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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 5, 2015

WOO-1536-Cinq-250Bavarian Radio Chorus 
Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Ulf Schirmer, conductor 

When this opera premiered in Paris, in 1877, it was criticized as a sort of hybrid -- stuck between the contrasting worlds of French Grand Opera and opéra comique.  Yet with its passionate, historical story, and the allure of Gounod's highly-accomplished score, it's beginning to get a second chance.

August 29, 2015
GIUSEPPE VERDI: Luisa miller
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WOO-1535-Luisa-250Hamburg State Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Simone Young, conductor

Always drawn to the greatest and most challenging literature, Verdi based this compelling drama on a play by Friederich Schiller.  Often neglected today, the opera was a success at its Naples premiere and features some top-notch music, even by Verdi's standards, including a series of evocative choruses and one of his finest overtures.

August 22, 2015
Ernest Chausson: King Arthur
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WOO-1534-Arthur-250Paris National Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Philippe Jordan, Conductor 

In early 20th-century Brussels, opera lovers were asked to name their favorite works.  At the top of the list were Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, Debussy's Pelleas and Melisande -- and Chausson's King Arthur.  It's easy to see -- and hear -- why.  Chausson's only completed opera has a love story worthy of Tristan, and a score that represents the best of late 19th-century France. 

August 15, 2015
W.A.Mozart: La Clemenza di Tito
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WOO-1533-Clemenza-250Aedes Chorus
Le Cercle de l'Harmonie Orchestra
Jérémie Rhorer, conductor

The characters in Mozart's final opera discover that even when it seems things could hardly go more horribly, disastrously wrong, everything can still turn out just fine -- thanks to this drama's generous, and almost surreally tolerant title character.   

August 8, 2015
Puccini's 'La Boheme': Bohemians with a Small 'b'
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Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus
Dan Ettinger, conductor

Puccini's love-stoked tearjerker may end tragically, but the opera's multiple levels of passion and sentiment still make for a great "date night."  And, as the perfect remedy for any tottering romance, La Boheme is also among the most popular operas ever composed.
August 1, 2015
The Deal of a Lifetime: Gounod's 'Faust'
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Teatro Regio Orchestra and Chorus
Gianandrea Noseda, conductor

Goethe's immortal drama, with it's legendary deal with the devil, has been adapted in countless ways, from symphonic poems to rock musicals, but few if any can match the power and romance of Gounod's opera.

July 25, 2015
Contrasts and Surprises, from 'King Roger' and 'L'Inganno Felice"


Royal Opera House  Orchestra and Chorus
Antonio Pappano, conductor

La Fenice Orchestra and Chorus
Stefano Montanari conductor

Szymanowski is widely regarded as the most important Polish composer after Chopin.  King Roger -- portraying the inherent conflict between Apollonian ideals and Dionysian pleasure -- is often cited as a true, musical rarity:  a genuine masterpiece unaccountably neglected.  And as a bonus, from Venice, La Fenice presents a rarely-heard one-act gem by Rossini.
July 18, 2015
Gluck's 'Alceste': Creating Something 'Cool' in Opera


La Fenice Orchestra and Chorus

Guillaume Tourniaire, conductor

Gluck's take on the passionate story of Alceste was among his influential, Italian "reform" operas, in which he abandoned the strictly regimented world of opera seria to create a naturalistic style more deftly in touch with the emotional potential of his stories.

July 11, 2015
Deaths in the Family: Strauss's 'Elektra'


Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Mikko Franck, conductor

Surely, Clytaemnestra, Agamemnon and their kids Elektra and Orestes qualify as one of the most dysfunctional families in all of literature, not to mention opera. Elektra takes the lead in this chapter of their appalling yet absorbing history.
July 4, 2015
A Subtle Sequel: Rossini's 'The Turk in Italy'


Teatro Regio Orchestra and Chorus

Daniele Rustioni, conductor

With A Turk in Italy, Rossini turns the narrative tables on his own, more popular comedy, The Italian Girl in Algiers. This opera may be less familiar but it's every bit as funny, and comes to us from one of Italy's finest regional theaters.

June 28, 2015
The Bard Goes to the Opera: Verdi's 'Macbeth'


Radio France Chorus

National Orchestra of France
Daniele Gatti, 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 21, 2015
La Finta Semplice


Munich Radio Orchestra

Rinaldo Alessandrini, conductor

The term "children's music" is generally used to describe music written for children -- but in this opera, it takes on a different meaning. La Finta Semplice is kids' music written by a kid -- the eleven-year-old Mozart, who used it to showcase an innovative ensemble style that later came to full bloom in masterpieces including The Marriage

June 13, 2015
Seductive Deception: Donizetti's 'Don Pasquale'


Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Jesús Lopez-Cobos, conductor

Donizetti wrote any number of irresistible comedies, including The Elixir of Love and The Daughter of the Regiment, and this sparkling score may be the best of them all.  From Vienna, acclaimed veteran Juan Diego Florez does a star turn alongside the captivating young Romanian soprano, Valentina Nafornita.
June 6, 2015
Mozart's Masonic Mystery: 'The Magic Flute'


Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus

Cornelius Meister, 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 can be to distinguish which is which. 

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