Program Listings

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Fall 2002 | Summer 2002
The 2002 season of NPR WORLD OF OPERA continues, leading off with a fascinating double bill from Los Angeles Opera, featuring Samuel Ramey as both the bloody Duke Bluebeard, and the darkly comical Gianni Schicchi.

Then, it's World of Opera's annual "season within a season," from one of America's premiere opera companies, the Houston Grand. Their seven featured productions range from the comedy of Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio, to the spectacle of Saint-SaŽns' Samson and Delilah, to the classic tragedy of Verdi's great Rigoletto -- portrayed by all-star casts including Denyce Graves, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Catherine Malfitano.

October 5
Bluebeard's Castle by Béla Bartók
Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini

Los Angeles Opera

Conductor: Kent Nagano
CASTS: Bluebeard: Samuel Ramey (Duke Bluebeard); Denyce Graves (Judith)
Gianni Schicchi: Samuel Ramey (Gianni Schicchi); Danielle De Niese (Lauretta); Rolando Villazon (Rinuccio); Rosalind Elias (Zita); Tony Dillon (Simone); Jessica Rivera (Nella); Roberto Iarussi (Gherardo)

LA Opera presents a splendidly balanced double-bill: Bartók's horrific opera about a mysterious Duke and his bride, who finds more than skeletons in her new husband's closets; and Puccini's dark comedy, featuring a gaggle of schemers and a con-artist who recreates their rich, but quite dead, relative.

October 12
Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi
Houston Grand Opera

Conductor: Patrick Summers
Cast: Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Rigoletto); Laura Claycomb (Gilda); Roberto Aronica (Duke of Mantua); Raymond Aceto (Sparafucile); Stephanie Novacek (Maddalena); George Cordes (Monterone)

Verdi's indelible masterpiece is the vivid profile of a bitter old man who mistakenly murders the one person who brings joy to his life.

October 19
Tannhauser by Richard Wagner
Houston Grand Opera

Conductor: John Fiore
Cast: Stig Anderson (Tannhauser); Tina Kiberg (Elisabeth); Michelle De Young (Venus); Guido Paevatalu (Wolfram); Stephen Milling (Landgraf)

Wagner's cautionary tale about the dangers faced by a visionary artist, and the perils of meaningless pleasures.

October 26
Eugene Onegin by P.I. Tchaikovsky
Houston Grand Opera

Conductor: Robert Spano
Cast: Bo Skovhus (Onegin); Zvetelina Vassileva (Tatyana); Raymond Very (Lensky); Stephanie Novacek (Olga); Oren Gradus (Prince Gremin); Joseph Evans (Triquet)

A brooding masterpiece, Tchaikovsky's dark drama deals with a caddish aristocrat whose indifference towards others eventually turns full circle, and comes back to destroy him.

November 2
Of Mice and Men by Carlisle Floyd
Houston Grand Opera

Conductor: Patrick Summers
Cast: Anthony Dean Griffey (Lenny); Gordon Hawkins (George); Elizabeth Futral (Curley's Wife); Joseph Evans (Curley); James Maddalena (Slim); Julian Patrick (Candy)

Floyd's telling take on the Steinbeck classic, in a production featuring a stunning performance by Anthony Dean Griffey, in the challenging role of Lenny.

November 9
The Abduction from the Seraglio by W.A. Mozart
Houston Grand Opera

Conductor: Patrick Summers
Cast: Elizabeth Futral (Konstanze); Eric Cutler (Belmonte); Kristin Reierson (Blonde); Scott Scully (Pedrillo); Richard Spuler (Selim); Joshua Winograde (Osmin)

A cross-cultural romp, featuring some of opera's finest comic roles, along with Mozart's typically realistic, and complex portrayals of human nature.

November 16
The Makropoulos Case by Leos Janacek
Houston Grand Opera

Conductor: Steven Sloane
Cast: Catherine Malfitano (Emilia); Robert Brubaker (Albert Gregor); Jonathan Summers (Jaroslav Prus); Joseph Evans (Vitek); Ryland Davies (Hauk-Sendorf); Richard Sutliff (Kolenaty); Chad Shelton (Janek)

The mysterious story of a miraculously aging diva who must suddenly face the propsect and implications of her own mortality, from one of the 20th centuries true, operatic masters.

November 23
Samson and Delilah by Camille Saint-Saëns
Houston Grand Opera

Conductor: Philippe Jordan
Cast: Denyce Graves (Delilah); Sergej Larin (Samson); Greer Grimsley (High Priest of Dagon)

A Saint-Saens spectacle, based on the biblical story of a legendary seductress whose wiles drive the hero Samson to bring down the house - literally!