World of Opera
Verdi's final two operas, Otello and Falstaff, were both based on Shakespeare. Together, they may be the finest valedictory in the history of opera, and Falstaff may also be the most optimistic. This recent production comes to us from Milan's La Scala, where the opera was premiered in 1893.
Marschner's work seldom appears in today's theaters, despite playing an important historical role in operatic history. His operas fill the musical gap between the early, German Romantic operas of Weber, and the revolutionary music dramas of Wagner.
Hans Heiling tells a folk-based tale of a clash between two worlds, the mortal and the spiritual.
Not widely known today, Simon Mayr was among the most important opera composers of the early 19th-century, bringing German harmonic language and orchestral color to the world of Italian opera. His Medea tells the gripping mythological story of a woman so obsessed with revenge that she destroys her own children.
Few operas have stories as perfectly suited to a composer as this 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.
Otello, Iago and Desdemona, three of literature's most complex and compelling characters, come to life in what many consider Verdi's most moving opera. Written when the composer was in his early 70s, Otello takes one of Shakespeare's finest tragedies and, if anything, makes it even more powerful and heartbreaking.
Puccini's popular thriller careens violently from passion-driven corruption to torture, murder and suicide, yet proves that even the most sensational entertainment can make an artistic statement that's both enduring, and profoundly beautiful. From Barcelona, Sondra Radvanovsky gives a powerful, yet nuanced performance in the title role.
This opera -- The Thieving Magpie -- features one of Rossini's most popular and ingenious overtures, yet the opera itself is rarely heard. The production comes to us from the prestigious Rossini Opera Festival, held annually in the composer's home town.
Deceptively complex, this comic farce leaves many listeners a little bit queasy. Lorenzo da Ponte's libretto may spring plenty of lightweight jokes, but in tandem with Mozart's music the trickery reminds us that even our most cherished relationships can quickly turn fragile, and tenuous.
Verdi's complex tragedy has an outlandish story, but also serves up an astonishing number of his most familiar melodies, and that music has made it one of the most popular of all the composer's operas. This production is from the historic Théâtre Antique in Orange, an ancient Roman venue dating back some 2000 years.
If William Tell, the complete opera, was as familiar as its ubiquitous overture, it might well be acclaimed as the most famous opera ever composed. Still, as this Covent Garden production demonstrates, Rossini's final opera is far more than just the original home to "the theme from the Lone Ranger."
A fanciful one-act opera by Tchaikovsky combines with Stravinsky's uniquely evocative melodrama in an intriguing and colorful double-bill from one of France's foremost summer festivals.
If you believe the story, this classic "rescue" opera is the piece the Emperor said had, "too many notes." Judging by its lasting popularity, audiences seem to think it has just the right number of notes and so, apparently, did Mozart.
When this opera premiered in Paris, in 1877, it was criticized as a sort of hybrid -- stuck between the contrasting worlds of French Grand Opera and opéra comique. Yet with its passionate, historical story, and the allure of Gounod's highly-accomplished score, it's beginning to get a second chance.
Verdi finds intrigue, love and tragedy in a fiery drama by Schiller
A timeless legend, set to music in Chausson's only opera.