World 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 production of WDAV Classical Public Radio, a service of Davidson College.
World of Opera Site Lisa Simeone's bio
December 20, 2014
'El Niño' by John Adams: The Nativity in Verse and Music
Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra Westminster Choir
Joe Miller, conductor
This sweeping setting of the Christmas story is both compellingly contemporary and filled with ancient traditions, including medieval carolers, Latin American poets, and an ethereal children's chorus. As the New York Times put it, "El Niño bears so many gifts that the senses stagger under the load."
December 13, 2014
Special Event, Special Music: Rossini's "The Voyage to Reims"
Virtuosi Brunensis Poznan Bach Chorus
Antonio Fogliani, conductor
This score by Rossini is alternately called a dramma giocoso and a "scenic cantata." Either way, it's right at home in the theater, and contains some of the composer's most brilliant vocal writing.
December 6, 2014
Grim and Grimmer: Tchaikovsky's 'The Queen of Spades'
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Mariss Jansons, conductor
Gambling has gotten lots of folks in trouble, but few more dramatically than the unfortunate character Herman in Tchaikovsky's opera. Based on a chilling story by Pushkin, the operatic version is no less disturbing than the original.
November 29, 2014
Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Christoph Eschenbach, conductor
Idomeneo is a masterpiece that’s only beginning to gain its 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 characters.
November 22, 2014
Musical Psychoanalysis: Mussorgsky's 'Boris Godunov'
Finnish National Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Deeply rooted in the country's colorful history, Mussorgsky's epic may be the most
Michael Güttler, conductor
famous of all Russian operas. Bass Matti Salminen does a star turn as the tormented title character, in a first-rate production from Finland.
November 15, 2014
Gioachino Rossini's Armida
Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Comunale Bologna
The story of the sorceress Armida, from Torquato Tasso's epic poem Jerusalem Liberated, has been set by several great composers -- including Dvorak, Handel and Haydn -- as well as any number of lesser lights. But of all those versions, Rossini's lively opera just may be the best.
Carlo Rizzi, conductor
November 8, 2014
The Power to Seduce: Tchaikovsky's 'Enchantress'
Arnold Schoenberg Chorus
ORF Radio Symphony
Mikhail Tatarnikov, conductor
In this fascinating drama, the title character is a brazen seductress who finds redemption in true love, but in the process brings tragedy to an entire family. Tchaikovsky struggled with the complexities of the plot, yet brought the story to life with some of his most brilliant music.
November 1, 2014
Quarreling Queens: Donizetti's 'Maria Stuarda'
Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus
In operas from Elizabeth at Kenilworth to Anna Bolena, Donizetti seemed fascinated by the intrigues and rivalries of British royalty. This example deals with the complex relationship between Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart -- also known as Mary, Queen of Scots.
Betrand de Billy, conductor
October 25, 2014
Stealing a Little Thunder: 'The Barber of Seville'
Orchestra of the TeatroComunale, Bologna
San Carlo Chorus, Pesaro
Giacomo Sagripanti, conductor
There may be no such thing as artistic perfection, but with his Barber ...Rossini surely came as close as anyone to creating a flawless operatic comedy. The production comes to us from the 2014 edition of the annual Rossini Opera Festival, in the composer's hometown.
October 18, 2014
Opera's Material Girl: Puccini's 'Manon Lescaut'
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Vienna Philharmonic Chorus
Simon Rattle, conductor
Massenet's version of the Manon story may win out when it comes to pure tunefulness, but if you're looking for outright passion, it's hard to beat Puccini. This production from the Baden-Baden Easter Festival comes to us belatedly, but it's worth the wait, with Eva-Maria Westbroek in the title role, plus Simon Rattle leading the Berlin Philharmonic.
October 11, 2014
Anna Netrebko and Placido Domingo in Verdi's 'Il Trovatore"
Vienna State Opera Chorus Concert Association
Verdi's complex tragedy has a story that verges on the outlandish, but its music has made it one of the most popular of all the composer's great operas, and it serves up an astonishing number of his most familiar melodies. This Salzburg production is one of the operatic year's outstanding events, with soprano Anna Netrebko as Leonora and Placido Domingo, continuing his remarkable exploration of Verdi's great baritone roles, as Count di Luna.
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Daniele Gatti, conductor
October 4, 2014
World of Opera: Special Edition, 2014 Fall Campaign
Lisa Simeone hosts a special edition of World Of Opera for the WDAV fall fundraising campaign. Enjoy classic pieces by Wagner, Puccini, and Mozart, and stand-out performances by Placido Domingo, Renee Fleming, and more.
Photo credit: Decca Andrew Eccles
September 27, 2014
Sensuous, Shocking and Sensational: Richard Strauss's 'Salome'
Orchestra of the German Opera, Berlin
Donald Runnicles, conductor
The soprano who created the role of Salome declared herself "respectable" -- and thus refused to perform the famously scandalous "Dance of the Seven Veils. (A dancer served as stand-in.) Yet that very sensationalism, along with the raw power of its drama, has made Salome one of Strauss's most familiar and popular operas.
September 20, 2014
Reinventing Opera: Rameau's 'Castor and Pollux'
When Rameau died, a French periodical praised the composer as "the God of Harmony," and in retrospect that's easy to understand. In the era between the seminal dramas of Monteverdi and the revolutionary works of Mozart, few composers wrote more brilliant operas than Rameau. Castor and Pollux is among his finest.
Raphaël Pichon, conductor