Npr World Of Opera

Program Listings

    June 7, 2008

Washington National Opera

    GIUSEPPE VERDI: I Vespri Siciliani

Maria Guleghina (Elena); Franco Farina (Arrigo); Lado Ataneli (Montforte); Vitalij Kowaljow (Procida); Erin Elizabeth Smith (Ninetta); Robert Baker (Danieli); Corey Evan Rotz (Tebaldo); J. Austin Bitner (Manfredo); James Shaffran (Roberto); John Marcus Bindel (Bethune); Benjamin von Atrops (Vaudemont); Placido Domingo, conductor

If you've ever wondered why some people think an opera's not over until all the characters are dead, this piece may be the reason. It has enough deadly plotting, and enough of Verdi's finest music, for several evenings in the opera house. We hear it from Washington, in a production led by legendary tenor, and now conductor and adminstrator, Placido Domingo.

    June 14, 2008

Houston Grand Opera

    DANIEL CATAN: Salispuedes, a Tale of Love, War and Anchovies

Ana Maria Martinez (Lucero); Zheng Cao (Magali); Chad Shelton (Ulises); Scott Hendricks (Chucho); James Maddalena (Colonel/Madame Collette); Oren Gradus (Captain Magallanes); Nicholas Phan (El Chino); Laquita Mitchell (Orquidea); Heidi Stober (La China); Joseph Evans (General Garcia); Pablo Bracho (Sergeant Guzman); Guido Maria Guida, conductor

A thumbnail synopsis of this opera by Daniel Catán reads like a cross between Mozart's Cosí fan tutte, and Mel Brooks' fictional broadway creation, Springtime for Hitler! Salsibuedes joins Catán's popular, previous opera Florencia en al Amazonas among the many Houston Grand Opera world premieres to have been featured on NPR WORLD OF OPERA.

    June 21, 2008

The Washington National Opera

    CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS: Samson and Dalila

Olga Borodina (Dalila); Karl Tanner (Samson); Alan Held (High Priest); Kyle Ketelson (Abimelech); Giovanni Reggioli, conductor

Ella Fitzgerald once sang a tune saying, "Dalila was a floozy!" – or at least she was until she met "this buckaroo named Sam." And that's not a bad summation of Saint-Saens's colorful, Biblical blockbuster. The Washington National Opera brings it to us in a production featuring the splendid soprano Olga Borodina as the one-time floozy, and Karl Tanner as the man who brings down the house – literally.

    June 28, 2008

Vienna State Opera

    GIUSEPPE VERDI: La Traviata

Krassimiria Stoyanova (Violetta); Piotr Beczala (Alfredo Germont); Zeljko Lucic (Giorgo Germont); Sophie Marilley (Flora); Gergely Nemeti (Gastone); In-Sung Sim (Douphol); Eijiro Kai (D'Obigny); Alfred Sramek (Doctor Grenvil); Renato Palumbo, conductor

When the diva dies just as the final curtain falls, it may seem like an operatic cliché — but not in the hands of Giuseppe Verdi. He made the final scene of La Traviata one of the most profound of them all, and in Violetta Valery created one of opera's greatest romantic characters.

    July 5, 2008
Washington National Opera

GEORGE GERSHWIN:Porgy and Bess

Gordon Hawkins (Porgy); Indira Mahajan (Bess); Terry Cook (Crown); Angela Simpson (Serena); Laquita Mitchell (Clara); Marietta Simpson (Maria); Eric Greene (Jake); Jermaine Smith (Sportin' Life); Wayne Marshall, conductor

To help celebrate the Independence Day weekend it's an encore presentation of the Great American Opera, in a splendid production originally heard live from the Washington National Opera. A stellar cast brings us all the hits, from "Summertime" straight through to "I'm On My Way," from the Kennedy Center Opera House on the banks of the Potomac in the nation's capital.

    July 12, 2008
Vienna Konzerthaus

GIUSEPPE VERDI:I due Foscari

Leo Nucci (Francesco Foscari); Francisco Casanova (Jacopo Foscari); Manon Feubel (Lucrezia Contini); Dan Paul Dumitrescu (Jacopo Loredano); Jorg Schneider (Barbarigo); Nina Bernsteiner (Pisana); Bertyrand de Billy, conductor

One of Verdi's darkest dramas, I due Foscari is also one of his most striking — a compelling story of deadly intrigue and political treachery set against the historical backdrop of 15th-century Venice.

