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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
December 20, 2014
'El NiƱo' by John Adams: The Nativity in Verse and Music

Adams Nino

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"

ReimsVirtuosi 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'

The Queen of SpadesBavarian 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
Mozart's Idomeneo

IdomeneoVienna 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'

WoO-1447-BorisFinnish National Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Michael Güttler, conductor

Deeply rooted in the country's colorful history, Mussorgsky's epic may be the most
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

WoO-1446-ArmidaOrchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Comunale Bologna
Carlo Rizzi, conductor

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.
November 8, 2014
The Power to Seduce: Tchaikovsky's 'Enchantress'

WOO-1445-EnchantressArnold 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'

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.

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