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 The Ring Of The Nibelung: Das Rheingold The First Part Of Scottish Opera's Acclaimed New Production20030921 of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle, recorded last month at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre.
Donald Macleod presents and describes the prologue to the drama, in which Alberich steals the Rheingold and forges the Ring while the Gods prepare to take possession of Valhalla.
Wotan....Matthew Best (bass-baritone) Alberich....Peter Sidhom (baritone) Mime....Alasdair Elliott (tenor) Loge....Peter Bronder (tenor) Fricka....Anne Mason (mezzo-soprano) Freia....Rachel Hynes (soprano) Fasolt....Carsten Stabell (bass) Fafner....Markus Hollop (bass) Woglinde....Inka Rinn (soprano) Wellgunde....Marianne Andersen (mezzo-soprano) Flosshilde....Leah Marian Jones (contralto) Froh....Matthew Elton Thomas (tenor) Donner....Michael Druiett (baritone) Erda....Mary Phillips (contralto) Scottish Opera Orchestra Richard Armstrong (conductor).
 The Ring Of The Nibelung: Die Walkure20030922 The second part of Scottish Opera's acclaimed new production of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle, recorded last month at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre.
Introduced and described by Donald Macleod.
Act 1: Siegmund claims his magic sword and falls in love with his twin sister Sieglinde.
Act 2: Brunnhilde is forbidden from helping Siegmund, who is killed when Wotan shatters his sword.
During the long interval, Donald Macleod talks to the production's director, Tim Albery, about his conception of the Ring as human drama - albeit on an epic scale.
Act 3: The Ride of the Valkyries ends when Brunnhilde is imprisoned in a ring of fire.
Wotan....Matthew Best (bass-baritone) Siegmund....Jan Kyhle (tenor) Sieglinde....Marie Plette (soprano) Hunding....Carsten Stabell (bass) Brünnhilde....Elizabeth Byrne (soprano) Fricka....Anne Mason (mezzo-soprano) Gerhilde....Sarah Rhodes (soprano) Helmwige....Rachel Hynes (soprano) Waltraute....Jane Irwin (soprano) Schwertleite....Kathleen Wilkinson (soprano) Ortlinde....Mary Callan Clarke (soprano) Siegrune....Clare Shearer (mezzo-soprano) Grimgerde....Yvonne Lea (mezzo-soprano) Rossweisse....Leah Marian Jones (contralto) Scottish Opera Orchestra Richard Armstrong (conductor).
 The Ring Of The Nibelung Richard Wagner Siegfried20030923 Edinburgh International Festival 2003 The third part of Scottish Opera's acclaimed new production of Wagner's Ring Cycle, recorded last month at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre.
Act 1: Siegfried re-forges the fragments of Nothung, the magic sword.
Introduced and described by Donald Macleod.
Act 2: Siegfried kills the Dragon, takes advice from the Woodbird and sets off to win Brunnhilde.
During the long interval, a chance to hear vintage arcHIVe recording of Anna Russell in her classic introduction to Wagner's Ring for ordinary opera-goers.
Act 3: Brunnhilde is released from her ring of flames and surrenders to her destiny.
Siegfried....Graham Sanders (tenor) Brunnhilde....Elizabeth Byrne (soprano) Mime....Alasdair Elliott (tenor) The Wanderer....Matthew Best (bass-baritone) Alberich....Peter Sidhom (baritone) Fafner....Markus Hollop (bass) Woodbird....Gillian Keith (soprano) Erda....Mary Phillips (contralto) Scottish Opera Orchestra Richard Armstrong (conductor).
 The Ring Of The Nibelung20030924 By Richard Wagner Gotterdämmerung The final part of Scottish Opera's acclaimed new production of Wagner's Ring Cycle, recorded last month at the Edinburgh FestivalTheatre.
Act 1: The evil Gibichungs plot to drug Siegfried and steal the Ring.
Introduced and described by Donald Macleod.
During the long interval, a backstage look at the costuming of this Ring.
Donald Macleod talks John Liddell.
Act 2: Brunnhilde thinks that she's been betrayed by Siegfried and plots his death.
Act 3: Siegfried is killed, Valhalla burns and the Ring returns at last to the Rhine.
Siegfried....Graham Sanders (tenor) Brunnhilde....Elizabeth Byrne (soprano) Waltraute....Jane Irwin- mezzo (soprano) Alberich....Peter Sidhom (baritone) First Norn....Lea Marian Jones (contralto) Third Norn....Rachel Hynes (soprano) Hagen....Mats Almgren (bass) Gutrune....Elaine McKrill (soprano) Gunther....Peter Savidge (baritone) Woglinde....Inka Rinn (soprano) Wellgunde....Marianne Andersen (mezzo-soprano) Scottish Opera Orchestra Richard Armstrong (Conductor) With support from the Bank of Scotland.
 Lohengrin20030927 Edinburgh International Festival 2003 Richard Wagner's Lohengrin Donald Macleod presents a concert performance of Wagner's epic Romantic opera in 3 acts, starring heroic tenor Torsten Kerl as the Knight in shining armour and soprano Hillevi Martinpelto as Elsa, his damsel in distress.
Recorded last month at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh.
Wagner's fairy tale opera is packed full of magnificent set-pieces: Medieval battle-scenes, black magic, courtly intrigue, and, central to the plot, the tragic story of the two star-crossed lovers.
Lohengrin....Torsten Kerl (tenor) Elsa....Hillevi Martinpelto (soprano) Ortrud....Petra Lang (mezzo soprano) Frederick of Telramund....Jukka Rasilainen (baritone) King Henry....Eric Halfvarson (bass) Herald....James Rutherford (baritone) Edinburgh Festival Chorus and men of the Philharmonia Chorus David Jones (chorus master) BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Donald Runnicles (conductor).
 Madama Butterfly20040124 Acts Two and Three: Live from the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera.
Concluding tonight's live performance by the Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera.
Madama Butterfly: Act One.
Pinkerton, a dashing officer in the UNITED STATES Navy, is infatuated with the fifteen year old Butterfly, cognizant of her fragility, but "not content with life unless he makes his treasure the flowers on every shore".
He says, as he compares her to a butterfly, "I must pursue her even though I damage her wings".
The stage is set for tragedy.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Cio-Cio-San....Veronica Villarroel (soprano) Pinkerton....Marco Berti (tenor) Suzuki....Jane Bunnell (mezzo-soprano) Sharpless....Bruno Caproni (baritone) Goro....Joel Sorensen (tenor) Bonze....James Courtney (bass) Kate Pinkerton....Reveka Evangelia Macrovitis (mezzo-soprano) Yamadori....Daniel Mobbs (baritone) Commissioner....Alfred Walker (bass) Registrar....Stephen Paynter (baritone) Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera Conducted by Placido Domingo In association with the ChevronTexaco-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network and the EBU.
For a free copy of the Met Broadcast Guide, call the BBC Information Line on 08700 100300 [national rate].
Continues at 7.55pm, after Twenty Minutes and Opera Snaps.
 Rigoletto20040207 When Victor Hugo's play Le roi s'amuse was banned after only one performance, Verdi was determined to produce a worthy operatic version.
Rigoletto is the jester of the womanising Duke of Mantua, but both are cursed by the one of his political rivals, Monterone, who's daughter the Duke has ravished.
In turn, Rigoletto's own daughter Gilda falls prey to the Duke, but with many schemes of revenge afoot it's no surprise that it all comes to a tragic end with the death of the innocent Gilda.
Presented by John Shea.
Gilda....Andrea Rost (soprano) Maddalena....Marina Domashenko (mezzo-soprano) Duke of Mantua....Frank Lopardo (tenor) Rigoletto....Juan Pons (baritone) Sparafucile....Julian Konstantinov (bass) Countess Ceprano....Reveka Evangelia Mavrovitis (mezzo-soprano) Giovanna....Diane Elias (mezzo-soprano) Monterone....Anooshah Golesorkhi (bass) Borsa....Michael Forest (tenor) Marullo....Charles Edwin Taylor (baritone) Ceprano....Patrick Carfizzi (baritone) Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera Marco Armiliato (conductor) In association with the ChevronTexaco-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network and the EBU.
For a free copy of the Met Broadcast Guide, call the BBC Information Line on 08700 100300 [national rate] Continues at 7.55pm, after Twenty Minutes.
/ Rigoletto, Act Two.
In association with the ChevronTexaco-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network and the EBU.
For a free copy of the Met Broadcast Guide, call the BBC Information Line on 08700 100300 [national rate] Continues at 8.55pm, after The Met Opera Quiz and Opera Snaps.
/ Rigoletto, Act Three John Shea presents the conclusion of Verdi's Rigoletto live from the NEW YORK Met.
For a free copy of the Met Broadcast Guide, call the BBC Information Line on 08700 100300 [national rate]
 Don Giovanni20040313 Live from the Met.
Don Giovanni: Act 1 The Met's Artistic Director James Levine conducts a new production of Mozart's dramatic opera charting the final exploits of the notorious womanising Don, whose luck with the opposite sex appears to be failing.
A trail of attempted seduction and violence eventually leads him to one of the most intense and shocking scenes in opera as he is dragged unrepentant into hell.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Don Giovanni....Thomas Hampson (baritone) The Commendatore....Phillips Ens (bass) Donna Anna....Anja Harteros (soprano) Don Ottavio....Gregory Turay (tenor) Donna Elvira....Christine Goerke (soprano) Leporello....René Pape (bass) Zerlina....Hei-Kyung Hong (soprano) Masetto....Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera James Levine (conductor) Continues at 8.35pm.
In association with the ChevronTexaco-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network and the EBU.
  20040410 Live from the Met.
Nabucco (Parts 3 and 4): Stephanie Hughes introduces the conclusion of Verdi's popular opera, featuring the Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera/Carlo Rizzi.
Live from the Met Nabucco Verdi's exhilarating opera tells the story of the Babylonian king who conquered Jerusalem in 586 BC and of the Hebrews' dramatic road from oppression to freedom.
Hailed as a 'clamorous and total success' by the press after its first performance in Milan, its theme led the work to become extremely popular in an Italy occupied by the Austrians, with the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves (Va pensiero) being immediately adopted as a surrogate national anthem.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Verdi: Nabucco (Parts 1 and 2) Abigaille....Andrea Gruber (soprano) Fenena....Marina Domashenko (mezzo-soprano) Ismaele....Gwyn Hughes Jones (tenor) Nabucco....Leo Nucci (baritone) Zaccaria....Samuel Ramey (bass) Anna....Claudia Waite (soprano) Abdallo....Eduardo Valdes (tenor) High Priest of Baal....Morris Robinson (bass) Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera Carlo Rizzi (conductor) Continues at 8.25pm.
In association with the ChevronTexaco-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network and the EBU.
  20040424 Act 3: Concluding tonight's performance live from the Met of Götterdämmerung, the climax to Wagner's Ring Cycle.
Act 2: Continuing tonight's performance of Wagner's Götterdämmerung, live from the Met.
James Levine conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera.
Concludes at 9.30pm.
Live from the Met Götterdämmerung Radio 3's season of live broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera House in NEW YORK ends with the final part of Wagner's Ring.
In Twilight of the Gods, the cursed ring is fought over until Siegfried becomes its latest victim.
His lover Brünnhilde takes the ring and leaps on to Siegfried's funeral pyre; now cleansed by fire, it's reclaimed by the Rhinemaidens, while Valhalla, the home of the Gods, goes up in flames.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes Brünnhilde....Jane Eaglen (soprano) Gutrune....Margaret Jane Wray (soprano) Waltraute....Yvonne Naef (mezzo-soprano) Siegfried....Jon Frederic West (tenor) Gunther....Alan Held (baritone) Alberich....Richard Paul Fink (baritone) Hagen....Matti Salminen (bass) 1st Norn....Elena Zaremba (mezzo-soprano) 2nd Norn....Wendy White (mezzo-soprano) 3rd Norn....Christine Goerke (soprano) Woglinde....Lyubov Petrova (soprano) Wellgunde....Maria Zifchak (soprano) Flosshilde....Malin Fritz (contralto) Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera Conducted by James Levine Continues after the Interval at 7.40pm.
In association with the ChevronTexaco-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network and the EBU.
 Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk20040508 Sex and Siberia, murder and melodrama, blood and black humour - it's all there in Dmitri Shostakovich's amazing opera.
Russian audiences who flocked to the show in the 1930s had never seen anything like it - and neither had Stalin, who walked out in disgust and launched a brutal clampdown on experimental art.
Shostakovich never wrote another opera - and his youthful work is still one-of-a-kind 70 years later as it makes its Covent Garden debut.
This new production by Richard Jones is conducted by the Royal Opera's Music Director Antonio Pappano and stars Katarina Dalayman.
Trapped in a sterile marriage with a weak husband and a predatory father-in-law - Boris (John Tomlinson) - she murders both of them when she takes as a lover the handsome workman Sergey.
And it's all downhill from there.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes, in conversation with Antonio Pappano and Richard Jones.
Katerina Ismailova....Katarina Dalayman (soprano)
Sergey....Christopher Ventris (tenor)
Boris....John Tomlinson (bass)
Zinovy....Stefan Margita (tenor)
Aksinya, the cook....Susan Bickley (mezzo)
Shabby Peasant....Peter Bronder (tenor)
Old Convict....Gwynne Howell (bass)
Police Inspector....Roderick Earle (bass)
Sonyetka....Christine Rice (mezzo)
Priest....Maxim Mikhailov (bass)
Steward/Sentry....Matthew Rose (bass)
Female Convict....Victoria Nava (soprano)
Porter....Jonathan Fisher (baritone)
Teacher....James Edwards (tenor)
1st Workman....Andrew Sinclair (tenor)
2nd Workman/Coachman....Hubert Francis (tenor)
3rd Workman....Donaldson Bell (tenor)
Workman from Mill....Jared Holt (baritone)
Policeman....Thomas Barnard (baritone)
Drunken Guest....Luke Price (tenor).
  20040525 8 Little Greats
Stephanie Hughes presents two more of Opera North's "Eight Little Greats" - from the Grand Theatre in Leeds.
A festival of one act operas put on to celebrate the company's 25th anniversary.
Puccini: Il Tabarro
Regarded by many to be one of Puccini's finest pieces this dark and claustrophobic tragedy depicts love, jealousy and murder aboard a PARIS bound barge.
(Sung in Italian)
Cast:
Giorgetta....Nina Pavlovski (soprano)
La Frugola....Susan Gorton (mezzo-soprano)
Luigi....Leonardo Capalbo (tenor)
Michele....Jonathan Summers (baritone)
Tinca....Nicholas Sharratt (tenor)
Talpa....William Mackie (bass)
Song-seller....Richard Coxon (tenor)
Chorus of Opera North
Martin André (conductor)
David Poutney (director)
Falla: La Vida Breve
The young Manuel de Falla drew on the rich traditions of his native Spanish gypsy culture for the tale of Salud and her thwarted love for Paco, an arrogant young man outside her class.
(Sung in Spanish)
Worker....Richard Coxon (tenor)
Grandmother....Susan Gorton (mezzo-soprano)
Salud....Mary Plazas (soprano)
Paco....Leonardo Capalbo (tenor)
Uncle Sarvaor....Graeme Broadbent (bass)
Carmela....Kim-Marie Woodhouse (mezzo-soprano)
Singer (flamenco)....Adrian Clarke (baritone)
Manuel....Mark Stone (baritone)
Workers....Miranda Bevin (soprano), Rachel Mosley (soprano), Cordelia Fish (mezzo-soprano), Harold Sharples (tenor)
Christopher Alden (director).
  20040527 Eight Little Greats Stephanie Hughes presents two more short operas from Opera North's 25th Anniversary Season, Eight Little Greats.
In 1904, for the third and last of his rarely heard one act operas, Rachmaninov turned to the FRANCEsca da Rimini story of doomed love, jealousy and double murder from Dante's Inferno.
Rachmaninov: FRANCEsca da Rimini, Opera in two tableaux, a prologue and epilogue Paolo/Dante....Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (tenor) Malatesta/Ghost of Virgil....Jonathan Summers (bass) FRANCEsca....Nina Pavlovski (soprano) Souls of the Damned....Chorus of Opera North Orchestra of Opera North Martin André (conductor) David Pountney (director) Ruggero's Leoncavallo's 1892 drama of infidelity and,jealousy in a commedia del'arte troupe of actors also ends in a double murder.
However, he composed his popular classic in the reality 'soap-opera' style of the late 19th Century - Verismo.
Director Christopher Alden sets the intrigue within an aging pop band.
Leoncavallo: Pagliacci, Opera in two acts and a prologue.
Canio....Geraint Dodd (tenor) Nedda....Majella Cullagh (soprano) Tonio....Jonathan Summers (bass) Beppe....Iain Paton (tenor) Silvio....Mark Stone (baritone) Audience....Chorus of Opera North Orchestra of Opera North David Parry (conductor) Christopher Alden (director).
  20040530 Eight Little Greats Live from the Grand Theatre in Leeds, Stephanie Hughes presents the last two of Opera North's 'Eight Little Greats' from the company's festival of one-act operas put on to celebrate their 25th anniversary.
Bizet: Djamileh In Bizet`s delicately scored opera, Haroun fritters away his wealth on gambling and girls, a different one every month.
But this month`s girl, Djamileh has fallen in love with Haroun so disguises herself as a new girl for the following month.
When he discovers the truth, Haroun is confronted with feelings that he has never felt before...
Haroun....Paul Nilon (tenor) Splendiano....Mark Stone (baritone) Djamileh....Patricia Bardon (mezzo-soprano) Slave Trader....Keith Mills (tenor) Chorus of Opera North Orchestra of Opera North David Parry (conductor) Christopher Alden (director) Weill: The Seven Deadly Sins Weill collaborated with Brecht on this surreal cabaret, a stab at the heart of conventional morality.
Anna I and Anna II each reflect different aspects of the same personality, travelling to seven American cities to earn money.
Anna II keeps succumbing to sin but in the end the practical Anna I prevails, at the cost of Anna II`s spirit, which is totally crushed.
Anna I....Rebecca Caine (soprano) Anna II....Beate Vollack (dancer) Brothers....Iain Paton, Nicholas Sharratt (tenor) Father....Adrian Clarke (baritone) Mother....Graeme Broadbent (bass) Orchestra of Opera North James Holmes (conductor) David Poutney (director).
 Arabella20040605 Live from Covent Garden, Stephanie Hughes presents Strauss' most romantic opera.
Arabella, the daughter of an impoverished family, spurns her sophisticated Viennese suitors when she falls in love at first sight with an honest man from the provinces.
This simple story inspired Strauss to write some of his warmest and most charming music.
Arabella, Act 1
Count Theodor Waldner....Arthur Korn (bass)
Adelaide....Cornelia Kallisch (mezzo-soprano)
Arabella....Karita Mattila (soprano)
Zdenka....Barbara Bonney (soprano)
Mandryka....Thomas Hampson (baritone)
Matteo....Raymond Very (tenor)
Fiakermilli....Diana Damrau (soprano)
Count Elemer....John Daszak (tenor)
Count Dominik....Quentin Hayes (bass)
Count Lamoral....Iain Paterson (bass)
Fortune Teller....Mary Lloyd Davies (mezzo-soprano)
Welko....Christopher Lackner (baritone)
Floor Waiter....Neil Gillespie (tenor)
Royal Opera Chorus
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Christoph von Dohnányi (conductor)
Acts 2 and 3 follow Opera Box.
Arabella, Acts 2 and 3: Concluding tonight's live performance from Covent Garden of Strauss' most romantic opera.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes 
 The Rape Of Lucretia20040610 Stephanie Hughes presents the first full-scale opera production from the Linbury Studio Theatre at LONDON's Royal Opera House.
Benjamin Britten's chamber opera is based on a story from Ancient Rome about the envy, violation and destruction of Lucretia's virtue - Lucretia being the only faithful wife amongst those of the Roman Generals away at war.
Two characters help in telling the story - the Male and Female Chorus - and it's they who also give contemporary comments on the action.
Male Chorus....Hubert Francis (tenor)
Female Chorus....Victoria Nava (soprano)
Lucretia....Christine Rice (mezzo-soprano)
Collatinus....Matthew Rose (bass)
Lucia....Ha Young Lee (soprano)
Bianca....Ekaterina Gubanova (mezzo-soprano)
Tarquinius....Grant Doyle (baritone)
Junius....Jared Holt (baritone)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Alexander Briger (conductor)
Britten: The Rape of Lucretia.
 The Magic Flute20040612 Mozart's visionary opera launches Glyndebourne's 70th anniversary season.
With a bewitching mix of drama and pantomime, it tells of the eternal struggle between darkness and light, and the quest for love and enlightenment.
The brilliant young cast is conducted by Glyndebourne's Music Director, Vladimir Jurowski, who describes this glittering new production by Adrian Noble as 'a Magic Flute for the 21st Century'.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Mozart: The Magic Flute
Tamino....Pavol Breslik (tenor)
Pamina....Lisa Milne (soprano)
Sarastro....Peter Rose (bass)
Queen of Night....Cornelia Götz (soprano)
Papageno....Jonathan Lemalu (baritone)
Monostatos....Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke (tenor)
First Lady....Tatiana Monogarova (soprano)
Second Lady....Julianne de Villiers (mezzo-soprano)
Third Lady....Romina Basso (mezzo-soprano)
Speaker....Gerd Grochowski (bass)
Second Priest/First Armed Man....Alan Oke (tenor)
First Priest/Second Armed Man....Michael Druiett (bass)
First Boy....Leo Baker (treble)
Second Boy....Jake Alden-Falconer (treble)
Third Boy....Milo Harries (treble)
Glyndebourne Chorus
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Vladimir Jurowski (conductor).
 Gounod's Faust,20040619 A star-studded new production of one of the most popular of French operas, live from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Gounod's seductive music perfectly captures the magic and menace of this classic tale, as Faust is manipulated by the devilish Mephistopheles into bartering his soul in exchange for all the pleasures of the world, including the love of the beautiful Marguerite.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Faust....Roberto Alagna (tenor)
Méphistophélès....Bryn Terfel (bass-baritone)
Marguerite....Angela Gheorghiu (soprano)
Valentin....Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
Wagner....Matthew Rose (bass)
Siébel....Sophie Koch (mezzo-soprano)
Marthe Schwertlein....Della Jones (mezzo-soprano)
Royal Opera Chorus
Terry Edwards (chorus director)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Sergey Levitin (leader)
Antonio Pappano (conductor).
 The Io Passion20040621 One of the highlights at this year's Aldeburgh Festival was the premiere of the new theatre piece by one of our leading composers, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, in this his seventieth year.
The Io Passion has a text by Stephen Plaice, and combines Magritte-type imagery, ritual and myth, with a powerful score exploring the darker side of sexual obsession.
Humphrey Burton presents this performance of The Io Passion given by Almeida Opera at the Snape Maltings.
Birtwistle: The Io Passion
Woman 1....Teresa Banham (actor)
Woman 2....Claire Booth (soprano)
Woman 3....Amy Fretton (soprano)
Man 1....Sam McElroy (baritone)
Man 2....Joseph Alessi (actor)
Man 3....Richard Morris (baritone)
Quatuor Diotima
Alan Hacker (clarinet/music director)
Stephen Langridge(director).
 Rodelinda20040623 Stephanie Hughes presents Radio 3's second visit to this year's Glyndebourne Festival is for a production of one of Handel's finest heroic operas.
Emma Bell takes the title role of Rodelinda who believes her husband Bertarido to be dead, and who lives with her son in the clutches of the usurper Grimoaldo; he in turn is betrothed to Bertarido's sister Eduige.
But Grimoaldo has set his sights on making Rodelinda his Queen and his evil sidekick Garibaldo has designs on Eduige, so a disguised Bertarido sets about rescuing his wife and son with the help of his faithful friend Unulfo.
Rodelinda....Emma Bell (soprano)
Grimoaldo....Timothy Robinson (tenor)
Garibaldo....Paul Gay (bass-baritone)
Eduige....Jean Rigby (mezzo-soprano)
Bertarido....Marijana Mijanovic (mezzo-soprano)
Unulfo....Matthew White (counter-tenor)
Flavio....Aaron Fulthorpe (treble)
Glyndebourne Chorus
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Emmanuelle Haïm (conductor).
Rodelinda
Live from the Met.
Grimoaldo has taken the Milanese throne from Bertarido, forcing him into hiding, and now has his eye on Bertarido's wife, Rodelinda.
But Bertarido is not dead, as everybody thinks, but is on his way back to Milan to seek revenge.
The Met gives its broadcast premiere of Rodelinda, one of Handel's most dramatic operas, with a top line-up of soloists including Renee Fleming as Rodelinda, and David Daniels as Bertarido.
Continues at 7.35pm.
Handel: Rodelinda (Act 1)
Rodelinda....Renée Fleming (soprano)
Eduige....Stephanie Blythe (mezzo-soprano)
Bertarido....David Daniels (counter-tenor)
Unulfo....Bejun Mehta (counter-tenor)
Grimoaldo....Kobie van Rensburg (tenor)
Garibaldo....John Relyea (bass)
Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
Harry Bicket (conductor).
  20040626 A Midsummer Night's Dream
Stephanie Hughes presents a new production from English National Opera of Benjamin Britten's magical opera, with a libretto specially adapted by him and Peter Pears from Shakespeare's original play.
Britten suffuses the music with nocturnal enchantment as the stories of the human courtiers and rustics are played out against the background of the fairy world, and as the boundaries begin to blur between reality and dreams.
Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Oberon....Robin Blaze (counter-tenor)
Tytania....Sarah Tynan (soprano)
Puck....Emil Wolk (speaking tole)
Hippolyta....Leah-Marian Jones (mezzo-soprano)
Lysander....Alfred Boe (tenor)
Demetrius....Leigh Melrose (baritone)
Hermia....Victoria Simmonds (mezzo-soprano)
Helena....Linda Richardson (soprano)
Theseus....Iain Paterson (bass)
Bottom....Peter Rose (bass)
Quince....Graeme Danby (bass)
Flute....Christopher Gillett (tenor)
Snug....Clive Bayley (bass)
Snout....Robert Burt (tenor)
Starveling....Leslie John Flanagan (baritone)
Chorus and Orchestra of English National Opera
Paul Daniel (conductor).
 Death In Venice: Act 2. The Conclusion Of Tonight's Performance Of Benjamin Britten's Last Opera By20040702 Death in Venice
This year's Cheltenham International Festival of Music is launched with a concert performance of Benjamin Britten's last opera.
Inspired by the Thomas Mann novella it tells of Aschebach, an elderly writer, of his final journey to a city caught in the grip of cholera, and about his fascination with a young Polish boy, Tadzio.
At the heart of this opera is an exploration of the conflict between the Dionysian and the Apollonian - which Britten vividly portrays in one of his most inspired and imaginative scores.
The performance features some of the leading interpreters of Britten's Music, including the tenor Philip Langridge and the conductor Richard Hickox and is introduced from the Town Hall in Cheltenham by Chris de Souza.
After Twenty Minutes.
Benjamin Britten: Death in Venice
Act 1
Gustav von Aschenbach....Philip Langridge (tenor)
The Traveller....Alan Opie (bass baritone)
Michael Chance....Voice of Apollo (countertenor)
BBC Singers
City of LONDON Sinfonia
Richard Hickox (conductor).
Death in Venice: Act 2.
The conclusion of tonight's performance of Benjamin Britten's last opera by he BBC Singers and the City of LONDON Sinfonia/Richard Hickox.
  20040703 Jenufa
On January 21st this year the National Opera in Brno staged Janácek's opera Jenufa - exactly 100 years after they first performed it.
This Radio 3 broadcast of that performance celebrates the 150th anniversary of Janácek's birth, on July 3rd 1854, as a prelude to tomorrow's Janácek Day.
Presented by John Tusa in conversation with Dennis Marks, the opera's performers, and director David Pountney.
Based on real-life events, Janácek's opera tells the devastating story of the young Moravian country girl Jenufa, made pregnant by the miller's good for nothing son Steva.
Her jealous cousin Laca and her formidable stepmother are driven to extremes of emotion and terrible actions - but even in tragedy Janácek finds hope for the human spirit.
Janácek: Jenufa
Jenufa....Helena Kaupova (soprano)
Kostelnicka....Anja Silja (soprano)
Laca, Jenufa's cousin....Peter Straka (tenor)
Steva, his half-brother....Michal Lehotsky (tenor)
Grandmother Buryja....Marta Benackova (mezzo-soprano)
Foreman at Mill....Jiri Sulzenko (bass)
The Mayor....Richard Novak (bass)
His Wife....Jitka Zerhauova (mezzo-soprano)
Karolka, his daughter....Yvetta Tannenbergerova (soprano)
Chorus and Orchestra of the National Theatre, Brno
Jaroslav Kyzlink (conductor).
  20040710 Peter Grimes
The Royal Opera House presents Willy Decker's dark and compelling production of Peter Grimes, hot off the stage from La Monnaie in Brussels.
Ben Heppner plays the ambiguous anti-hero, despised by the Borough after the suspicious death of his boy apprentice, and desperate for its acceptance.
A stellar cast is conducted by Antonio Pappano in Britten's rich musical depiction of the intrigue and prejudices within a small English fishing town, dominated by the ever-present sea.
Presented by Martin Handley.
Britten: Peter Grimes
Peter Grimes....Ben Heppner (tenor)
Balstrode....Alan Opie (baritone)
Ellen Orford....Janice Watson (soprano)
Hobson....Jonathan Veira (bass)
Swallow....Matthew Best (bass)
Ned Keene....Quentin Hayes (baritone)
Rector....Brian Galliford (tenor)
Bob Boles....Ian Caley (tenor)
Auntie....Anne Collins (contralto)
1st Niece....Ailish Tynan (soprano)
2nd Niece....Helen Williams (soprano)
Mrs Sedley....Sarah Walker (mezzo-soprano)
Royal Opera Chorus
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Antonio Pappano (conductor).
  20040917 Christopher Cook presents a concert performance of Carl Maria von Weber's Euryanthe from the 2004 Edinburgh International Festival.
  20040918 Leopold Hager conducts an all-star cast of soloists and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in a concert performance of Richard Strauss's last opera.
Described by the composer as a 'conversation piece' on the subject of opera it seeks to establish which is most important, the words or the music? Given in the Usher Hall as part of the Edinburgh International Festival and presented by Christopher Cook in conversation with Michael Kennedy.
Richard Strauss: Capriccio
Countess....Soile Isokoski
Clairon....Anne Sofie von Otter
Flamand....Jonas Kaufmann
Count....Sephan Loges
Olivier....Christopher Maltman
La Roche....Siegfried Vogel
Italian Soprano....Sarah Fox
Italian Tenor....Barry Banks
Monsieur Taupe....John Mitchinson
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Leopold Hager (conductor).
 The Greek Passion20040925 Sir Charles Mackerras conducts Covent Garden's Olivier award winning production of Martinu's last major work.
The opera tells of how modern Greek villagers set out to put on a Passion play, but are gradually overtaken by their roles as the threatening presence of refugees divides the village.
Manolios, cast as Jesus, and Katerina, the village's Mary Magdalen, seek to welcome and comfort the visitors, much against the will of Priest Grigoris and the village elders.
Manolios....Christopher Ventris (tenor)
Katerina....Marie McLaughlin (soprano)
Panait....Douglas Nasrawi (tenor)
Grigoris....Peter Sidhom (baritone)
Fotis....Willard W White (bass-baritone)
Yannakos....Timothy Robinson (tenor)
Archon....Jeremy White (bass)
Aga....Richard Angas (bass)
Schoolmaster....Francis Egerton (tenor)
Michelis....Andrew Kennedy (tenor)
Andonis....Alasdair Elliott (tenor)
Nikolio....James Edwards (tenor)
Lenio....Juanita Lascarro (soprano)
Kostandis....Adrian Clarke (baritone)
Despinio....Hilary Taylor (soprano)
Father Ladas....Jonathan Fisher (baritone)
Dimitri....Thomas Barnard (baritone)
Old Woman....Elizabeth Sikora (mezzo-soprano)
Old Man....Robert Lloyd (bass)
Royal Opera Chorus
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Charles Mackerras (conductor)
Continues after Interval: The Heroic Pessimist.
