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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 co-production of WDAV Classical Public Radio, a service of Davidson College and South Carolina Public Radio.

World of Opera Site     Lisa Simeone's bio

Program Schedule
July 30, 2016
GIUSEPPE VERDI: La Forza del Destino

Csilla Boross image by Vera EderGrand Theatre of Geneva (from Victoria Hall)
Grand Theater Chorus & Suisse Romande Orchestra
Paolo Arrivabeni, conductor

Verdi's relentless drama of politics, passion and revenge demands a top-notch ensemble cast. This production from Geneva delivers, and the Suisse Romande Orchestra shines in what may be Verdi's most famous overture.
July 23, 2016
Dorotea Röschmann (Jenufa), Angela Denoke (Kostelnicka). (c) Wiener Staatsoper / Michael Poehn

Vienna State Opera
Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Ingo Metzmacher, conductor

Janácek was in his sixties, at an age when many are enjoying retirement, when the surprise success of Jenufa first brought him widespread fame. The opera is an undoubted masterpiece, telling a disturbing, yet strangely inspiring story of multiple betrayals, gruesome murder and ultimate, if unlikely, forgiveness.

July 16, 2016
Ermonela Jaho (Desdemona), Marc Heller (Otello) (c) Premsa Liceu/ Antoni Bofill

Grand Liceu Theater, Barcelona
Grand Liceu Theater Orchestra and Chorus
Philippe Augin, conductor

Leave it to Verdi to take a classic tragedy by Shakespeare and, if anything, make it even more powerful and heartrending. The libretto is by Arrigo Boito, who also collaborated on another of Verdi's great Shakespeare operas, Falstaff.
July 9, 2016
Gregory Kunde (Otello), Jessica Pratt (Desdemona) (c) Premsa Liceu/ Antoni Bofill

Grand Liceu Theater, Barcelona
Grand Liceu Theater Orchestra and Chorus
Christopher Franklin, conductor

Lovers of Shakespeare's Othello may find that Rossini's version strays a bit at the beginning. But when all is said and done, Rossini and the bard seem joined at the hip, in a hair-raising finale that rivals even Verdi's masterful setting of the drama. The production is the first half of an Otello double-header from Barcelona.

July 2, 2016

Lise Lindstrom (Turandot), Yusif Eyvazov (Calaf) (c) Wiener Staatsoper / Michael PöhnVienna State Opera
Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

As he also proved with Madame Butterfly and La Fanciulla del West, Puccini never hesitated to apply his proudly Italian sensibilities to far flung, “exotic” locales.  With Turandot, he evokes the splendors of ancient China -- in an opera featuring “Nessun dorma,” the aria the Three Tenors famously put on the charts.
June 25, 2016

woo-160626squareVienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Alain Altinoglu, conductor

Astonishingly, there may be only a half-dozen or so successful operas inspired by Shakespeare.  Even more remarkable is that Verdi alone accounted for three of them.   His Macbeth may not be heard quite so often as Otello and Falstaff, but it's still among his finest and most intense dramas. 

June 18, 2016
G. F. HANDEL: Alcina

woo-160618squareSuisse Romande Orchestra, Cappella Mediterranea
Leonardo García Alarcón, conductor

The sorceress Alcina, a vivid character born in Ariosto's epic poem Orlando Furioso, has a nasty habit of turning her enemies into wild animals. She's foiled when she seduces the wrong guy, a knight who courageously defeats her spells and frees her victims.

June 11, 2016

Veronique GensMunich Radio Orchestra and Bavarian Radio Chorus
Ulf Schirmer, conductor

Benjamin Godard is hardly a "household word" in musical circles today, but in his time he stood alongside Saint-Saens among the most versatile composers in 19th-century France. In this opera, the great Italian writer Dante Alighieri not only inspires the music, but also plays a starring role.

June 4, 2016

woo-160406Grand Liceu Theater Orchestra and Chorus
Massimo Zanetti, conductor

Verdi's operas are so popular that few of his great dramas could truly be described as "unjustly neglected" -- but this one may fit the bill. One of Verdi's darkest scores, I due Foscari is also among his most striking scores. It tells a compelling story of deadly intrigue and political treachery set against the historical backdrop of 15th-century Venice.

May 28, 2016
FRANCESCO CAVALLI: Veremonda, L'Amazzone di Aragona
Listen NowListen Now

woo-160528squareNew York Baroque Incorporated
Aaron Carpene, conductor

Cavalli was among the finest and most influential composers from the early days of opera, in the 17th century, yet his two-dozen-plus dramas are seldom heard today. Veremonda tells a varied and colorful story of entangled love, international diplomacy, mistaken identity, and gender equality.
May 21, 2016
GIUSEPPE VERDI: Un Ballo in Maschera

woo-1605021Bavarian State Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Zubin Mehta, conductor

The original version of Verdi's A Masked Ball -- an opera about illicit love and backstabbing traitors at a European, royal court -- so offended Italian censors that Verdi eventually picked up the whole story and moved it all the way to Boston! No matter where it takes place, the story is bolstered by one of Verdi's most heartfelt scores, and a love affair that ranks among the most passionate in any of his operas.
May 14, 2016
CHARLES GOUNOD: Romeo and Juliet

woo-1605014Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Marco Armiliato, conductor

Gounod's popular Faust is far better-known than this, later opera. Still, of the 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.
May 7, 2016
RICHARD WAGNER: Das Liebesverbot

woo-1619-daslieberstat-story.jpgTeatro Real Orchestra and Chorus
Ivor Bolton, conductor

Wagner’s early and rarely-heard comedy has so many "non-Wagnerian" elements that the composer himself, in his later years, looked back on it with a slightly bemused eye. Based on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, it comes to as one of many commemorations of the playwright's anniversary year.
April 30, 2016

woo-160416squareTeatro Regio Orchestra and Chorus
Jan Latham-Koenig, conductor

Based on an illustrated tale, published as a newspaper serial, Janácek's fanciful opera is one of his true masterworks. Once charming and frightening, this one-of-a-kind drama tells an enchanting story that's both tragic, and in the end, life-affirming.

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