    July 19, 2008
Opera Garnier, Paris

CHRISTOPH WILLIBALD GLUCK:Iphigenie en Tauride

Mireille Delunsch (Iphigenie); Stephane Degout (Orestes); Yann Beuron (Pylades); Franck Ferrari (Thoas); Salome Haller (Diana); Ivor Bolton, conductor

Gluck's 18th-century "reform operas" were an entirely new breed of musical drama — compact and straighforward, with every note intended to precisely convey the intense emotions of its characters. Premiered in Paris, in 1779, Iphigenie en Tauride is one of Gluck's finest.

    July 26, 2008
Metropolitan Theatre of Lausanne

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL: Julius Caesaar in Egypt

Andreas Scholl (Julius Caesar); Stephanied'Oustrac (Cornelia); Elena de la Merced (Cleopatra); Max Emanuel Cencic (Sextus); Christophe Dumaus (Ptolemy); Riccardo Novaro (Achillas); Ottavio Dantone, conductor

There was a time when people were surpised to learn that Handel was among the most acclaimed opera composers of his time. Now, he's quickly becoming a favorite of our own time, as well. This production of Handel's Julius Caesar stars one of the world's foremost countertenors, Andreas Scholl, in the title role.

    September 27, 2008
Teatro Lirico, Cagliari

NICOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOVThe Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh

Tatiana Monogarova (Frevoniya); Vitaly Panfilov (Yuryevich); Vsevolodovic Kazakov (Prince Yuri); Mikhail Bubsky (Grishka); Gevorg Hakovyan (Fyodor); Marika Gulordava (Yuri's Page); Stefano Consolini (Bear Trainer); Alessandro Senes (Beggar); Rosanna Savoia (Sirin); Elena Manistina (Alkonost)

From another of Italy's many, superb regional opera companies, it's a fanciful concoction by Rimsky-Korsakov. The Legend of the Invisible City has all the orchestral brilliance of the composer's familiar concert works, to complement a charming story blending Christian mysticism with age-old folk beliefs.

    August 2, 2008
Welsh National Opera, Cardiff

GIUSEPPE VERDI: Falstaff

Bryn Terfel (Falstaff); Janice Watson (Alice Ford); Imelda Drumm (Meg Page); Anne-Marie Owens (Mistress Quickly); Anthony Mee (Dr. Caius); Neil Jenkins (Bardolph); Claire Ormshaw (Nanetta); Rhys Merion (Fenton); Christopher Purves (Ford); Carlo Rizzi, conductor

Adapting Shakespeare successfully for the opera house proved an impossible task for countless composers. But it didn't phase Verdi. He wrote three, hit Shakespeare operas: Macbeth, Otello, and this week's opera, Falstaff, which ranks among the most brilliant of all Verdi's masterpieces. Shakespeare's outwardly comic play tells reams about the human condition, and Verdi took the deceptively profound tale and made it still richer, and more rewarding.

    August 9, 2008
Glimmerglass Opera

JULES MASSENET: The Portrait of Manon

Kristine Winkler (Aurore); Theodore Baerg (Des Grieux); Colin Ainsworth

(Jean); Bruce Reed (Tiberge); Andrew Bisantz, conductor

FRANCIS POULENC: The Human Voice

Amy Burton (Elle); Steward Robertson, conductor

Ever wonder what happened to poor old Des Grieux, after he lost the love of his life so tragically in Massenet's Manon? Well, the first work in this double-bill answers the question. It's followed by a dramatic and vocal tour de force for a single singer – Poulenc's emotional roller-coaster, The Human Voice.

    August 16, 2008
Glimmerglass Opera

GIOACCHINO ROSSINI: The Barber of Seville

Aaron St. Clair (Figaro); Katharine Goeldner (Rosina); John Tessier (Figaro); Eduardo Chama (Bartolo); Daniel Sumegi (Basilio); Judith Christin (Berta) ; Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra and Chorus; David Angus, conductor

Glimmerglass Opera's jewel-like theater is the perfect venue for the crystalline textures and intimately-detailed vocals of Rossini's comic masterpiece. In short, it's the perfect place to hear why many consider Barber a nearly perfect operatic comedy.

