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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
November 28, 2015
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woo-1548-falstaff-300px.jpgZurich Opera Chorus and Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Jonathan Nott, conductor

Verdi's final two operas, Otello and Falstaff, were both based on Shakespeare.  Together, they may be the finest valedictory in the history of opera, and Falstaff may also be the most optimistic.

November 21, 2015
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Hans Heiling Arnold Schoenberg Chorus and ORF Radio Symphony
Constantin Trinks, conductor

Marschner's work seldom appears in today's theaters, despite playing an important historical role in operatic history.  His operas fill the musical gap between the early, German Romantic operas of Weber, and the revolutionary music dramas of Wagner. Hans Heiling tells a folk-based tale of a clash between two worlds, the mortal and the spiritual.

November 14, 2015
SIMON MAYR: Medea in Corinto
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Medea in CorintoTransylvania State Philharmonic Chorus and Italian International Orchestra
Fabio Luisi, conductor

Not widely known today, Simon Mayr was among the most important opera composers of the early 19th-century, bringing German harmonic language and orchestral color to the world of Italian opera.  His Medea tells the gripping mythological story of a woman so obsessed with revenge that she destroys her own children.

November 7, 2015
W. A. MOZART: Don Giovanni
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W. A. MOZART:  Don Giovanni Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Alain Altinoglu, conductor

Few operas have stories as perfectly suited to a composer as this one.  It's hard to imagine a more complex weave of antic comedy, shocking violence and emotional betrayals than librettist Lorenzo da Ponte's incisive adaptation of the Don Juan legend -- or a composer better equipped to handle it than Mozart.

October 31, 2015
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Grand Liceu Theater Orchestra and Chorus
Riccardo Frizza, conductor

Otello, Iago and Desdemona, three of literature's most complex and compelling characters, come to life in what many consider Verdi's most moving opera.  Written when the composer was in his early 70s, Otello takes one of Shakespeare's finest tragedies and, if anything, makes it even more powerful and heartbreaking.

October 24, 2015
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Sondra Radvanovsky (Tosca) and Jorge de León (Cavaradossi) in Tosca from the Grand Liceu Theater, Barcelona.Grand Liceu Theater Orchestra and Chorus
Paolo Carignani, conductor

Puccini's popular thriller careens violently from passion-driven corruption to torture, murder and suicide, yet proves that even the most sensational entertainment can make an artistic statement that's both enduring, and profoundly beautiful.  From Barcelona, Sondra Radvanovsky gives a powerful, yet nuanced performance in the title role.

October 17, 2015
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The cast of La Gazza Ladra -- The Thieving Magpie -- from the Rossini Opera Festival in Presaro, Italy.This opera -- The Thieving Magpie -- features one of Rossini's most popular and ingenious overtures, yet the opera itself is rarely heard.  The production comes to us from the prestigious Rossini Opera Festival, held annually in the composer's home town.

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

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