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Classical 89.9 WDAV
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
June 25, 2016
GIUSEPPE VERDI: Macbeth

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
BENJAMIN GODARD: Dante

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
GIUSEPPE VERDI: I Due Foscari

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
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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
GIUSEPPE VERDI: Stiffelio

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.

April 23, 2016
World of Opera: Madame Butterfly
Jung Nan Yoon (Cio-Cio San) Photo Credit: Göteborg Opera, SwedenGöteborg Opera, Sweden
GIACOMO PUCCINI:  Madame Butterfly
Göteborg Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Manlio Benzi, conductor


A much-loved masterpiece, Puccini’s Butterfly combines an exotic setting with verismo intensity.  It's both a passionate romance and a cautionary tale, warning that the meeting of divergent cultures can lead to both rich rewards, and tragic misunderstanding.

April 16, 2016
LEOS JANÁCEK: The Cunning Little Vixen

woo-160409squareRoyal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus
Semyon Bychkov, conductor

Like The Queen of Spades, another popular psychodrama by Tchaikovsky, this brooding masterpiece is based on the writing of Alexander Pushkin. Its darkly dramatic story portrays a caddish aristocrat whose indifference towards others turns full circle, and comes back to destroy him.  This production features the great baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, making a heroic and much-acclaimed appearance in the title role -- interrupting treatment for a recently-diagnosed brain tumor which had forced him to curtail his schedule. 

April 9, 2016
World of Opera: Eugene Onegin
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Cast of Eugene Onegin Photo Credit: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London
P. I. TCHAIKOVSKY:  Eugene Onegin
Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus
Semyon Bychkov, conductor

Like The Queen of Spades, another popular psychodrama by Tchaikovsky, this brooding masterpiece is based on the writing of Alexander Pushkin. Its darkly dramatic story portrays a caddish aristocrat whose indifference towards others turns full circle, and comes back to destroy him.  This production features the great baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, making a heroic and much-acclaimed appearance in the title role -- interrupting treatment for a recently-diagnosed brain tumor which had forced him to curtail his schedule.

April 2, 2016
Special Broadcast

World of Opera logoWorld of Opera will not be heard Saturday, April 2, so that we can bring you a live broadcast of the Christ Church Cathedral Choir of Oxford from Davidson College Presbyterian Church. To learn more about that broadcast, click here.  World of Opera will return at its usual time Saturday, April 9th.

March 26, 2016
BENJAMIN BRITTEN: Peter Grimes
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Cast of Peter GrimesArnold Schoenberg Chorus
ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra
Cornelius Meister, conductor

The seeds for this powerfully emotional drama were sewn while Britten was in California, where an encounter with George Crabbe's poem The Borough left the composer nostalgic for Aldeburgh, his coastal hometown in Suffolk.



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