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Mozart's Queen of the Night (portrayed here by soprano Diana Damrau), in his The Magic Flute, is one of opera's more intense mothers.
May 9, 2013 Try rummaging through opera to find a tender scene between a mother and child and you'll come up stymied. Why are so many operatic moms depicted as murderous women on the verge of a nervous breakdown?
Maria Callas, a masterful bel canto singer, performs in the title role of Bellini's Norma in Paris, May 23, 1964.
March 28, 2012 The "beautiful singing" of the early 1800s marks an appealing milestone in the story of opera.
Eri Nakamura as Juliet and Tara Erraught as Romeo in the Bavarian State Opera production of Bellini's 'I Capuleti e i Montecchi.'
Wilfried Hösl/Bavarian State Opera
July 29, 2011 There are many failed operas based on Romeo and Juliet — Bellini created one of the rare successes.
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Saverio Mercadante's rarely performed opera Virginia from Wexford Opera Festival in Ireland.
Clive Barda/Courtesy of Wexford Festival Opera
May 27, 2011 Once a huge hit in Italy, this opera by the nearly forgotten Saverio Mercadante has long languished. But it's full of great music — and ancient Roman intrigues.
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Katia Pellegrino performs the grueling role of Norma in this concert production of Bellini's opera.
October 8, 2010 Perhaps the ultimate bel canto classic, Bellini's masterpiece features a powerful story and one of the most challenging soprano roles in opera. This production is a rare chance to hear selections from Norma the opera performed on original instruments, by the excellent orchestra Europa Galante.
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Elvira (Désirée Rancatore) thinks her fiance is cheating on her -- but he's really saving the exiled Queen.
September 17, 2010 Though the main characters are devout Puritans, Bellini manages to pack plenty of worldly action into this love story set during the English Civil War. Hear Elvira go mad when her betrothed leaves camp with another woman.
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Amina (Natalie Dessay) isn't actually sleeping with another man -- she's just sleepwalking.
Opéra national de Paris/ Julien Benhamou
July 2, 2010 A young woman's habit of sleepwalking leads to troublesome consequences. But Bellini's light-handed approach is the perfect complement to the inspired purity of his melodic style.
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March 5, 2010 Despite its beautiful music, and a storyline filled with passionate romance, violent conflict and international intrigue, Vincenzo Bellini's Zaira was received coolly at its premiere, partially due to cutthroat musical politics.
More than 30 years after her death in 1977, Maria Callas' voice continues to thrill and divide fans and experts.
February 15, 2010 The late, great opera diva's sound could sometimes be hollow and dark, sometimes shrill, sometimes gorgeous. Callas continues to thrill and divide audiences with her distinctive voice and the raw intensity she put into it.
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December 18, 2009 When classical musicians literally play to their own strengths, magic can happen. Hear today's top classical musicians revisit the music they know and love best in recordings chosen by Boston's WGBH.
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