The Greek Passion: Sir Charles Mackerras conducts the final two acts Covent Garden's Olivier award winning production of Martinu's last major work.
 Werther20041002 Act 1
The poet Werther is gripped by an obsessive love for Charlotte, who has already decided to marry someone else.
She eventually begins to reciprocate his feelings, but is it too late for them?
Marcelo Alvarez sings the part of the melancholy poet, and Ruxandra Donose the unavailable Charlotte in a new production of Massenet's lyrical Goethe setting by French film director Benoit Jacquot.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Continues at 8.10pm, after Opera Box.
Werther....Marcelo Alvarez (tenor)
Charlotte....Ruxandra Donose (mezzo-soprano)
Albert....Ludovic Tézier (baritone)
Sophie....Sally Matthews (soprano)
The Bailli....Jonathan Veira (bass-baritone)
Schmidt....Gilles Ragon (tenor)
Johann....Darren Jeffery (bass-baritone)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Concert Master Peter Manning)
Antonio Pappano (conductor)
Massenet: Werther (Act 1).
Act 2
Continues at 9.10pm, after Twenty Minutes.
Massenet: Werther (Act 2).
Acts 3 and 4
Massenet: Werther (Acts 3 & 4).
  20041009 Les Paladins
A rare chance to hear Rameau's penultimate opera in an exuberant new production from the Chatelet in PARIS.
Although Rameau wrote Les Paladins in his mid-70s, it is full of youthful ardour and new experiments with old forms - at the time it was seen as a bewildering mix of serious opera, ballet and popular comedy.
The beautiful young Argie is kept imprisoned by her elderly guardian Anselme who plans to marry her.
Then along comes the handsome Atis and his troop of knights (les paladins), determined to claim her for himself.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Rameau: Les Paladins (in 3 Acts)
Atis....Topi Lehtipuu (tenor)
Argie....Stéphanie d'Oustrac (mezzo-soprano)
Nérine....Sandrine Piau (soprano)
La Fée Manto....François Piolino (countertenor), Emiliano Gonzalez-Toro (tenor)
Orcan....Laurent Naouri (baritone)
Anselme....René Schirrer (bass)
Un Paladin....Emiliano Gonzalez-Toro (tenor)
Chorus and Orchestra of Les Arts Florissant
William Christie (conductor).
  20041016 Ariadne auf Naxos
Welsh National Opera's new production of Richard Strauss's tragi-comic opera, from the New Theatre, Cardiff.
The richest man in Vienna decides to engage an opera company and a troupe of comedians to entertain his dinner guests.
Preparations get under way, but chaos ensues when it's announced that the opera and the farce are to be performed simultaneously.
As the tragedy of Ariadne on Naxos unfolds, the comedy troupe appear on her desert island and, improvising wildly, try to cheer her up.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Composer....Alice Coote
Ariadne....Janice Watson
Bacchus....Peter Hoare
Zerbinetta....Katarzyna Dondalska
Music Master....Gerd Grochowski
Major-Domo....Richard Van Allan
Dancing Master....Brian Galliford
Harlequin....D'Arcy Bleiker
Scaramuccio....Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks
Truffaldino....Tim Mirfin
Brighella....Wynne Evans
Naiad....Gail Pearson
Dryad....Arlene Rolph
Echo....Elizabeth Donovan
Orchestra of Welsh National Opera
Carlo Rizzi (conductor).
  20041023 Wexford Festival Opera 2004
La Vestale
Based on the same story as Spontini's opera of the same name, Mercadante's 'La Vestale' was first performed in 1840.
It was a huge public and critical success and was so admired by Verdi that he plagiarized it freely for his 'Aida'! Sean Rafferty presents one of this year's operatic rarities from Wexford Festival.
Mercadante: La Vestale
Emilia....Doriana Milazzo
Giunia....Agata Bienkowska
La Gran Vestala....Danna Glaser
Decio....Dante Alcalá
Publio....Davide Damián
Metello Pio....Andrea Patucelli
Licinio Murena....Ladislav Elgr
Lucio Silano....Mattia Denti
Wexford Festival Opera Chorus
Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra
Paolo Arrivabeni (conductor).
  20041030 Live from the Coliseum, the conclusion of English National Opera's production of Verdi's comic masterpiece Falstaff.
Falstaff
Verdi's comic opera based around Shakespeare's play The Merry Wives of Windsor (and parts of Henry IV), features one of his favourite characters - the amorous, scheming and corpulent knight Sir John Falstaff.
Plot and counter-plot unfold as the men of the opera plan to outwit one another, but in the end they accept that it's the merry wives who've triumphed, and it's Falstaff himself who leads everyone in a reconciliatory burst of laughter.
Sung in English (translation by Amanda Holden) and broadcast live from The Coliseum, home of English National Opera.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Continues at 8.05pm, after Opera Box.
Verdi: Falstaff (Acts 1 and 2)
Sir John Falstaff....Alan Opie (baritone)
Ford....Ashley Holland (baritone)
Alice Ford....Susannah Glanville (soprano)
Mistress Quickly....Rebecca de Pont Davies (soprano)
Nannetta....Gillian Keith (soprano)
Fenton....Colin Lee (tenor)
Bardolph....Alasdair Elliott (tenor)
Meg Page....Jean Rigby (mezzo-soprano)
Pistol....Graeme Danby (bass)
Dr Caius....Andrew Rees (baritone)
Chorus and Orchestra of English National Opera
Mark Wigglesworth (conductor)
Evening
Morning
Afternoon.
  20041106 La forza del destino
Leonora's planned elopement with her lover Don Alvaro goes horribly wrong when her father is shot trying to prevent it.
The dying man curses his daughter, and this begins a disastrous sequence of events for everyone.
The Force of Destiny, one of Verdi's most complex and tuneful operas, returns in a production new to the Royal Opera House for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Antonio Pappano conducts, and Salvatore Licitra makes his house debut in one of the most difficult tenor roles in the repertoire.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Continues at 7.45pm.
Verdi: La forza del destino (Acts 1 and 2)
Don Alvaro....Salvatore Licitra (tenor)
Leonora....Violeta Urmana (soprano)
Don Carlo di Vargas....Ambrogio Maestri (baritone)
Padre Guardiano....Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass)
Preziosilla....Marie-Ange Todorovitch (mezzo-soprano)
Fra Melitone....Roberto de Candia (baritone)
Marchese di Calatrava....Brindley Sherratt (bass)
Mastro Trabuco....Peter Bronder (tenor)
Curra....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)
Alcalde....Jonathan May (bass)
Un medico....Thomas Barnard (bass)
Royal Opera Chorus (Chorus Director Renato Balsadonna)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Concert Master Vasko Vassilev)
Antonio Pappano (conductor)
Evening
Morning
Afternoon.
Verdi: La Forza del Destino, live from the Royal Opera House.
Salvatore Licitra, Violeta Urmana, Ambrogio Maestri, Ferruccio Furlanetto.
Antonio Pappano conducts Act 3.
Continues at 9.10pm.
Antonio Pappano conducts Act 4.
  20041113 BBC Symphony Orchestra
Harrison Birtwistle: The Second Mrs Kong
From the festival at the South Bank Centre celebrating Birtwistle's 70th Birthday, the BBC SO is joined by a brilliant cast for the LONDON Premiere of this major 20th century opera.
This moving love-story tells of King Kong's pursuit of Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring in a richly layered theatrical experience.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Kong....John Daszak
Pearl....Rebecca von Lipinski
Anubis/Death of Kong....Stephen Richardson
Vermeer....Roderick Williams
Mirror....Claire Booth
Mirror Echo....Amy Freston
Inanna (Mrs Dollarama)....Susan Bickley
Mr Dollarama....Robert Poulton
Swami Zumzum....Andrew Forbes-Lane
Orpheus....Andrew Watts
Madame Lena....Nuala Willis
Eurydice....Lucy Crowe
The Dead....Apollo Voices
Director: Kenneth Richardson
Sound: Sound Intermedia
Martyn Brabbins (conductor).
 The Triple Bill Of Operas By Luigi Dallapiccola Concludes With Il Prigioniero And Job. Presented By20041120 Dallapiccola Triple Bill
In the first of two evenings celebrating the centenary of the birth of Luigi Dallapiccola, Stephanie Hughes presents Frankfurt Opera's Volo di notte, based on Antoine de Saint Exupery's novel about the early, heroic period of night-time aviation, and Il prigioniero, which tells of a prisoner's attempt to escape from the cells of the Spanish Inquisition.
The evening continues with Job, recorded in Hamburg, posing the question "why do the righteous suffer?"
Continues at 7.55pm, after Twenty Minutes.
Volo di notte
Riviere, director of the airline....Zeljko Lucic (baritone)
Robineau, superintendant....Soon-Won Kang (bass)
Pellerin, a pilot....Hans-Jurgen Lazar (tenor)
Radio Operator....Peter Bronder (tenor)
Leroux, an old mechanic....Zoltan Winkler (bass)
1st Employee....Pere Llompart (tenor)
2nd Employee....Pavel Smirnov (baritone)
3rd Employee....Michael McCown (tenor)
4th Employee....Gérard Lavalle (baritone)
Simona Fabien, a pilot's wife....Taina Piira (soprano)
Chorus of Frankfurt Opera
Frankfurt Museumsorchester
Martyn Brabbins (conductor).
The triple bill of operas by Luigi Dallapiccola concludes with Il Prigioniero and Job.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Il Prigioniero
The Mother....Taina Piira (soprano)
The Prisoner....Lucio Gallo (baritone)
The Jailor / The Grand Inquisitor....Stuart Skelton (tenor)
1st Priest....Michael McCown (tenor)
2nd Priest....Dietrich Volle (baritone)
Job
Narrator....FRANCEsco Faccini (spoken role)
Job....Markus Eiche (baritone)
Elifaz....Jutta Pottoff (soprano)
Baldad....Ulrike Bartsch (contralto)
Zofar....Clemens Löschmann (baritone)
God/Satan....NDR Chorus
NDR Chorus
NDR Symphony Orchestra
Zoltán Pesko (conductor).
 The Mines Of Sulphur20041125 "The season is likely to be remembered for the presentation of Richard Rodney Bennett's little-known opera The Mines of Sulphur: it's a work deserving of a place in the repertory."
With those words the NEW YORK Times greeted this year's Glimmerglass Opera festival in up-state NEW YORK.
Richard Rodney Bennett's first full-length opera is a Grand Guignol tale of rural murder and revenge in eighteenth century ENGLAND.
It was a big hit in the 1960s when it was new - it even went down a storm at La Scala Milan.
Glimmerglass's music director Stewart Robertson saw it back then as a student in Glasgow and he's wanted to conduct it ever since.
Stephanie Hughes presents your chance to hear this exciting rediscovery.
Richard Rodney Bennett: The Mines of Sulphur
Braxton, the landowner/Sherrin, the actors' manager....Kristopher Irmiter (bass-baritone)
Rosalind, Braxton's maid....Beth Clayton (soprano)
Boconnion, an army deserter....Brandon Jovanovich (tenor)
Tovey, a vagabond....James Maddalena (baritone)
The actors
Jenny....Caroline Worra (soprano)
Leda....Dorothy Byrne (mezzo-soprano)
Fenney....Brian Anderson (tenor)
Tooley....Michael Todd Simpson (baritone)
Trim....Andrew Gorell (spoken role)
Orchestra of Glimmerglass Opera
Stewart Robertson (conductor).
 Giulio Cesare In Egitto20041127 Roman Emperor Julius Caesar strides into Egypt and on to the Houston stage in Handel's operatic masterpiece.
Acclaimed American counter-tenor David Daniels heads the cast in this production from Houston Grand Opera - which features "the three counter-tenors"! Laura Claycomb sings the irresistible Egyptian Queen Cleopatra who finds that seduction is the quickest way to conquer Caesar, and Brian Asawa pitches his own counter-tenor against the Emperor's in the role of Ptolemy, Cleopatra's spoiled brat of a brother.
Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto
Julius Caesar....David Daniels (counter-tenor)
Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt....Laura Claycomb (soprano)
Ptolemy, her brother, King of Egypt....Brian Asawa (counter-tenor)
Sesto, son of the Roman general Pompey....Patricia Risley (soprano)
Cornelia, widow of Pompey....Phyllis Pancella (mezzo-soprano)
Achilla, general, Ptolemy's adviser....Joshua Winograde (bass)
Nireno, confidant of Ptolemy and Cleopatra....Matthew White (counter-tenor)
Curio, confidant of Caesar....Nikolai Didenko (bass)
Houston Grand Opera Orchestra
Patrick Summers (conductor).
 Don Pasquale20041204 Stephanie Hughes presents a relay of Donizetti's comic masterpiece from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Star tenor Juan Diego Flórez sings the hero Ernesto, nephew of the crusty old miser Don Pasquale - who wants to get his dirty mitts on Ernesto's beloved Norina.
Can the lovers outwit him - with the help of clever Doctor Malatesta?
Donizetti: Don Pasquale (in 2 acts)
Ernesto....Juan Diego Flórez (tenor)
Norina....Tatiana Lisnic (soprano)
Don Pasquale....Simone Alaimo (bass)
Doctor Malatesta....Alessandro Corbelli (baritone)
Notar....Bryan Secombe (bass)
Royal Opera Chorus
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Bruno Campanella (conductor).
 Vespri Siciliani20041211 The new season of broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera in NEW YORK kicks off with Verdi's tale of 13th century French-occupied Sicily.
The underlying tension between the two nationalities finally erupts in violence when weddings bells are used to signal the start of a massacre.
Margaret Juntwait is the new presenter of the Met in NEW YORK - only the third regular announcer, and the first woman to take the position, since the broadcasts began in 1931.
Elena....Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano)
Arrigo....Francisco Casanova (tenor)
Guido di Monforte....Leo Nucci (baritone)
Giovanni da Procida....Samuel Ramey (bass)
Ninetta....Jane Bunnell (mezzo-soprano)
Tebaldo....Eduardo Valdes (tenor)
Manfredo....Tony Stevenson (tenor)
Danieli....Ronald Naldi (tenor)
Roberto....Sebastian Catana (baritone)
di Bethune....Peter Volpe (bass)
Vaudemont....Andrew Gangestad (bass)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
Marcello Viotti (conductor)
Includes the Met Opera Quiz at 8.20pm.
Steven Blier puts listeners' questions to Ken Benson, Ben Cameron and Suzanne Martinucci.
Live from the Met
Tannhäuser
British conductor Mark Elder and an all-star cast perform Wagner's first operatic song-contest (the second being The Mastersingers of Nuremberg).
The minstrel knight Tannhäuser is torn between the orgiastic delights of the Venusberg and the chaste attractions of Elisabeth, niece of Landgrave Herrmann of Thüringia.
Things come to a head at the Wartburg song contest, where the challenge for Tannhäuser and the other competitors is to define the essence of love in song.
Tannhäuser....Peter Seiffert (tenor)
Elisabeth....Deborah Voigt (soprano)
Venus....Michelle deYoung (mezzo-soprano)
Wolfram von Eschinbach....Thomas Hampson (baritone)
Landgraf Herrmann....Kurt Moll (bass)
Walther von der Vogelweide....John Horton Murray (tenor)
Heinrich....Roy Cornelius Smith (tenor)
Biterolf....Charles Taylor (baritone)
Reinmar....Morris Robinson (bass)
Mark Elder (conductor)
Includes the Met Opera Quiz.
Steven Blier puts listeners' questions to Cori Ellison, Terrence McNally and Alan Wagner.
 I Vespri Siciliani20041218 The new season of broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera in NEW YORK kicks off with Verdi's tale of 13th century French-occupied Sicily.
The underlying tension between the two nationalities finally erupts in violence when weddings bells are used to signal the start of a massacre.
Margaret Juntwait is the new presenter of the Met in NEW YORK - only the third regular announcer, and the first woman to take the position, since the broadcasts began in 1931.
Elena....Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano)
Arrigo....Francisco Casanova (tenor)
Guido di Monforte....Leo Nucci (baritone)
Giovanni da Procida....Samuel Ramey (bass)
Ninetta....Jane Bunnell (mezzo-soprano)
Tebaldo....Eduardo Valdes (tenor)
Manfredo....Tony Stevenson (tenor)
Danieli....Ronald Naldi (tenor)
Roberto....Sebastian Catana (baritone)
di Bethune....Peter Volpe (bass)
Vaudemont....Andrew Gangestad (bass)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
Marcello Viotti (conductor)
Includes the Met Opera Quiz at 8.20pm.
Steven Blier puts listeners' questions to Ken Benson, Ben Cameron and Suzanne Martinucci.
Live from the Met
Tannhäuser
British conductor Mark Elder and an all-star cast perform Wagner's first operatic song-contest (the second being The Mastersingers of Nuremberg).
The minstrel knight Tannhäuser is torn between the orgiastic delights of the Venusberg and the chaste attractions of Elisabeth, niece of Landgrave Herrmann of Thüringia.
Things come to a head at the Wartburg song contest, where the challenge for Tannhäuser and the other competitors is to define the essence of love in song.
Tannhäuser....Peter Seiffert (tenor)
Elisabeth....Deborah Voigt (soprano)
Venus....Michelle deYoung (mezzo-soprano)
Wolfram von Eschinbach....Thomas Hampson (baritone)
Landgraf Herrmann....Kurt Moll (bass)
Walther von der Vogelweide....John Horton Murray (tenor)
Heinrich....Roy Cornelius Smith (tenor)
Biterolf....Charles Taylor (baritone)
Reinmar....Morris Robinson (bass)
Mark Elder (conductor)
Includes the Met Opera Quiz.
Steven Blier puts listeners' questions to Cori Ellison, Terrence McNally and Alan Wagner.
Katya Kabanova
Katya feels she is fading away in the house of her weak husband Tichon and his fearsome mother Kabanicha.
While her husband is away she has a fling with Boris.
But when Tichon returns, she confesses everything out of shame.
Distraught, Katya drowns herself.
Tichon, who tries to go in after her, is stopped by his mother who persists that Katya is not worth it.
Continues at 8.15pm.
Janacek: Katya Kabanova (Acts 1 & 2)
Katya....Karita Mattila (soprano)
Varvara....Magdalena Kozena (mezzo-soprano)
Kabanicha....Judith Frost (mezzo-soprano)
Boris....Jorma Silvasti (tenor)
Tichon....Chris Merritt (tenor)
Vanya Kudrjas....Raymond Very (tenor)
Dikoi....Vladimir Ognovenko (bass)
Glasha....Janet Hopkins (soprano)
Feklusha....Diane Elias (mezzo-soprano)
Kuligin....Sebastian Catana (baritone)
Jiri Belohlavek (conductor).
  20041225 Live from the Met
I Vespri Siciliani
The new season of broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera in NEW YORK kicks off with Verdi's tale of 13th century French-occupied Sicily.
The underlying tension between the two nationalities finally erupts in violence when weddings bells are used to signal the start of a massacre.
Margaret Juntwait is the new presenter of the Met in NEW YORK - only the third regular announcer, and the first woman to take the position, since the broadcasts began in 1931.
Elena....Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano)
Arrigo....Francisco Casanova (tenor)
Guido di Monforte....Leo Nucci (baritone)
Giovanni da Procida....Samuel Ramey (bass)
Ninetta....Jane Bunnell (mezzo-soprano)
Tebaldo....Eduardo Valdes (tenor)
Manfredo....Tony Stevenson (tenor)
Danieli....Ronald Naldi (tenor)
Roberto....Sebastian Catana (baritone)
di Bethune....Peter Volpe (bass)
Vaudemont....Andrew Gangestad (bass)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
Marcello Viotti (conductor)
Includes the Met Opera Quiz at 8.20pm.
Steven Blier puts listeners' questions to Ken Benson, Ben Cameron and Suzanne Martinucci.
Tannhäuser
British conductor Mark Elder and an all-star cast perform Wagner's first operatic song-contest (the second being The Mastersingers of Nuremberg).
The minstrel knight Tannhäuser is torn between the orgiastic delights of the Venusberg and the chaste attractions of Elisabeth, niece of Landgrave Herrmann of Thüringia.
Things come to a head at the Wartburg song contest, where the challenge for Tannhäuser and the other competitors is to define the essence of love in song.
Tannhäuser....Peter Seiffert (tenor)
Elisabeth....Deborah Voigt (soprano)
Venus....Michelle deYoung (mezzo-soprano)
Wolfram von Eschinbach....Thomas Hampson (baritone)
Landgraf Herrmann....Kurt Moll (bass)
Walther von der Vogelweide....John Horton Murray (tenor)
Heinrich....Roy Cornelius Smith (tenor)
Biterolf....Charles Taylor (baritone)
Reinmar....Morris Robinson (bass)
Mark Elder (conductor)
Includes the Met Opera Quiz.
Steven Blier puts listeners' questions to Cori Ellison, Terrence McNally and Alan Wagner.
Katya Kabanova
Katya feels she is fading away in the house of her weak husband Tichon and his fearsome mother Kabanicha.
While her husband is away she has a fling with Boris.
But when Tichon returns, she confesses everything out of shame.
Distraught, Katya drowns herself.
Tichon, who tries to go in after her, is stopped by his mother who persists that Katya is not worth it.
Continues at 8.15pm.
Janacek: Katya Kabanova (Acts 1 & 2)
Katya....Karita Mattila (soprano)
Varvara....Magdalena Kozena (mezzo-soprano)
Kabanicha....Judith Frost (mezzo-soprano)
Boris....Jorma Silvasti (tenor)
Tichon....Chris Merritt (tenor)
Vanya Kudrjas....Raymond Very (tenor)
Dikoi....Vladimir Ognovenko (bass)
Glasha....Janet Hopkins (soprano)
Feklusha....Diane Elias (mezzo-soprano)
Kuligin....Sebastian Catana (baritone)
Jiri Belohlavek (conductor).
Live from the NEW YORK Met.
Janacek's Katya Kabanaova (Act 3), starring Karita Mattila, Jorma Silvasti, Chris Merritt, Vladimir Ognovenko.
Jiri Belohlavek conducts.
 Rodelinda20050101 Stephanie Hughes presents Radio 3's second visit to this year's Glyndebourne Festival is for a production of one of Handel's finest heroic operas.
Emma Bell takes the title role of Rodelinda who believes her husband Bertarido to be dead, and who lives with her son in the clutches of the usurper Grimoaldo; he in turn is betrothed to Bertarido's sister Eduige.
But Grimoaldo has set his sights on making Rodelinda his Queen and his evil sidekick Garibaldo has designs on Eduige, so a disguised Bertarido sets about rescuing his wife and son with the help of his faithful friend Unulfo.
Rodelinda....Emma Bell (soprano)
Grimoaldo....Timothy Robinson (tenor)
Garibaldo....Paul Gay (bass-baritone)
Eduige....Jean Rigby (mezzo-soprano)
Bertarido....Marijana Mijanovic (mezzo-soprano)
Unulfo....Matthew White (counter-tenor)
Flavio....Aaron Fulthorpe (treble)
Glyndebourne Chorus
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Emmanuelle Haïm (conductor).
Rodelinda
Live from the Met.
Grimoaldo has taken the Milanese throne from Bertarido, forcing him into hiding, and now has his eye on Bertarido's wife, Rodelinda.
But Bertarido is not dead, as everybody thinks, but is on his way back to Milan to seek revenge.
The Met gives its broadcast premiere of Rodelinda, one of Handel's most dramatic operas, with a top line-up of soloists including Renee Fleming as Rodelinda, and David Daniels as Bertarido.
Continues at 7.35pm.
Handel: Rodelinda (Act 1)
Rodelinda....Renée Fleming (soprano)
Eduige....Stephanie Blythe (mezzo-soprano)
Bertarido....David Daniels (counter-tenor)
Unulfo....Bejun Mehta (counter-tenor)
Grimoaldo....Kobie van Rensburg (tenor)
Garibaldo....John Relyea (bass)
Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
Harry Bicket (conductor).
Live from the NEW YORK Met, Act 2 of Handel's Rodelinda with Renee Fleming, David Daniels, Stephanie Blythe, Bejun Mehta, Kobie van Rensburg, John Relyea.
Harry Bicket conducts.
Continues at 9.10pm.
Live from the NEW YORK Met, Act 3 of Handel's Rodelinda, with Renee Fleming, David Daniels, Stephanie Blythe, Bejun Mehta, Kobie van Rensburg, John Relyea.
 Otello20050108 Live from the Met.
Ben Heppner leads an international cast as the jealous hero of Shakespeare's play, masterly reworked in music by Verdi.
The action pursues the inevitable and tragic decline of Otello, the great military leader, whose love for the innocent Desdemona is poisoned by the evil Iago.
Continues at 8.20pm.
Verdi Otello (Acts 1 & 2)
Desdemona....Barbara Frittoli (soprano)
Otello....Ben Heppner (tenor)
Iago....Carlo Guelfi (baitone)
Emilia....Jane Bunnell (mezzo-soprano)
Cassio....Garrett Sorenson (tenor)
Roderigo....Bernard Fitch (tenor)
Montano....Charles Taylor (baritone)
Lodovico....Vitalij Kowaljow (bass)
Herald....Brian Davis (tenor)
Chorus & Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
James Levine (conductor).
Live from the NEW YORK Met.
Verdi's Otello Acts 3 and 4.
James Levine conducts.
  20050117 Das Rheingold
A world of magic and fantasy erupts on the stage of the Royal Opera House in Keith Warner's new production of Wagner's Rhinegold, launching the epic Ring cycle.
And why not? Tolkien nicked plenty from Wagner, whose own "Lord of the Ring", the Nibelung Alberich, renounces love to make himself ruler of all.
Bryn Terfel stars in his long-awaited debut as Wotan, leader of the Gods, whose own power is compromised by his violence and broken promises.
Has he met his match? Can the world be saved? Find out over the next four operas.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
The gods
Wotan....Bryn Terfel (baritone)
Fricka....Rosalind Plowright (soprano)
Freia....Emily Magee (soprano)
Donner....James Rutherford (baritone)
Froh....Will Hartmann (tenor)
Loge....Philip Langridge (tenor)
Erda....Jane Henschel (mezzo-soprano)
The Nibelung dwarves
Alberich....Günter von Kannen (bass)
Mime....Gerhard Siegel (tenor)
The giants
Fasolt....Franz-Josef Selig (bass)
Fafner....Philip Ens (bass)
The Rhinemaidens
Woglinde....Sarah Fox (soprano)
Wellgunde....Heather Shipp (mezzo-soprano)
Flosshilde....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Antonio Pappano (conductor)
At 7.00pm: How does the UKs leading opera house go about creating a Ring cycle for the 21st century? Stephanie Hughes talks to the conductor - the Royal Operas Music Director Antonio Pappano - the singers, including Bryn Terfel and Rosalind Plowright - and the creative team, led by director Keith Warner.
At 7.10pm: Stephanie Hughes narrates the story of the Rhinegold.
The opera resumes at 7.15pm.
  20050122 Le Roi de Lahore
Massenet's exotic opera, set in INDIA and based on a story from the epic book the Mahabharata.
Stephanie Hughes, in conversation with Richard Langham-Smith, presents this performance which was recorded last December at the newly restored opera house of La Fenice in Venice.
Alim, the King of Lahore, is slain in battle and succeeded by ScINDIA, his rival in love for priestess Sita.
But the god Indra takes pity on Alim and allows him to return to earth as a beggar to win back Sita.
She kills herself to avoid the evil ScINDIA, but in doing so, she and Alim are then reunited in heaven.
Massenet: Le Roi de Lahore
Sita....Ana Maria Sanchez (soprano)
ScINDIA....Vladimir Stoyanov (baritone)
Kaled....Maria Jose Montiel (mezzo-soprano)
Alim....Giuseppe Gipali (tenor)
Indra....Deyan Vatchkov (bass)
Timour....Riccardo Zanellato (bass)
La Fenice Chorus and Orchestra
Marcello Viotti (conductor).
 Puccini's Turandot, Act 2: Live From The New York Metropolitan Opera With Andrea Gruber, Krassimira20050129 Turandot
Live from the Met.
In legendary times, by the Forbidden City in Peking, a Mandarin reads an edict: any prince seeking to marry Princess Turandot must answer three riddles - and if he fails, he will die.
Andrea Gruber stars as the icy princess, and John Botha as Calaf, who will eventually teach her what love is.
Continues at 7.45pm.
Puccini: Turandot (Act 1)
Turandot....Andrea Gruber (soprano)
Liù....Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano)
Calàf....John Botha (tenor)
Timur....Hao Jiang Tian (bass)
Ping....Haijing Fu (baritone)
Pang....Tony Stevenson (tenor)
Pong....Eduardo Valdes (tenor)
Emperor....Charles Anthony (tenor)
Mandarin....James Courtney (bass)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
Bertrand de Billy (conductor).
Puccini's Turandot, Act 2: Live from the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera with Andrea Gruber, Krassimira Stoyanova, Johan Botha and Hao Jiang Tian.
Bertrand de Billy conducts.
Continues at 9.00pm.
Puccini's Turandot, Act 3: Live from the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera with Andrea Gruber, Krassimira Stoyanova, Johan Botha and Hao Jiang Tian.
 Puccini's Turandot, Act 3: Live From The New York Metropolitan Opera With Andrea Gruber, Krassimira20050129 Turandot
Live from the Met.
In legendary times, by the Forbidden City in Peking, a Mandarin reads an edict: any prince seeking to marry Princess Turandot must answer three riddles - and if he fails, he will die.
Andrea Gruber stars as the icy princess, and John Botha as Calaf, who will eventually teach her what love is.
Continues at 7.45pm.
Puccini: Turandot (Act 1)
Turandot....Andrea Gruber (soprano)
Liù....Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano)
Calàf....John Botha (tenor)
Timur....Hao Jiang Tian (bass)
Ping....Haijing Fu (baritone)
Pang....Tony Stevenson (tenor)
Pong....Eduardo Valdes (tenor)
Emperor....Charles Anthony (tenor)
Mandarin....James Courtney (bass)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
Bertrand de Billy (conductor).
Puccini's Turandot, Act 2: Live from the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera with Andrea Gruber, Krassimira Stoyanova, Johan Botha and Hao Jiang Tian.
Bertrand de Billy conducts.
Continues at 9.00pm.
Puccini's Turandot, Act 3: Live from the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera with Andrea Gruber, Krassimira Stoyanova, Johan Botha and Hao Jiang Tian.
  20050205 Pelléas et Mélisande
Live from the Met.
'Music in opera is far too predominant!' So said Claude Debussy, and he put his money where his mouth was in this
revolutionary opera.
Anne Sofie von Otter stars as the mysterious Mélisande, loved by the brothers Golaud and Pelléas.
Their tragic tale plays out in as if - as Debussy put it - in dreams: 'No place, no time.
No big scene.
Characters at the mercy of life or destiny...'
Continues at 8.05pm, after Opera News on the AIr.
Mélisande....Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano)
Pelléas....William Burden (tenor)
Golaud....José van Dam (baritone)
Arkel....Roberto Scandiuzzi (bass)
Geneviève....Felicity Palmer (mezzo-soprano)
Doctor....Patrick Carfizzi (baritone)
Shepherd....LeRoy Lehr (bass)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
James Levine (conductor).
Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande (Act 3): Opera on 3 continues with Act 3 of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, live from the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera, conducted by James Levine.
Continues at 9.05pm.
Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande (Acts 4 and 5): Live from the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera with Anne Sofie von Otter, William Burden, Jose van Dam, Felicity Palmer and Roberto Scandiuzzi.
 Le Nozze Di Figaro20050212 Live from the Met.
Mozart's heady mix of subterfuge, sexual jealousy and revenge centres around the relationships between two couples: the Count and Countess Almaviva, unhappy in their marriage, and on the other hand Figaro and Susanna, who are on the brink of marital bliss.
That is until the Count does everything to cancel the wedding because of his feelings for Susanna; eventually he's caught out and returns to his wife to beg her forgiveness, a humbler and wiser man.
