Coming Up on World of Opera

W.A. MOZART: Don Giovanni

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London

Week of 4/26/2014

Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Nicola Luisotti, conductor

CAST: Mariusz Kwiecien (Don Giovanni); Alex Esposito (Leporello); Malin Byström (Donna Anna); Véronique Gens (Donna Elvira); Antonio Poli (Don Ottavio); David Kimberg (Masetto); Elizabeth Watts (Zerlina); Alexander Tsymbalyuk (Commendatore)

If ever a story fell right into a composer's wheelhouse, this would be the one.  It's hard to imagine a more complex weave of antic comedy, shocking violence and emotional betrayals than librettist Lorenzo da Ponte's incisive adaptation of the Don Juan legend -- or a composer better equipped to handle it than Mozart.


La Scala, Milan

Week of 5/3/2014

Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala
Daniel Barenboi m, conductor

CAST:  Anatoly Kotscherga (Sobakin); Olga Peretyatko (Marfa); Johannes Martin Kränzle (Gryaznoy); Tobias Schabel (Skuratov); Pavel Cernoch (Lykov); Marina Prudenskaya (Lybasha); Stephan Rügamer (Bornelius)

This often spectacular score comes complete with palace intrigues, a deadly poisoning, and misplaced vengeance that leads to insanity and murder.  It's also home to some of Rimsky's most dazzling music.


Royal Theater, Turin

Week of 5/10/2014

Teatro Regio Orchestra and Chorus
Renato Palumbo, conductor

CAST:  Anna Pirozzi (Tosca); Marto Berti (Cavaradossi); Marco Vratogna (Scarpia); Gabriele Sagona (Angelotti); Marco Camastra (Sacristan)

While careening from passion-driven corruption to torture, murder and suicide, Puccini's popular thriller proves that sensational entertainment can also make an artistic statement that's both enduring, and profoundly beautiful.

RICHARD WAGNER: Das Liebesverbot

Leipzig Gewandhaus

Week of 5/17/2014

MDR Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Kristjan Järvi, conductor

CAST:  Melanie Diener (Isabella); Morten Frank Larsen (Friedrich); Sonja Freitag (Dorella); Anna Gabler (Mariana); Bernhard Berchtold (Luzio); Benjamin Bruns (Claudio); Maximilian Argmann (Antonio); Julian Prégardien (Pontio) 

This early and rarely-heard comedy by Wagner comes to us from one of music's truly legendary venues, the third incarnation of Leipzig's historic Gewandhaus.


Szymanowski Philharmonic Hall, Cracow

Week of 5/24/2014

La Venexiana Orchestra; Claudio Cavina, conductor

CAST: Anicio Zorzi (Orfeo); Roberta Memeli (Euridice/La Musica); Marina de Liso (La Messigiera/Speranza); Gioria Milanesi (Proserpina/Ninfa); Ugo Guagliardo (Plutone/Apollo); Salvo Vitale (Caronte)


Göteborg Opera

Week of 5/24/2014

Göteborg Opera Orchestra; Laurence Cummings, conductor

CAST: Katerina Kaméus (Orfeo); Kerstin Avemo (Euridice); Mia Karlsson (Amore)

In this fascinating double bill of "Orfeo operas," we hear two sides of one coin. When Gluck started his operatic "reform" movement he was looking back to opera's early days, when the genre was simpler and more directly expressive -- as in the time of Monteverdi. So it's ironic that of these two versions of the Orpheus legend, Monteverdi's seminal opera may actually be the more elaborate score.

NICOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh

Grand Liceu Theater, Barcelona

Week of 5/31/2014

Grand Liceu Theater Orchestra and Chorus
Josep Pons, conductor

CAST: Eric Halfvarson (Prince Yuriy); Maksim Aksenov (Prince Vsevolod); Svetlana Ignatovitx (Fevroniya); Dmitry Golovnin (Grishka Kuterma); Dimitris Tiliakos (Fyodor Poyarok)

This fanciful concoction by Rimsky-Korsakov has all the orchestral brilliance of the composer's familiar concert works, to complement a charming story blending Christian mysticism with age-old folk beliefs.


Royal Theatre, Turin

Week of 6/7/2014

Teatro Regio Orchestra and Chorus
Gianandrea Noseda, conductor

CAST: Carlos Alvarez (William Tell); John Osborn (Arnold Melcthal); Anna Maria Chiuri (Hedwige); Erika Grimaldi (Jemmy); Angela Meade (Mathilde); Giacomo Prestia (Melcthal); Luca Tittolo (Gessler); Mirco Palazzi (Walter Furst); Mikeldi Atxalandabaso (Ruodi)

If William Tell, the complete opera, was as familiar as its ubiquitous overture, it might just be the most famous opera ever composed! Still, as this production from Turin demonstrates, Rossini's final opera is far more than just the original home to "the theme from the Lone Ranger."


National Moravian-Silesian Theatre, Ostrava

Week of 6/14/2014

National Moravian-Silesian Theatre Orchestra
Marko Ivanovic, conductor

CAST:  Katerina Kneziková (Mirandolina); Eva Drizgová-Jirusová (Ortensia); Anna Nitrová (Dejanina); Josef Moravec (Count d'Albafliorita); Jan Willem Bajlet (Cavaliere di Ripafratta); Martin Gurbal (Marchese di Forlimpopoli); Ales Briscein (Fabrizio)

Like his more famous countrymen Dvorak, Smetana and Janacek, Martinu displays a musical style that's both intrinsically Czech, and uniquely his own.  In this charming comedy, a seductive noblewoman surprises three aristocratic suitors by falling for one of her own servants, instead

W. A. MOZART: La Clemenza di Tito

La Fenice, Venice

Week of 6/21/2014

La Fenice Orchestra and Chorus
Ottavio Dantone, conductor

CAST: Carlo Allemano (Tito); Carmela Remigio (Vitellia); Monica Bacelli (Sesto); Raffaella Milanesi (Annio); Juli Mathevet (Servilia); Luca Dall'Amico (Publio)

The characters in Mozart's final opera discover that even when it seems things could hardly go more horribly, disastrously wrong, everything can eventually turn out just fine -- thanks to this drama's generous, and almost surreally tolerant title character. The production comes to us from one of opera's most glamorous destinations.

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