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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
October 10, 2015
W. A. MOZART: Così fan tutte

W. A. MOZART:  Così fan tutteGrand Liceu Theater Orchestra and Chorus
Josep Pons, conductor

Deceptively complex, this comic farce leaves many listeners a little bit queasy.  Lorenzo da Ponte's libretto may spring plenty of lightweight jokes, but in tandem with Mozart's music the trickery reminds us that even our most cherished relationships can quickly turn fragile, and tenuous.

October 3, 2015

woo-1540-trovatore-300px.jpgNational Orchestra of France
Bertrand de Billy, conductor

Verdi's complex tragedy has an outlandish story, but also serves up an astonishing number of his most familiar melodies, and that music has made it one of the most popular of all the composer's operas.  This production is from the historic Théâtre Antique in Orange, an ancient Roman venue dating back some 2000 years.

September 26, 2015

WOO-1539-William-250Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus 
Antonio Pappano, conductor

If William Tell, the complete opera, was as familiar as its ubiquitous overture, it might well be acclaimed as the most famous opera ever composed.  Still, as this Covent Garden production demonstrates, Rossini's final opera is far more than just the original home to "the theme from the Lone Ranger."

September 19, 2015
P. I. TCHAIKOVSKY: Iolanta and IGOR STRAVINSKY: Perséphone
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WOO-1538-Iolanta-250Lyon Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Teodor Currentzis, conductor

A fanciful one-act opera by Tchaikovsky combines with Stravinsky's uniquely evocative melodrama in an intriguing and colorful double-bill from one of France's foremost summer festivals.

September 12, 2015
W.A.MOZART: The Abduction of the Seraglio

woo-1537-seraglio-300.jpgGlyndebourne Festival Chorus 
Orchestra of the Age of Englightenment
Robin Ticciati, conductor

If you believe the story, this classic "rescue" opera is the piece the Emperor said had, "too many notes."  Judging by its lasting popularity, audiences seem to think it has just the right number of notes and so, apparently, did Mozart.

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.

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