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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
August 1, 2015
The Deal of a Lifetime: Gounod's 'Faust'


Teatro Regio Orchestra and Chorus
Gianandrea Noseda, conductor

Goethe's immortal drama, with it's legendary deal with the devil, has been adapted in countless ways, from symphonic poems to rock musicals, but few if any can match the power and romance of Gounod's opera.

July 25, 2015
Contrasts and Surprises, from 'King Roger' and 'L'Inganno Felice"


Royal Opera House  Orchestra and Chorus
Antonio Pappano, conductor

La Fenice Orchestra and Chorus
Stefano Montanari conductor

Szymanowski is widely regarded as the most important Polish composer after Chopin.  King Roger -- portraying the inherent conflict between Apollonian ideals and Dionysian pleasure -- is often cited as a true, musical rarity:  a genuine masterpiece unaccountably neglected.  And as a bonus, from Venice, La Fenice presents a rarely-heard one-act gem by Rossini.
July 18, 2015
Gluck's 'Alceste': Creating Something 'Cool' in Opera


La Fenice Orchestra and Chorus

Guillaume Tourniaire, conductor

Gluck's take on the passionate story of Alceste was among his influential, Italian "reform" operas, in which he abandoned the strictly regimented world of opera seria to create a naturalistic style more deftly in touch with the emotional potential of his stories.

July 11, 2015
Deaths in the Family: Strauss's 'Elektra'


Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Mikko Franck, conductor

Surely, Clytaemnestra, Agamemnon and their kids Elektra and Orestes qualify as one of the most dysfunctional families in all of literature, not to mention opera. Elektra takes the lead in this chapter of their appalling yet absorbing history.
July 4, 2015
A Subtle Sequel: Rossini's 'The Turk in Italy'


Teatro Regio Orchestra and Chorus

Daniele Rustioni, conductor

With A Turk in Italy, Rossini turns the narrative tables on his own, more popular comedy, The Italian Girl in Algiers. This opera may be less familiar but it's every bit as funny, and comes to us from one of Italy's finest regional theaters.

June 28, 2015
The Bard Goes to the Opera: Verdi's 'Macbeth'


Radio France Chorus

National Orchestra of France
Daniele Gatti, conductor

Astonishingly, there may be only a half-dozen or so successful operas inspired by Shakespeare. Even more remarkable is that Verdi alone accounted for three of them. His Macbeth may not be heard quite so often as Otello and Falstaff, but it's still among his finest and most intense dramas.

June 21, 2015
La Finta Semplice


Munich Radio Orchestra

Rinaldo Alessandrini, conductor

The term "children's music" is generally used to describe music written for children -- but in this opera, it takes on a different meaning. La Finta Semplice is kids' music written by a kid -- the eleven-year-old Mozart, who used it to showcase an innovative ensemble style that later came to full bloom in masterpieces including The Marriage

June 13, 2015
Seductive Deception: Donizetti's 'Don Pasquale'


Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Jesús Lopez-Cobos, conductor

Donizetti wrote any number of irresistible comedies, including The Elixir of Love and The Daughter of the Regiment, and this sparkling score may be the best of them all.  From Vienna, acclaimed veteran Juan Diego Florez does a star turn alongside the captivating young Romanian soprano, Valentina Nafornita.
June 6, 2015
Mozart's Masonic Mystery: 'The Magic Flute'


Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus

Cornelius Meister, conductor

A quick look at the story of Mozart's Magic Flute might suggest that it's a great opera for the kids. And it is! But it's also a very adult look at the conflict between lightness and dark, and how difficult it can be to distinguish which is which. 

May 30, 2015
Puritan Love: Bellini's 'I Puritani'


Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Marco Armiliato, conductor

When Bellini moved to Paris in the 1830s, he declared that French composers and audiences had "little understanding of real song." He apparently decided to remedy that. I Puritani -- Bellini's first opera for Paris, and the last opera he composed before his death at age 33 -- is blessed by a raft of his finest melodies.

May 23, 2015
Grand Opera's Ultimate Spectacle: 'La Juive'
Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Simone Young, conductor

The first of this quarter's three shows from Vienna, Halévy's drama premiered at the Paris Opéra in 1835 in what may then have been the most extravagant opera production in history, complete with lavish, period costuming and a phalanx of onstage equestrians.

May 16, 2015
Storms and Salvation: Wagner's 'The Flying Dutchman'
World of Opera 1520 Flying Dutchman

Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Andris Nelsons, conductor

While weighing in at about two-and-a-half hours -- without an intermission! -- Dutchman may still be Wagner's most straightforward and approachable opera. It's a stormy drama of legendary determination, undeniable love and ultimate redemption.
May 10, 2015
A Rare Bird: Bellini's 'The Capulets and the Montagues'


La Fenice Orchestra and Chorus

Omer Meir Wellber, conductor

Bellini's take on the Romeo and Juliet story is unusual in that it's not primarily based on Shakespeare's tragedy, instead deriving from an Italian novella. It was a runaway hit at its premiere, causing Bellini to dub the drama "Zaira's revenge," as much of its music was recycled from his opera Zaira, which had failed less than a year earlier.

May 3, 2015
Art Imitates Art in 'Goyescas'


Teatro Regio Orchestra, Chorus and Children's Chorus

Children's Chorus of the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory
Donato Renzetti, conductor

This unusual double bill features a mystical one-act drama from Puccini's Il Trittico, plus an opera that began life, literally, at the keyboard. Goyescas, by Granados, is based on music from a popular set of piano pieces inspired by the romantic paintings of Francisco Goya.

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