Countess....Janice Watson (soprano)
Susanna....Andrea Rost (soprano)
Cherubino....Jossie Pérez (soprano)
Count....Mariusz Kwiecien (baritone)
Figaro....John Relyea (bass)
Babarina....Yvonne Gonzales Redman (soprano)
Marcellina....Jane Bunnell (mezzo-soprano)
Don Basilio....Michel Sénéchal (tenor)
Don Curzio....Tony Stevenson (tenor)
Dr.
Bartolo....Robert Lloyd (bass)
Antonio....Patrick Carfizzi (baritone)
1st Bridesmaid....Anita Johnson (soprano)
2nd Bridesmaid....Edyta Kulczak (mezzo-soprano)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
James Levine (conductor).
Le Nozze di Figaro (Act 2): Mozart's opera live from the NEW YORK Met with John Relyea, Andrea Rost, Janice Watson, Mariusz Kwiecien and Jossie Perez.
Le Nozze di Figaro (Acts 3 & 4): Mozart's opera live from the NEW YORK Met with John Relyea, Andrea Rost, Janice Watson, Mariusz Kwiecien and Jossie Perez, conducted by James Levine.
 La Boheme"20050219 Live from the Met.
Ruth Anne Swenson and Roberto Alagna star in Puccini's bittersweet masterpiece.
It's PARIS, CHRISTMAS Eve, c1830.
In their Latin Quarter garret, painter Marcello and poet Rodolfo try to keep warm by burning pages from Rodolfo's latest drama.
Then fragile Mimì appears at the door, saying her candle has gone out.
Nothing will be the same again for Rodolfo.
Mimì....Ruth Ann Swenson (soprano)
Musetta....Patricia Racette (soprano)
Rodolfo....Roberto Alagna (tenor)
Marcello....Dwanye Croft (baritone)
Schaunard....Earle Patriarco (baritone)
Colline....Oren Gradus (bass)
Benoit / Alcindoro....Paul Plishka (bass)
Officer....Robert Maher (baritone)
Sergeant....David Asch (bass)
Parpignol....Gregory Lorenz (tenor)
Prugne di Tours....Jeffrey Mosher (tenor)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
Daniel Oren (conductor).
La Boheme (Act 3): Ruth Anne Swenson and Roberto Alagna star in Puccini's bittersweet masterpiece live from the NEW YORK Met.
(Continues at 8.45pm, after The Met Opera Quiz)
La Boheme (Act 4): Ruth Anne Swenson and Roberto Alagna star while Daniel Oren conducts in Puccini's bittersweet masterpiece, live from the NEW YORK Met.
  20050226 Nabucco
Live from the Met.
For Hebrews, read Italians.
Verdi's operatic breakthough with Nabucco was as much about nationalism as it was about music.
On the long road to Italian unity, the song that kept them all going was the famous Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, Va pensiero.
Nabucco, King of Babylon....Nikolai Putilin (baritone)
Abigaille, his elder daughter....Maria Guleghina (soprano)
Fenena, his younger daughter....Wendy White (soprano)
Zaccaria, Hebrew High Priest....Paata Burchuladze (bass)
Ismaele, Hebrew lover of Fenena....Gwyn Hughes Jones (tenor)
High Priest of Baal....Julien Robbins (bass)
Abdallo....Eduardo Valdes (tenor)
Anna....Claudia Waite (soprano)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
James Levine (conductor).
Nabucco (Acts 3 & 4): Concluding tonight's live performance of Verdi's breakthrough work by the Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera, conducted by James Levine.
Continues at 8.20pm, after The Met Opera Quiz.
  20050228 Wozzeck
From 7.30pm:
The opening night of a new Welsh National Opera production in its new home, the Wales Millennium Centre.
Stephanie Hughes meets the General Director of WNO, Anthony Freud, at the centre in Cardiff Bay to discuss the significance of the company's move there.
Then, before curtain goes up on this historic performance, director Richard Jones, conductor Vladimir Jurowski, and soloists talk about why Berg's modernist classic of 20th century opera, Wozzeck, remains so radical.
First performed in 1925, but banned as degenerate by the Nazis in 1933, it became the first atonal opera to find a niche in the repertoire after World War Two.
From 7.45pm we present Acts 1-3 of the opera with no interval.
Wozzeck, an uncomprehending and neurotic private soldier, is forced to submit to the humiliating demands of his superiors in order to earn enough money to feed his mistress, Marie, and their illegitimate child.
Brutalized and subject to hallucinations, he is driven over the edge when he learns Marie has been unfaithful to him.
Wozzeck....Christopher Purves
Captain....Peter Hoare
Marie....Gun-Brit Barkmin
Drum-Major....Peter Svensson
Doctor....Clive Bayley
Andres....Matthew Beale
Margret....Nicola Morgan
Apprentice 1....Tim Mirfin
Apprentice 2....Howard Kirk
Idiot....Michael Clifton-Thompson
Orderly....Michael Clifton-Thompson
Soldier....Paul Gyton
Orchestra and Chorus of Welsh National Opera
Vladimir Jurowski (conductor).
  20050302 La Traviata
The second of this week's broadcasts from Welsh National Opera's debut season at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.
Nuccia Focile and Peter Wedd star as the tragic lovers in this modern production of Verdi's timeless tale, conducted by Carlo Rizzi.
Violetta....Nuccia Focile
Alfredo....Peter Wedd
Giorgio Germont....Jonathan Summers
Baron Douphol....Eddie Wade
Flora....Amanda Baldwin
Marquis of Obigny....Gareth Rhys-Davies
Doctor Grenvil....David Soar
Gaston....Philip Lloyd Holtam
Annina....Sian Meinir
Giuseppe....Michael Clifton-Thompson
A Peasant....John King
Flora's Servant....George Newton-Fitzgerald
Orchestra and Chorus of Welsh National Opera
Carlo Rizzi (conductor).
 Samson Et Dalila20050305 Live from the Met.
Sex and religion are the driving forces in Saint-Saëns' opera based on the biblical story from the Book of Judges.
Samson is the hero who fights, but eventually gives in to, the feminine wiles of Dalila.
But when he is taken prisoner to the pagan temple of Dagon, Samson prays to God to restore his strength and wreaks a terrible revenge.
Saint-Saëns: Samson et Dalila (Act 1)
Dalila....Denyce Graves (mezzo-soprano)
Samson....José Cura (tenor)
High Priest....Jean-Philippe Lafont (baritone)
Abimélech....James Courtney (bass)
The Old Hebrew....Robert Lloyd (bass)
1st Philistine....Bernard Fitch (tenor)
2nd Philistine....Richard Hobson (baritone)
Messenger....Tony Stevenson (tenor)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
Bertrand de Billy (conductor).
Samson et Dalila: Act 2 of Saint-Saens's opera with Denyce Graves, Jose Cura and the Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Met/Bertrand de Billy.
(Continues at 8.30pm, after the Met Opera Quiz)
Samson et Dalila: Act 3 of Saint-Saens's opera with Denyce Graves, Jose Cura and the Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropliation Opera/Bertrand de Billy.
 Il Barbiere Di Siviglia20050312 Rossini's setting of the first play in the trilogy by Beaumarchais is the tale of Figaro before his marriage, when he was a carefree barber in the city of Seville.
As he says, his profession opens every door in the city to him, and so he is able to help Count Almaviva - who has fallen in love with the beautiful Rosina - ward off the comically pompous Dr Bartolo who keeps her a virtual prisoner.
But as Bartolo wishes to marry Rosina himself, there is much intrigue involving secret letters, disguises and hastily hatched plots before the lovers are married in the nick of time, and Bartolo is left with no option but to grin and bear it.
Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Acts 1 and 2)
Rosina....Katarina Karnéus (mezzo-soprano)
Count Almaviva....Matthew Polenzani (tenor)
Figaro....Franco Vassallo (baritone)
Dr Bartolo....Carlos Chausson (bass)
Don Basilio....Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass)
Berta....Claudia Waite (soprano)
SergeantBernard Fitch (tenor)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
Maurizio Benini (conductor).
Presented from NEW YORK by Margaret Juntwait, live from the Met.
Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Act 3).
 Don Carlo20050319 Live from the Met.
Don Carlo, heir to the Spanish throne, has been promised to Elisabeth, daughter of the King of FRANCE, to promote peace between the two nations.
They meet and fall in love, but it's then decided that Elisabeth should marry Carlo's father, Philip II of Spain, instead.
This begins a tale of conflict between father and son, crown and church, and love and duty.
Verdi's epic Don Carlo contains some of his most dramatic and memorable music, and is sung by a top cast including Sondra Radvanovsky, Violeta Urmana and Richard Margison.
Presented by Margaret Juntwait.
Elisabeth de Valois....Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano)
Princess Eboli....Violeta Urmana (soprano)
Don Carlo....Richard Margison (tenor)
Rodrigo, Count of Posa....Dwayne Croft (baritone)
Philip II....Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass)
Grand Inquisitor....Samuel Ramey (bass)
Voce dal Ciel....Olga Makarina (soprano)
Tebaldo....Sandra Lopez (soprano)
Herald....Dimitri Pittas (tenor)
Lerma....Brian Davis (tenor)
Frate....Vitalij Kowaljow (bass)
Forester....Patrick Carfizzi (baritone)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
Fabio Luisi (conductor).
Don Carlo (Act 3): Continuing the performance of Verdi's epic by the Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera, conducted by Fabio Luisi.
Continues at 8.45pm, after The Met Opera Quiz
Don Carlo (Acts 4 & 5): Concluding the performance of Verdi's epic tale of love and duty by the Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera, conducted by Fabio Luisi.
 Leoncavallo: Pagliacci20050326 Tonight's Opera on 3 continues live from the Met with Leoncavallo's Pagliacci.
Nedda....Daniela Dessì (soprano)
Canio....John Mac Master (tenor)
Tonio....Juan Pons (baritone)
Beppe....Philippe Castagner (tenor)
Silvio....Mariusz Kwiecien (baritone)
Villager....Daniel C.
Smith (tenor)
Villager....Jason Hendrix (bass-baritone).
Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci
Live from the Met.
Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, the ever-popular pair of short operas, return to the Met for a special Easter performance.
Easter Sunday, c1880: Lola and Turiddu were sweethearts, but when Turiddu went to do his military service she married another man.
When Turiddu came back and found out, he didn't see the funny side.
Things will never be the same in the little Sicilian village?
A troupe of travelling players comes to town, and the impressario guards his young wife jealously.
As it turns out, he has every reason to.
Presented from NEW YORK by Margaret Juntwait.
Santuzza....Violeta Urmana (soprano)
Turiddu....Eduardo Villa (tenor)
Alfio....Frederick Burchinal (baritone)
Lola....Sandra Piques Eddy (mezzo-soprano)
Mamma Lucia....Jane Bunnell (mezzo-soprano)
Peasant Woman....Mary Meyers (soprano)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
Dennis Russell Davies (conductor).
  20050402 Der Rosenkavalier
Live from the Met.
The Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera perform Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier.
Some of Richard Strauss? most glorious music is to be found in this romantic comedy set in 18th century Vienna, a tale of passion, farce and tangled emotions between the aristocratic Marschallin, her youthful lover Octavian, `The Knight of the Rose?, and the beautiful young Sophie, the unfortunate fiancée of the Marschallin?s boorish cousin, Baron Ochs.
Marschallin....Angela Denoke (soprano)
Octavian....Susan Graham (mezzo-soprano)
Sophie....Laura Aikin (soprano)
Baron Ochs....Peter Rose (bass)
Faninal....Håkan Hagegård (baritone)
Marianne....Claudia Waite (soprano)
Annina....Wendy White (mezzo-soprano)
Valzacchi....Greg Fedderly (tenor)
Italian Singer....Matthew Polenzani (tenor)
Police Commissar....Paul Plishka (bass)
Innkeeper....Tony Stevenson (tenor)
Notary....James Courtney (bass)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
Donald Runnicles (conductor)
Tonight's Opera on 3 continues live from the Met with Act 2 of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier.
Continues at 9.50pm, after the Met Opera Quiz
Continuing tonight's Opera on 3 live from the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera, Act 3 of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier.
Continues at 8.15pm, after Opera News on the Air.
 Tosca20050409 The Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera perform Puccini's Tosca.
Margaret Juntwait presents Puccini's opera about an opera singer, Floria Tosca, who thinks she knows how to outwit the notorious Baron Scarpia the vicious Police Chief of Rome.
He's out to get her lover Cavaradossi for helping an escaped prisoner, and, in turn, to get her for himself.
They strike a bargain to spare Cavaradossi's life, but Tosca murders Scarpia rather than submit to him and he in turn has his revenge from the grave when the mock execution of Cavaradossi turns out to be real.
Tosca....Maria Guleghina (soprano)
Cavaradossi....Salvatore Licitra (tenor)
Scarpia....Mark Delavan (baritone)
Spoletta....Bernard Fitch (tenor)
Sciarrone....Richard Vernon (bass)
Angelotti....Richard Bernstein (bass)
Sacristan....Paul Plishka (bass)
Jailer....Vaclovas Daunoras (bass)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
James Conlon (conductor)
Tonight's Opera on 3 concludes live from the Met, with Act 3 of Puccini's Tosca.
Tonight's Opera on 3 continues live from the Met with Act 2 of Puccini's Tosca.
Continues at 9.05, after The Met Opera Quiz
Continues at 7.50pm, after A Map of Manhattan.
  20050416 Die Zauberflöte
Tamino is rescued from a huge serpent by the three attendants of the Queen of the Night.
They persuade him to rescue the Queen's beautiful daughter, Pamina, who is held prisoner by Sarastro.
Tamino sets off on his adventure, protected by a magic flute and glockenspiel, and with Papageno the birdcatcher for company.
Mozart's allegorical singspiel is open to many interpretations, but there's no doubting the quality of the music.
It's performed tonight by a top cast, including Lisa Milne as Pamina and Matthew Polenzani as Tamino, conducted by James Levine.
Presented from NEW YORK by Margaret Juntwait.
Pamina....Lisa Milne (soprano)
Queen of the Night....Erika Miklósa (soprano)
Tamino....Matthew Polenzani (tenor)
Papageno....Matthias Goerne (baritone)
Sprecher....René Pape (bass)
Sarastro....Kurt Moll (bass)
Papagena....Anna Christy (soprano)
1st Lady....Emily Pulley (soprano)
2nd Lady....Jossie Pérez (soprano)
3rd Lady....Wendy White (mezzo-soprano)
Monostatos....Volker Vogel (tenor)
1st Priest....James Courtney (bass)
2nd Priest....Bernard Fitch (tenor)
1st Armed Man....Garrett Sorenson (tenor)
2nd Armed Man....Morris Robinson (bass)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
James Levine (conductor)
The second and concluding act of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, performed live by the Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Met conducted by James Levine.
Continues at 8.15pm, after A Map of Manhattan.
  20050423 Tonight's Opera on 3 concludes with Act 3 of Wagner's Die Walküre, live from the NEW YORK Met.
Tonight's performance of Wagner's Die Walküre, continues with Act 2, live from the NEW YORK Met.
Continues at 9.15pm, after Opera News on the Air - Singers' Round Table
Live from the NEW YORK Met, Margaret Juntwait presents the Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera, conducted by Valery Gergiev, performing Act 1 of Wagner's Die Walküre.
The cast is led by Plácido Domingo and Katarina Dalayman.
The story concerns the relationship between brother and sister Siegmund and Sieglinde, who discover they are related after they've fallen in love.
Their father, Wotan, the arrogant leader of the gods, is forced to disown them by his nagging wife Fricka, who's horrified by their relationship that breaks all laws.
But then comes the crucial turning-point of the whole Ring Cycle.
Brünnhilde the Valkyrie of the title, who's another of Wotan's army of illegitimate children, is so moved by Siegmund's love for Sieglinde that she decides to defy her father and help the lovers.
Sieglinde....Katarina Dalayman (soprano)
Siegmund....Plácido Domingo (tenor)
Brünnhilde....Olga Sergeeva (soprano)
Wotan....Mikhail Kit (baritone)
Fricka....Larissa Diadkova (mezzo-soprano)
Hunding, Sieglinde's husband....Stephen Milling (bass)
Helmwige....Claudia Waite (soprano)
Gerhilde....Rebecca Copley (soprano)
Ortlinde....Janet Hopkins (soprano)
Siegrune....Jane Bunnell (mezzo-soprano)
Waltraute....Victoria Livengood (mezzo-soprano)
Grimgerde....Jane Gilbert (soprano)
Rossweisse....Malin Fritz (mezzo-soprano)
Schwertleite....Ellen Rabiner (mezzo-soprano)
Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
Valery Gergiev (conductor)
Evening
Morning
Afternoon.
Continues at 7.05pm, after The Met Opera Quiz.
 Live From The Met - Faust20050430 Roberto Alagna and Soile Isokoski star in a new Metropolitan Opera production of this ever-popular French opera.
Presented from NEW YORK by Margaret Juntwait.
During a visit from the debonair M?phistoph?lès, the despairing and elderly philosopher Faust is manipulated into surrendering his immortal soul in exchange for the alluring promise of eternal youth and the love of a beautiful woman.
Marguerite....Soile Isokoski (soprano)
Si?bel....Kristine Jepson (mezzo-soprano)
Faust....Roberto Alagna (tenor)
Valentin....Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone)
M?phistoph?lès....Ren? Pape (bass)
Marthe....Jane Bunnell (mezzo-soprano)
Wagner....Patrick Carfizzi
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
James Levine (conductor).
  20050507 Act 1.
La Clemenza di Tito.
Live from the Met
The Roman emperor Tito finds his well-known clemency tested to the full, not in the affairs of Rome, but of his own heart.
Bowing to pressure to marry a Roman princess, Tito chooses Servilia, but releases her when he learns she is in love with his friend Annio.
Meanwhile, Vitellia, furious at not being chosen herself, plots Tito's murder.
Mozart's final opera seria was written during the last year of his life, while he was also working on The Magic Flute and the Requiem.
The top cast tonight includes Anne Sofie von Otter and Sarah Connolly.
Presented from NEW YORK by Margaret Juntwait.
Servilia....Heidi Grant Murphy (soprano)
Vitellia....Melanie Diener (soprano)
Sesto....Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano)
Annio....Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)
Tito....Frank Lopardo (tenor)
Publio....Luca Pisaroni (bass)
Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera
James Levine (conductor)
Act 2.
Live from the Met: Margaret Juntwait presents the concluding part of Mozart's opera from NEW YORK.
Cast includes Anne Sofie von Otter and Sarah Connolly.
Continues at 8.05pm after Opera News on the Air
Verb, The".
 The Knot Garden20050514 Tippet's The Knot Garden, live from the Barbican
Elizabethan Knot Gardens often resembled a maze.
Tippett's opera, with his own libretto, deals with 20th century relationships in turmoil, and has strong echoes of Shakespeare's The Tempest with its themes of enchantment and isolation.
The Knot Garden caused controversy at its premiere in 1970.
Two of the main characters - the bisexual Black writer Mel and his white friend Dov, a musician - are probably the first openly gay couple to appear in opera.
It is their relationship, grown fragile, around which much of the plot revolves.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Faber....Christopher Purves (baritone)
Thea....Karen Cargill (mezzo-soprano)
Flora....Ailish Tynan (soprano)
Denise....Rachel Hynes (soprano)
Mel....Roderick Williams (baritone)
Doy....James Gilchrist (tenor)
Mangus....Alan Opie (baritone)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Andrew Davis (conductor)
Continues at 8.45pm after Twenty Minutes.
 Un Ballo In Maschera20050521 Antonio Pappano, Music Director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducts this new production of Verdi's 'most operatic of operas', with the three principals making their debuts in these roles.
Marcelo Alvarez plays the governor Riccardo, with Thomas Hampson as his devoted political ally and friend Renato.
These characters both love the same woman - Renato's wife Amelia, sung by Karita Mattila - and when Renato turns assassin out of jealousy, the fortune teller Ulrica's prophecy comes true and Riccardo is murdered at Un Ballo in Maschera - a masked ball.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Verdi: Un ballo in maschera
Riccardo....Marcelo Alvarez (tenor)
Amelia....Karita Mattila (soprano)
Renato....Thomas Hampson (baritone)
Ulrica....Elisabetta Fiorillo (mezzo-soprano)
Oscar....Camilla Tilling (soprano)
Sam....Giovan Battista Parodi (bass)
Tom....Matthew Rose (bass)
Silvano....Jared Holt (baritone)
Judge....Andrew Kennedy (tenor)
Amelia's servant....Neil Gillespie (tenor)
Royal Opera Chorus
Renato Balsadonna (chorus director)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Vasko Vassilev (concert master)
Antonio Pappano (conductor).
  20050525 1984.
Act I
The Royal Opera House presents the World Premiere of Lorin Maazel's 1984, based on George Orwell's sinister portrayal of a future under the totalitarian regime of Big Brother.
Simon Keenlyside and Nancy Gustafson create the roles of Winston and Julia, who dare to defy the system and risk everything in order to love each other.
The production is directed by Robert Lepage, and conducted by the composer.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Winston....Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
Julia....Nancy Gustafson (soprano)
O'Brien....Richard Margison (tenor)
Syme....Lawrence Brownlee (tenor)
Parsons....Jeremy White (bass)
Gym Instructress/Drunken Woman....Diana Damrau (soprano)
Charrington....Graeme Danby (bass)
Prole Woman....Mary Lloyd Davies (soprano)
Café Singer....Johnnie Fiori
Pub Quartet....The Demon Barbers
Royal Opera Chorus
Renato Balsadonna (Chorus Director)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Peter Manning (Concert Master)
Lorin Maazel (conductor)
Act II: Stephanie Hughes presents the concluding part of Lorin Maazel's 1984, based on George Orwell's classic novel, from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Continues at 9.00pm after Opera Box.
  20050528 BBC Symphony Orchestra
The French composer Ernest Chausson (1855-1899) was fascinated both by Arthurian legend and the operas of Wagner.
His only opera, set in 6th century ENGLAND, brings to life the tragic tale of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table - with its themes of illicit love, cHIValry and magic.
The superb cast and orchestra are conducted in this new studio recording by Leon Botstein.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes with Roger Nichols.
Chausson: Le Roi Arthus
Genièvre....Susan Bullock (soprano)
Arthus....Andrew Schroeder (baritone)
Lancelot....Simon O'Neill (tenor)
Merlin....François Le Roux (baritone)
Mordred....Daniel Okulitch (baritone)
Lyonnel....Garrett Sorenson (tenor)
Allan....Sir Donald McIntyre (bass-baritone)
Apollo Voices
Leon Botstein (conductor).
  20050604 Bernstein Season.
Candide
Against the backdrop of McCarthy's witch hunts in the 1950s, Leonard Bernstein and playwright Lillian Hellman found inspiration in Voltaire's satirical novella Candide, set in 18th century FRANCE, which seemed to parody their own turbulent times.
This concert performance with a star-studded cast led by Sir Thomas Allen, with Michael Slattery as Candide and Carla Huhtanen as Cunegonde, was recorded earlier this year in the Royal Festival Hall, LONDON.
Presented by Tommy Pearson with Humphrey Burton.
Narrator/Pangloss/Martin....Thomas Allen
Candide....Michael Slattery
Cunegonde....Carla Huhtanen
The Old Lady....Kim Criswell
Maximilian....Sebastien Lemoine
Captain/Governor/Vanderdendur/Crook....Bonaventura Bottone
Paquette....Anna-Jane Casey
Achmet/Alchemist/Segnor/Grand Inquisitor/Bear-Keeper/Ragotski....Christopher Dee
Charles Edward/Cosmetic Merchant/Inquisitor I/Judge....Andrew Busher
Herman/Junkman/Segnor/Inquisitor II/Croupier/Judge....Mark Meadows
Ivan/Doctor/Inquisitor III/Judge....Bruce Ogston
Maida Vale Singers and members of the Trinity College of Music Choir
BBC Concert Orchestra
Rumon Gamba (conductor).
 La Cenerentola20050611 Cenerentola is not allowed to go to the ball where Prince Ramiro will be choosing a bride, but when he arrives at her house disguised as his servant they immediately fall in love.
Rossini's take on the Cinderella tale has no fairy godmother, pumpkins or lost slippers.
This is a comic opera with a darker side, more about social mobility than magic.
In this new production from Glyndebourne, Ruxandra Donose plays Cenerentola with Maxim Mironov making his debut as Prince Ramiro.
Vladimir Jurowski and Peter Hall conduct and direct, and discuss their views of Rossini's masterpiece with Stephanie Hughes.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Rossini: La Cenerentola, in two acts
Angelina (Cenerentola)....Ruxandra Donose (mezzo-soprano)
Don Ramiro....Maxim Mironov (tenor)
Dandini....Simone Alberghini (bass-baritone)
Alidoro....Nathan Berg (bass-baritone)
Don Magnifico....Luciano Di Pasquale (bass)
Clorinda....Raquela Sheeran (soprano)
Tisbe....Lucia Cirillo (mezzo-soprano)
The Glyndebourne ChorusLONDON Philharmonic Orchestra
Vladimir Jurowski (conductor).
 Orphée20050625 The Linbury Studio Theatre at The Royal Opera is the venue for this UK premiere production of Philip Glass' Orphée.
It's the first in a trilogy of music theatre pieces that Glass wrote in the 1990s based on films by Jean Cocteau, and sees Orpheus transformed into a trendy French poet.
The broadcast is introduced by Stephanie Hughes in conversation with the music consultant of Tate Modern, conductor Richard Bernas.
La Princesse....Ha Young Lee (soprano)
Eurydice....Katie Van Kooten (soprano)
Heurtebise....Andrew Kennedy (tenor)
Orphée....Jared Holt (baritone)
Aglaonice....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)
Cégeste....Christopher Steele (tenor)
Reporter/Glazier....Nicholas Sales (tenor)
Poet....Brian Bannatyne-Scott (bass)
Judge....Matthew Rose (bass)
Commissaire....Mark Richardson (bass)
Members of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Conducted by Rory MacDonald.
 Smetena - The Bartered Bride20050702 Stephanie Hughes presents the Glyndebourne production of Smetana's comic opera about the relationship between love and money.
Can true love win against the cynical manipulations of parents and marriage brokers? Will a mysterious man from outside the village be a better husband than someone nearer to home? Will the little dog of the travelling English circus perform on the night as he should?
Ludmilla....Diana Montague (mezzo-soprano)
Kruina....Andrew Shore (baritone)
Marenka....Solveig Kringelborn (soprano)
Mícha....Alan Fairs (bass)
Háta....Frances McCafferty (mezzo-soprano)
Vaek....Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke (bass)
Jeník....Julian Gavin (tenor)
Kecal....Reinhard Dorn (bass)
Ringmaster....Andrew Forbes-Lane (tenor)
Esmerelda....Olga Schalaewa (soprano)
The Glyndebourne ChorusLondon Philharmonic Orchestra
Dietfried Bernet (conductor).
 Cosi Fan Tutte20050708 from The Sage, Gateshead.
Sir Thomas Allen directs this simply staged new production of Mozart's well-loved opera, featuring six gifted young singers supported by the Hexham-based youth arts outfit, The Samling Foundation.
Northern Sinfonia is conducted by Thomas Zehetmair.
Fiordiligi....Henriikka Gröndahl
Dorabella....Carolyn Dobbin
Guglielmo....Mattijs van de Woerd
Ferrando....Rafael Vasquez
Despina....Amy Freston
Don Alfonso....Richard Morrison
Northern Sinfonia
Northern Sinfonia Chorus
Thomas Zehetmair (conductor)
Sir Thomas Allen (director).
 Mitridate, Re Di Ponto20050709 Stephanie Hughes presents an opera by a 14-year-old.
Who else but Mozart? Richard Hickox conducts this Royal Opera production, directed by Graham Vick, with Bruce Ford in the title role.
Mozart based the story of the opera on the real life Mithridates VI, a genuine historical figure: a rather nasty King of Pontus on the Black Sea, who fought the Roman Empire for 50 years until his defeat and suicide in 63BC.
Mozart: Mitridate, re di Ponto, in 3 acts
Mitridate, King of Pontus....Bruce Ford (tenor)
Aspasia, his betrothed....Aleksandra Kurzak (soprano)
Sifare, his younger son....Sally Matthews (soprano)
Farnace, his elder son....David Daniels (counter-tenor)
Ismene, Farnace's betrothed....Susan Gritton (soprano)
Marzio, Roman tribune....Colin Lee (tenor)
Arbate, Governor of Nymphaeum....Katie Van Kooten (soprano)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Peter Manning (concert master)
Richard Hickox (conductor).
  20050921 Shakespeare in opera is the theme as the aspiring stars of the Royal Opera's Young Artists Programme give their annual concert on the main stage of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Nicolai: The Merry Wives of Windsor - Overture
Rossini: Otello - from Act 2
Desdemona....Victoria Nava (soprano)
Otello....James Edwards (tenor)
Iago....Andrew Kennedy (tenor)
Rodrigo....Robert Murray (tenor)
Ambroise Thomas: Hamlet - from Act 3
Ophélie....Ha Young Lee (soprano)
Gertrude....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)
Hamlet....Jared Holt (baritone)
Le Spectre....Matthew Rose (bass)
Gounod: Roméo et Juliette - from Act 3
Juliette....Katie Van Kooten (soprano)
Roméo....James Edwards (tenor)
Frère Laurent....Matthew Rose (bass)
Verdi: Macbeth - ballet music from Act 3
Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, from Act 2
Titania....Ha Young Lee (soprano)
Bottom....Matthew Rose (bass)
Cobweb....Katie Van Kooten (soprano)
Peaseblossom....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)
Mustardseed....James Edwards (tenor)
Moth....Robert Murray (tenor)
Walton: Troilus and Cressida - from Act 2
Cressida....Victoria Nava (soprano)
Troilus....Robert Murray (tenor)
Pandarus....Andrew Kennedy (tenor)
Diomedes....Jared Holt (baritone)
Evadne....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Graeme Jenkins, Rory Macdonald (conductor).
 La Fanciulla Del West20050924ContinuesafterOperaBoxat8.00pm
ContinuesafterTwentyMinutesat9.10pm
ThethirdandfinalactofPuccini'sLaFanciulladelWest,livefromtheRoyalOperaHouse.
Set against a backdrop of the California gold rush, Puccini's La Fanciulla del West returns to the Royal Opera House in a celebrated production by Piero Faggioni, with Andrea Gruber as the heroine and José Cura as the dashing villain.
Minnie falls in love with a visitor to her saloon, Dick Johnson, not realising that he's actually the notorious bandit Ramerrez.
But Rance the Sheriff is determined to win Minnie's love, and to bring the villain to justice.
Minnie....Andrea Gruber (soprano)
Dick Johnson....José Cura (tenor)
Jack Rance....Mark Delavan (baritone)
Nick....Francis Egerton (tenor)
Ashby....Robert Lloyd (bass)
Jack Wallace....Jonathan Lemalu (baritone)
Sonora....Mark Stone (baritone)
Bello....Grant Doyle (baritone)
Happy....Jared Holt (baritone)
Joe....Harry Nicoll (tenor)
Larkens....Graeme Broadbent (bass)
Trin....Hubert Francis (tenor)
Harry....Robert Murray (tenor)
Sid....Adrian Clarke (baritone)
José Castro....Jeremy White (bass)
Wowkle....Clare Shearer (mezzo-soprano)
Billy Jackrabbit....Graeme Danby (bass)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Royal Opera Chorus
Antonio Pappano (conductor)
The second act of Puccini's La Fanciulla del West live from the Royal Opera House.
 Carmen20050927 Symphony Hall in Birmingham becomes the colourful Spanish town of Seville as the CBSO's Artistic Director Sakari Oramo conducts Bizet's Carmen.
Carmen....Katarina Karneus (mezzo soprano)
Don Jose....Gordon Gietz (tenor)
Frasquita....Mary Hegarty (soprano)
Escamillo....Leigh Melrose (baritone)
Micaela....Geraldine McGreevy (soprano)
El Don Cairo....Jonathan Gunthorpe (baritone)
Mercedes....Emma Selway (mezzo soprano)
Morales....Rhydian Roberts (baritone)
Zuniga....Quentin Hayes (baritone)
El Remendado....Nicholas Watts (tenor)
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus
City of Birmingham Symphony Youth Chorus (seniors)
Sakari Oramo (conductor)
Michael Barry (director).