    August 23, 2008
Glimmerglass Opera

GAETANO DONIZETTI Lucie de Lammermoor

Sarah Coburn (Lucie); Chad A. Johnson (Arthur); Earle Patriarco (Henri); Raúl Hernández (Edgard); Craig Phillips (Raymond); Bryon Grohman (Gilbert); Beatrice Jona Affron, conductor

With Lucia di Lammermoor, Donizetti translated a celebrated – and sensational — tragedy by Sir Walter Scott into Italian, and came up with one of bel canto opera's greatest hits. But he also translated it into French, and that's the version we hear this summer from Glimmerglass. Sarah Coburn's performance of the famous "mad scene" is a can't-miss moment.

    August 30, 2008
Glimmerglass Opera

BENJAMIN BRITTEN Death in Venice

William Burden (Aschenbach); David Pittsinger (The Traveller/Fop/Manager/Barber/Leader of the Players/Dionysus); Bruce Reed (Hotel Porter); Craig Phillips (Clerk); John Gaston (Apollo); Nicola Bowie (Lady of the Pearls); Stewart Robertson, conductor

Few if any 20th-century composers mastered opera as thoroughly as Benjamin Britten, and this Glimmerglass production brings us one of the his finest efforts – a bleak, beautiful and extraordinarilly moving work based on the short novel by Thomas Mann.

    September 6, 2008
Bavarian State Opera, Munich

W. A. MOZART: Idomeneo

John Mark Ainsley (Idomeneo); Pavol Berslik (Idamante); Juliane Banse (Ilia); Annette Dasch (Elettra); Rainer Trost (Arbace); Guy de Mey (High Priest); Steven Humes (Oracle); Kent Nagano, conductor

Idomeneo is a masterpiece that's only beginning to gain it's rightful place in Mozart's canon. The opera does have an outlandish plot – complete with conniving gods and a carniverous sea monster — but it's also blessed with some of Mozart's most beautiful music and a troupe of opera's most touchingly human chararacters.

    September 13, 2008
Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa

P. I. TCHAIKOVSKY: Eugene Onegin

Fabio Maria Capitanucci; Svetla Vassileva (Tatyana); Tiziana Tramonti (Larina); Dmitri Korchak (Lensky); Askar Abdrazakov (Prince Gremin); Ambra Vespasiani (Filipyenva); Marina Pardo (Olga); Marco Signorini (Zaretsky); Juanjo Mena, conductor

A brooding masterpiece, Tchaikovsky's dark drama deals with a caddish aristocrat whose indifference towards others turns full circle, and comes back to destroy him. The first of back-to-back productions from one of Italy's most prestigious theaters.

    September 20, 2008
Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa

JULES MASSENET: Werther

Giuseppe Filianoti (Werther); Sonia Ganassi (Charlotte); Adriana Kucerova (Sophie); Giorgio Caoduro (Albert); Gianfranco Montrosor (Le Bailli); Enzo Peroni (Schmidt); Vittorio Prato (Johann); Alain Guingal, conductor

This one might be considered Massenet's "other opera." His Manon is certainly more famous, but Werther is surely worthy of wider attention that it gets. Based on an influential, early novel by Goethe, the opera is the story of a man whose lost love proves more vital to him than life itself. Another stirring production from Genoa's historic Teatro Carlo Felice.

    September 27, 2008
Teatro Lirico, Cagliari

NICOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOVThe Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh

Tatiana Monogarova (Frevoniya); Vitaly Panfilov (Yuryevich); Vsevolodovic Kazakov (Prince Yuri); Mikhail Bubsky (Grishka); Gevorg Hakovyan (Fyodor); Marika Gulordava (Yuri's Page); Stefano Consolini (Bear Trainer); Alessandro Senes (Beggar); Rosanna Savoia (Sirin); Elena Manistina (Alkonost)

From another of Italy's many, superb regional opera companies, it's a fanciful concoction by Rimsky-Korsakov. The Legend of the Invisible City has all the orchestral brilliance of the composer's familiar concert works, to complement a charming story blending Christian mysticism with age-old folk beliefs.

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