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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 co-production of WDAV Classical Public Radio, a service of Davidson College and South Carolina Public Radio.

World of Opera Site     Lisa Simeone's bio

Program Schedule
August 27, 2016

Paul Whelan. Photo Credit: Mats BäckerGöteborg Opera, Sweden
Göteborg Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Henrik Schaefer, conductor

The first of back-to-back musical takes on Shakespeare's Hamlet, this drama is among just a handful of Shakespeare-based operas to have achieved lasting success in the world's theaters. The few others include works by Verdi, Gounod and Britten, putting Thomas in rarified operatic company.

August 20, 2016
GIOACHINO ROSSINI: The Barber of Seville

Janis Kelly (Berta), Taylor Stayton (Count Almaviva), Danielle de Niese (Rosina), Björn Bürger (Figaro) © Glyndebourne Productions Ltd. Photo: Bill CooperProms Concerts, Royal Albert Hall, London
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
Enrique Mazzola, conductor

There may be no such thing as artistic perfection, but with Barber of Seville Rossini surely came as close as anyone to creating a flawless operatic comedy. The production is the first of three this quarter from the prestigious Proms Concerts, performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London.


August 13, 2016
CLAUDE DEBUSSY: Pelléas and Mélisande

Barbara Hannigan (Melisande), Stéphane Degout (Pelleas) (c) Artcomart/Patrick BergerAix-en-Provence Festival
Philharmonia Orchestra
Cape Town Opera Chorus
Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

Can an opera deliver passion and intensity without over-the-top mad scenes, rousing calls to arms, and crashing cadences? The answer is yes, and this emotional marvel by Debussy proves it.

August 6, 2016

Anna Netrebko as Manon Lescaut. Photo credit: Wiener Staatsoper / Michael PöhnVienna State Opera
Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Marco Armiliato, conductor

Very few stories have inspired more than one great opera. One that did is the tale of Manon, a beautiful young woman who falls victim to a combination of her own passions and the men who both love and exploit her -- which was famously set to music by Massenet, and in this passionate score by Puccini. The Vienna production features a knockout performance by one of today's most acclaimed sopranos, Anna Netrebko, in the title role.


July 30, 2016
GIUSEPPE VERDI: La Forza del Destino

Csilla Boross image by Vera EderGrand Theatre of Geneva (from Victoria Hall)
Grand Theater Chorus & Suisse Romande Orchestra
Paolo Arrivabeni, conductor

Verdi's relentless drama of politics, passion and revenge demands a top-notch ensemble cast. This production from Geneva delivers, and the Suisse Romande Orchestra shines in what may be Verdi's most famous overture.
July 23, 2016
Dorotea Röschmann (Jenufa), Angela Denoke (Kostelnicka). (c) Wiener Staatsoper / Michael Poehn

Vienna State Opera
Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Ingo Metzmacher, conductor

Janácek was in his sixties, at an age when many are enjoying retirement, when the surprise success of Jenufa first brought him widespread fame. The opera is an undoubted masterpiece, telling a disturbing, yet strangely inspiring story of multiple betrayals, gruesome murder and ultimate, if unlikely, forgiveness.

July 16, 2016
Ermonela Jaho (Desdemona), Marc Heller (Otello) (c) Premsa Liceu/ Antoni Bofill

Grand Liceu Theater, Barcelona
Grand Liceu Theater Orchestra and Chorus
Philippe Augin, conductor

Leave it to Verdi to take a classic tragedy by Shakespeare and, if anything, make it even more powerful and heartrending. The libretto is by Arrigo Boito, who also collaborated on another of Verdi's great Shakespeare operas, Falstaff.
July 9, 2016
Gregory Kunde (Otello), Jessica Pratt (Desdemona) (c) Premsa Liceu/ Antoni Bofill

Grand Liceu Theater, Barcelona
Grand Liceu Theater Orchestra and Chorus
Christopher Franklin, conductor

Lovers of Shakespeare's Othello may find that Rossini's version strays a bit at the beginning. But when all is said and done, Rossini and the bard seem joined at the hip, in a hair-raising finale that rivals even Verdi's masterful setting of the drama. The production is the first half of an Otello double-header from Barcelona.

July 2, 2016

Lise Lindstrom (Turandot), Yusif Eyvazov (Calaf) (c) Wiener Staatsoper / Michael PöhnVienna State Opera
Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

As he also proved with Madame Butterfly and La Fanciulla del West, Puccini never hesitated to apply his proudly Italian sensibilities to far flung, “exotic” locales.  With Turandot, he evokes the splendors of ancient China -- in an opera featuring “Nessun dorma,” the aria the Three Tenors famously put on the charts.
June 25, 2016

woo-160626squareVienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Alain Altinoglu, 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 18, 2016
G. F. HANDEL: Alcina

woo-160618squareSuisse Romande Orchestra, Cappella Mediterranea
Leonardo García Alarcón, conductor

The sorceress Alcina, a vivid character born in Ariosto's epic poem Orlando Furioso, has a nasty habit of turning her enemies into wild animals. She's foiled when she seduces the wrong guy, a knight who courageously defeats her spells and frees her victims.

June 11, 2016

Veronique GensMunich Radio Orchestra and Bavarian Radio Chorus
Ulf Schirmer, conductor

Benjamin Godard is hardly a "household word" in musical circles today, but in his time he stood alongside Saint-Saens among the most versatile composers in 19th-century France. In this opera, the great Italian writer Dante Alighieri not only inspires the music, but also plays a starring role.

June 4, 2016

woo-160406Grand Liceu Theater Orchestra and Chorus
Massimo Zanetti, conductor

Verdi's operas are so popular that few of his great dramas could truly be described as "unjustly neglected" -- but this one may fit the bill. One of Verdi's darkest scores, I due Foscari is also among his most striking scores. It tells a compelling story of deadly intrigue and political treachery set against the historical backdrop of 15th-century Venice.

May 28, 2016
FRANCESCO CAVALLI: Veremonda, L'Amazzone di Aragona
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woo-160528squareNew York Baroque Incorporated
Aaron Carpene, conductor

Cavalli was among the finest and most influential composers from the early days of opera, in the 17th century, yet his two-dozen-plus dramas are seldom heard today. Veremonda tells a varied and colorful story of entangled love, international diplomacy, mistaken identity, and gender equality.

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