Chorus 
Enrique Mazzola, conductor

The classic song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" talks in glowing terms of a magical place where "dreams really do come true." Unfortunately, the opera house often isn't that kind of place -- especially in Rossini's Tancredi -- a compelling drama that just may be his first, truly great opera.
July 19, 2014
Inspiring a Nation: Verdi's 'Nabucco'

WOO-1429-Nabucco-250Suisse Romande Orchestra
Grand Theatre Chorus
John Fiore, conductor

On World of Opera, host Lisa Simeone presents Nabucco from Switzerland's Grand Theatre of Geneva. The stars are baritone Lucio Gallo in the title role, and soprano Csilla Boross in the emotionally complex role of Abigaille. The production, also featuring the Suisse Romande Orchestra, is led by conductor John Fiore. 
July 12, 2014
Innocence Exploited: Gounod's 'Faust'

Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Marizio Benini, conductor

On World of Opera, host Lisa Simeone presents Gounod's Faust from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in London. Opera aficionados may recall the production from arts columns and insider gossip. It's the show that was to have featured superstar soprano Anna Netrebko, who withdrew at the last minute. As you'll hear, the Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva was a more than able replacement as Marguerite, alongside bass-baritone Bryn Terfel as Méphilsophélès and tenor Joseph Calleja in the title role.

July 5, 2014
Romantic Role Reversal: 'Eugene Onegin'

WOO-1427-Onegin-250Teatro Comunale Orchestra and Chorus
Aziz Shokhakimov, conductor

On World of Opera, host Lisa Simeone presents Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin from one of Italy's many fine regional opera houses, the Teatro Comunale in Bologna, in a production featuring a top-notch international cast.  Polish baritone Artur Rucinsky sings the title role, with South African soprano Amanda Echalaz as Tatyana.

June 28, 2014
Passion, Politics and Poison: Verdi's 'Luisa Miller'

WOO--1426-LuisaMiller-250Lausanne Chamber Orchestra and Opera
Roberto Rizzi Brignoli, conductor

If there were a Top Ten List of great playwrights whose work has also inspired operas you might think Shakespeare would be number one. After all, his plays have been turned into hundreds of operas. But Shakespeare has proven troublesome for composers, and only a handful of those operas have been truly successful.


June 21, 2014
Anything for Love: Mozart's 'La Clemenza di Tito'
La Fenice Orchestra and Chorus
Ottavio Dantone, conductor

Do you remember the pop song "I Would Do Anything for Love (But I won't Do That)," a '90s Grammy-winner by Meat Loaf? The song's title, with its love-struck message, could easily sum up the plotline of Mozart's opera La Clemenza di Tito -- but only if you get rid of "(But I Won't Do That)."

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