 The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant20051001Continuesat8.45pmafterOperaBoxStephanie Hughes introduces Gerald Barry's new opera, based on the play by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, translated by Denis Calandra, exploring the tortured connections between desire and power.
Petra von Kant, a successful but arrogant fashion designer in her mid-30s, falls passionately in love with Karin, a beautiful, cunning young woman who wants a career in modelling.
Watching over everything, but never uttering a single word, is the enigmatic Marianne, the slavish secretary, maid and co-designer, whom Petra takes every opportunity to humiliate.
Petra and Karin seal their newfound relationship with a torrid kiss, but the aftermath is devastating.
Acts 1 and 2 are performed before the interval.
Acts 3, 4 and 5 follow after the interval.
Petra von Kant, a famous fashion designer....Stephanie Friede (soprano)
Karin Thimm, a young model....Rebecca von Lipinski (soprano)
Sidonie von Grasenabb, a friend....Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano)
Valerie von Kant, Petra's mother....Kathryn Harries (mezzo-soprano)
Gabriele von Kant, Petra's daughter....Barbara Hannigan (soprano)
Marlene, Petra's assistant....Linda Kitchen (soprano)
Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera
André de Ridder (conductor)
The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, Acts 3, 4 and 5: Stephanie Hughes introduces the second half of Gerald Barry's new opera, based on the play by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
 Maskarade20051008Continuesat8.25pmafterOperaBoxThe comic opera comes to London's Royal Opera House for the first time, a century after it was written.
Carl Nielsen's sparkling music tells a classic tale of star-crossed young love rebelling against killjoy parents - with the help of some servants who are happy to take the mickey out of all and sundry.
This egalitarianism - epitomised by the masked ball of the title, where everyone is equal - was what drew Nielsen to the story in the first place; and some say it's typically Danish.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Leander, the hero....Michael Schade (tenor)
Leonora, the heroine....Emma Bell (soprano)
Henrik, Leander's servant....Kyle Ketelsen (bass-baritone)
Pernille, Leonora's maid....Gail Pearson (soprano)
Jeronimus, Leander's father....Brindley Sherratt (bass)
Magdelone, Leander's mother....Kari Hamnøy (mezzo-soprano)
Arv, their servant....Adrian Thompson (tenor)
Leonard, somebody's father....Robin Leggate (tenor)
Corporal Mors....Martin Winkler (bass)
Flower seller....John Hewitt-Jones (bass)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Vasko Vassilev (concert master)
Royal Opera Chorus
Renato Balsadonna (chorus director)
Michael Schønwandt (conductor)
The second and third acts of Carl Nielsen's Maskarade, from London's Royal Opera House.
 Isis20051015 One of Lully's most grandiose tragic operas is brought back to life by the French ensemble devoted entirely to reviving France's musical heritage of the 17th and 18th centuries - La Simphonie du Marais.
Its founder Hugo Reyne directs this concert performance recorded in July at the 9th festival of Baroque music in Vendée, France.
The opera's characters are taken from ancient mythology: Jupiter tries to seduce the nymph Io, but Juno (wife of the King of the Gods) is jealous.
She punishes Io, who is imprisoned, escapes and is ultimately saved from death when Jupiter agrees to renounce his love for her; Juno responds by turning her into the goddess Isis.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Io, who becomes Isis....Françoise Masset (soprano)
Renown, Iris, Hebes....Isabelle Desrochers (soprano)
Calliope, Mycenes, Syrinx....Valérie Gabail (soprano)
Juno....Guillemette Laurens (mezzo-soprano)
Apollo, Pirante....Robert Getchell (tenor)
Mercury....Howard Crook (tenor)
Hierax, Pan....Bertrand Chuberre (bass)
Jupiter....Bernard Deletré (bass)
Neptune....Renaud Delaigue (bass)
Le Chur du Marais
La Simphonie du Marais
Hugo Reyne (conductor).
 Tristan Und Isolde20051022 An acclaimed performance of Wagner's most intimate music drama from the Bastille in Paris, recorded in May this year.
The cast includes Ben Heppner and Waltraud Meier as the star-crossed lovers who discover that only in death can their love be truly fulfilled.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Tristan....Ben Heppner (tenor)
Isolde....Waltraud Meier (soprano)
Jurwenal, Tristan's assistant....Jukka Rasilainen (baritone)
Brangäne, Isolde's maid....Yvonne Naef (soprano)
King Mark....Franz-Josef Selig (bass)
A shepherd/A young sailor....Toby Spence (tenor)
Melot....Alexander Marco-Buhrmeister (tenor)
A steersman....David Bizic (baritone)
Paris National Opera Orchestra
Esa Pekka Salonen (conductor).
 Siegfried20051029Continuesat8.10pmafterOperaBox
Continuesat9.40pmafterOperaBox
Siegfried:Act3ThefinalActoftheRoyalOperaHouse'sproductionofWagner'sSiegfried.
The Royal Opera's new cycle of Wagner's Ring reaches it third instalment, the story of the coming-of-age of young Siegfried.
Will this innocent hero forge the sword to kill the dragon Fafner and retrieve the all-powerful Ring itself? Will he brave the fire and the wrath of his grandfather Wotan to wake and woo the beautiful sleeping Valkyrie Brünnhilde? Or will he be outwitted by the devious Nibelungs Mime and Alberich?
Presented by Stephanie Hughes, who meets the featured singers, conductor Antonio Pappano and stage director Keith Warner.
Siegfried....John Treleaven (tenor)
Brünnhilde....Lisa Gasteen (soprano)
Mime....Gerhard Siegel (tenor)
Wotan....John Tomlinson (bass)
Alberich....Peter Sidhom (baritone)
Fafner....Philip Ens (bass)
Woodbird....Sarah Fox (soprano)
Erda....Jane Henschel (mezzo-soprano)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Vasko Vassilev (concert master)
Antonio Pappano (conductor)
Siegfried: Act 2 of the Royal Opera House's production of Wagner's Siegfried.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
  20051105 Starting a week of concerts to celebrate the work of The Cleveland Orchestra.
Geoffrey Smith talks to some of the players, Executive Director Gary Hanson, Artistic Administrator Peter Czornyj and the current Music Director Franz Welser-Möst
about their work and the long traditions associated with the orchestra.
Featuring a performance of Verdi's Don Carlo, recorded at Severance Hall in Cleveland.
Philip II, King of Spain....Samuel Ramey (bass)
Don Carlo (Philip's son)....Marcus Haddock (tenor)
Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa....Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
Elisabeth, Philip's queen....Miriam Gauci (soprano)
Princess Eboli....Yvonne Naef (mezzo-soprano)
The Grand Inquisitor....Hao Jiang Tian (bass)
Tebaldo, Elisabeth's page....Rebecca Ringle (mezzo-soprano)
Count of Lerma....Joseph Holmes (tenor)
An old monk....Eric Owens (bass)
Voice from Heaven....Malia Bendi Merad (soprano)
Six Flemish Deputies....Keith Brautigam, Dan Hild, Ray Liddle, Cyrus A McFarlin, Michael Preacely, Robert Thompson (bass baritone)
The Cleveland Orchestra
The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus
Franz Welser-Möst (conductor).
  20051109 Franz Welser-Möst explains to Geoffrey Smith why The Cleveland Orchestra is ideally suited to playing the music of Richard Strauss and Elektra in particular.
Strauss: Elektra
Elektra....Lisa Gasteen (soprano)
Chrysothemis....Christine Brewer (soprano)
Klytaemnestra....Felicity Palmer (mezzo-soprano)
Orest....Alan Held (baritone)
Aegisth....Volker Vogel (tenor)
The Tutor....Todd Boyce (baritone)
The Confidante....Harriett Jean Lowe (soprano)
The Trainbearer....Marie Masters (soprano)
1st maid....Karen Jesse (mezzo-soprano)
2nd maid....Rebecca Ringle (mezzo-soprano)
3rd maid....Kathryn Leemhuis (mezzo-soprano)
4th maid....Twyla Robinson (soprano)
5th maid....Bengi Mayone (soprano)
Overseer....Denise Knowlton (soprano)
Young servant....Garrett Sorenson (tenor)
Old servant....Ray Liddle (bass)
The Cleveland Orchestra
The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus
Franz Welser-Möst (conductor)
Recorded at Severance Hall, Cleveland.
 Shadowtime20051112 Brian Ferneyhough's first opera recorded on its only visit to the UK at English National Opera.
Dispensing with conventional action and characters, the work unfolds in a sequence of seven scenes, beginning with the suicide of the German philosopher Walter Benjamin.
His writings on time, history and representation are woven into Charles Bernstein's dream-like libretto, to form a modern equivalent of the early 'intermedi'.
Preceded by a debate on the ideas behind Shadowtime, as Stephanie Hughes is joined by Ivan Hewett, with contributions from Nicolas Hodges and the composer himself.
The opera itself begins at 6.50pm.
Nicolas Hodges (piano/speaker)
Mats Scheidegger (guitar)
Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart
Nieuw Ensemble
Jurjen Hempel (conductor).
 Sir Charles Mackerras At 8020051116 Continuing a series of concerts to celebrate the landmark birthday of a conductor dubbed 'the musician's musician'.
A historic recording from 1984 - Handel's opera Julius Caesar, recorded in English.
Presented by Donald Macleod, in conversation with Sir Charles Mackerras and Dame Janet Baker, who starred in the title role.
Julius Caesar....Dame Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano)
Curio....Christopher Booth-Jones (baritone)
Cornelia....Sarah Walker (mezzo-soprano)
Sextus....Della Jones (mezzo-soprano)
Cleopatra....Valerie Masterson (soprano)
Ptolemy....James Bowman (countertenor)
Achillas....John Tomlinson (bass)
Nirenus....David James (countertenor)
English National Opera Chorus
Orchestra of English National Opera
Charles Mackerras (conductor).
 Sir Charles Mackerras At 8020051119 Donald Macleod in conversation with Sir Charles Mackerras, whose birthday celebrations continue with a concert performance of Fidelio, recorded recently at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh.
Ludwig van Beethoven: Fidelio, Op 72
Leonora....Christine Brewer (soprano)
Florestan....Thomas Moser (tenor)
Marzelline....Lisa Milne (soprano)
Rocco....Peter Rose (bass)
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Charles Mackerras (conductor).
 The Midsummer Marriage20051126 Michael Tippett's first opera, featuring some of his most glorious music, returns to the Royal Opera House in Graham Vick's production.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes, in conversation with Vick and choreographer Ron Howell.
Two couples step into a magical world and find themselves on a voyage of self-discovery.
Mark....Will Hartmann (tenor)
Jenifer....Amanda Roocroft (soprano)
King Fisher, her father....John Tomlinson (bass)
Bella, his secretary....Cora Burggraaf (soprano)
Jack, her boyfriend....Gordon Gietz (tenor)
Sosostris....Elena Manistina (mezzo-soprano)
He-Ancient....Brindley Sherratt (bass)
She-Ancient....Diana Montague (mezzo-soprano)
Half-Tipsy Man....Jonathan Fisher (baritone)
Man Dancing....Steven Boydall (tenor)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Peter Manning (concert master)
Royal Opera Chorus
Renato Balsadonna (chorus director)
Richard Hickox (conductor)
Including intervals at 7.40pm - in which Ivan Hewett draws on Tippett's newly-published letters to uncover the long drawn out genesis of The Midsummer Marriage - and at 8.35pm: more letters unveil the protracted and often anguished negotiations over the opera's original production.
  20051203Continuesat8.05pmafterOperaBox
Continuesat9.15pmafterTwentyMinutes
Act3:TheconcludingpartofBritten'sclassicoperaperformedatTheLinburyTheatre,conductedbyRichardHickox.
A Midsummer Night's Dream.
British Music Focus
Act 1
Forty-five years after its premiere, Benjamin Britten's classic remains one of the supreme translations of Shakespeare into operatic form, his music effortlessly and wittily conjuring the mysteries of the Athenian wood where the confusions of love are tested and resolved.
This new production, especially conceived by director Olivia Fuchs for the Linbury Theatre at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, is conducted by Richard Hickox, and presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Oberon, King of the Fairies....William Towers (counter-tenor)
Titania, Queen of the Fairies....Gillian Keith (soprano)
Puck....Jami Quarrell (actor)
Theseus, Duke of Athens....Mark Beesley (bass)
Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, betrothed to Theseus....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)
The Lovers
Lysander....Robert Murray (tenor)
Demetrius....Grant Doyle (baritone)
Hermia, in love with Lysander....Tove Dahlberg (mezzo-soprano)
Helena, in love with Demetrius....Katie Van Kooten (soprano)
The Rustics
Bottom, a weaver....Darren Jeffery (bass)
Quince, a carpenter....Jonathan Best (bass)
Flute, a bellows-maker....Andrew Kennedy (tenor)
Snug, a joiner....Jeremy White (bass)
Snout, a tinker....Andrew Sritheran (tenor)
Starveling, a tailor....Andrew Mayor (baritone)
The Fairies
Cobweb....James Walsh (treble)
Peaseblossom....Ben Davies (treble)
Mustardseed....Tom Nichols (treble)
Moth....Edmund Jillings (treble)
City of London Sinfonia (leader Nicholas Ward)
Tiffin School Choir (music director Simon Toyne)
Richard Hickox (conductor)
Act 2: Britten's classic performed at The Linbury Theatre with Richard Hickox.
Stephanie Hughes presents.
 Billy Budd20051210Continuesat8.15pmafterTwentyMinutesOne of Britten's most richly worked operatic scores is performed live from English National Opera, with Simon Keenlyside in the title role, and John Tomlinson as Claggart.
Presented by Martin Handley.
Popular able seaman Billy Budd is accused by the master-at-arms John Claggart of plotting mutiny.
When confronted by Captain Vere, Billy's stutter prevents him from defending himself any other way than by striking Claggart, who dies from the blow.
Vere as an old man looks back at this incident on HMS Indomitable, and wonders if he had any other option than to sentence Billy to death.
Billy Budd....Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
Captain Vere....Timothy Robinson (tenor)
Claggart....John Tomlinson (bass)
Mr Redburn....Ashley Holland (baritone)
Mr Flint....Pavlo Hunka (baritone)
Lieutenant Ratcliffe....Brindley Sherratt (bass)
Red Whiskers....Adrian Thompson (tenor)
Donald....Toby Stafford-Allen (baritone)
Dansker....Gwynne Howell (bass)
Novice....James Edwards (tenor)
Squeak....Richard Coxon (tenor)
Bosun....Nicholas Folwell (bass-baritone)
Maintop....Andrew Rees (tenor)
The novice's friend....William Berger (baritone)
Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera
Andrew Litton (conductor)
The second Act of Britten's opera Billy Budd, live from English National Opera.
 Rigoletto20051229Continuesat9.15pmafterTheMetOperaQuizThe new season of broadcasts from New York's Metropolitan Opera House opens with Verdi's tragic tale of love and revenge.
Presented by Margaret Juntwait.
When the hapless jester Rigoletto discovers that his ruthless boss, the Duke of Mantua, has seduced and kidnapped his daughter Gilda, he plots his revenge.
But he doesn't count on the possibility that Gilda might have feelings for the Duke.
Gilda....Anna Netrebko (soprano)
Rigoletto....Carlo Guelfi (baritone)
Duke of Mantua....Rolando Villazon (tenor)
Maddalena....Nancy Fabiola Herrera (mezzo-soprano)
Sparafucile....Eric Halfvarson (bass)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
Asher Fisch (conductor)
Rigoletto: The third and final act of Verdi's Rigoletto from New York's Metropolitan Opera House.
 An American Tragedy20051230 The world premiere broadcast of American composer Tobias Picker's fourth opera, portraying the dark side of the American dream where an ordinary man's desire for wealth and status overwhelms his moral sense.
The story is based on the controversial 1925 novel by Theodore Dreiser, which drew its inspiration from the real-life trial and execution of Chester Gillette for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend in 1906.
Presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
Clyde Griffiths....Nathan Gunn (baritone)
Roberta Alden, Clyde's fiancée....Patricia Racette (soprano)
Sondra Finchley....Susan Graham (mezzo-soprano)
Elvira Griffiths, Clyde's mother....Dolora Zajick (mezzo-soprano)
Samuel Griffiths, Clyde's uncle....Kim Begley (tenor)
Elizabeth Griffiths, Samuel's wife....Jennifer Larmore (mezzo-soprano)
Gilbert Griffiths, Clyde's cousin....William Burden (tenor)
Bella Griffiths, Clyde's cousin....Jennifer Aylmer (soprano)
Orville Mason, District Attorney....Richard Bernstein (bass)
Hortense....Anna Christy (soprano)
Grace Marr....Clare Gormley (soprano)
Reverend McMillan....Mark Schowalter (tenor)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
James Conlon (conductor).
 Wozzeck20051231 Margaret Juntwait introduces Berg's great opera telling the story of the lowly soldier Wozzeck.
Victimized by nearly everyone he comes across, Wozzeck lives with Marie, his mistress, but she betrays him with the pompous Drum-Major, who humiliates Wozzeck before his company with boasts of his conquest.
Berg's music is some of the most expressive ever composed for the opera stage, and transforms the cruel tale into something tragically poignant.
Marie....Katarina Dalayman (soprano)
Drum Major....Clifton Forbis (tenor)
Captain....Graham Clark (tenor)
Wozzeck....Alan Held (baritone)
Doctor....Walter Fink (bass)
Margret....Jill Grove (mezzo-soprano)
Andres....Eric Cutler (tenor)
1st Apprentice....James Courtney (bass)
2nd Apprentice....Ronald Naldi (tenor)
The Fool....Anthony Laciura (tenor)
A Soldier....Raymond Aparentado (tenor)
A Townsman....Stephen Paynter (baritone)
Marie's Child....Jacob Wade (treble)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
James Levine (conductor).
 L'elisir D'amore20060107Continuesat8.10pmafterTheMetOperaQuizOne of the greatest of all comic operas, Donizetti's masterpiece has real feeling as well as fun and games.
Will Adina and Nemorino get it together - with or without the help of "Dr" Dulcamara's love potion or the hindrance of dashing Sergeant Belcore? And will they grow up a bit in the process? Find out in this sparkling performance.
Presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
Adina....Ruth Ann Swenson (soprano)
Nemorino....Ramón Vargas (tenor)
Sergeant Belcore....Peter Coleman-Wright (baritone)
Dulcamara, the quack doctor....Andrew Shore (bass)
Giannetta....Alyson Cambridge (soprano)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
Maurizio Barbacini (conductor)
Live from the Met.
L'Elisir d'Amore.
Act 2: Concluding Donizetti's comic opera presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
With the Orchestra and Chorus of the Met conducted by Maurizio Barbacini.
 Il Barbiere Di Siviglia20060112Continuesat8.50pmaftertheIntervalStephanie Hughes presents the new Covent Garden production of Rossini's masterpiece, described by Verdi as the most beautiful comic opera of all.
Figaro is helping Count Almaviva win the hand of the lovely Rosina.
But first the Count and his trusty barber must stop her guardian, Dr Bartolo, from marrying her himself.
Fiorello....Robert Gleadow (bass)
Count Almaviva....Toby Spence (tenor)
Figaro....George Petean (baritone)
Rosina....Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano)
Dr Bartolo....Bruno Praticò (bass-baritone)
Don Basilio....Raymond Aceto (bass)
Berta....Elizabeth Gale (soprano)
Officer....Christopher Lackner (bass)
Ambrogio....Bryan Secombe (bass)
Royal Opera Chorus
Renato Balsadonna (chorus master)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Peter Manning (concert master)
Mark Elder (conductor)
The second and final Act of Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia.
 A Mozart Celebration20060114 Margaret Juntwait presents 60 years of starry Mozart performances from the New York Met's treasure trove of archive recordings.
Great singers featured include Renee Fleming, Nicolai Gedda, Ezio Pinza, Leontyne Price, Frederica von Stade and Richard Tucker.
Conductors range from Karl Böhm to Bruno Walter, plus the Met's current Music Director James Levine, who offers his own insights throughout the evening into Mozart's genius, in conversation with Ara Guzelimian.
Including:
Idomeneo
Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Le nozze di Figaro (The marriage of Figaro)
Don Giovanni
Così fan tutte
La clemenza di Tito
Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute).
 Die Zauberflöte20060121Continuesat8.20pmafterTheMetOperaQuizLive from the Met, presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
Mozart's combination of magic, mystery and pantomime is conducted by Paul Daniel, with Eric Cutler and Mary Dunleavy as the hero and heroine.
Tamino is rescued from a huge snake by three ladies, attendants of the mysterious Queen of the Night.
They persuade him to rescue the Queen's daughter, Pamina, who's been captured by the tyrant Sarastro.
Tamino sets off on his adventure with Papageno the birdcatcher, a magic flute and a glockenspiel for protection.
Tamino....Eric Cutler (tenor)
Pamina....Mary Dunleavy (soprano)
Sarastro....Morris Robinson (bass)
Queen of the Night....Erika Miklósa (soprano)
Papageno....Nathan Gunn (baritone)
Papagena....Anna Christy (soprano)
Monostatos....Greg Fedderly (tenor)
First Lady....Susannah Glanville (soprano)
Second Lady....Maria Zifchak (mezzo-soprano)
Third Lady....Malin Fritz (mezzo-soprano)
Speaker....Julien Robbins (bass)
First Priest....Michael Devlin (bass-baritone)
Second Priest....Bernard Fitch (tenor)
First Armed Man....Garrett Sorenson (tenor)
Second Armed Man....Gregory Reinhart (bass)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
Paul Daniel (conductor)
Die Zauberflöte: The second Act of Mozart's magical opera, live from the New York Metropolitan Opera.
 Così Fan Tutte20060128Continuesat8.35pmafterMetOperaQuizMozart's most human of comedies is conducted by James Levine, with Alexandra Deshorties, Magdalena Kozená, Matthew Polenzani and Mariusz Kwiecien as the lovers.
Presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
Guglielmo and Ferrando are so sure of their fiancées' fidelity that they're prepared to enter a bet with Don Alfonso to put them to the test.
They disguise themselves in order to woo the other's girl, and a good-natured bet soon becomes much more serious and complicated.
Fiordiligi....Alexandra Deshorties (soprano)
Dorabella....Magdalena Kozená (soprano)
Despina....Nuccia Focile (soprano)
Ferrando....Matthew Polenzani (tenor)
Guglielmo....Mariusz Kwiecien (bass)
Don Alfonso....Thomas Allen (bass)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
James Levine (conductor)
Live from the Met, part two of Mozart's Così fan Tutte.
 Cyrano De Bergerac20060204Continuesat8.25pmafterMetOperaQuizThe Met's first production of Franco Alfano's 1936 heroic comedy.
Antonio Barasorda stars as the poet and swordsman who falls madly in love with his beautiful cousin Roxane.
Believing that his large nose gives him little hope of winning her affections, he sacrifices his love to help a tongue-tied fellow soldier, Christian, gain her hand instead.
If only Cyrano had known at the start that the intelligent Roxane wasn't so concerned about appearances after all.
Presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
Roxane....Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano)
Cyrano....Antonio Barasorda (tenor)
Christian....Raymond Very (tenor)
De Guiche....Anthony Michaels-Moore (baritone)
Ragueneau....Roberto de Candia (baritone)
Le Bret....Julien Robbins (bass)
The Governess....Sheila Nadler (contralto)
Sister Marta....Diane Elias (mezzo-soprano)
de Valvert/Spanish Official....Brian Davis (baritone)
Lisa/A Sister....Jennifer Check (soprano)
Carbon....Louis Otey (baritone)
Lignière....Andrew Gangestad (bass)
Musketeer....Richard Pearson (bass)
Montfleury....Bernard Fitch (tenor)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
Marco Armiliato (conductor)
The second Act of Cyrano de Bergerac, live from the Met in New York.
Antonio Barasorda stars as the poet and swordsman.
 La Traviata20060211Continuesat7.30pmafterTwentyMinutes
Continuesat9.00pmafterTheMetOperaQuiz
ThethirdandfinalActofVerdi'sLaTraviata,livefromtheMetinNewYork.
Verdi's heart-wrenching tragedy, based on a true story, presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
Angela Gheorghiu stars as the beautiful Violetta, who finds love with Alfredo and some relief from her mortal illness.
Their happiness is short-lived however, as Alfredo's father, worried that Violetta's reputation as a frivolous party-goer will damage his family's honour, persuades her to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Violetta....Angela Gheorghiu (soprano)
Alfredo....Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
Germont....Anthony Michaels-Moore (baritone)
Flora Bervoix....Leann Pantaleo (mezzo-soprano)
Annina....Diane Elias (mezzo-soprano)
Gastone....Eduardo Valdes (tenor)
Baron Douphol....John Hancock (baritone)
Marquis d'Obigny....Earle Patriarco (baritone)
Doctor Grenvil....LeRoy Lehr (bass)
Giuseppe....Marty Singleton (tenor)
Messenger....Jason Hendrix (bass-baritone)
Servant....Richard Pearson (tenor)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
Marco Armiliato (conductor)
The second Act of Verdi's La Traviata, live from the Met in New York.
 Le Nozze Di Figaro20060215Continuesat9.00pmafterTwentyMinutesThe Royal Opera celebrates the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth with a new production of his sexually charged masterpiece, based on the second of Beaumarchais' two Figaro comedies.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
The servants Figaro and Susanna want to get married, but on this crazy day everything conspires against them.
The Count has his own plans for the wedding night which don't involve Figaro, and the elderly Marcellina wants to settle a legal claim by marrying him herself.
Somehow, amid all the subterfuge and confusion, happiness is still to be found.
Figaro....Erwin Schrott (baritone)
Susanna....Miah Persson (soprano)
Bartolo....Jonathan Veira (bass)
Marcellina....Graciela Araya (mezzo-soprano)
Cherubino....Rinat Shaham (mezzo-soprano)
Count Almaviva....Gerald Finley (baritone)
Basilio....Philip Langridge (tenor)
Countess Almaviva....Dorothea Röschmann (soprano)
Antonio....Jeremy White (bass)
Don Curzio....Francis Egerton (tenor)
Barbarina....Ana James (soprano)
Bridesmaids....Glenys Groves, Kate McCarney (soprano)
Royal Opera Chorus
Renato Balsadonna (chorus master)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Sergey Levitin (associate concert master)
Antonio Pappano (conductor)
The third and fourth acts of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro from The Royal Opera House.
 Aida20060218Continuesat7.40pmafterInterval
Continuesat8.20pmafterTheMetOperaQuiz
Aida,ActIII:MargaretJuntwaitpresentsVerdi'sgrandoperawithAndreaGruberandJohanBotha,andJamesConlonconducting.
Continuesat9.45pmafterTwentyMinutes
Aida,ActIV:MargaretJuntwaitpresentsVerdi'sgrandoperawithsopranoAndreaGruberandtenorJohanBotha,andJamesConlonconducting.
Live from the Met
Aida, Act I
The Ethiopian slave Aida is in love with the Egyptian warrior Radames.
He loves her too, which angers the Egyptian princess Amneris who wants him for herself.
Aida is hiding the fact that she is the King of Ethiopia's daughter, so when her father is taken prisoner by the Egyptians she has to make a choice of loyalty to him or Radames.
Aida is on the surface one of Verdi's grandest operas, but is also an intimate drama of love versus duty.
Andrea Gruber and Johan Botha play the doomed lovers, with James Conlon conducting.
Presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
Aida....Andrea Gruber (soprano)
Amneris....Olga Borodina (mezzo-soprano)
Radamès....Johan Botha (tenor)
Amonasro....Juan Pons (baritone)
Ramfis....Kwangchul Youn (bass)
The King....Hao Jiang Tian (bass)
Priestess....Jennifer Check (soprano)
Messenger....Ronald Naldi (tenor)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
James Conlon (conductor)
Aida, Act II: Margaret Juntwait presents Verdi's grand opera with Andrea Gruber and Johan Botha, and James Conlon conducting.
 Samson Et Dalila20060225Continuesat7.45pmafterTwentyMinutesLive from the Met
Samson et Dalila
Saint-Saëns' opera based on the biblical story from the Book of Judges, presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
Samson is the hero who eventually gives in to the feminine wiles of Dalila, as he reveals to her the secrets of his strength.
In return she betrays him to the Philistines, and he is taken prisoner to the pagan temple of Dagon.
Samson takes his revenge as he prays to God to restore his strength.
Dalila....Olga Borodina (mezzo-soprano)
Samson....Clifton Forbis (tenor)
High Priest....Jean-Philippe Lafont (baritone)
Abimelech....James Courtney (bass)
The Old Hebrew....Kwangchul Youn (bass)
1st Philistine....Bernard Fitch (tenor)
2nd Philistine....Brian Davis (baritone)
Messenger....Eduardo Valdes (tenor)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
Emmanuel Villaume (conductor)
 Roméo Et Juliette20060304Continuesat8.40pmafterSinger'sRoundTableThe most famous doomed lovers in history take the stage in Gounod's operatic version of Shakespeare's great tragedy.
Presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
Roméo....Ramón Vargas (tenor)
Juliette....Nathalie Dessay (soprano)
Mercutio....Stéphane Degout (baritone)
Friar Lawrence....Kristinn Sigmundsson (bass)
Gertrude....Jane Bunnell (mezzo-soprano)
Tybalt....John Nuzzo (tenor)
Benvolio....Tony Stevenson (tenor)
Paris....Daniel Sutin (baritone)
Stéphano....Katharine Goeldner (soprano)
Capulet....Frederick Burchinal (baritone)
Duke of Verona....Julien Robbins (bass)
Gregorio....David Won (baritone)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
Bertrand de Billy (conductor)
Acts 4 and 5 of Gounod's operatic version of Shakespeare's tragedy Roméo et Juliette.
Conducted by Bertrand de Billy, with Nathalie Dessay and Ramón Vargas, live from the Met.
 La Forza Del Destino20060311Continuesat9.40pmafterMetOperaQuiz
ThethirdandfinalActofVerdi'sLaForzadelDestino,livefromtheMet.
Continuesat8.20pmafterTwentyMinutes.
Leonora and Don Alvaro are about to elope when they are discovered by the Marquis, her father.
As a gesture of surrender, Alvaro throws his pistol to the floor, but it discharges.
Fatally wounded, the Marquis curses Leonora and the Force of Destiny is thus set in motion.
Presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
Leonora....Deborah Voigt (soprano)
Preziosilla....Ildikó Komlósi (mezzo-soprano)
Don Alvaro....Salvatore Licitra (tenor)
Don Carlo....Mark Delavan (baritone)
Fra Melitone....Juan Pons (baritone)
Padre Guardiano....Samuel Ramey (bass)
Curra....Edyta Kulczak (mezzo-soprano)
Trabuco....Tony Stevenson (tenor)
Surgeon....Sebastian Catana (baritone)
Alcade....Andrew Gangestad (bass)
Marquis....John Cheek (bass)
Beggar woman....Alexandra Newland (mezzo-soprano)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
Gianandrea Noseda (conductor)
The second Act of Verdi's La Forza del Destino, live from the Met.
 Mazeppa20060318Continuesat8.05pmafterTchaikovskytheSongwriter
Continuesat9.45pmafterMetOperaQuiz
ThethirdandfinalActofTchaikovsky'sMazeppa,livefromtheNewYorkMetropolitanOpera.
Valery Gergiev conducts the Met's first homegrown production of Tchaikovsky's dark and thrilling masterpiece, presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
Nikolai Putilin leads the cast as the ageing Cossack chieftain Mazeppa, torn between his love for a much younger woman, Maria, and his fight for Ukrainian independence.
Maria loves Mazeppa too, but their relationship destroys the lifelong friendship between Mazeppa and Maria's father Kochubey.
Can their love survive the tragic personal and political consequences?
Mazeppa....Nikolai Putilin (baritone)
Maria....Olga Guryakova (soprano)
Kochubey, her father....Paata Burchuladze (bass)
Lyubov, his wife....Larissa Diadkova (mezzo-soprano)
Andrei, Maria's rejected suitor....Oleg Balashov (tenor)
Orlik, Mazeppa's henchman....Denis Sedov (bass)
Iskra....Allan Glassman (tenor)
Drunken Cossack....Nikolai Gassiev (tenor)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
Valery Gergiev (conductor)
The second Act of Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa, live from the New York Metropolitan Opera.
