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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
April 12, 2014
Substance Battles Spectacle, in Meyerbeer's 'L'Africaine'

WOO-1415-LAfricaine-250La Fenice Orchestra and Chorus 
Emmanuel Villaume, conductor

The debut of this opera, in 1865, was one of the most extravagant productions in the history of the Paris Opéra, and the drama can strain the capacity of even today's high tech theaters. This production comes to us from one of the world's most glamorous operatic destinations. 

April 5, 2014
G.F. Handel: Roselinda
WOO-1414-RoselindaEnglish National Opera Orchestra and Chorus 
Christian Curnyn, conductor

Handel wrote 
Rodelinda for a premiere in London, in 1725, featuring some of the greatest singers of the time, and this 2014 London concert performance features a world-class cast of its own. The opera itself portrays a strong-willed wife who risks her own life to protect her family, as her exiled husband struggles to find a way back to them.
March 29, 2014
A Musical Changeling: Rossini's 'Le Comte Ory'


Lyon Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Stefano Montanari, conductor

Rossini's penultimate opera is based on a medieval ballad about randy knights set loose in a convent. This version of the story is a bit more polite, with the nuns turned into a castle full of faithful wives, chastely awaiting the return of their husbands.

March 22, 2014
Innocence Rewarded: Bellini's 'La Sonnambula'

WOO-1412-Sonnambula-250Grand Leceu Theater Orchestra and Chorus 
Daniel Oren, conductor

Better known for tragic dramas including Norma and I Puritani, Bellini also had a smash hit with this lighthearted romp, set in a village full of good intentions where even the thorniest problems are simple misunderstandings, easily solved. This production from Spain features one of the world's leading bel canto tenors, Juan Diego Florez.

March 15, 2014
Destiny Takes Command: Verdi's 'La Forza del Destino'

Bavarian State Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Asher Fisch, conductor

On this week's World of Opera, host Lisa Simeone presents La Forza del Destino in a production from the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, featuring a truly distinguished cast. The stars are soprano Anja Harteros as Leonora, tenor Jonas Kauffmann as her beloved Alvaro and baritone Ludovic Tézier as Carlo, who for a moment is Alvaro's ally, but soon becomes his most deadly enemy.
March 8, 2014
Wishful Thinking, Fairytale Ending: Massenet's 'Cendrillon'
World of Opera Cendrillon 150Grand Liceu Theater Symphony Orchestra and Chorus 
Andrew Davis, conductor

With apologies to Rossini, this may be the finest operatic representation of the classic fairytale, “Cinderella.” In any case, it’s the most faithful, and it also boasts one of Massenet’s most appealing scores.
March 1, 2014
Breaking the Mold: Gounod's 'Romeo and Juliet'
WOO-1409-Romeo-250Royal Wallonie Opera Orchestra and Chorus 
Patrick Davin, conductor

Gounod's popular Faust is far better-known than this, later opera. Still, of the scores, if not hundreds, of musical takes on the iconic Shakespeare tragedy, Gounod's version of Romeo and Juliet is one of a bare handful that still hold the stage today -- making it a remarkable opera in its own right.
February 22, 2014
Death at Sundown: Verdi's 'The Sicilian Vespers'

WOO-1408-Vespers-250Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus 
Antonio Pappano, 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 in a recent production from the historic Royal Opera House in London.

February 15, 2014
The Flower Duet Comes Home in Delibes' 'Lakmé'
WOO-1407-LakmeLausanne Chamber Orchestra 
Lausanne Opera Chorus 
Miguel Ortega, conductor

If you think you've never heard Delibes' strikingly beautiful Lakmé, think again -- you've almost certainly heard at least part of it. The famous, Act I "flower" duet turns up more often on TV commercials than in the opera house! But there's more to this unique opera than just that one, ubiquitous passage, as you'll hear in this production from the banks of Lake Geneva.
February 8, 2014
First-Time Perfection: Mozart's 'The Marriage of Figaro'
WOO-1406-Figaro-250Suisse Romande Orchestra, Grand Theatre Chorus 
Stefan Soltesz, conductor

Deep down, as with many of Mozart's "comedies," Figaro isn't as funny as it first seems, with plenty of all-too-real human foibles, weaknesses, heartbreak -- and even treachery -- lurking beneath a slapstick veneer, and illuminated by page after page of glorious music.
February 1, 2014
C.W. GLUCK: Alceste
WOO-1405-GluckLes Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski, conductor

Cast: Sophie Koch (Alceste); Yann Beuron (Admète); Stanislas de Barbeyrac
(Evandre); Jean-Francois Lapointe (High Priest); Franck Ferrari (Hercule);
Florian Sempey (Apollon); Francois Lis (Thanathos)

Gluck's first take on the passionate story of Alceste was among his influential, Italian "reform" operas. The substantially revised French version heard here retains much of the music from the Italian original, plus enough more to be counted as a distinctly different opera -- and perhaps even more ambitious.
January 25, 2014
Verdi's 'La Traviata'

WoO 1404 TraviataLa Scala Orchestra and Chorus
Daniele Gatti, conductor

It's hard to think of an opera house more closely associated with Verdi than La Scala, or a more beloved Verdi opera than La Traviata.  So it's fitting that this stellar production kicks off La Scala's 2013-2014 season, culminating Verdi's bicentennial year.

January 18, 2014
Skullduggery vs. Satire, in Handel's 'Agrippina'
WOO 1403 AgrippinaLiceu Symphony Orchestra 
Harry Bicket, conductor
Handel's Italian operas made him the toast of London long before his famous English oratorios caught the public's ear. Agrippina is named for Nero's shrewd and savvy mother, without whom the infamous emperor could never have fiddled while Rome burned.
January 11, 2014
Turning the Tables: Rossini's 'L'Italiana in Algeri'
L'Italiana Rossini FestivalTeatro Communale Orchestra and Chorus of Bologna 
José Ramón Encinar, conductor
The story may be a little silly -- OK, a lot silly -- and it's politically incorrect in the extreme! But nobody did wackiness better, more beautifully, or with a finer instinct for pure comedy than Rossini displays in this sparkling score.

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