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World of Opera
Saturdays at 6 p.m.

Lisa SimeoneWorld 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

Program Schedule
November 1, 2014
Quarreling Queens: Donizetti's 'Maria Stuarda'

WoO-1444-MariaStuardaRoyal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus
Betrand de Billy, conductor

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.
October 25, 2014
Stealing a Little Thunder: 'The Barber of Seville'

Barber of SevilleOrchestra 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'
Manon LescautBerlin 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"

TrovatoreVienna State Opera Chorus Concert Association
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Daniele Gatti, conductor

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.
October 4, 2014
World of Opera: Special Edition, 2014 Fall Campaign
Renee FlemingLisa 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'

Pygmalion Ensemble
Raphaël Pichon, conductor

Castor & PolluxWhen 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.
September 13, 2014
One-Upping the Bard: Verdi's 'Otello'

WoO-1437-Otello-thumbnailRadio France Philharmonic Orchestra
Myung Whun Chun, conductor

Otello, Iago and Desdemona, three of literature's most complex and compelling characters, come to life in what many consider Verdi's most moving opera.  Written when the composer was in his early 70s, Otellotakes one of Shakespeare's finest tragedies and, if anything, makes it even more powerful and heartbreaking.

September 6, 2014
A Triumph in Transition: Catalani's 'La Wally'
La Wally

Suisse Romande Orchestra
Evelino Pidò, conductor

As Verdi's career was winding down, and Puccini's was achieving full flight, Catalani tried to take Italian opera in a different direction, combining Italian passion and lyricism with a German Romantic style of drama. La Wally was by far his greatest success.
August 30, 2014
Epic Introduction: Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'
Das Rheingold

Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Kirill Petrenko, conductor

Das Rheingold gets Wagner's monumental Ring cycle off to a rousing start, in a quickly-paced drama introducing a fanciful world of vivid characters and world-shaping passions. 

August 23, 2014
Venice Plays the Villain, in Donizetti's 'Caterina Cornaro'
WOO Caterina Cornaro
Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon National Orchestra

Latvian Radio Chorus
Paolo Carignani, conductor

it's not one of Donizetti's better known scores, the concise drama and pure, emotional energy of Caterina Cornero make it one of his most compelling.
August 16, 2014
Between Two Worlds: Strauss's 'Die Frau ohne Schatten'
Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Semyon Bychkov, conductor

The librettist of this Strauss opera, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, called it a "magic fairy tale." The highly-symbolic story inhabits both the real world, and a realm of pure spirituality, and while it has often been overshadowed by the composer's more famous dramas, many Stauss aficionados consider The Woman without a Shadow to be his finest opera.
August 9, 2014
Passion vs. Propriety: Monteverdi's 'The Coronation of Poppea'

WOO-1432-Poppea-250Concerto Italiano
Rinaldo Alessandrini, conductor

Monteverdi's Poppea proves that passion was plentiful in the opera house long before Verdi and Puccini hit the scene --  and that virtue doesn't always win out in the end. The opera portrays an illicit love so strong that it threatens to bring down an empire -- accompanied by one of the steamiest love-duets ever composed. 

August 2, 2014
An Operatic Missing Link: Steffani's 'Niobe'

WOO-1431-Niobe-250Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra
Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs, directors

On World of Opera, host Lisa Simeone presents that production of Steffani's Niobe, a colorful jumble of devious politics, lively comedy and passionate romance, all tempered by the wrath of the gods.  It's the Boston Early Music Festival's "road show," presented at Broadcasting Hall in Bremen, Germany, in a performance led by Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs.   

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