 Der Fliegende Holländer20060322 Presented from the Wales Millennium Centre by Stephanie Hughes.
Bryn Terfel stars as the Dutchman in Welsh National Opera's new production of Wagner's early masterpiece.
Conducted by the company's music director, Carlo Rizzi, director David Pountney's modernist staging of the opera explores the desolate world inhabited by the Dutchman.
He has been condemned by the Devil to wander aimlessly through an infinite world.
Every seven years he is allowed to land.
If he can find a faithful woman to marry, then he has a slender chance of redemption.
Daland....Gidon Saks (bass)
Senta....Annalena Persson (soprano)
Erik....Ian Storey (tenor)
Mary....Mary Lloyd-Davies (soprano)
The Steersman....Peter Wedd (tenor)
The Dutchman....Bryn Terfel (bass baritone)
Chorus and Orchestra of Welsh National Opera
Carlo Rizzi (conductor).
 Luisa Miller20060325Continuesat8.05pmafterMetOperaQuizThe classic ingredients of a Verdi tragedy, stirred to boiling point by an all-star cast.
Presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
Luisa loves Rodolfo, but who is he? Is he promised to another, and what dreadful secret lurks in the shadows, threatening to destroy the whole fabric of their community?
Luisa....Karen Slack (soprano)
Rodolfo....Eduardo Villa (tenor)
Miller, Luisa's father....Carlos Alvarez (baritone)
Count Walter....James Morris (bass)
Wurm....Phillip Ens (bass)
Federica....Irina Mishura (mezzo-soprano)
Laura....Tamara Mumford (mezzo-soprano)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
Maurizio Benini (conductor)
 Fidelio20060401Continuesat9.15pmafterTheMetOperaQuizLive from the Met
Karita Mattila and Ben Heppner lead the cast in Beethoven's operatic hymn to freedom.
Florestan is a political prisoner, thrown into a dungeon by the despotic Don Pizarro.
His brave wife Leonore, determined to rescue him, and all others unjustly incarcerated, disguises herself as young man, Fidelio, and gets a job at the gaol.
Presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
Leonore....Karita Mattila (soprano)
Florestan....Ben Heppner (tenor)
Rocco, the gaoler....Kristinn Sigmundsson (bass)
Marzelline, his daughter....Jennifer Welch-Babidge (soprano)
Jaquino, her beau....Gregory Turay (tenor)
Don Pizarro....Alan Held (bass-baritone)
Don Ferrando....James Morris (bass)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
Paul Nadler (conductor)Fidelio, Act 2.
Live from the Met: Margaret Juntwait presents the concluding part of Beethoven's hymn to freedom with Karita Mattila and Ben Heppner.
Paul Nadler conducts.
 Manon20060408Continuesat8.10pmafterInterval
Continuesat9.25pmafterTwentyMinutes
LivefromtheMet
Manon
RenéeFlemingsingsMassenet'sirresistibleheroine,inaproductionconductedbyJesúsLópezCobos.
PresentedfromNewYorkbyMargaretJuntwait.
ManonarrivesinAmiensonherwaytolifeinaconvent.
ThereshemeetsdesGrieux,andabruptlydecidesthatalifeoflovewithhimwouldsuitherbetter.
ButwithdesGrieux'sfatheropposingthemarriage,andManon'stasteforrichmenandglitteringsociety,thingsareunlikelytobestraightforward.
Manon....RenéeFleming(soprano)
DesGrieux....MassimoGiordano(tenor)
Lescaut....JeanLucChaignaud(baritone)
CountdesGrieux....HaoJiangTian(bass)
Poussette....MonicaYunus(soprano)
Javotte....KateLindsey(mezzosoprano)
Rosette....SandraPiquesEddy(mezzosoprano)
GuillotdeMorfontaine....JeanPaulFouchécourt(tenor)
DeBrétigny....WilliamShimell(baritone)
OrchestraandChorusoftheNewYorkMetropolitanOpera
JesúsLópezCobos(conductor)
The third and final part of Massenet's opera Manon, live from the Met in New York.
Part Two of Massenet's opera Manon, live from the Met in New York.
 Don Pasquale20060415 Two of the world's top young singers - Anna Netrebko and Juan Diego Florez - join forces in Donizetti's opera.
Netrebko makes her debut in the role of Norina.
Presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
Norina....Anna Netrebko (soprano)
Ernesto....Juan Diego Flórez (tenor)
Don Pasquale....Simone Alaimo (bass)
Dr Malatesta....Mariusz Kwiecien (baritone)
Notary....Anthony Laciura (tenor)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
Maurizio Benini (conductor).
 Le Nozze Di Figaro20060422 The Met continues this year's Mozart celebrations with his popular masterpiece, based on the controversial play by Beaumarchais.
The servants Figaro and Susanna want to marry, but on one crazy day everything conspires against them.
The Count has his own plans for the wedding night which don't involve Figaro, and the elderly Marcellina wants to settle a legal claim by marrying him herself.
Somehow the servants emerge from the confusion victorious.
Presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
Figaro....John Relyea (bass)
Susanna....Andrea Rost (soprano)
Dr Bartolo....Maurizio Muraro (bass)
Marcellina....Wendy White (mezzo-soprano)
Cherubino....Alice Coote (mezzo-soprano)
Count Almaviva....Peter Mattei (baritone)
Countess Almaviva....Soile Isokoski (soprano)
Don Basilio....David Cangelosi (tenor)
Antonio....Patrick Carfizzi (baritone)
Don Curzio....Bernard Fitch (tenor)
Barbarina....Tonna Miller (soprano)
Bridesmaid....Yvonne Gonzales Redman (soprano)
Bridesmaid....Reveka Evangelia Mavrovitis (soprano)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
Mark Wigglesworth (conductor).
 Lohengrin20060429Continuesat7.40pmafterInterval:Singers'RoundTableWagner's religious tale of good and evil, presented live from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
Elsa stands falsely accused of her brother's murder.
Knowing herself to be innocent, she prays to God to send her a knight to champion her cause.
A boat appears on the river, drawn by a swan, and carrying a knight in shining armour.
Elsa places her honour in his keeping.
He makes one condition: she must never ask him who he is or where he comes from.
King Henry....René Pape (bass)
Lohengrin....Ben Heppner (tenor)
Elsa of Brabant....Karita Mattila (soprano)
Friedrich of Telramund....Richard Paul Fink (baritone)
Ortrud....Luana De Vol (mezzo-soprano)
The King's Herald....Eike Wilm Schulte (baritone)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
Philippe Auguin (conductor)
 Rodelinda20060506 The Met broadcast season ends with Handel's glorious opera, boasting an impressive cast, including Renée Fleming and Andreas Scholl.
Presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.
The Queen of the Lombards, Rodelinda, is held captive by Grimoaldo.
She believes her husband Bertarido to be dead, and is in no mood for the advances of her captor.
Bertarido, and Grimoaldo's jilted lover Eduige, are equally unhappy with the situation, and both plot to resolve it.
Rodelinda....Renée Fleming (soprano)
Eduige....Stephane Blythe (soprano)
Bertarido....Andreas Scholl (counter-tenor)
Unulfo....Christophe Dumaux (counter-tenor)
Grimoaldo....Kobie van Rensburg (tenor)
Garibaldo....John Relyea (bass)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
Patrick Summers (conductor)
Evening
Morning
Afternoon.
 Götterdämmerung20060513 "A dark day dawns for the gods" in the final opera of Wagner's epic Ring Cycle.
Keith Warner's brand-new production for the Royal Opera House is presented from Covent Garden by Stephanie Hughes, in conversation with the people who've brought the huge undertaking to fruition: Keith Warner, conductor Antonio Pappano, and the three singers at the heart of Götterdämmerung.
John Treleaven's innocent Siegfried is hoodwinked, corrupted and destroyed by John Tomlinson's scheming Hagen - but can Lisa Gasteen's Brünnhilde snatch final victory from the jaws of defeat?
Brünnhilde....Lisa Gasteen (soprano)
Siegfried....John Treleaven (tenor)
Hagen....John Tomlinson (bass)
Gunther, his half-brother....Peter Coleman-Wright (baritone)
Gutrune, his half-sister....Emily Magee (soprano)
Waltraute....Mihoko Fujimura (mezzo-soprano)
Alberich....Peter Sidhom (baritone)
First Norn....Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo-soprano)
Second Norn....Yvonne Howard (mezzo-soprano)
Third Norn....Marina Poplavskaya (soprano)
Rhinemaidens:
Woglinde....Sarah Fox (soprano)
Wellgunde....Heather Shipp (mezzo-soprano)
Flosshilde....Sarah Castle (mezzo-soprano)
The Royal Opera Chorus (chorus director Renato Balsadonna)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (concert master Peter Manning)
Antonio Pappano (conductor).
 Sir John In Love20060520 A very English opera from English National Opera: Ralph Vaughan Williams' delightful comedy inspired by Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor.
A superb ensemble of British singers is led by Andrew Shore as Sir John Falstaff.
He has two problems: no money and no woman.
Will he succeed in his plan to solve both in one go, or will Windsor's merry wives turn the tables on him?
Presented by Stephanie Hughes, in conversation with Andrew Shore, director Ian Judge and conductor Oleg Caetani.
Sir John Falstaff....Andrew Shore (baritone)
Mrs Ford....Jean Rigby (mezzo-soprano)
Mr Ford....Alastair Miles (bass-baritone)
Mrs Page....Marie McLaughlin (soprano)
Mr Page....Russel Smythe (baritone)
Anne Page....Sarah Fox (soprano)
Fenton....Andrew Kennedy (tenor)
Mrs Quickly....Sally Burgess (mezzo-soprano)
Host of the Garter Inn....Nicholas Folwell (baritone)
Slender....Christopher Gillett (tenor)
Dr Caius....Robert Tear (tenor)
Sir Hugh Evans....Iain Paterson (bass-baritone)
Bardolph....Peter Kerr (tenor)
Nym....Paul Napier-Burrows (baritone)
Pistol....Graeme Danby (bass)
Rugby....Mark Richardson (bass-baritone)
Peter Simple....Richard Coxon (tenor)
Shallow....Stuart Kale (tenor)
English National Opera Orchestra (leader Janice Graham)
English National Opera Chorus (chorus master Martin Merry)
Oleg Caetani (conductor).
 Il Re Pastore20060527 Written by Mozart when he was only 19, this opera is based around the theme of love versus duty.
After a period of instability, Alexander the Great is anxious to ensure peace and prosperity for the lands he has conquered by leaving them in the hands of competent rulers.
But one of his chosen kings is a shepherd boy, more in love with a beautiful nymph and the call of the wild than with his duty in the city.
Emotions run high - but all turns out well in the end.
Introduced from the Linbury Studio Theatre, at the Royal Opera House, by Fiona Talkington.
Alessandro....Peter Bronder (tenor)
Aminta....Katie Van Kooten (soprano)
Elisa....Ana James (soprano)
Tamiri....Anna Leese (soprano)
Agenore....Robert Murray (tenor)
English Baroque Soloists
Edward Gardner (conductor).
 Scylla And Glaucus20060603 French baroque composer Jean-Marie Leclair was a virtuoso violinist and composer of instrumental music until 1746, when at the age of 50, he composed his only full- length opera.
Stephanie Hughes presents a rare performance of this opera from the Royal Opera at Versailles - featuring Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques.
A passionate story of gods and goddesses, nymphs and shepherds, unrequited love, vengeance and, inevitably, death - everything you would expect of a baroque opera.
It has the added attraction of the wonderful instrumental writing you would expect from the composer considered to have founded the French violin school.
Vénus....Salomé Haller (soprano)
L'Amour (Cupid)....Céline Scheen (soprano)
Chief of the Amanthon....Nicholas Achten (bass baritone)
Scylla, a nymph....Gaëlle Le Roi (soprano)
Glaucus, a marine god....Robert Getchell (counter tenor)
Licas, confidante to Glaucus....Nicholas Achten (bass baritone)
Circé, a sorceress....Karina Gauvin (soprano)
Dorine, confidante to Circé....Salomé Haller (soprano)
Les Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset (director).
 Eugene Onegin20060610 Tchaikovsky's opera is brought to life in a new production from the Royal Opera House, starring Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Amanda Roocroft and Rolando Villazón.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
When Eugene Onegin arrives at Tatyana's village, she falls instantly in love, and pours out her feelings to him in a letter.
He's not interested, and rebukes her for her lack of self control.
Several years later they meet again, and this time it's Onegin who's smitten.
Can it work after all these years, or has the unfortunate timing of their love spoiled their chance of happiness?
Tatyana....Amanda Roocroft (soprano)
Olga, her sister....Nino Surguladze (mezzo-soprano)
Madame Larina....Yvonne Howard (mezzo-soprano)
Filipyevna, their old nurse....Susan Gorton (mezzo-soprano)
Peasant Singer....Elliot Goldie (tenor)
Lensky, a poet in love with Olga....Rolando Villazón (tenor)
Eugene Onegin....Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone)
Monsieur Triquet, a French tutor....Ryland Davies (tenor)
Trifon Petrovich, an army captain....Jonathan Fisher (baritone)
Zaretsky, an army officer....Robert Gleadow (bass)
Prince Gremin, a retired army general....Eric Halfvarson (bass)
Royal Opera Chorus
Renato Balsadonna (chorus director)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Pavel Faynberg (guest concert master)
Philippe Jordan (conductor).
 La Clemenza Di Tito20060617 Recorded in the unique setting of the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices, the 19th Century pumping station on Lake Geneva, Stephanie Hughes presents Mozart's late great opera, and explores its themes with Joyce DiDonato and Christian Zacharias.
From the final year of his life, La Clemenza di Tito focuses on the theme which preoccupied Mozart in opera more than any other - forgiveness.
Sesto is dominated by an older woman, Vitellia, who persuades him to burn Rome and murder his friend, the emperor Tito.
The plan fails but Tito, who exhibits clemency to an extraordinary degree, forgives everyone.
Tito....Charles Workman (tenor)
Sesto....Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano)
Vitellia....Anna Caterina Antonacci (soprano)
Annio....Marie-Claude Chappuis (soprano)
Servilia....Corinna Mologni (soprano)
Publio....Martin Snell (bass)
Xavier Dami (continuo)
Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne
Christian Zacharias (conductor)
Chorus of the Grand Theatre of Geneva
Ching-Lien Wu (director).
 Ariodante20060624 Christopher Cook presents a production from English National Opera of Handel's Ariodante.
British mezzo-soprano Alice Coote takes the title role.
Prince Ariodante is tricked into believing his wife-to-be, Princess Ginevra, has cheated on him.
Much unhappiness ensues, but will the misunderstanding be resolved before tragedy overtakes?
The King of Scotland....Peter Rose (bass)
Ginevra, his daughter....Rebecca Evans (soprano)
Ariodante, a Vassal Prince....Alice Coote (mezzo-soprano)
Lurcanio, his brother....Paul Nilon (tenor)
Polinesso, Duke of Albany....Patricia Bardon (mezzo-soprano)
Dalinda, lady-in-waiting to Ginevra....Sarah Tynan (soprano)
Odoardo, favourite of the King....Nicholas Watts (tenor)
Orchestra & Chorus of English National Opera
Christopher Moulds (conductor)
Martin Merry (chorus master).
 Tosca20060701Continuesat8.05pmafterOperaBox
Continuesat9.15pmafterTwentyMinutes
Tosca
Puccini's tale of love, lust, corruption and revenge is unveiled at Covent Garden in a new production by Jonathan Kent.
A political fugitive, an unwitting revolutionary, a jealous lover, and vicious tyrant make up the ingredients for this tragedy.
The stellar cast includes Angela Gheorghiu appearing in the title role on stage for the first time, and Bryn Terfel as the sadistic Baron Scarpia.
Stephanie Hughes introduces the production.
Floria Tosca, a celebrated singer....Angela Gheorghiu (soprano)
Mario Cavaradossi, a painter....Marcelo Alvarez (tenor)
Baron Scarpia, Chief of Police....Bryn Terfel (baritone)
Cesare Angelotti, former Consul....Carlo Cigni (bass)
Spoletta, a police agent....Enrico Facini (tenor)
Sacristan....Graeme Danby (bass)
Sciarrone, a gendarme....Robert Gleadow (bass)
Gaoler....John Morrissey (bass)
Shepherd Boy....Jamie Manton (treble)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Sergey Levitin (associate concert master)
Royal Opera Chorus
Renato Balsadonna (chorus director)
Antonio Pappano (conductor)
From the Royal Opera House, Act 3 of Puccini's Tosca.
From the Royal Opera House, Act 2 of Puccini's Tosca.
 Margot La Rouge20060708 A rare performance of Delius' fifth opera, the one-act Margot la Rouge, in its original version.
Delius' only excursion into the world of verismo opera, it's set in a seedy bar in Paris, and tells the tragic tale of a love triangle between Margot la Rouge, her lover The Artist, and Sgt Thibault.
Presented by Paul Guinery.
Margot la Rouge....Susan Bullock (soprano)
Lili Beguin....Janis Kelly (soprano)
Nini/First Woman....Lynne Dawson (soprano)
The Licensee/Third Woman....Elizabeth Sikora (mezzo-soprano)
Second Woman....Nicole Tibbels (soprano)
Sgt Thibault....John Hudson (tenor)
The Artist....Jared Holt (baritone)
La Poigne/Waiter....Owen Gilhooly (baritone)
Totor/Police Inspector/Third Drinker....Matthew Rose (bass)
First Drinker/Soldier....Stuart MacIntyre (baritone)
Second Drinker/Soldier....Edward Price (baritone)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
David Lloyd-Jones (conductor).
 Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg20060916 Edinburgh International Festival 2006
A concert performance of Wagner's epic comic opera, which closed this year's festival and marked the end of Sir Brian McMaster's 15-year reign as Festival Director.
Presented by Donald Macleod, in conversation with Brian McMaster and conductor David Robertson.
Sung in German.
Eva....Hillevi Martinpelto
Magdalene....Wendy Dawn Thompson
Walther....Jonas Kaufmann
David....Toby Spence
Hans Sachs....Robert Holl
Beckmesser....Andrew Shore
Pogner....Matthew Rose
Kothner....James Rutherford
Nightwatchman....Paul Whelan
Eisslinger....John Mitchinson
Foltz....Richard van Allan
Nachtigall....John Shirley-Quirk
Zorn....Jeffrey Lawton
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
David Robertson (conductor)
Edinburgh Festival Chorus
David Jones (chorus master).
 Listen Up -the Return Of Ulysses20060930 Stephanie Hughes visits the Wales Millennium Centre for Welsh National Opera's stylish new production of Monteverdi's masterpiece.
Conducted by Rinaldo Alessandrini and directed by David Alden.
Penelope longs for her husband Ulysses to return from the Trojan Wars.
In his absence, treacherous suitors have tried to convince her Ulysses is dead, and to win her hand in marriage.
Ulysses....Paul Nilon (tenor)
Penelope....Sara Fulgoni (mezzo-soprano)
Ericlea....Elizabeth Vaughan (soprano)
Antinous/Time/Neptune....Clive Bayley (bass)
Irus....Neil Jenkins (tenor)
Telemachus....Ed Lyon (tenor)
Pisander/Human Frailty....Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor)
Melantho/Juno/Fortune....Sarah Tynan (soprano)
Minerva....Elizabeth Atherton (soprano)
Eurymachus....Andrew Tortise (tenor)
Eumaeus....Geoffrey Dolton (baritone)
Amphinomous/Jove....Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks (tenor).
  20061007 Listen Up
Opera North's new production of Rigoletto (in three Acts), set in contemporary Italy, and marking the reopening of the Grand Theatre in Leeds.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Rigoletto is an ugly man in a world of beautiful people, twisted inside by the harsh life he has been forced to lead.
The only thing he lives for is his daughter.
When bitterness and bravura get the better of him, the consequences for his most precious possession are fatal.
Duke of Mantua....Rafael Rojas (tenor)
Rigoletto....Alan Opie (baritone)
Gilda....Henriette Bonde-Hansen (soprano)
Sparafucile....Brindley Sherratt (bass)
Maddalena....Rebecca de Pont Davies (soprano)
Monterone....Stephen Richardson (bass)
Marullo....Olafur Sigurdarson (bass)
Matteo Borsa....Ben Kerslake (tenor)
Ceprano....A Galloway Bell (bass)
Ceprano's wife....Hazel Croft (mezzo-soprano)
Court Usher....Garrick Forbes (baritone)
Monterone's daughter....Nicola Unwin (mezzo-soprano)
Men of the Opera North Chorus
Anthony Kraus (chorus master)
Orchestra of Opera North
Martin André (conductor)
During one of the intervals, Stephanie Hughes is joined by Richard Mantle, General Director of Opera North, to discuss the recent refurbishment and development of the Grand Theatre in Leeds.
 Betrothal In A Monastery20061104 Stephanie Hughes presents the Goya-inspired production of Prokofiev's Betrothal in a Monastery from Glyndebourne Festival Opera conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.
'Like champagne' is how Prokofiev described the play by Sheridan on which he based this sparkling opera.
A colourful mélange of English Restoration comedy, sung in Russian and set in Seville, the plot centres on the beautiful Luisa whose father is determined to marry her off to a rich but ugly fish merchant - Mendoza.
Luisa and her nanny concoct a plot in which they swap identities, with hilarious results.
Don Jerome (a nobleman of Seville)....Viacheslav Voynarovskiy (tenor)
Mendoza (a rich fish merchant)....Sergei Alexashkin (bass)
Ferdinand (Don Jerome?s son)....Andrey Breus (baritone)
Don Antonio (in love with Louisa)....Vsevolod Grivnov (tenor)
Louisa (Don Jerome?s daughter)....Lyubov Petrova (soprano)
The Duenna....Alexandra Durseneva (mezzo-soprano)
Don Carlos....Alan Opie (baritone)
Clara (friend of Louisa)....Nino Surguladze (mezzo-soprano)
Father Augustine....Jonathan Veira (bass-baritone)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
The Glyndebourne Chorus
Vladimir Jurowsky (conductor).
 Mozart's Mitridate: Re Di Ponto20061111 Stephanie Hughes presents the first of three Mozart operas recorded at this year's Salzburg Festival, and talks to Mozart expert Jane Glover about the composer's colourful life and times.
Written at the age of 14, Mitridate was an extraordinary achievement even for a child prodigy such as Mozart.
It vividly recounts the tangled web of love affairs involving the old king Mitridate's betrothed, Aspasia, and his sons Sifare and Farnace and is set against the backdrop of a real war against the Roman Empire.
Ismene....Ingela Bohlin (soprano)
Mitridate....Richard Croft (tenor)
Farnace....Bejun Mehta (counter tenor)
Aspasia....Netta Or (soprano)
Sifare....Miah Persson (soprano)
Marzio....Colin Lee (tenor)
Arbate....Pascal Bertin (countertenor)
Les Musiciens du Louvre, Geneva
Marc Minkowski (conductor).
  20061118 Stephanie Hughes presents the second of three Mozart operas recorded at this year's Salzburg Festival and talks to its conductor Ivor Bolton.
During the interval, Stephanie continues her conversation with Mozart expert Jane Glover about his colourful life and times.
It was while composing Die Entführung that the 25-year-old Mozart fell for Constanze Weber.
So how much influence did that have on the music of an opera whose heroine is called Konstanze?
And did Emperor Joseph II really complain that the result had 'too many notes'?
Konstanze....Laura Aikin (soprano)
Belmonte, her lover....Charles Castronovo (tenor)
Blonde....Valentina Farcas (soprano)
Pedrillo, her lover....Dietmar Kerschbaum (tenor)
Osmin....Franz Hawlata (bass)
Vienna State Opera Chorus
Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra
Ivor Bolton (conductor).
 La Juive20061125 Stephanie Hughes presents a concert performance of Fromental Halevy's La Juive which drew rave reviews at the Barbican in September.
A plot full of melodramatic twists and turns weaves around the topical subject of religious persecution.
Eleazar is a Jewish goldsmith under persecution from the Catholic Cardinal Brogni.
His daughter loves a handsome Jew who is already married to someone else.
Dennis O'Neill....Eleazar (tenor)
Marina Poplavskaya....Rachel (soprano)
Alastair Miles....Cardinal Brogni (bass)
Dario Schmunck....Prince Leopold (tenor)
Nicole Cabell....Princess Eudoxie (soprano)
Joachim Seipp....Ruggiero (bass)
Matthew Rose....Albert (bass)
Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Daniel Oren (conductor).
 Don Giovanni20061202 Stephanie Hughes presents a performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni, recorded at this year's Salzburg Festival.
Mozart's antihero, an unscrupulous free spirit, attempts to seduce a noblewoman and is challenged to a duel by her father, whom he kills.
The subsquent dark chain of events culminates in the unrepentant Don being dragged down to hell.
Don Giovanni (a nobleman)....Thomas Hampson (baritone)
Il Commendatore....Robert Lloyd (bass)
Donna Anna (his daughter)....Christine Schäfer (soprano)
Don Ottavio (her betrothed)....Piotr Beczala (tenor)
Donna Elvira....Melanie Diener (soprano)
Leporello (Giovanni?s servant)....Ildebrando d'Arcangelo (bass-baritone)
Masetto (a peasant)....Luca Pisarone (bass-baritone)
Zerlina (his betrothed)....Isabel Bayrakdarian (soprano)
Vienna State Opera Chorus Concert Association
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Daniel Harding (conductor).
 Idomeneo20061209 Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Mozart's Idomeneo (Act 1).
Idomeneo, King of Crete, has escaped a shipwreck by promising to sacrifice to Neptune the first person he meets.
This person, searching for his father, is Idomeneo's son Idamante.
Kobie van Rensburg (tenor, Idomeneo)
Magdalena Kozena (mezzo, Idamante)
Dorothea Roschmann (soprano, Ilia)
Alexandra Deshorties (soprano, Elettra)
Jeffrey Francis (tenor, Arbace)
Stephen Milling (bass, voice of Neptune)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
James Levine (conductor).
Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Mozart's Idomeneo (Act 2).
Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Mozart's Idomeneo (Act 3).
 Don Carlo20061223 Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Verdi's Don Carlo.
A drama of personal, political and religious passion amid the Spanish Inquisition, this epic yet intimate work, based on Schiller, is considered one of Verdi's most profound.
Don Carlo....Johan Botha (tenor)
Philip II....Rene Pape (bass)
Rodrigo....Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone)
Grand Inquisitor....Samuel Ramey (bass)
Elisabeth....Patricia Racette (soprano)
Eboli....Olga Borodina (mezzo)
Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera
James Levine (conductor).
 Carmen20061226 Andrew McGregor presents a performance of Francesca Zambello's new Royal Opera production of Bizet's Carmen.
Carmen....Anna Caterina Antonacci (soprano)
Don Jose....Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
Escamillo....Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (bass-baritone)
Micaela....Norah Amsellem (soprano)
Lieutenant Zuniga....Matthew Rose (bass)
Corporal Morales....Jacques Imbrailo (baritone)
Frasquita....Elena Xanthoudakis (soprano)
Mercedes....Viktoria Vizin (mezzo)
Smugglers....Jean Sebastien Bou (baritone), Jean-Paul Fouchecourt (tenor)
Royal Opera Chorus
Renato Balsadonna (chorus director)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Peter Manning (concert master)
Antonio Pappano (conductor).
 The Magic Flute20061230 Mozart's The Magic Flute, live from the New York Metropolitan Opera House in a new, abridged English version for children by American director Julie Taymor.
Prince Tamino faces a series of trails to gain the hand of Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night, helped, or hindered, by the bird-catcher Pagageno.
Tamino....Frank Lopardo (tenor)
Papageno....Nathan Gunn (baritone)
Queen of the Night....Erika Miklosa (coloratura soprano)
Pamina....Ying Yuang (soprano)
First Lady....Wendy Bryn Harmer (soprano)
Second Lady....Kate Lindsey (mezzo)
Third Lady....Tamara Mumford (mezzo)
Papagena....Jennifer Aylmer (soprano)
Sarastro....Morris Robinson (bass)
Monostatos....Gregg Fedderley (tenor)
Chorus and Orchestra of the New York Metropolitan Opera
James Levine (conductor).
 I Puritani20070106Continuesat8.10pm,afterTwentyMinutes
Continuesat9.20pm,aftertheMetOperaQuiz
Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Bellini's I Puritani.
Set during the English civil war, the plot centres around Lord Arthur Talbot's love for Elvira, daughter of the Puritan governor of the fortress in which Queen Henrietta Maria is confined.
Passion and politics intermingle, but there is a happy ending.
Elvira....Anna Netrebko (soprano)
Arturo....Eric Cutler (tenor)
Gualtiero....Valerian Ruminski (bass)
Riccardo....Franco Vassallo (baritone)
Georgio....John Relyea (bass)
Bruno....Eduardo Valdes (tenor)
Henrietta Maria....Maria Zifchak (mezzo)
Patrick Summers conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera; Act 1.
Patrick Summers conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera: Act 2
Passion and politics intermingle, but there is a happy end.
Patrick Summers conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera; Act 3.
 The First Emperor20070113Continuesat8.20pm,afterTwentyMinutesLive from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Tan Dun's The First Emperor.
This epic story of love, power and betrayal is based on the historical figure of Emperor Chin, who unified China in the third century BC and built the Great Wall.
Emperor Chin....Placido Domingo (tenor)
Princess Yue-yang....Elizabeth Futral (soprano)
Gao Jian-li....Paul Groves (tenor)
General Wang....Hao Jiang Tian (bass)
Shaman....Michelle DeYoung (mezzo)
Chief Minister....Haijing Fu (baritone)
Yin Yang Master....Wu Hsing-Kuo (Beijing Opera Singer)
Mother of Yue-yang....Suzanne Mentzer (mezzo)
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Tan Dun (conductor)
(Act 1)
  20070120 Stephanie Hughes presents a rare performance of Lully's Amadis, recorded live at the 2006 Vendee Festival in France.
The story, chosen by Louis XIV, tells of the love of the medieval hero Amadis for Oriane.
She is in love with Amadis but is convinced he is unfaithful.
Meanwhile, a sorceress and her brother are hunting down Amadis to avenge the death of their brother.
Prologue
Alquif....Matthieu Heim (baritone)
Urgande....Camille Poul (soprano)
Tragedy
Amadis....François-Nicholas Geslot (countertenor)
Oriane....Guillemette Laurens (soprano)
Florestan....Bertrand Chuberre (baritone)
Corisande....Françoise Masset (soprano)
Arcabonne....Céline Ricci (soprano)
Arcalaus....Florian Westphal (baritone)
Ghost of Ardan Canile....Matthieu Heim (baritone)
Hugo Reyne conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of La Symphonie du Marais.
 La Fille Du Regiment20070127 Stephanie Hughes presents a performance of Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment, recorded at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Marie, the adopted daughter of Sergeant Sulpice and his regiment, is in love with Tonio, a peasant.
Not being a soldier he is considered an unworthy match.
Marie encounters the Marquise, who turns out to be her aunt - or is she?
Marie....Natalie Dessay (soprano)
Tonio....Juan Diego Florez (tenor)
La Marquise de Berkenfeld....Felicity Palmer (mezzo)
Sulpice....Alessandro Corbelli (bass)
Hortensius....Donald Maxwell (bass)
A Corporal....Bryan Secombe (bass)
Duchesse de Crackentorp....Dawn French (speaking part)
Royal Opera Chorus
Renato Balsadonna (chorus director)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Peter Manning (concert master)
Bruno Campanella (conductor).
  20070203 La Boheme
Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents Franco Zeffirelli's production of Puccini's masterpiece.
Mimi....Cristina Gallardo-Domas (soprano)
Musetta....Ainhoa Arteta (soprano)
Rodolfo....Marcello Giordani (tenor)
Marcello....Dwayne Croft (baritone)
Schaunard....Aaron St Clair Nicholson (baritone)
Colline....John Relyea (bass)
Benoit/Alcindoro....Paul Plishka (bass)
Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Carlo Rizzi (conductor)
(Act 4).
