World 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
March 8, 2014
Wishful Thinking, Fairytale Ending: Massenet's 'Cendrillon'
Grand Liceu Theater Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Andrew Davis, conductor
With apologies to Rossini, this may be the finest operatic representation of the classic fairytale, “Cinderella.” In any case, it’s the most faithful, and it also boasts one of Massenet’s most appealing scores.
March 1, 2014
Breaking the Mold: Gounod's 'Romeo and Juliet'
Royal Wallonie Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Patrick Davin, conductor
Gounod's popular Faust is far better-known than this, later opera. Still, of the scores, if not hundreds, of musical takes on the iconic Shakespeare tragedy, Gounod's version of Romeo and Juliet is one of a bare handful that still hold the stage today -- making it a remarkable opera in its own right.
February 22, 2014
Death at Sundown: Verdi's 'The Sicilian Vespers'
Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Antonio Pappano, conductor
If you've ever wondered why some people think an opera's not over until all the characters are dead, this piece may be the reason. It has enough deadly plotting, and enough of Verdi's finest music, for several evenings in the opera house. We hear it in a recent production from the historic Royal Opera House in London.
February 15, 2014
The Flower Duet Comes Home in Delibes' 'Lakmé'
Lausanne Chamber Orchestra
Lausanne Opera Chorus
Miguel Ortega, conductor
If you think you've never heard Delibes' strikingly beautiful Lakmé, think again -- you've almost certainly heard at least part of it. The famous, Act I "flower" duet turns up more often on TV commercials than in the opera house! But there's more to this unique opera than just that one, ubiquitous passage, as you'll hear in this production from the banks of Lake Geneva.
February 8, 2014
First-Time Perfection: Mozart's 'The Marriage of Figaro'
Suisse Romande Orchestra, Grand Theatre Chorus
Stefan Soltesz, conductor
Deep down, as with many of Mozart's "comedies," Figaro isn't as funny as it first seems, with plenty of all-too-real human foibles, weaknesses, heartbreak -- and even treachery -- lurking beneath a slapstick veneer, and illuminated by page after page of glorious music.
February 1, 2014
C.W. GLUCK: Alceste
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski, conductor
Cast: Sophie Koch (Alceste); Yann Beuron (Admète); Stanislas de Barbeyrac
(Evandre); Jean-Francois Lapointe (High Priest); Franck Ferrari (Hercule);
Florian Sempey (Apollon); Francois Lis (Thanathos)
Gluck's first take on the passionate story of Alceste was among his influential, Italian "reform" operas. The substantially revised French version heard here retains much of the music from the Italian original, plus enough more to be counted as a distinctly different opera -- and perhaps even more ambitious.
January 25, 2014
Verdi's 'La Traviata'
La Scala Orchestra and Chorus
Daniele Gatti, conductor
It's hard to think of an opera house more closely associated with Verdi than La Scala, or a more beloved Verdi opera than La Traviata. So it's fitting that this stellar production kicks off La Scala's 2013-2014 season, culminating Verdi's bicentennial year.
January 18, 2014
Skullduggery vs. Satire, in Handel's 'Agrippina'
Liceu Symphony Orchestra
Harry Bicket, conductor
Handel's Italian operas made him the toast of London long before his famous English oratorios caught the public's ear. Agrippina is named for Nero's shrewd and savvy mother, without whom the infamous emperor could never have fiddled while Rome burned.
January 11, 2014
Turning the Tables: Rossini's 'L'Italiana in Algeri'
Teatro Communale Orchestra and Chorus of Bologna
José Ramón Encinar, conductor
The story may be a little silly -- OK, a lot silly -- and it's politically incorrect in the extreme! But nobody did wackiness better, more beautifully, or with a finer instinct for pure comedy than Rossini displays in this sparkling score.
January 4, 2014
Brilliance Seldom Heard: Vivaldi's 'The Coronation of Dario'
Accademia Bizantina Orchestra
Ottavio Dantone, conductor
Baroque operas, especially after 1700, tend to be filled with long numbers -- both recitatives and arias -- that tend to slow down the action. But this unusual and neglected drama has a torrent of brief arias that make it one of Vivaldi's most colorful scores.
December 28, 2013
W. A. MOZART: The Magic Flute
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Daniel Hardin, conductor
A quick look at the story of Mozart's Magic Flute might suggest that it's a great opera for the kids. And it is! But it's also a very adult look at the conflict between lightness and dark, and how difficult it often is to distinguish which is which.
December 14, 2013
Massenet's "Thérèse" and "La Navaraisse"
Wexford Festival Orchestra and Chorus
Known primarily for a single, truly great opera -- Manon -- Massenet was in fact among the most versatile and prolific opera composers of his time. The two short dramas featured here are seldom heard today, but together they make a stunningly dramatic double bill.
Carlos Izcaray, conductor
December 7, 2013
Gluck and 'Armide'
Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Netherlands Opera Chorus
Ivor Bolton, conductor
Regarded as the most action-packed of Gluck's major operas, the drama also boasts a complex and fascinating title character and a uniquely flowing musical style. The composer considered it "perhaps the finest of all my works."
November 30, 2013
GIACOMO PUCCINI: Le Villi (Charleston) and La Boheme (Turin)
This unusual double bill, with productions from both sides of the Atlantic, features the drama that put Puccini on the map, Le Villi, along with one of the many that have kept him there ever since -- La Boheme.