Opera Cheat Sheet

From Houston Public Media Classical 91.7

St.John Flynn and Eric Skelly provide a quick, fun overview of the opera to be heard Saturday afternoon on Classical 91.7.More from Opera Cheat Sheet »

Most Recent Episodes

Opera Cheat Sheet: Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci (revised)

A short intro to the famously-paired verismo masterpieces by Mascagni and Leoncavallo. In this OCS twofer, Houston Public Media's St.John Flynn and Eric Skelly of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra give quick intros to Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, late 19th-century short operas, often paired on the same program as Cav & Pag, that define the verismo movement. In Cavalleria Rusticana, a young man learns what happens to a guy who sleeps with another man's wife when his girlfriend is pregnant! Pagliacci is the story of a troupe of street performers who find that, when you're on the road, life can begin to imitate art a little too much!

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Opera Cheat Sheet: Turandot (revised)

In this OCS, Houston Public Media's St.John Flynn and Eric Skelly of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra discuss Giacomo Puccini's final opera, Turandot, the story of an ancient Chinese princess unwilling to fall in love...until she's kissed for the first time!

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Opera Cheat Sheet: Tannhäuser (updated)

In this OCS, Houston Public Media's St.John Flynn and Eric Skelly of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra give their laugh-filled take on Wagner's tale of a man torn between sacred and profane love. Set in 13th-century Germany, Tannhäuser teaches us that, if you're going to sleep around, you probably shouldn't admit it to your friends in front of your girlfriend! [Musical excerpts from the RCA Victor release Wagner Orchestral Highlights featuring Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra (60493-2-RV)]

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Opera Cheat Sheet: The Pearl Fishers

In this OCS, Houston Public Media's St.John Flynn and Eric Skelly of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra give an overview of Georges Bizet's 1863 opera Les Pêcheurs de Perles (The Pearl Fishers). Set in ancient Ceylon, it's a story of love, friendship and a beautiful pearl necklace.

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Opera Cheat Sheet: Anna Bolena

In this OCS Houston Public Media's St.John Flynn and Eric Skelly of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra discuss the first opera in Donizetti's "Tudor trilogy." Based on the tragic story of Henry VIII's second wife, it's a tale about the dangers of marrying a serial monogamist!

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Opera Cheat Sheet: La Donna Del Lago

In this Opera Cheat Sheet, Houston Public Media's St.John Flynn and Eric Skelly of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra discuss Rossini's 1819 bel canto masterpiece La Donna del Lago. Based on Sir Walter Scott's narrative poem The Lady of the Lake, and set in the early 16th century, the opera is a tale of love, loyalty and lochs in the Scottish Highlands.

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Opera Cheat Sheet: Rigoletto

In this week's Opera Cheat Sheet, Houston Public Media Arts & Culture Director, St.John Flynn, and Eric Skelly of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra discuss Giuseppe Verdi's searing 1851 tragedy Rigoletto, the story of Gilda, the beautiful young girl sacrificed on the altar of her father's malevolence. [The musical excerpts heard in this OCS are taken from the RCA Victor Opera Series recording featuring Georg Solti conducting the RCA Italiano Opera Orchestra & Chorus; Robert Merrill: Rigoletto; Anna Moffo: Gilda (RCA 6506-2-RG)]

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Opera Cheat Sheet: Patrick Summers on La bohème

In this new Opera Cheat Sheet, Houston Public Media's St.John Flynn talks to conductor Patrick Summers, Houston Grand Opera's artistic and music director, about Puccini's most famous opera.

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Opera Cheat Sheet: Candide

In this OCS, Houston Public Media's St.John Flynn and Eric Skelly of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra give a quick and humor-filled overview of Bernstein's 1956 opera Candide, famous for its Overture and songs such as "Glitter and be Gay" and "Make Our Garden Grow." Based on Voltaire's 1758 novel of the same name, Candide tells the story of the young man who learns the truth about existence through a bizarre sequence of fantastic events that take him from Europe to the New World and back.

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Opera Cheat Sheet: Vivaldi's Cato In Utica

In this Opera Cheat Sheet, Houston Public Media's St.John Flynn and Eric Skelly of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra provide a quick overview of Antonio Vivaldi's 1737 dramatization of the final defeat of the Roman Republican army, commanded by Cato, in North Africa by Julius Caesar and the forces of the emerging Roman Empire.

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