(Act 3).
(Acts 1 and 2).
  20070217Continuesat7.35pm,afterTwentyMinutes
Continuesat9.00pm,afterTheMetOperaQuiz
Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Janacek's Jenufa.
In this tale of love, jealousy and fear of social ostracism, Jenufa is loved by two rival half-brothers, but her stepmother is afraid that she will ruin herself by marrying a drunkard.
Jenufa's revelation that she is pregnant changes everything and leads to tragic consequences.
Jenufa....Karita Mattila (soprano)
Kostelnicka....Anja Silja (soprano)
Laca Klemen....Kim Begley (tenor)
Steva Buryja....Jay Hunter Morris (tenor)
Grandmother Buryja....Wendy Harmer Bryn (mezzo)
Jano....Yvonne Gonzales Redman (soprano)
Mayor....Paul Pliska (baritone)
Mayor's Wife....Kathryn Day (mezzo)
Karolka....Alyson Cambridge (soprano)
Aunt....Michaela Martens (soprano)
Woman....April Haines (soprano)
Man....Roger Andrews (bass)
Orchestra and Chorus of New York Metropolitan Opera
Jiri Belohlavek (conductor)
(Act 3).
(Act 2)
(Act 1)
 Monteverdi: L'orfeo20070224 Stephanie Hughes celebrates the 400th anniversary of this outstanding work, seen as the first true opera ever written, with a performance selected from five different recordings.
Studio guests John Whenham and Robert Hollingworth join her to discuss Monteverdi's achievement, with additional comment from those who have performed Orfeo, including conductors Jane Glover and Philip Pickett, singer Catherine Bott and director David Freeman.
Prologue:
Chiaroscuro
Nigel Rogers (director)
La Musica....Emma Kirkby (soprano)
Act 1:
Le Concert des Nations
Collegium Vocale, Ghent
Jordi Savall (conductor)
La Musica....Montserrat Figueras (soprano)
Pastore....Carlos Mena (countertenor), Francesco Garrigosa (tenor), Ivan Garcia (tenor)
Orfeo....Furio Zanasi (baritone)
Euridice....Arianna Savall (soprano)
Act 2:
Concentus Musicus Wien
Capella antiqua Munchen
Nikolaus Harnoncourt (conductor)
Orfeo....Lajos Kozma
Pastore....Gunther Theuring, Nigel Rogers, Kurt Equiluz
Messaggiera....Cathy Berberian
Act 3:
Le concert d'Astrée
Les Sacqueboutiers
Emmanuelle Haim (conductor)
Orfeo....Ian Bostridge
Speranza....Sonia Prina
Caronte....Mario Luperi
Act 4:
New London Consort
Philip Pickett (conductor)
Proserpina....Catherine Bott
Plutone....Michael George
Orfeo....John Mark Ainsley
Euridice....Julia Gooding
Act 5:
English Baroque Soloists
His Majesties Sagbutts and Cornetts
Monteverdi Choir
John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)
Orfeo....Anthony Rolfe Johnson
Eco....Mark Tucker
Apollo....Nigel Robson.
  20070303Continuesat7.20pmafterTwentyMinutes
Continuesat8.50pmaftertheMetOperaQuiz
Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra.
In this tale of political struggle set in 14th-century Genoa, the Doge's battles with his rivals tragically cost him both his wife and his daughter.
Simon....Thomas Hampson (baritone,)
Amelia....Angela Gheorghiu (soprano)
Fiesco....Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass)
Gabriele....Marcello Giordani (tenor)
Paolo....Vassily Gerello (bass)
Fabio Luisi conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera.
(Prologue)
Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra.
(Act 1)
Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra.
(Acts 2 and 3).
 Handel's Agrippina20070512 Sarah Connolly takes the title role in Handel's ancient Roman soap opera in which power-hungry, power-dressing Agrippina will stop at nothing to get her son Nero on the throne.
Nero is more interested in the Roman beauty Poppea but, unfortunately, so are two other men, including his stepfather, the current Emperor Claudio.
Stephanie Hughes presents the opera, with contributions from some of the stars of the show.
Agrippina....Sarah Connolly (soprano)
Poppea....Lucy Crowe (soprano)
Nero....Christine Rice (mezzo-soprano)
Narciso....Stephen Wallace (countertenor)
Ottone....Reno Troilus (countertenor)
Claudio....Brindley Sherratt (bass)
Pallante....Henry Waddington (bass)
Lesbo....Richard Suart (baritone)
Chorus and Orchestra of English National Opera
Daniel Reuss (conductor).
  20070519 Verdi's Stiffelio
Argentinian tenor Jose Cura returns to a role in which he had an early success at the Royal Opera House.
Verdi's opera tells of a Protestant pastor's reaction to his wife's infidelity, a subject that was so controversial in Italy at the time that the censors forced Verdi to make drastic cuts.
Stiffelio has now re-entered the repertory after the original came to light and this production, which is directed by Elijah Moshinsky and sets the action in a religious community in the American Midwest, has become a resounding success.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Jorg, an elderly minister....Alastair Miles (bass)
Stiffelio, a minister....Jose Cura (tenor)
Stankar, Lina's father....Roberto Frontali (bass)
Dorotea, Lina's cousin....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)
Raffaele di Leuthold....Reinaldo Macias (tenor)
Frederico di Frengel, Lina's cousin....Nikola Matisic (tenor)
Lina, Stiffelio's wife....Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano)
Renato Balsadonna (chorus director)
Vasko Vassilev (concert master)
Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Mark Elder (conductor).
  20070526 Ravel's L'Heure Espagnole and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi
Stephanie Hughes introduces a double-bill of comedy recorded last month at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Ravel's L'Heure Espagnole features rising star Christine Rice as the clockmaker's wife who discovers that the best way to sneak her lovers into the bedroom is inside the grandfather clocks made by her husband.
Ravel's score is a masterpiece of colour, as is Puccini's for his only comedy, the story of the village wide-boy Gianni Schicchi who comes to the rescue of the greedy Donati family whilst making sure that he looks after himself as well! Bryn Terfel sings the role of Schicchi for the first time at the Royal Opera House and both operas feature superb supporting casts.
Ravel: L'Heure Espagnole
Torquemada, a clockmaker....Bonaventura Bottone (tenor)
Concepcion, clockmaker's wife....Christine Rice (mezzo-soprano)
Gonzalve, a bachelor....Yann Beuron (tenor)
Ramiro, muleteer....Christopher Maltman (baritone)
Don Inigo Gomez, a banker....Andrew Shore (bass)
Puccini: Gianni Schicchi
Gianni Schicchi....Bryn Terfel (baritone)
Lauretta, his daughter....Dina Kuznetsova (soprano)
Zita, cousin of Buoso Donati....Elena Zilio (contralto)
Rinuccio, Zita's nephew....Saimir Pirgu (tenor)
Gherardo, Buoso's nephew....Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (tenor)
Nella, Gherardo's wife....Joan Rodgers (soprano)
Betto di Signa, Buoso's brother-in-law....Jeremy White (bass)
Simone, cousin of Buoso....Gwynne Howell (bass)
Marco, Simone's son....Christopher Purves (baritone)
La Ciesca, Marco's wife....Marie McLaughlin (soprano)
Maestro Spinelloccio, a doctor....Henry Waddington (bass)
Ser Amantio di Nicolao, a notary....Enrico Fissore (bass)
Gerhardino, son of Gherardo.
 Pelléas Et Mélisande20070609 Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande
Simon Rattle brings his interpretation of Debussy's enigmatic score to the Royal Opera House, in a production first shown at the 2006 Salzburg Festival and featuring a strong cast led by Simon Keenlyside, together with Gerald Finley and Angelika Kirchschlager.
The mysterious Mélisande is discovered wandering in a forest by the prince Golaud, who marries her and takes her back with him to his grandfather's foreboding castle.
Mélisande meets Golaud's half-brother Pelléas, and a tragedy unfolds as they are irresistably drawn towards each other.
Pelléas, grandson of Arkel....Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
Mélisande....Angelika Kirchschlager (mezzo-soprano)
Golaud, grandson of Arkel....Gerald Finley (baritone)
Arkel, King of Allemonde....Robert Lloyd (bass)
Genevieve, mother of Pelléas and Golaud....Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo-soprano)
Yniold, Golaud's son from a former liaison....Tom Norrington (treble)
The Doctor/The Shepherd....Robert Gleadow (bass)
The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera Chorus
Simon Rattle (conductor).
 Thomas Ades' The Tempest20070623 Ades' operatic version of Shakespeare's play was a hit at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, when it was premiered in 2004.
This year it returned to London with many of the same star singers who originally created the roles, including Simon Keenlyside as the sorcerer Prospero, Ian Bostridge as the misunderstood monster Caliban, and Cyndia Sieden as the airy spirit Ariel, singing one of the most stratospheric soprano parts ever written.
Prospero....Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
Miranda....Kate Royal (soprano)
Ferdinand....Toby Spence (tenor)
Caliban....Ian Bostridge (tenor)
Ariel....Cyndia Sieden (soprano)
King of Naples....Philip Langridge (tenor)
Antonio....Donald Kaasch (tenor)
Sebastian....Jonathan Summers (baritone)
Trinculo....David Cordier (countertenor)
Stefano....Stephen Richardson (bass-baritone)
Gonzalo....Graeme Danby (bass)
Royal Opera Chorus
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Thomas Ades (conductor).
  20070630 Benjamin Britten: Death in Venice
Britten's final opera is based on Thomas Mann's novella about the last days of Aschenbach, a famous writer who, in a city plagued by cholera, is profoundly affected by his meeting with a young Polish boy staying at the same hotel.
Ian Bostridge, a noted interpreter of Britten, takes the hugely demanding role of Aschenbach for the first time and the cast also includes a highly versatile Peter Coleman-Wright, who tackles seven different character-sketches ranging from an Old Fop to the voice of a Greek God.
Deborah Warner's new production for ENO is the first to be conducted by the company's new Music Director Edward Gardner.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Gustav von Aschenbach, a novelist....Ian Bostridge (tenor)
The Traveller, Elderly Fop, Old Gondelier, Hotel Manager, Hotel Barber, Leader of the Players and Voice of Dionysus....Peter Coleman-Wright (baritone)
The Voice of Apollo....Iestyn Davies (countertenor)
Hotel Porter....Peter Van Hulle (tenor)
Strawberry-seller....Anna Dennis (soprano)
Guide....Charles Johnston (baritone)
Strolling players....Lee Bisset (soprano) and Dwayne Jones (tenor)
English clerk in a travel bureau....Jonathan Gunthorpe (baritone)
Glass-maker....Richard Edgar-Wilson (tenor)
Lace-seller....Constance Novis (soprano)
Beggar woman....Madeleine Shaw (mezzo-soprano)
Restaurant waiter....William Berger (baritone)
Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera
Edward Gardner (conductor).
 Mozart's La Clemenza Di Tito20070707 Power, friendship and betrayal are the driving forces behind Mozart's final opera seria.
As Holy Roman Emperor, Titus wants to be an honourable ruler, but Vitellia plots to gain the throne herself.
Sextus is a close friend of Titus, but he is infatuated with Vitellia, and will do anything to gain her love.
Stephanie Hughes introduces this revival by English National Opera which boasts a strong British cast, with Emma Bell and Paul Nilon reprising the lead roles they took in 2005, whilst mezzo-soprano Alice Coote plays the tormented Sextus.
Titus, Roman Emperor....Paul Nilon (tenor)
Vitellia, daughter of former Emperor Vitellio....Emma Bell (soprano)
Sextus, friend of Tito and in love with Vitellia....Alice Coote (mezzo-soprano)
Servilia, sister of Sextus and in love with Annius....Sarah-Jane Davies (soprano)
Annius, friend of Sextus and in love with Servilia....Anne Marie Gibbons (mezzo-soprano)
Publius, Praetorian prefect of the Guard....Andrew Foster-Williams (bass-baritone)
Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera
Edward Gardner (conductor).
 Edinburgh International Festival 2007: Bernstein's Candide20070915 In the opening concert of this year's Festival, Robert Spano conducts the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and an all-star cast in a concert performance of Leonard Bernstein's witty and glittering operetta Candide.
Presented by Donald Macleod, from the Usher Hall.
Candide....Matthew Polenzani (tenor)
Cunegonde....Laura Aikin (soprano)
Dr Pangloss/Martin/Narrator....Thomas Allen (baritone)
Governor/Vanderdendur/Ragotski....Keith Lewis (tenor)
Old Lady....Kathryn Harries (soprano)
Paquette....Jennifer Johnston (mezzo-soprano)
Bearkeeper/Inquisitor/Tsar Ivan....Tim Mirfin (baritone)
Maximillian/Captain....Roland Wood (baritone)
Edinburgh Festival Chorus
David Jones (chorus master)
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Robert Spano (conductor).
  20070922 Vivaldi's Orlando Furioso
Presented by Donald Macleod.
On his triumphant return to Venice in 1727 as a composer and impresario, Vivaldi presented his 'heroico-magical drama', which tells the story of Orlando on the island of the sorceress Alcina, as a model for what opera should be.
Corsican conductor Jean-Christophe Spinosi re-assembles many of the stellar cast from his recent recording in this concert performance given at the 2007 Edinburgh International Festival.
Orlando....Sonia Prina (contralto)
Alcina....Jennifer Larmore (mezzo-soprano)
Angelica....Veronica Cangemi (soprano)
Ruggiero....Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor)
Astolfo....Christian Senn (baritone)
Bradamante....Barbara Di Castri (contralto)
Medoro....Daniela Pini (mezzo-soprano)
Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Chorus
Jean-Christophe Spinosi (conductor).
 Britten's The Turn Of The Screw20070929 From this summer's Glyndebourne Festival comes Jonathan Kent's inspired production of Britten's thought-provoking opera, with its taut chamber score perfectly suited to Henry James's chilling story.
Rising British star Edward Gardner conducts members of the London Philharmonic and an international cast.
The Governess is employed to be in sole charge of two young children, Miles and Flora, at a remote country house.
Initially she seems to have found an idyllic world, but gradually she begins to feel a malign influence at work through the ghosts of Quint, a former manservant, and Miss Jessel, the previous governess.
She resolves to protect the children and embarks on a battle for the soul of Miles.
Martin Handley presents the broadcast in collaboration with soprano Vivian Tierney who gives her insights into performing Britten on stage.
Prologue/Peter Quint....William Burden (tenor)
Governess....Camilla Tilling (soprano)
Flora....Joanna Songi (soprano)
Miles....Christopher Sladdin (treble)
Mrs Grose....Anne-Marie Owens (mezzo-soprano)
Miss Jessel....Emma Bell (soprano)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Edward Gardner (conductor).
  20071006 Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride
Geoffrey Smith introduces an exciting new production of Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Director Robert Carsen's innovative production and Susan Graham's performance in the title role have already received great acclaim in the USA and, together with tenor Simon Keenlyside and conductor Ivor Bolton, they give their insights into the opera.
Considered by many as the greatest of Gluck's 'reform operas', Iphigenie en Tauride tells the story of tortured princess Iphigenie, exiled to the island of Tauride and forced to commit sacrificial murder by its paranoid King Thoas.
When her estranged brother, Orestes, arrives on the island fleeing the Furies and his own guilt, the story takes a complicated turn.
In what is a tragedy of terrifying psychological ordeal, Gluck expertly combined music and theatre with great dramatic intensity.
Iphigénie, High Priestess of Diana....Susan Graham (mezzo-soprano)
Oreste, Iphigénie's brother....Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
Pylade, Oreste's friend....Paul Groves (tenor)
Thoas, King of Tauris....Clive Bayley (bass)
First Priestess/A Greek Woman....Gail Pearson (soprano)
Second Priestess....Claire Wild (soprano)
Diane, goddess of hunting....Cécile van de Sant (soprano)
A Scythian....Jacques Imbrailo (baritone)
A Minister....Krzysztof Szumanski (bass-baritone)
Coryphée....Kiera Lyness (soprano), Ann Osborne (soprano), Dervla Ramsay (mezzo-soprano), Kate McCarney (mezzo-soprano)
The Royal Opera Chorus
The Orchestra of The Age of Enlightenment
Ivor Bolton (conductor).
  20071013 The Sacrifice
By James MacMillan.
Including at 6.30pm:
Christopher Cook is at the Wales Millennium Centre to explore the sound world of James MacMillan's new opera The Sacrifice.
Commissioned by Welsh National Opera, The Sacrifice has been ten years in the making.
MacMillan and librettist Michael Symmons Roberts discuss its development and how working collaboratively with director Katie Mitchell and designer Vicki Mortimer has created an opera based on the mythological Welsh stories of the Mabinogion.
Soprano Lisa Milne and baritone Christopher Purves describe their experience of singing new roles.
6.40pm The Sacrifice
Anthony Negus conducts the chorus and orchestra of Welsh National Opera and a hand-picked cast in his opera The Sacrifice.
A tribal war between two countries has resulted in bloodshed and destruction.
In a bid for peace, The General on one side gives his daughter Sian's hand in marriage to his volatile enemy Mal.
Sian sacrifices her lover Evan, The General's personal aide, for the sake of her country, even though she still loves him.
Seven years later, at the investiture of Sian and Mal's son Gwyn, Evan's passionate fury for the sacrifice they have made is unleashed with devastating consequences.
Sian....Lisa Milne (soprano)
Evan....Leigh Melrose (baritone)
General....Christopher Purves (baritone)
Megan....Sarah Tynan (soprano)
Mal....Peter Hoare (tenor)
3 Birds/Dressers....Rosie Hay, Samantha Hay, Amanda Baldwin
Gwyn (non-singing child)....Cameron Jones/Oscar Notley
Elis (non-singing child)....Tomos Hardy/Ben Evans
Chorus and Orchestra of Welsh National Opera
Anthony Negus (conductor).
  20071020 Janacek's Katya Kabanova
Katya Kabanova is a free-spirited woman who finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage dominated by an overpowering mother-in-law.
When she falls in love with another man in the village, it can only lead to disaster for her.
In Trevor Nunn's critically acclaimed production from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Janice Watson sings the role of Janacek's doomed heroine, with Felicity Palmer as her fearsome mother-in-law.
Presented by Stephanie Hughes.
Marfa Ignatevna Kabanova (Kabanicha), a merchant's widow....Felicity Palmer (mezzo-soprano)
Tichon Kabanov, her son....Chris Merritt (tenor)
Kateÿrina (Katya), his wife....Janice Watson (soprano)
Varvara, Kabanicha's foster child....Linda Tuvas (mezzo-soprano)
Dikoj, a merchant....Oleg Bryjak (bass-baritone)
Boris, his nephew....Kurt Streit (tenor)
Vana Kudrjás, Dikoj's clerk....Toby Spence (tenor)
Glasa, a servant....Miranda Westcott (mezzo-soprano)
Feklusa, a servant....Anne Mason (mezzo-soprano)
Kuligin, a friend of Kudrjás....Jeremy White (bass)
Zena, a woman in the crowd....Renata Skarelyte (mezzo soprano)
Chodec, a boatman....Neil Gillespie (tenor)
The Royal Opera Chorus
The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Charles Mackerras (conductor).
  20071027 Massenet's Thaïs
Soprano Renée Fleming leads a star-studded cast in Massenet's exotic tale of love and redemption, recorded in concert at the Royal Opera House in June 2007.
Based on a tale found in early Middle Eastern monastic manuscripts, the opera tells the story of the monk Athanael and his ultimately tragic desire for the Alexandrian courtesan Thaïs.
Massenet's evocative score (which includes the famous Meditation melody) is given vitality and immediacy by the Royal Opera House orchestra under Andrew Davis.
Thaïs, actress and courtesan....Renée Fleming (soprano)
Athanaël, a coenobite monk....Simone Alberghini (bass-baritone)
Nicias, a young sybarite philosopher....Joseph Calleja (tenor)
Palémon, an old coenobite monk....Robert Lloyd (bass)
Crobyle, a slave....Ana James (soprano)
Myrtale, a slave....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)
Albine, abbess....Clare Shearer (soprano)
La Charmeuse, ballet dancer....Kiera Lyness (soprano)
Servant of Nicias....Nigel Cliffe (baritone)
Royal Opera Chorus
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Andrew Davis (conductor).
  20071103 Petroc Trelawny introduces the controversial new production of Bizet's Carmen from English National Opera.
Directed by acclaimed film-maker Sally Potter and sung in a new English translation by Christopher Cowell, it's a radical take on the Carmen story.
Rising British star Alice Coote takes the title role for the first time.
The two men who dominate the last days of her life, 'security guard' Don Jose and bullfighter Escamillo, are played by Australian-born tenor Julian Gavin and Welsh baritone David Kempster.
ENO's young Music Director Edward Gardner tackles his first 'mainstream' opera since assuming the post.
Bizet: Carmen
Carmen....Alice Coote (mezzo-soprano)
José....Julian Gavin (tenor)
Escamillo....David Kempster (baritone)
Micaëla....Katie van Kooten (soprano)
Moralès....Ronan Collett (baritone)
Zuniga....Graeme Danby (bass)
Merdédès....Fiona Murphy (mezzo-soprano)
Frasquita....Elena Xanthoudakis (soprano)
Dancairo....Andrew Rees (tenor)
Remendado....Scott Davies (tenor)
Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera
Edward Gardner (conductor).
  20071110 Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea
Presented by Petroc Trelawny and beginning with a behind-the-scenes feature on the opera and this production.
Following their success at English National Opera with Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, conductor Laurence Cummings and director Chen Shi-Zheng team up at ENO once again for Monteverdi's final opera, which contains some of his most sensual music and features an outstanding British cast.
Poppea is the mistress of the Emperor Nero, who is easily manipulated - she wants the power of the throne, and the only obstacle in her way is Nero's wife Ottavia.
Fortune....Katherine Manley (soprano)
Virtue....Jane Harrington (soprano)
LoveSophie Bevan....(soprano)
Mercury....James Gower (bass)
Poppea....Kate Royal (soprano)
Nerone....Anna Grevelius (mezzo-soprano)
Ottavia....Doreen Curran (mezzo-soprano)
Ottone....Tim Mead (countertenor)
Drusilla....Lucy Crowe (soprano)
Seneca....Robert Lloyd (bass)
Arnalta....Christopher Gillett (tenor)
Nurse/Venus....Diana Montague (mezzo-soprano)
English National Opera Orchestra
Laurence Cummings (conductor/harpsichord).
  20071117 Charpentier's Louise
Alexandra Wilson introduces a production of Charpentier's four-act opera given earlier this year at the Opera Bastille in Paris.
Late 19th century Paris is the real hero of the opera, home to Louise, her traditional working-class parents and her bohemian artist lover Julien.
It's the tension between Louise's responsibility to her parents and her opportunity to break free with Julien that underpins the work, set among the streets and tenements of Montmartre.
The cast is headed by leading French soprano Mireille Delunsch in the title role, American lyric tenor Paul Groves as Julien and the hugely experienced Belgian bass-baritone Jose van Dam as Louise's father.
Louise....Mireille Delunsch (soprano)
Julien....Paul Groves (tenor)
Her Father....José van Dam (bass-baritone)
Her Mother....Jane Henschel (mezzo-soprano)
Irma....Marie-Paule Dotti (soprano)
Camille....Natacha Constantin (soprano)
Gertrude....Anne Salvan (mezzo-soprano)
Noctambulist/King of Fools....Luca Lombardo (tenor)
A Rag Picker....René Schirrer (bass-baritone)
Paris Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Sylvain Cambreling (conductor).
 Keiser's The Fortunes Of King Croesus20071124 Christopher Cook introduces a performance from Opera North in Leeds of a rarely heard 18th century German opera by Reinhard Keiser, an early contemporary of Handel.
Croesus tells of a rich and powerful monarch who falls from power and forfeits his fortune.
It was a huge success in its day propelled by Keiser's great gift for melody.
In this new production, devised by director Tim Albery with conductor Harry Bicket, it is performed in English and features celebrated American male soprano Michael Maniaci in his UK debut role.
Croesus, King of Lydia....Paul Nilon (tenor)
Atis, Croesus' son....Michael Maniaci (male soprano)
Halimacus, confidant to Atis....Stephen Wallace (countertenor)
Orsanes, in love with Elmira....William Dazeley (baritone)
Clerida, in love with Orsanes....Fflur Wyn (soprano)
Eliates, in love with Clerida....Mark le Brocq (tenor)
Elcius, a bon viveur....John Graham-Hall (tenor)
Queen of Media....Susan Lees (soprano)
Elmira, her daughter....Gillian Keith (soprano)
Trigesta, her lady-in-waiting....Sarah Pring (mezzo-soprano)
Cyrus, King of Persia....Henry Waddington (baritone)
Persian Captain....Paul Gibson (baritone)
Solon, A Greek Philosopher....Eric Roberts (baritone)
Chorus and Orchestra of Opera North
Harry Bicket (conductor).
  20071201 Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore
Nemorino is in love with the fickle Adina, who refuses to marry him.
When Sergeant Belcore proposes to her too, Nemorino is desperate enough to put his faith in the love potion that worked for Queen Isolde, sold by the dubious Dr Dulcamara.
But it takes 24 hours to work, and Adina and Belcore's wedding is the next day.
Several plot twists, and many wonderful melodies later, all ends happily ever after.
Laurent Pelly's production for the Royal Opera House stars Aleksandra Kurzak, Stefano Secco and Ludovic Tezier, under the baton of Mikko Franck.
Tom Service presents, and is joined in the box by Italian opera expert Professor Roger Parker to guide us through one of Donizetti's most popular works.
Nemorino....Stefano Secco (tenor)
Adina....Aleksandra Kurzak (soprano)
Belcore....Ludovic Tézier (baritone)
Giannetta....Kishani Jayasinghe (soprano)
Dulcamara....Paolo Gavanelli (baritone)
Royal Opera Chorus
The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Mikko Franck (conductor).
 Wagner's Parsifal20080119 Martin Handley presents a recording of the recent production of Wagner's final opera from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
It marks the return to the theatre's podium of former music director Bernard Haitink, with a cast of leading Wagner interpreters from home and abroad.
Parsifal, the 'pure fool made wise by suffering', encounters the knights of the holy grail led by the wounded ruler Amfortas and veteran knight Gurnemanz.
He meets the mysterious wild woman Kundry and the evil magician Klingsor.
He grows in maturity and is eventually revealed as the redeemer whose task is to take on the role of the new lord of the grail.
Gurnemanz....John Tomlinson (bass)
First Knight....Nikola Matisic (tenor)
Second Knight....Krzysztof Szumanski (bass)
First Esquire....Harriet Williams (mezzo-soprano)
Second Esquire....Rebecca de Pont Davies (soprano)
Third Esquire....Ji-Min Park (tenor)
Fourth Esquire....Haoyin Xue (tenor)
Kundry....Petra Lang (mezzo-soprano)
Amfortas....Falk Struckmann (bass)
Parsifal....Christopher Ventris (tenor)
Titurel....Gwynne Howell (bass)
Voice from above....Pumeza Matshikiza (soprano)
Klingsor....Willard White (bass)
Flowermaidens....Elizabeth Cragg, Anita Watson, Kichani Jayasinghe, Malin Christensson, Ana James, Pumeza Matshikiza (sopranos)
Children's Chorus from Trinity School, Croydon
Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Bernard Haitink (conductor).
  20080209 Verdi's La traviata
Based on a play by Alexandre Dumas, La traviata tells the tragic story of Violetta, the consumptive courtesan whose bid for true love finds her pitilessly rejected by the society that once rejoiced in her debauched parties.
This Royal Opera House production is led by a cast including Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, tenor Jonas Kaufman and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky.
Presented by Sean Rafferty from the Royal Opera House in conversation with writer and opera critic Alexandra Wilson.
Violetta Valery....Anna Netrebko (soprano)
Flora Bervoix....Monika-Evelin Liiv (mezzo-soprano)
Marquis d'Obigny....Kostas Smoriginas (bass-baritone)
Baron Douphol....Eddie Wade (baritone)
Doctor Grenvil....Mark Beesley (bass)
Gastone de Letorieres....Ji-Min Park (tenor)
Alfredo Germont....Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
Giuseppe....Neil Gillespie (tenor)
Giorgio Germont....Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone)
Messenger....Charbel Mattar (bass)
Servant....Jonathan Coad (bass)
Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Maurizio Benini (conductor).
 Richard Strauss's Salome20080510 David McVicar's new production for The Royal Opera features Philippe Jordan conducting soprano Nadja Michael as Salome and baritone Michael Volle as Jokanaan.
In Strauss's disturbing one-act opera, based on the play by Oscar Wilde, the adolescent Salome, stepdaughter of King Herod, is attracted to Jokaanan, who rejects him.
When the lustful King Herod offers her anything she desires in return for dancing in front of him, she enacts vicious revenge on Jokaanan.
The programme, which includes a discussion of the undercurrents of the opera with the conductor, director and members of the cast, is presented by Suzy Klein.
Salome....Nadja Michael (soprano)
Herodias....Michaela Schuster (soprano)
Page to Herodias....Daniela Sindram (mezzo-soprano)
Herod....Thomas Moser (tenor)
Narraboth....Joseph Kaiser (tenor)
Jokanaan....Michael Volle (baritone)
First Nazarene....Iain Paterson (bass)
Second Nazarene....Andrew Mayor (baritone)
First Soldier....Christian Sist (bass)
Second Soldier....Alan Ewing (bass)
First Jew....Adrian Thompson (tenor)
Second Jew....Martyn Hill (tenor)
Third Jew....Hubert Francis (tenor)
Fourth Jew....Ji-Min Park (tenor)
Fifth Jew....Jeremy White (bass)
A Cappadocian....Vuyani Mlinde (bass)
Slave....Pumeza Matshikiza (soprano)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Philippe Jordan (conductor).
 Verdi's Falstaff20080524 Peter Stein directs a revival of his celebrated production of Verdi's comic opera, in a performance given by Welsh National Opera at the Wales Millennium Centre last March.
Sir John Falstaff has plans to seduce the wife of a rich local merchant, but Alice and her husband have each made their own arrangements to trick the roguish knight.
Who will have the final laugh?
Presented by Donald Macleod.
Sir John Falstaff....Bryn Terfel (baritone)
Dr Caius....Anthony Mee (tenor)
Bardolph....Neil Jenkins (tenor)
Pistol....Julian Close (bass)
Alice Ford....Janice Watson (soprano)
Nannetta....Clare Ormshaw (soprano)
Meg Page....Imelda Drumm (mezzo-soprano)
Mistress Quickly....Anne-Marie Owens (mezzo-soprano)
Ford....Christopher Purves (baritone)
Fenton....Rhys Meirion (tenor)
Chorus and Orchestra of Welsh National Opera
Carlo Rizzi (conductor).
 Birtwistle's The Minotaur20080531 In a performance given at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in April, Antonio Pappano conducts John Tomlinson in the title role, with Christine Rice as Ariadne in the world premiere of Harrison Birtwistle's latest opera, based on the classic Greek myth.
Hidden away deep in the labyrinth in Crete is a man with a bull's head who feeds on young men and women sent as tribute from Athens.
One day the hero Theseus arrives among these innocents and with the help of Ariadne and her thread, he ventures into the labyrinth intending to kill the beast.
Presented by Ivan Hewett.
Ariadne....Christine Rice (mezzo-soprano)
The Minotaur....John Tomlinson (bass)
Theseus....Johan Reuter (baritone)
First Innocent....Rebecca Bottone (soprano)
Second Innocent....Pumeza Matshikiza (soprano)
Third Innocent....Wendy Dawn Thompson (mezzo-soprano)
Fourth Innocent....Christopher Ainslie (countertenor)
Fifth Innocent....Timothy Mead (countertenor)
Ker....Amanda Echalaz (soprano)
Snake Princess....Andrew Watts (countertenor)
Hiereus....Philip Langridge (tenor)
The Royal Opera Chorus
The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Antonio Pappano (conductor).
 Gounod's Romeo Et Juliette20080607 In an Opera North performance given at the Grand Theatre in Leeds, John Fulljames directs Gounod's opera based on Shakespeare's tragic love story, with rising stars Leonardo Capalbo as Romeo and Slovenian soprano Bernarda Bobro in her British debut as Juliette.
