World of Opera
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.
Verdi plays a starring role in the Shakespeare Quadricentennial
Rossini's tragedy beat Verdi to the punch by 70 years
Puccini's final opera -- a masterpiece left incomplete
The "Scottish Play," and Verdi's unique genius for adapting Shakespeare
Handel's spirited contribution to an operatic franchise.
A little-known opera, inspired by a literary legend.
Domingo stars in one of Verdi's darkest dramas
A bawdy drama by one of early opera's greatest masters.
Gounod's popular Faust is far better-known than this, later opera. Still, of the 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.
Wagner’s early and rarely-heard comedy has so many "non-Wagnerian" elements that the composer himself, in his later years, looked back on it with a slightly bemused eye. Based on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, it comes to as one of many commemorations of the playwright's anniversary year.
A stirring drama depicting adultery among the pious, this 1850 opera got off to a rough start -- in large part because 19th-century censors found the story intolerable. Still, there are many who feel that Stiffelio belongs in the same league as the three Verdi operas that followed it -- Rigoletto, Il trovatore and La traviata.
A much-loved masterpiece, Puccini’s Butterfly combines an exotic setting with verismo intensity. It's both a passionate romance and a cautionary tale, warning that the meeting of divergent cultures can lead to both rich rewards, and tragic misunderstanding.
Based on an illustrated tale, published as a newspaper serial, Janácek's fanciful opera is one of his true masterworks. At once charming and frightening, this one-of-a-kind drama tells an enchanting story that's both tragic, and in the end, life-affirming.