When Rome and Juliette meet at a party in Verona, they instantly fall in love with each other and marry in secret shortly after.
They soon face separation after Romeo is banished from the kingdom and when Juliette is told by her parents she must marry another man, she takes action with tragic consequences.
Introduced by Donald Macleod.
Romeo....Leonardo Capalbo (tenor)
Juliette....Bernarda Bobro (soprano)
Mercutio....Grant Doyle (baritone)
Tybalt....Peter Wedd (tenor)
Stephano....Frances Bourne (soprano)
Paris....Geoffrey Dolton (baritone)
Capulet....Peter Savidge (bass)
Benvolio....Nicholas Sharratt (tenor)
Gertrude....Yvonne Howard (mezzo-soprano)
Frere Laurent....Henry Waddington (bass)
Orchestra of Opera North
Martin Andre (conductor)
John Fulljames (director).
  20080614 In an ENO production from London's Coliseum, David McVicar directs Strauss's comic opera about age and class, featuring soprano Janice Watson, mezzo Sarah Connolly and bass John Tomlinson, with the company's Music Director Edward Gardner conducting.
The story tells of the love triangle between the noble Marschallin, her young lover Octavian and Sophie, daughter of the 'nouveau riche' Herr von Faninal.
The boorish Baron Ochs has his sights set on Sophie and Octavian has to deal with him, as well as his own feelings for the two women in his life.
Presented by Andrew McGregor.
The Feldmarschallin....Janice Watson (soprano)
Octavian....Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)
Baron Ochs....John Tomlinson (bass)
Sophie....Sarah Tynan (soprano)
Herr von Faninal....Andrew Shore (bass)
Annina....Madeleine Shaw (mezzo-soprano)
Valzacchi....Stuart Kale (tenor)
Duenna....Janice Cairns (soprano)
Singer....Barry Banks (tenor)
Police Commissar....Nicholas Folwell (baritone)
Notary....James Gower (bass)
Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera
Edward Gardner (conductor).
 Birtwistle's Punch And Judy20080621 In an ENO production from London's Young Vic Theatre, Edward Gardner conducts a performance of Harrison Birtwistle's controversial modernist opera, featuring bass Andrew Shore and mezzo-soprano Lucy Schaufer in the title roles.
The composer's first work for the stage, Punch and Judy takes its inspiration from the traditional seaside puppet shows and follows Mr Punch as he murders a succession of characters, including his own baby, while pursuing his dream girl, Pretty Polly.
Presented by Ivan Hewett.
Punch....Andrew Shore (baritone)
Judy/Fortune Teller....Lucy Schaufer (mezzo-soprano)
Pretty Polly/Witch....Gillian Keith (soprano)
Choregos/Jack Ketch....Ashley Holland (baritone)
Lawyer....Graham Clark (tenor)
Doctor....Graeme Broadbent (bass)
Orchestra of English National Opera
Edward Gardner (conductor).
 Verdi's Don Carlo20080628 Tenor Rolando Villazon and soprano Marina Poplavskaya star in Verdi's tragic love story, directed by Nicholas Hytner and conducted by Antonio Pappano.
 Mozart's Le Nozze Di Figaro20080705 Direct from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Charles Mackerras conducts bass-baritone Ildebrando D'Arcangelo and soprano Aleksandra Kurzak in a revival of David McVicar's critically praised production of Mozart's comic opera.
The scene is Figaro's wedding day, and his master Count Almaviva is determined to reinstate his feudal right to the favours of Figaro's fiancee Susanna.
Amid various mistaken identities and then reconciliations, Susanna and her mistress, the long-suffering Countess, plot to ensure that this cannot happen.
Presented by Suzy Klein.
Figaro....Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (bass-baritone)
Susanna....Aleksandra Kurzak (soprano)
Count Almaviva....Peter Mattei (baritone)
Countess Almaviva....Barbara Frittoli (soprano)
Cherubino....Anna Bonitatibus (mezzo-soprano)
Marcellina....Ann Murray (mezzo-soprano)
Bartolo....Robert Lloyd (bass)
Don Basilio....Robin Leggate (tenor)
Don Curzio....Harry Nicoll (tenor)
Barbarina....Kishani Jayasinghe (soprano)
Antonio....Donald Maxwell (baritone)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Royal Opera Chorus
Charles Mackerras (conductor).
 Berg's Wozzeck20080712 A new production from the Opera Bastille in Paris of Berg's dark and disturbing modernist opera, directed by Christoph Marthaler and conducted by Sylvain Cambreling, a noted interpreter of 20th-century scores.
Baritone Simon Keenlyside sings the title role for the first time, with leading German soprano Angela Denoke as Wozzeck's common-law wife Marie.
Wozzeck, an impoverished soldier stationed in Germany, agrees to undergo medical experimentation in order to gain some extra money for his family.
As his mind begins to disintegrate, he experiences dark visions and paranoia until, when confronting his wife about an 'infidelity', he wreaks brutal revenge.
Presented by Andrew McGregor.
Wozzeck....Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
Marie....Angela Denoke (soprano)
Captain....Gerhard Siegel (tenor)
Doctor....Roland Bracht (bass)
Drum Major....Jon Villars (tenor)
Andres....David Keubler (tenor)
Margret....Ursula Hesse von den Steinen (mezzo-soprano)
First Apprentice....Patrick Schramm (bass)
Second Apprentice....Igor Gnidii (baritone)
Madman....John Graham-Hall (tenor)
Maitrise des hauts de Seine/Choeur d'enfants de l'Opera national de Paris
Orchestra and Chorus of the Opera National de Paris
Sylvain Cambreling (conductor).
 Kurt Weill And Berthold Brecht's The Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny20080920 HK Gruber conducts soprano Susan Bickley and the Royal National Scottish Orchestra in a performance of Weill and Brecht's anti-capitalist satire, given in August at the Usher Hall in the opening concert of this year's Edinburgh International Festival.
The opera's story centres on three fugitives' setting up of a city in an American desert devoted solely to pleasure and debauchery.
Prostitution and cheap alcohol attract many prospectors, but when Jimmy the barman declares that all restraints are to be removed, there can only be tragic consequences.
Introduced by Donald Macleod, who also talks to the conductor about the context of the work and Weill and Brecht's influence on subsequent operatic developments.
Leokadja Begbick....Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano)
Fatty....Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (tenor)
Trinity Moses....Alan Opie (baritone)
Jenny....Giselle Allen (soprano)
Jimmy Mahoney....Anthony Dean Griffey (tenor)
Jack Smith, Toby Higgins....Peter Hoare (tenor)
Bill....Stephan Loges (baritone)
Joe....Brindley Sherratt (bass)
Hannah Gordon (narrator)
Ladies of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama
Edinburgh Festival Chorus
Christopher Bell (chorus master)
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
HK Gruber (conductor)
 Szymanowski's King Roger20080927 Valery Gergiev conducts baritone Andrzej Dobber and the Mariinsky Opera in a staged performance of Szymanowki's exotic and colourful opera given at the Edniburgh International Festival.
A strongly philosophical work, King Roger centres on the arrival at the court of the Catholic King Roger II of Sicily of an enigmatic shepherd, who threatens the established harmony by preaching a seductive and sensually-based pagan religion.
Sung in Polish and directed by Mariusz Trelinski.
Roger....Andrzej Dobber (baritone)
Roxana....Elzbieta Szmytka (soprano)
Edrisi....Sergei Semishkur (tenor)
Shepherd....Pavlo Tolstoy (tenor)
Archbishop....Yury Vorobiev (bass)
Deaconess....Lyubov Sokolova (mezzo-soprano)
Orchestra and Chorus of the Mariinksy Opera
Valery Gergiev (conductor).
  20081004 Act 2 of Robert Carsen's production for ENO of Leonard Bernstein's comic operetta Candide.
Rumon Gamba conducts English National Opera Chorus and Orchestra.
Candide
Martin Handley presents Robert Carsen's controversial production for ENO of Leonard Bernstein's comic operetta, with Voltaire's 18th-century satire updated from Europe to the United States of the 1950s, revealing the dystopian reality of the American dream.
Candide, a young man from Westphalia, is in love with Cunegonde, daughter of the local baron.
He is a follower of the teachings of his tutor, Dr Pangloss, who believes that 'everything that is, is planned, is wisely planned, is right and good'.
The youth is confronted with many disasters, including a massacre during which Cunegonde is apparently killed.
He then sets off on his travels, visiting Paris, where he meets an old lady, who accompanies him, along with the miraculously saved Cunegonde, to the New World.
He eventually goes to Buenos Aires and to the land of Eldorado.
Having survived a shipwreck, he returns to Europe, goes to Venice and finally back to Westphalia.
There he realises the folly of his philosophy and resolves to build his own life rather than assuming that everything that happens is for the best.
Voltaire/Pangloss/Martin....Alex Jennings
Candide....Toby Spence (tenor)
Cunegonde....Marnie Breckenridge (soprano)
Old Lady....Beverley Klein (mezzo-soprano)
Grand Inquisitor/Captain/Governor....Bonaventura Bottone (tenor)
Paquette....Mairead Buicke (soprano)
Maximilian....Mark Stone (baritone)
Cacambo....Ferlyn Brass
English National Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Rumon Gamba (conductor).
 Love And Other Demons20081011 Peter Eotvos's opera in two acts, performed at Glyndebourne.
Based on the novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, this story of forbidden love is set in 18th-century Colombia.
Sierva Maria....Allison Bell (soprano)
Don Ygnacio....Robert Brubaker (tenor)
Father Cayetano Delaura....Nathan Gunn (baritone)
Abrenuncio....John Graham Hall (tenor)
Dominga de Adviento....Marietta Simpson (contralto)
Josefa Miranda....Felicity Palmer (mezzo)
Martina Laborde....Jean Rigby (mezzo)
Glyndebourne Chorus
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Vladimir Jurowski (conductor).
  20081018 Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress
Robert Lepage directs a new production of Stravinsky's neo-classical opera, based on the story behind a set of engravings by the British painter and satirist William Hogarth, and featuring a libretto by the poet W H Auden.
The story centres on Tom, a young country man, and his path to ruin because of the malign influence of Nick Shadow, who appears out of nowhere, offering to help him.
Presented by Ivan Hewett.
Tom Rakewell....Charles Castronovo (tenor)
Nick Shadow....John Relyea (bass)
Anne Trulove....Sally Matthews (soprano)
Trulove....Darren Jeffrey (baritone)
Baba the Turk....Patricia Bardon (mezzo-soprano)
Sellem....Peter Hoare (tenor)
Mother Goose....Kathleen Wilkinson (mezzo-soprano)
Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Thomas Ades (conductor).
  20081025 Ivor Bolton conducts young soprano Sally Matthews and countertenor Lawrence Zazzo in David Alden's Royal Opera House production of Cavalli's tale of the shenanigans of the Roman gods and the mortals with whose lives they meddle.
A sex comedy based on an Ovid myth, the plot focuses on the complications and confusion that arises as the chief of the Gods, Giove, lusts for the virginal and naive Calisto.
Presented by Catherine Bott.
Nature/Satirino/Second Fury....Dominique Visse (countertenor)
Eternity/Giunone....Veronique Gens (soprano)
Destiny/Diana/First Fury....Monica Bacelli (mezzo-soprano)
Giove....Joao Fernandes (bass)
Mercurio....Markus Werba (baritone)
Calisto....Sally Matthews (soprano)
Endimione....Lawrence Zazzo (countertenor)
Linfea....Guy de Mey (tenor)
Pane....Ed Lyon (tenor)
Silvano....Clive Bayley (bass)
Monterverdi Continuo Ensemble
Members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Ivor Bolton (conductor).
  20081101 Mozart's Cosi fan tutte
Riccardo Muti conducts soprano Barbara Frittoli, mezzo Angelika Kirchschlager and bass Ildebrando D'Arcangelo in a performance of Mozart's comic opera, given in February at the Vienna State Opera - in the same city where the work was first performed in 1790.
The plot of what is regarded by many as the composer's greatest opera centres on Guglielmo and Ferrando, two army officers who claim to their colleagues that their wives will always be faithful to them.
However, their friend Don Alfonso bets otherwise, devising a plan to test the women's fidelity.
Presented by Suzy Klein.
Fiordiligi....Barbara Frittoli (soprano)
Dorabella....Angelika Kirchschlager (mezzo-soprano)
Guglielmo....Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (bass-baritone)
Ferrando....Francesco Meli (tenor)
Don Alfonso....Natale De Carolis (baritone)
Despina....Laura Tatulescu (soprano)
Vienna State Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Riccardo Muti (conductor).
  20081108 Handel's Partenope
Christian Curnyn makes his debut at the Coliseum, conducting a new ENO production of Handel's comic opera, updated by Christopher Alden to the time of the surrealists and starring Rosemary Joshua, Patricia Bardeon and Christian Rice.
Queen Partenope of Naples has four suitors: one, Eurimene, is actually Rosmira disguised as a man and trying to regain the affections of her ex, Arsace, now another Partenope suitor.
Another, Emilio, ends up declaring war when she refuses to marry him.
After many twists and turns, she ends up with a fourth claimant to her affections, while the ex-lovers are reunited.
Presented by Suzy Klein.
The broadcast includes interviews with the director and cast, plus insights from Handel expert Dr Donald Burrows.
Emilio....John Mark Ainsley (tenor)
Partenope....Rosemary Joshua (soprano)
Arsace....Christine Rice (mezzo-soprano)
Armindo....Iestyn Davies (countertenor)
Rosmira (Eurimene)....Patricia Bardon (mezzo-soprano)
Ormonte....James Gower (bass-baritone)
Nicholas Ansdell-Evans, Joseph McHardy (harpsichords)
David Newby (cello continuo)
David Miller (theorbo continuo)
Orchestra of English National Opera
Christian Curnyn (conductor).
  20081115 Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov
Live from London's Coliseum, Suzy Klein presents English National Opera's production of Mussorgsky's classic study of guilt and paranoia.
Bass Peter Rose takes the role of the Russian Czar in a performance of the original version with a new translation by David Lloyd-Jones.
Boris Godunov....Peter Rose (bass)
Prince Shuisky....John Graham-Hall (tenor)
Andrei Shchelkalov....David Stephenson (baritone)
Pimen....Brindley Sherratt (bass)
Grigory, later Dmitri the Pretender....Gregory Turay (tenor)
Innkeeper....Yvonne Howard (mezzo-soprano)
Varlaam....Jonathan Veira (bass-baritone)
Misail....Anton Rich (tenor)
Xenia....Sophie Bevan (soprano)
Fyodor....Ann Grevelius (mezzo-soprano)
Xenia's Nurse....Deborah Davison (mezzo-soprano)
Nikitch....James Gower (bass-baritone)
Mityukha....Paul Napier-Burrows (baritone)
Border Guard....Charles Johnston (bass)
Boyar-in-attendance....Philip Daggett (tenor)
Simpleton....Robert Murray (tenor)
Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera
Edward Gardner (conductor).
 Matilde Di Shabran20081122 Carlo Rizzi conducts Aleksandra Kurzak and Juan Diego Florez in Rossini's tragicomedy.
Rossini's Matilde di Shabran
Ivan Hewett introduces a performance of the first Royal Opera House production since 1854 of Rossini's tragicomedy, with Carlo Rizzi conducting soprano Aleksandra Kurzak alongside tenor Juan Diego Florez.
The plot centres on Corradino, who refers to himself as 'heart of iron', but who is actually a petty tyrant, misogynist and hypochondriac.
He becomes smitten by Mathilde, a charmer with a ready answer for everything, but has to fight obstacles in the form of love rival Edoardo and the evil Countess.
Matilde di Shabran....Aleksandra Kurzak (soprano)
Corradino....Juan Diego Florez (tenor)
Ginardo....Carlo Lepore (bass)
Aliprando....Marco Vinco (bass)
Isidoro....Alfonso Antoniozzi (baritone)
Edoardo....Vesselina Kasarova (mezzo-soprano)
Contessa d'Arco....Enkelejda Shkosa (mezzo-soprano)
Rodrigo....Bryan Secombe (bass)
Raimondo Lopez....Mark Beesley (bass)
Egoldo....Robert Anthony Gardiner (tenor)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Royal Opera Chorus
Carlo Rizzi (conductor).
 Humperdinck: Hansel Und Gretel20081216 In a performance from the Royal Opera House, Colin Davis conducts Humperdinck's fairytale opera with a cast that includes mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirschlager as Hansel and soprano Diana Damrau as Gretel.
In this classic story from the Brothers Grimm, two children get lost in a forest after dark and are charmed by the witch to enter her magical gingerbread house.
The children are ensnared but manage to defeat the witch, and in a rousing happy ending they are returned home and reunited with their parents.
Suzy Klein is joined by German music specialist John Deathridge before the start and during the interval to give a guide to the music.
With additional insights from members of the cast.
Hansel....Angelika Kirchschlager (mezzo-soprano)
  • colin davis (conductor)
  • dew fairy and echo....anita watson (soprano)
  • echo....eri nakamura, simona mihai (sopranos)
  • gertrud....elizabeth connell (soprano)
  • gretel....diana damrau (soprano)
  • orchestra of the royal opera house
  • peter....thomas allen (baritone)
  • sandman and....pumeza matshikiza (soprano)
  • tiffin boys' choir
  • tiffin children's chorus
  • witch....anja silja (soprano)
  •  Puccini: La Fanciulla Del West20081227 Puccini's La fanciulla del West in a production by the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    The cloudy mountains of Wild West California at the height of the Gold Rush form the setting for La Fanciulla del West, the most vivdly cinematic of Puccini's operas.
    Its characters come from the ends of the earth to the Polka Saloon, where they gather to drink, gamble, gossip and fight.
    The mining camp is full of men, with just one woman, the owner of the saloon, Minnie.
    She is a scripture-reading innocent, admired and respected by everybody.
    Into this environment comes Dick Johnson, in reality Ramirez, a bandit on the run.
    Despite her better instincts, Minnie falls for him, much to the annoyance of Jack Rance the sheriff, who fancies Minnie himself.
    Rance hunts Johnson down and is about to have him lynched, when Minnie finds a way to save him.
    Presented by Martin Handley, with guest Alexandra Wilson.
    Minnie....Eva-Maria Westbroek (soprano)
  • antonio pappano (conductor)
  • ashby....eric halfvarson (bass)
  • bello....kostas smoriginas (bass-baritone)
  • billy jackrabbit....graeme danby (bass)
  • chorus and orchestra of the royal opera house, covent garden
  • dick johnson....jose cura (tenor)
  • happy....quentin hayes (bass)
  • harry....robert murray (tenor)
  • jack rance....silvano carroli (baritone)
  • jake wallace....vuyani mline (bass)
  • joe....harry nicoll (tenor)
  • jose castro....jeremy white (bass)
  • larkens....andrew foster-williams (baritone)
  • nick....bonaventura bottone (tenor)
  • sid....adrian clarke (baritone)
  • sonora....daniel sutin (baritone)
  • trin....hubert francis (tenor)
  • wowkle....clare shearer (soprano)
  •  John Adams's Doctor Atomic20090117 In a performance given in November 2008 at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, Alan Gilbert conducts John Adams's opera, treating the subject of the atomic bomb, which is the latest in a series of works dealing with resonant moments in 20th-Century history.
    Bass-baritone Gerald Finley portrays Robert J Oppenheimer, the highly cultivated scientific genius whose profound humanism is at odds with his role as the head of the project to create a weapon of unprecedented destructive force.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait.
    Edward Teller....Richard Paul Fink (bass-baritone)
  • alan gilbert (conductor).
    alan gilbert conducts gerald finley in an opera about the creation of the atomic bomb
  • captain james nolan....roger honeywell (tenor)
  • chorus and orchestra of the metropolitan opera house, new york
  • frank hubbard....earle patriarco (baritone)
  • general leslie groves....eric owens (bass)
  • j robert oppenheimer....gerald finley (bass-baritone)
  • kitty oppenheimer....sasha cooke (mezzo-soprano)
  • pasqualita....meredith arwady (mezzo-soprano)
  • robert wilson....thomas glenn (tenor)
  •  Skin Deep20090502 David Sawer and Armando Iannucci's satirical opera about society's obsession with staying young and beautiful.
    Richard Farnes conducts and Richard Jones directs an Opera North production from the Grand Theatre in Leeds.
    It is set in the clinic of cosmetic surgery genius Doktor Needlemeier, who has a dark secret - he's concocting an elixir of youth.
    All he needs to perfect it is a contribution from Hollywood star Luke Pollock - but when Luke leaves the clinic only half the man he was, questions are asked and Needlemeier flees to California.
  • donna (his receptionist)....heather shipp (mezzo-soprano)
  • donnalike....sarah blood (soprano)
  • dr needlemeier....geoffrey dolton (baritone)
  • elsa (his daughter)....amy freston (soprano)
  • lania (his wife)....janis kelly (soprano)
  • luke pollock (a hollywood actor)....mark stone (bass-baritone)
  • opera north chorus
  • orchestra of opera north
  • patient....gillene herbert (soprano)
  • richard farnes (conductor)
  • robert (a villager)....andrew tortise (tenor)
  • robertalike 2....trevor bowes (bass)
  • robertalike1....nicholas butterfield (bass)
  • susannah dangerfield (a reporter)....gwendoline christie.
  •  Offenbach's Les Contes D'hoffman20090516 Launching a season from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Donald Macleod introduces a revival of the production by film director John Schlesinger, which was first seen in the UK in 1980 in commemoration of the centenary both of Offenbach's death and the premiere of the opera in Paris.
    Tenor Rolando Villazon returns to perform the central role of the drunken poet Hoffmann who, as he becomes more and more intoxicated, promises to tell his fellow-drinkers the stories of a trio of enchantresses who shared his life between them, one in each act of the opera.
    Hoffmann....Rolando Villazon (tenor)
    The Muse/Nicklausse....Kristine Jepson (mezzo-soprano)
    Lindorf/Coppelius/Dappertutto/Dr Miracle....Gidon Saks (bass-baritone)
    Olympia....Ekaterina Lekhina (soprano)
    Giulietta....Christine Rice (mezzo-soprano)
    Antonia....Katie Van Kooten (soprano)
    Spirit of Antonia's mother....Gaynor Keeble (mezzo-soprano)
    Crespel....Matthew Rose (bass)
    Andres/Cochenille/Pittichinaccio/Frantz....Graham Clark (tenor)
    Luther....Lynton Black (bass)
    Spalanzani....Robin Leggate (tenor)
    Schlemil....Kostas Smoriginas
    Stella....Olga Sabadoch
    Students....Changhan Lim (baritone), Ji-Min Park (tenor)
    Royal Opera Chorus
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Antonio Pappano (conductor).
    Presented by Donald Macleod.
    Tenor Rolando Villazon stars as Hoffman, a drunken poet.
     Opera On 3 From The Royal Opera House, Korngold's Die Tote Stadt20090523 In a performance from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, American tenor Stephen Gould and German soprano Nadja Michael take on the two central roles in the UK premiere of the staged version of Korngold's opera, completed when the composer was still only in his early 20s.
    It tells the story of Paul's relationship with two women - his recently deceased wife Marie and the young actress Marietta.
    They bear a striking resemblance to each other and they begin to merge in Paul's mind.
    But what is real and what is fantasy?
    Presented by Christopher Cook with guest Erik Levi.
    Korngold: Die tote Stadt
    Paul....Stephen Gould (tenor)
    Marie/Marietta....Nadja Michael (soprano)
    Frank/Fritz....Gerald Finley (bass-baritone)
    Brigitta....Kathleen Wilkinson (mezzo-soprano
    Gastone/Victorin....Bernard Richter (tenor)
    Juliette....Simona Mihai (soprano)
    Lucienne....Jurgita Adamonyte (mezzo-soprano)
    Graf Albert....Ji-Min Park (tenor)
    Royal Opera Chorus
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Ingo Metzmacher (conductor).
    Christopher Cook introduces the UK stage premiere of Korngold's opera.
    Brigitta....Kathleen Wilkinson (mezzo-soprano).
     Opera On 3 From The Royal Opera House, Wagner's Der Fliegende Hollander20090530 Radio 3's series of operas from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, continues with Marc Albrecht conducting Tim Albery's new production of Wagner's Der fliegende Hollander, with bass-baritone Bryn Terfel in the title role and soprano Anja Kampe as Senta.
    Wagner based his great Romantic opera on Heinrich Heine's story about a Dutch sea captain compelled, as punishment for a blasphemous oath, to sail the oceans for ever unless he's redeemed by the love of a faithful woman.
    For a while it seems that Senta might be that redeeming angel, but after a misunderstanding the Dutchman is disillusioned once more, and returns to the sea, consigning himself to his fate.
    Presented by Martin Handley.
    Wagner: Der Fliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman)
    Der Hollander....Bryn Terfel (bass-baritone)
    Senta....Anja Kampe (soprano)
    Daland....Hans-Peter Konig (bass)
    Erik....Torsten Kerl (tenor)
    Mary.
     Opera On 3 From The Royal Opera House, Bellini's I Capuleti E I Montecchi20090606 In a performance from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Mark Elder conducts Russian soprano Anna Netrebko and Latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca in Bellini's setting of Romeo and Juliet.
    It was radically different from the Shakespeare original, featuring two rival political factions instead of families, no balcony scene as well as the role of Romeo written for a woman.
    Presented by Donald Macleod with opera historian Sarah Lenton.
    Romeo....Elina Garanca (mezzo-soprano)
    Giulietta....Anna Netrebko (soprano)
    Tebaldo....Dario Schmunck (tenor)
    Capellio....Eric Owens (bass-baritone)
    Lorenzo....Giovanni Battista Parodi (bass)
    The Royal Opera Chorus
    The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Mark Elder (conductor).
    Mark Elder conducts soprano Anna Netrebko in Bellini's setting of Romeo and Juliet.
     Opera On 3 From The Royal Opera House, Strauss' Elektra 20090613 Presented by Andrew McGregor.
    In a performance from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Mark Elder conducts soprano Susan Bullock in a highly-praised production of Strauss' one-act opera Elektra.
    Bullock won an RPS award for her performance in the title role, while Elder was also feted for his work.
    The opera tells the bloody story of Elektra and her dysfunctional family.
    She has sworn vengeance for the murder of her father, King Agamemnon, by her mother, Klytemnestra, and she eventually achieves this, but at the cost of several lives including, finally, her own.
    Elektra....Susan Bullock (soprano)
    Chrysothemis....Anne Schwanewilms (soprano)
    Klytemnestra....Jane Henschel (mezzo-soprano)
    Orest....Johan Reuter (baritone)
    Overseer....Miriam Murphy (soprano)
    First Maid....Frances McCafferty (mezzo-soprano)
    Second Maid....Monika-Evelin Liiv (mezzo-soprano)
    Third Maid....Kathleen Wilkinson (mezzo-soprano)
    Fourth Maid....Elizabeth Woollett (soprano)
    Fifth Maid....Eri Nakamura (soprano)
    Confidante....Louise Armit (mezzo-soprano)
    Trainbearer....Dervla Ramsay (mezzo-soprano)
    Young Servant....Alfie Boe (tenor)
    Old Servant....Jeremy White (bass)
    Orest's companion....Vuyani Mlinde (bass)
    Aegisth....Frank van Aken (tenor)
    The Royal Opera Chorus
    The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Mark Elder (conductor).
    Susan Bullock stars in a production of Strauss' opera, from the Royal Opera House.
     Opera On 3 From The Royal Opera House, Purcell's Dido And Aeneas/handel's Acis And Galatea 20090620 Louise Fryer presents a performance from the Royal Opera House, London, as resident choreographer Wayne Mcgregor's stages a double bill featuring two great English Baroque masterpieces - Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, and Handel's Acis and Galatea.
    The programme forms part of the celebrations of the 350th anniversary of Henry Purcell's birth and the 250th anniversary of George Frederic Handel's death, as the ROH and the Royal Ballet join forces to couple Dido and Aeneas with Acis and Galatea, two classical tragedies of love and death.
    British mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly takes on the role of the doomed Queen of Carthage as she succumbs to the tragic fate of an unrequited love, while American soprano Danielle de Niese sings -and dances - as she becomes Galatea, the semi-godess who uses her powers to make love eternal.
    Purcell: Dido and Aeneas
    Dido....Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)
    Belinda....Lucy Crowe (soprano)
    Aeneas....Lucas Meacham (baritone)
    Second Woman....Anita Watson (soprano)
    Sorceress....Sara Fulgoni (mezzo-soprano)
    First Witch....Eri Nakamura
    Second Witch....Pumeza Matshikiza (soprano)
    Spirit....Iestyn Davies (countertenor)
    Sailor....Ji-Min Park (tenor)
    Handel: Acis and Galatea
    Acis....Charles Workman (baritone)
    Galatea....Danielle de Niese (soprano)
    Damon....Paul Agnew (tenor)
    Coridon....Ji-Min Park (tenor)
    Polyphemus....Matthew Rose (bass)
    Chorus Soprano soloist....Juliet Schiemann
    Chorus tenor soloist....Philip Bell
    The Royal Opera Extra Chorus
    The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
    Christopher Hogwood (conductor).
    Louise Fryer presents Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, and Handel's Acis and Galatea.
     Opera On 3 From The Royal Opera House, Wagner's Lohengrin 20090627 From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Donald Macleod introduces a performance of Wagner's Lohengrin, starring South African tenor Johan Botha, with soprano Edith Haller as Elsa.
    It is a work which marked a turning point in Wagner's output and paved the way for the quartet of Ring operas that were to come.
    In it he wrote four challenging roles that have tested singers (and conductors) since the work's first performance in 1850.
    Lohengrin has been Elsa's champion in a duel but has sworn her to secrecy about his origins.
    She must never ask his name or where he comes from.
    Not unnaturally she finds this promise impossible to keep and so he has to leave, though not before revealing to one and all that he is, in fact, a knight of the holy grail with a sacred mission.
    Having imparted this information he leaves as he arrived, in a boat drawn by a swan.
    Donald is joined by one of the world's leading Wagner experts, John Deathridge, to help to explain Lohengrin's significance and its very special place in Wagner's output.
    Wagner: Lohengrin
    Lohengrin....Johan Botha (tenor)
    Elsa von Brabant....Edith Haller (soprano)
    Friederich von Telramund....Falk Struckmann (bass)
    Ortrud....Petra Lang (mezzo-soprano)
    Heinrich I....Kwangchul Youn (baritone)
    Herald....Boaz Daniel (baritone)
    Nobles of Brabant....Haoyin Xue, Ji-Min Park (tenors), Kostas Smoriginas (bass-baritone), Vuyani Mlinde (bass)
    Four pages....Anne Osborne, Deborah Peake Jones (sopranos), Louise Armit, Kate McCarney (mezzo-sopranos)
    The Royal Opera Chorus
    The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Semyon Bychkov (conductor).
    Donald Macleod presents a performance of Wagner's Lohengrin, starring tenor Johan Botha.
     Opera On 3 From The Royal Opera House, Berg's Lulu 20090704 Concluding a season from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, is a performance of Alban Berg's Lulu, in which director Christof Loy throws light on the dark psychological corners of a disturbing tale.
    Its score - with its wide scope and ambition - is just one element that has given Lulu its place as one of the acknowledged masterpieces of 20th-century opera.
    Agneta Eichenholz plays the title role in a tragic story about a woman who destroys all who come within her orbit.
    Lulu's journey takes her from society darling of the glittering salons of Vienna and Paris, to the pitiful squalor of prostitution in East End London, the victim of Jack the Ripper.
    Presented by Suzy Klein in conversation with novelist Philip Hensher.
    Berg: Lulu
    Lulu....Agneta Eichenholz (soprano)
    Dr Schon/Jack the Ripper....Michael Volle (baritone)
    Countess Geschwitz....Jennifer Larmore (mezzo-soprano)
    Animal Trainer/Athlete....Peter Rose (bass)
    Alwa....Klaus Florian Vogt (tenor)
    Schigolch....Gwynne Howell (bass)
    Prince/Manservant/Marquis....Philip Langridge (tenor)
    Painter/Policeman/Negro....Will Hartmann (tenor)
    Prof of Medicine/Theatre Manager/Banker....Jeremy White (bass)
    Dresser/Schoolboy/Groom....Heather Shipp (mezzo-soprano)
    Journalist....Kostas Smoriginas (bass-baritone)
    Manservant....Vuyani Mlinde (bass)
    Lady Artist....Monika-Evelin Liiv (mezzo-soprano)
    Mother....Frances McCafferty (mezzo-soprano)
    15-year-old girl....Simona Mihai (soprano)
    The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Antonio Pappano (conductor).
    Antonio Pappano conducts Berg's tragic opera Lulu, starring soprano Agneta Eichenholz.
     Britten's Peter Grimes 20090711 The final offering from Opera on 3 before the Proms, this English National Opera Peter Grimes was the hot ticket of the season.
    Sold out for its entire run, David Alden's production wowed critics and audiences alike with its unconventional but powerful take on Britten's music drama, set at the time of its premiere - postwar Britain.
    The cast that inspired this adulation included Amanda Roocroft as Ellen Orford, Gerald Finley as Captain Balstrode and Australian tenor Stuart Skelton in the epic title role - a compelling interpretation of the misunderstood outsider, victim of his own weaknesses and contradictions, at once unstable and unpredictable, visionary and violent.
    Edward Gardiner conducts an orchestra and chorus on top form in an unforgettable operatic experience.
    Presented by Martin Handley.
    Peter Grimes....Stuart Skelton (tenor)
    Ellen Orford....Amanda Roocroft (soprano)
    Captain Balstrode....Gerald Finley (bass-baritone)
    Auntie....Rebecca de Pont Davies (soprano)
    First niece....Gillian Ramm (soprano)
    Second niece....Mairéad Buicke (soprano)
    Bob Boles....Michael Colvin (tenor)
    Swallow....Matthew Best (bass)
    Mrs Sedley....Felicity Palmer (mezzo)
    Rev Horace....Stuart Kale (tenor)
    Ned Keene....Leigh Melrose (baritone)
    Hobson....Darren Jeffery (bass)
    English National Opera Chorus and Orchestra
    Edward Gardner (conductor).
    David Alden's ENO production of Peter Grimes with Stuart Skelton in the title role.
     Verdi's Macbeth 20090919 Presented by Donald Macleod.
    In a performance given in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, as part of the 2009 International Festival, David Robertson conducts the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in a concert version of Verdi's dramatic setting of Shakespeare's play Macbeth.
    Verdi's four-act opera was originally composed in 1847, but this performance is of the more commonly-heard 1865 version.
    It was the first manifestation of the composer's lifelong inspiration from the Bard.
    Georgian baritone Lado Ataneli sings the title role, alongside American soprano Susan Neves as his scheming wife.
    Macbeth....Lado Ataneli (baritone)
    Lady Macbeth....Susan Neves (soprano)
    Banquo....John Relyea (bass)
    Macduff....Vsevolod Grivnov (tenor)
    Lady-in-Waiting....Katherine Broderick (soprano)
    Malcolm....Nicholas Phan (tenor)
    Doctor/Servant....Vuyani Mlinde (bass)
    Murderer/Herald/Apparition....Wade Kernot (bass)
    Two Apparitions....Michael Yeoman and Niall Docherty
    Edinburgh Festival Chorus
    BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
    David Robertson (conductor).
    BBC SSO under David Robertson in a concert performance of Verdi's setting of Macbeth.
     Gershwin's Let 'em Eat Cake 20090926 Presented by Donald Macleod.
    In a performance from the Grand Theatre in Leeds, Wyn Davies conducts the British premiere of George and Ira Gershwin's 1933 Broadway hit musical Let 'em Eat Cake - the sequel to his more popular Of Thee I Sing.
    Like its follow-up, Let 'em Eat Cake was based on a book by George S Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, and had the same producer, writers and stars in its original Broadway incarnation.
    Its tone is much darker, though, and the issues are more complex - including ironic references to Fascism.
    However, Gershwin himself believed the piece contained some of his best music, and thought it to be his greatest achievment to date - although it never received the plaudits he thought it deserved.
    It centres on US President John P Wintergreen, who after serving four years seeks re-election, only to find voters do not fall for his slogans and his 1930s spin.
    He loses the election by a landslide, but under the new regime, the political and economic situation spirals completely out of control.
    Soon, Wintergreen leads a blue-shirted revolution to victory, and the US is under the control of a new, albeit tried and tested, dictator.
    This production by Opera North is directed by Caroline Gawn, with choreography by Caroline Pope.
    Wintergreen....William Dazeley (bass)
    Mary (his wife)....Rebecca Moon (soprano)
    Throttlebottom....Steven Beard (tenor)
    Louis Lipman....Nicholas Sharratt (tenor)
    Francis X Gilhooly/Uncle William....Martin Hyder (baritone)
    Matthew Arnold Fulton....Rob Edwards (baritone)
    Carver Jones....Richard Morris (baritone)
    Senator Robert E Lyons....Graham Howes (baritone)
    Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North
    Wyn Davies (conductor).
    Wyn Davies conducts the British premiere of George and Ira Gershwin's Broadway musical.
     Dvorak's Rusalka20091003 Presented by Louise Fryer.
    In a performance given at 2009's Glyndebourne Festival, Jiri Belohlavek conducts a production of Rusalka, Dvorak's best-known opera.
    It's the first time in its history that the famous festival has staged this tale, loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, but translated into a Czech idiom.
    Rusalka, a water nymph, lives in a pool in a dark and brooding forest.
    She's doomed not only to lose her lover but to live forever as a will-o-the-wisp tempting other men to their deaths.
    This critically-praised production is directed by Melly Still, making her operatic debut, with Anna Maria Martinez as Rusalka and American tenor Brandon Jovanovich as the prince she falls in love with.
    Rusalka....Ana Maria Martinez (soprano)
    Prince....Brandon Jovanovich (tenor)
    Vodnik....Mischa Schelomianski (bass)
    Jezibaba....LarisSa Diadkova (mezzo-soprano)
    First Wood Nymph....Natasha Jouhl (soprano)
    Second Wood Nymph....Barbara Senator (mezzo-soprano)
    Third Wood Nymph....Elodie Mechain (contralto)
    Hunter....John Mackenzie (tenor)
    Gamekeeper....Alasdair Elliott (tenor)
    Kitchen Girl....Diana Axentii (mezzo-soprano)
    Foreign Princess....Tatiana Pavlovskaya (soprano)
    London Philharmonic Orchestra
    The Glyndebourne Chorus
    Jiri Belohlavek (conductor).
    Jiri Belohlavek conducts the 2009 Glyndebourne production of Dvorak's Rusalka.
     Rossini's Barbiere Di Siviglia (the Barber Of Seville)20091010 From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Donald Macleod presents Rossini's comic opera Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
    Artistic director Antonio Pappano conducts a cast including Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez as the Count, Italian baritone Pietro Spagnoli as the resourceful barber and American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato as the young maiden Rosina.
    This is a revival of the critically acclaimed production by French directors Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier.
    Figaro....Pietro Spagnoli (bass)
    Count Almaviva....Juan Diego Florez (tenor)
    Rosina....Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano)
    Dr Bartolo....Alessandro Corbelli (baritone)
    Don Basilio....Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass)
    Berta....Jennifer Rhys-Davies (soprano)
    Fiorello....Changhn Lim (baritone)
    Ambrogio....Bryan Secombe (bass)
    Officer....Christopher Lachner (baritone)
    Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    Antonio Pappano (conductor).
    Rossini's Barbiere di Siviglia from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
     Verdi's Don Carlo20091017 From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    Presented by Donald Macleod.
    Semyon Bychkov conducts the first revival of Nicholas Hytner's Royal Opera production of Verdi's grandest opera, first heard in 2008.
    When Don Carlo of Spain surreptitiously contrives to meet his fiancee Elizabeth of France in the forest of Fontainebleau, he is enraptured, and the pair are thrilled at the idea of spending their lives together.
    But it is not to be - as part of a new peace treaty, Elizabeth is suddenly forced to marry Carlo's father, the severe old Spanish King, Philip II.
    Carlo is devastated, and searches for a new role as liberator of Flanders.
    The title role is taken by one of today's most admired tenors, Jonas Kaufmann, with Marina Poplavskaya as Elizabeth of Valois, and Ferruccio Furlanetto as Philip II of Spain.
    Around this tragic central triangle is a wider confrontation between authoritarian religion, represented by John Tomlinson's Grand Inquisitor, and political liberation, represented by Carlo's closest friend, the Marquis of Posa, sung by Simon Keenlyside.
    Verdi: Don Carlo
    Don Carlos....Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
    Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa....Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
    Elizabeth of Valois....Marina Poplavskaya (soprano)
    Philip II....Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass)
    Princess Eboli....Marianne Cornetti (mezzo-soprano)
    Grand Inquisitor....John Tomlinson (bass)
    Count of Lerma....Robert Anthony Gardiner (tenor)
    Carlos V....Robert Lloyd (bass)
    Flemish Deputies....Daniel Grice, Dawid Kimberg, Changhan Lim, David Stout, John Cunningham (baritones), with Lukas Jokobski (bass)
    Voice from Heaven....Eri Nakamura (soprano)
    Royal Opera Chorus
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Semyon Bychkov (conductor).
    The first revival of Nicholas Hytner's Royal Opera production of Verdi's grandest opera.
     Bizet's Carmen20091024 From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    Louise Fryer presents a recent revival of Francesca Zambello's colourful Royal Opera House production of Bizet's Carmen, a work which is one of the most popular of all time and which has been called 'the perfect opera'.
    Frenchman Bertrand de Billy, a celebrated conductor of Carmen, leads Latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca in the title role alongside Sicilian/French tenor Roberto Alagna, for whom Don Jose has long been a special role.
    Bizet: Carmen
    Carmen....Elina Garanca (mezzo-soprano)
    Don Jose....Roberto Alagna (tenor)
    Escamillo....Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (bass)
    Micaela....Liping Zhang (soprano)
    Morales....Changhan Lim (baritone)
    Zuniga....Henry Waddington (bass)
    Frasquita....Eri Nakamura (soprano)
    Mercedes....Louise Innes (mezzo-soprano)
    Le Dancaire....Adrian Clarke (baritone)
    Le Remendado....Vincent Ordonneau (tenor)
    Royal Opera Chorus
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    Bertrand de Billy (conductor).
    Louise Fryer presents Bizet's Carmen, in a production from the Royal Opera House.
     Wagner's Tristan Und Isolde 20091031 From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    Covent Garden artistic director Antonio Pappano conducts a performance of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, arguably one of the most influential and heartbreaking operas ever written.
    The starry cast includes two of the leading Wagnerian singers of today - Canadian tenor Ben Heppner and Swedish soprano Nina Stemme, as they take on the title roles of the tragic lovers.
    Presented by Martin Handley with comments from Wagnerian John Deathridge.
    Wagner: Tristan und Isolde
    Tristan....Ben Heppner (tenor)
    King Marke....Matti Salminen (bass)
    Isolde....Nina Stemme (soprano)
    Kurwenal....Michael Volle (baritone)
    Brangane....Sophie Koch (mezzo-soprano)
    Melot....Richard Berkeley Steele (baritone)
    Sailor....Ji-Min Park (tenor)
    Steersman....Dawid Kimberg (baritone)
    Shepherd....Ryland Davies (tenor)
    Royal Opera Chorus
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Antonio Pappano (conductor).
    Antonio Pappano conducts tenor Ben Heppner and soprano Nina Stemme as the tragic lovers.
     Britten's The Turn Of The Screw20091107 From the London Coliseum.
    Presented by Martin Handley.
    Based on Henry James's creepy ghost story, Britten's disturbing chamber opera explores themes of sexual repression and the corruption of innocence.
    Charles Mackerras, who knew and worked closely with Britten, and has performed this eerie and ambiguous masterpiece for more than 50 years, conducts David McVicar's celebrated English National Opera production from the London Coliseum.
    6.15pm
    Martin Handley in conversation with award-winning documentary maker and author John Bridcut.
    6.30pm
    The Turn of the Screw - Act 1
    7.25pm
    Martin Handley and John Bridcut further explore the themes and composition of the opera, and Valentine Cunningham looks at Henry James's novella, the literary inspiration behind Britten's music.
    7.50pm
    The Turn of the Screw - Act 2
    Prologue/Peter Quint....Michael Colvin (tenor)
    Governess....Rebecca Evans (soprano)
    Mrs Grose....Anne Murray (mezzo-soprano)
    Miss Jessel....Cheryl Barker (soprano)
    Miles....Charlie Manton (treble)
    Flora....Nazan Fikret (soprano)
    Members of the ENO Orchestra
    Charles Mackerras (conductor).
    From the London Coliseum, Charles Mackerras conducts ENO's production of Britten's opera.
     Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre 20091114 Presented by Ivan Hewett.
    In a performance given at Le Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Leo Hussain conducts Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre with an international cast in a production by innovative Catalan theatre company La Fura dels Baus.
    Ligeti's anarchic opera centres on a set of 'stock' characters, including a pair of young lovers, a cuckolded husband and domineering wife, a drunk, a pair of corrupt politicians and a corpulent prince.
    They live in a timeless dystopian 'Breughelland', visited by Death who promises the end of world but, though drink and incompetence, fails to deliver.
    6.00pm
    Ivan Hewett introduces Ligeti's 'anti-anti-opera' - as the composer himself called it - with the help of Ligeti's biographer Richard Steinitz.
    6.10pm
    Le Grand Macabre: Scenes 1 and 2
    6.55pm
    Richard Steinitz reveals more about the hidden depths and difficult gestation of this remarkable piece of theatre.
    7.10pm
    Le Grand Macabre: Scenes 3 and 4
    Piet the Pot....Chris Merritt (tenor)
    Amando....Frances Bourne (mezzo-soprano)
    Amanda....Ilse Eerens (soprano)
    Nekrotzar....Werner Van Mechelen (baritone)
    Astradamors....Frode Olsen (bass)
    Mescalina....Ning Liang (mezzo-soprano)
    Venus....Barbara Hannigan (soprano)
    Prince Go-Go....Brian Asawa (countertenor)
    Ruffiak....Bernard Villiers (baritone)
    Schobiack....Gerard Lavalle (baritone)
    Schabernack....Jacques Does (baritone)
    White Minister....Eberhard Lorenz (actor)
    Black Minister....Martin Winkler (actor)
    Gepopo/Chief of Secret Police....Barbara Hannigan (soprano)
    La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
    Leo Hussain (conductor)
    Contains strong language.
    Ligeti's 'nearly apocalyptic' blackly comic opera.
     Massenet's Werther 20091121 Presented by Donald Macleod.
    In a new Opera North production directed by Tom Cairns, Richard Farnes conducts tenor Paul Nilon and mezzo-soprano Alice Coote in Massenet's four-act opera Werther.
    The work was written after the composer read Goethe's novel The Sorrows of the Young Werther while in Bayreuth to hear Wagner's Parsifal.
    While initially seen as too gloomy for audiences, it is now perhaps Massenet's most popular opera, giving an insight into the deep recesses of the human psyche although on the surface appearing to be a straightforward tale of love and death.
    It tells the story of impossible love between Werther, a passionate young poet, and Charlotte, the eldest daughter of a local family.
    She has promised her dying mother that she would marry another man and, although his love for her is reciprocated, it becomes impossible after she marries.
    Ultimately, Werther's obsession leads him to take his own life, destroying those of Charlotte and her family.
    Werther....Paul Nilon (tenor)
    Charlotte....Alice Coote (mezzo-soprano)
    Sophie....Fflur Wyn (soprano)
    Albert....Peter Savidge (baritone)
    The Magistrate....Donald Maxwell (bass)
    Johann....Richard Burkhard
    Schmidt....Joshua Ellicott
    Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North
    Richard Farnes (conductor).
    Richard Farnes conducts an Opera North production of Massenet's opera Werther.
     Peter Maxwell Davies: Taverner 20091128 With a performance from City Halls, Glasgow's mini-festival celebrating Peter Maxwell Davies' 75th birthday comes to an end with a concert performance of his iconic morality opera Taverner.
    This production brings together the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, a cast featuring the best of British vocal talent and combined choirs.
    Begun in 1956 and premiered in 1972, it is considered by many to be one of the composer's greatest creations.
    It is based on episodes from the life and times of the English Tudor composer and recounts John Taverner's religious and personal journey from believer to persecutor.
    Presented by Tom Service with contributions from the composer and performers, and commentary from Ian McQueen.
    Peter Maxwell Davies: Taverner
    John Taverner....Daniel Norman (tenor)
    Richard Taverner....Richard Angas (bass)
    Cardinal/Archbishop....Martyn Hill (tenor)
    King/Archangel Michael/Captain....Stephen Richardson (bass)
    Jester/Death....David Wilson-Johnson (bass)
    White Abbot....Roderick Williams (bass)
    Priest/God....Andrew Watts (countertenor)
    Boys....Michael Yeoman, Alasdair Robertson (trebles)
    Antichrist/Second Monk....Stephen Jeffes (spoken/tenor)
    Archangel Gabriel/First Monk....Christopher Bowen (tenor)
    Rose/Virgin Mary....Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano)
    BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
    Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama Chamber Choir
    University of Glasgow Chapel Choir
    Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus
    Martyn Brabbins (conductor).
    Martyn Brabbins conducts the BBC SSO and tenor Daniel Norman in Maxwell Davies's Taverner.
     Tchaikovsky's The Tsarina's Slippers 20091205 Presented by Martin Handley.
    A rare chance to hear Tchaikovsky's only comic opera, his Christmas story The Tsarina's Slippers (Cherevichki), performed for the first time at London's Royal Opera House in a new production by director Francesca Zambello and choreographer Alastair Marriott.
    Inspired by one of Nikolai Gogol's most famous short tales, Christmas Eve, the opera is a mix of village comedy and fairy-tale fantasy.
    The beautiful Oxana will only marry her besotted blacksmith Vakula if he finds the Tsarina's little leather slippers for her.
    The desperate Vakula finally uses the Devil to help him fulfil his beloved's wish.
    There is much devilry, mistaken identity, hiding of lovers and drunken villagers along the way.
    Written in 1885, the opera is a revision of one Tchaikovsky had written 10 years earlier, Vakula the Smith, with which he had won a competition set by the Russian Music Society.
    However, his first attempt at setting this story never won the public's favour and in 1885 he took up the score again, made revisions and changed the title to Cherevichki.
    The music ranges from popular dances and Christmas carols to deeply moving lyrical scenes such as Vakula's despairing monologue in Act III.
    Solokha (a witch)....LarisSa Diadkova (mezzo-soprano)
    The Devil....Maxim Mikhailov (bass)
    Chub (an elderly Cossack)....Vladimir Matorin (bass)
    Panas (Chub's friend)....John Upperton (tenor)
    Oxana....Olga Guryakova (soprano)
    Vakula....Vsevolod Grivnov (tenor)
    Pan Golova (The Mayor)....Alexander Vassiliev (baritone)
    The Schoolmaster....Vyacheslav Voynarovskiy (tenor)
    Wood Goblin....Changhan Lim (baritone)
    Echo....Andrew Macnair (tenor)
    His Highness....Sergei Leiferkus (bass)
    Master of Ceremonies....Jeremy White (bass)
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Royal Opera Chorus
    Alexander Polianichko (conductor).
    Martin Handley presents a rare performance of Tchaikovsky's only comic opera.
     Gershwin's Porgy And Bess20100123 Porgy and Bess isn't a work one would associate with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, who has been in the forefront of the period instrument movement for almost 50 years. But in recent years his repertoire has moved into the 19th and 20th centuries. Last July at his own Styriarte Festival in Graz, Austria fulfilled a long held desire to conduct Gershwin's opera and this recording was made then. Harnoncourt is adamant that Porgy is an opera not a musical and in his performances has adopted many of the cuts Gershwin himself made during the initial run of the opera.
    Presented by Suzy Klein.
    Porgy: Jonathan Lemalu (bass-baritone)
    Bess: Isabelle Kabatu (soprano)
    Serena: Angela Renée Simpson (soprano)
    Sportin' Life: Michael Forest (tenor)
    Crown: Gregg Baker (baritone)
    Clara: Bibiana Nwobilo (soprano)
    Maria: Roberta Alexander (soprano)
    Jake: Rodney Clarke (baritone)
    Mingo/Robbins/Peter/Honeyman and Crab-man: Previn Moore (tenor)
    The Arnold Schoenberg Chorus
    The Chamber Orchestra of Europe
    conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
     Gershwin's Porgy And Bess 20100123 Porgy and Bess isn't a work one would associate with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, who has been in the forefront of the period instrument movement for almost 50 years.
    But in recent years his repertoire has moved into the 19th and 20th centuries.
    Last July at his own Styriarte Festival in Graz, Austria fulfilled a long held desire to conduct Gershwin's opera and this recording was made then.
    Harnoncourt is adamant that Porgy is an opera not a musical and in his performances has adopted many of the cuts Gershwin himself made during the initial run of the opera.
    Presented by Suzy Klein.
    Porgy: Jonathan Lemalu (bass-baritone)
    Bess: Isabelle Kabatu (soprano)
    Serena: Angela Renée Simpson (soprano)
    Sportin' Life: Michael Forest (tenor)
    Crown: Gregg Baker (baritone)
    Clara: Bibiana Nwobilo (soprano)
    Maria: Roberta Alexander (soprano)
    Jake: Rodney Clarke (baritone)
    Mingo/Robbins/Peter/Honeyman and Crab-man: Previn Moore (tenor)
    The Arnold Schoenberg Chorus
    The Chamber Orchestra of Europe
    conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
    Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts Jonathan Lemalu in Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess.
     Live From The Met, Donizetti's La Fille Du Regiment20100213 In tonight's Live from the Met Diana Damrau stars as Marie, the daughter of the 21st regiment of the French army.
    She's in love with Tonio, but won't marry him because he's not in the regiment, so the only option is for him to enlist.
    Meanwhile, Marie's long-lost mother has other plans for her romantic future.
    Donizetti's La Fille du Régiment combines comedy with some famously virtuosic vocal writing, including Tonio's aria which includes no fewer than nine top C's, sung tonight by Juan Diego Flórez.
    And the production includes Kiri Te Kanawa in the speaking role of the Duchess of Krakenthorp.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Marie: Diana Damrau (soprano)
    Tonio: Juan Diego Flórez (tenor)
    Marquise de Berkenfeld: Meredith Arwady (contralto)
    Sulpice PIngot: Maurizio Muraro (bass)
    Hortensius: Donald Maxwell (bass)
    Corporal: Roger Andrews (bass)
    Duchesse de Krakenthorp: Kiri te Kanawa
    Conductor: Marco Armiliato
    Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
    Marco Armiliato conducts Juan Diego Florez and Diana Damrau in Donizetti's comic opera.
     Live From The Met, Strauss' Ariadne Auf Naxos20100220 Live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
    Greek tragedy collides with the mischief-making of the commedia dell'arte in Richard Strauss's opera-within-an-opera Ariadne auf Naxos, conceived in collaboration with the librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal.
    The fabulous Swedish soprano Nina Stemme takes the title role, with Kathleen Kim as the ever-pragmatic Zerbinetta, and Sarah Connolly as the naive young Composer.
    Strauss's music combines pathos and wit in this inventive piece.
    At the house of a Viennese nobleman, a new opera 'Ariadne auf Naxos' is to be performed, followed by an Italian comedy, but it is announced that both plays will have to be performed simultaneously due to time restrictions.
    In the opera itself, Ariadne has been abandoned on the island of Naxos by Theseus.
    She longs for death, but Zerbinetta tries to persuade her to replace her love for Theseus with another, as it is only human to change an old love for a new one.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Live backstage interviews during the interval.
    Ariadne: Nina Stemme (soprano)
    Zerbinetta: Kathleen Kim (soprano)
    Composer: Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)
    Bacchus: Lance Ryan (tenor)
    Music Master: Jochen Schmeckenbecher (baritone)
    Najade: Anne-Carolyn Bird (soprano)
    Dryade: Tamara Mumford (mezzo-soprano)
    Echo: Erin Morley (soprano)
    Dancing Master: Tony Stevenson (tenor)
    Brighella: Sean Panikkar (tenor)
    Scaramuccio: Mark Schowalter (tenor)
    Harlequin: Markus Werba (baritone)
    Kirill Petrenko - conductor
    Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
    Kirill Petrenko conducts Strauss' opera within an opera, starring Nina Stemme.
     Live From The Met, Puccini's La Boheme 20100227 Piotr Beczala and Anna Nebtrenko star in Puccini's opera about bohemian artists.
     Live From The Met, Verdi's Attila 20100306 Well-known as a champion of Verdi's early works, the conductor Riccardo Muti makes his long-awaited Met debut with this remarkable opera, Attila, which is being performed for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera.
    The story of Attila explores a pivotal moment in history - the collapse of the Roman Empire under attacks from the 'barbarians' led by Attila.
    The demanding title role is sung here by the young Russian bass Ildar Abrazakov.
    Attila is a ruthless but honourable leader who falls in love with one of his conquests, the Italian slave Odabella, sung by the soprano Violeta Urmana.
    She, in turn, seeks revenge on Attila because he killed her father.
    The tenor Ramón Vargas is her lover, Foresto, who rallies the defeated Italian people and Carlos Alvarez is the General Ezio, a brilliant but corrupt soldier.
    Veteran bass Samuel Ramey, himself a spectacular Attila in the 1970s and 80s, makes a cameo appearance as Leone (Pope Leo 1).
    One of the opera's most stirring moments is the historical scene between Attila and the Pope (who convinced the invader to spare Rome).
    It is a fascinating story of the clash of religions, politics and love with a score full of the youthful vitality and magnificent spirit of the 33-year old musical genius.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    There will be live backstage interviews with members of the cast during the interval.
    Attila: Ilda Abrazakov (bass)
    Odabella: Violeta Urmana (soprano)
    Ezio: Giovanni Meoni (baritone)
    Foresto: Ramón Vargas (tenor)
    Uldino: Russell Thomas (tenor)
    Leone: Samuel Ramey (bass)
    Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra
    Riccardo Muti (conductor).
    Riccardo Muti makes his Met debut conducting Verdi's rarely performed early opera.
    Ezio: Carlos Alvarez (baritone).
     Live From The Met, Shostakovich's The Nose 20100313 Kovalyov has a shave in Yakovlevich's barbershop.
    The following morning, Yakovlevich discovers Kovalyov's nose in his freshly baked loaf of bread, much to the annoyance of his wife who demands that he gets rid of it.
    He eventually manages to throw it into a river, by which time Kovalyov has noticed it's missing and begun to hunt for it.
    It turns up in the Cathedral, human sized, dressed as a State Councillor, and wanting nothing to do with its desperate owner.
    It then escapes from Kovalyov, who spends the rest of the opera being outwitted by it.
    Shostakovich's adaption of Gogol's absurdist short story is performed by a stellar cast conducted by Valery Gergiev.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Police Inspector: Andrei Popov (tenor)
    The Nose: Gordon Gietz (tenor)
    Kovalyov: Paulo Szot (baritone)
    Ivan Yakovlevich: Vladimir Ognovenko (baritone)
    Praskovya Osipovna: Claudia Waite (soprano)
    Newspaper Clerk: James Courtney (bass)
    A Mother: Maria Gavrilova (soprano)
    A Countess: Wendy White (mezzo-soprano)
    A Pretzel Vendor: Claudia Waite (soprano)
    A Doctor: Gennady Bezzubenkov (bass)
    Yaryzhkin: Adam Klein (tenor)
    Mme Podtochina's daughter: Erin Morley (soprano)
    Mme Podtochina: Barbara Dever ( mezzo-soprano)
    Respectable lady: Kathryn Day (mezzo-soprano)
    Valery Gergiev: conductor
    Orchestra and Chorus of Metropolitan Opera.
    Valery Gergiev conducts Shostakovich's adaptation of Gogol's absurdist short story.
     Rachmaninov's Aleko20100313 Gianandrea Noseda conducts the BBC Philharmonic, Turin Regio Chorus and an all-Russian cast in Rachmaninov's early 1-Act opera Aleko, based on Pushkin's dramatic poem The Gypsies.
    Synopsis:
    Aleko has fled society and is taken in by the gypsy Zemfira.
    He is soon performing with a tame bear, singing as it dances, while Zemfira's father plays a tambourine and Zemfira herself collects money from the audience.
    They have a child, but Zemfira betrays Aleko with a young gypsy.
    One night, he surprises the lovers and murders both.
    The tribe moves off, leaving him alone on the steppe.
    Aleko: Sergey Murzaev (baritone)
    Old Gypsy: Gennadi Bezzubenkov (bass)
    Zemfira: Svetla Vasilieva (soprano)
    Young Gypsy: Evgeny Akimov (tenor)
    Old Gypsy Woman: Nadezhda Vasilieva (mezzo-soprano)
    Gianandrea Noseda (conductor)
    BBC Philharmonic
    Turin Teatro Regio Chorus.
    Gianandrea Noseda conducts Rachmaninov's opera Aleko, based on Pushkin's poem The Gypsies.
     Duke Bluebeard's Castle20100320 Béla Bartók only wrote one opera, Duke Bluebeard's Castle in a career that concentrated mainly on music for orchestra, piano and string quartet.
    A one-act opera, its libretto is by the poet Béla Balázs who actually wrote it for either Bartók or fellow composer Kodály to set to music, as he was much influenced by the peasant ballads and lyrics they were both collecting at the time and Bartók's setting of the text reminds us constantly that we are in the world of the folk ballad.
    The story centres entirely on only two characters, Duke Bluebeard and his new, and latest wife Judith.
    It is a story of the failure of trust.
    For Judith, love is not enough.
    She must know everything about her husband's past.
    With each of the seven doors she opens into his past, she distances herself from his present and eventually becomes confined with him in the dungeon his castle has become.
    Duke Bluebeard: Gábor Bretz (baritone)
    Judith: Elena Zhidkova (soprano)
    Narrator: Ors Kisfaludy
    Adam Fischer (Conductor)
    Netherlands Opera Residentie Orchestra.
    Adam Fischer conducts Gabor Bretz and Elena Zhidkova in Bartok's only opera.
     Janacek's From The House Of The Dead20100320 This week's opera from the Met is Janacek's final opera, From the House of the Dead, based on Dostoyevsky's novel.
    The opera is set in a prison and focuses on the daily lives and pasts of its various inmates such as Shishkov, imprisoned for murdering his wife, and the wrongly imprisoned young Tatar Alyeya.
    Through their bleak existence, hope is given to the inmates by the defiance of an injured eagle, captive with them.
    The cast includes Willard White, Kurt Streit and Peter Mattei and is conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Gorianchikov: Willard White (bass-baritone)
    Skuratov: Kurt Streit (tenor)
    Shishkov: Peter Mattei (tenor)
    Filka Morozov: Stefan Margita (tenor)
    Shapkin: Peter Hoare (tenor)
    Alyeya: Eric Stoklossa (tenor)
    Nikita: Peter Straka (tenor)
    Short Prisoner: Vladimir Chmelo (baritone)
    Prison Commandant: Vladimir Ognovenko (bass)
    Chekunov: Jeffrey Wells (bass)
    The Cook: Richard Bernstein (bass)
    Drunk Prisoner: Adam Klein (tenor)
    Priest: John Cheek (bass)
    Esa-Pekka Salonen (conductor)
    Chorus and Orchestra of Metropolitan Opera.
    Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts Janacek's final opera, based on Dostoyevsky's novel.
     Live From The Met, Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet20100327 A singer known for depth of his performances leads the cast in Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet, live from the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
    It's a 19th century romantic interpretation of Shakespeare's tragedy, originally with a happy ending, but this was subsequently changed to reflect the play a little more closely.
    Simon Keenlyside is the tormented Prince seeking vengeance for his father's death, in one of the few chances for a baritone to play the lead role.
    Marlis Petersen is his ill-fated love, Ophelia, to whom Thomas gives an extended and truly memorable mad scene.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with Ira Siff as guest commentator.
    Live backstage interviews during the interval.
    Hamlet: Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
    Ophelia: Marlis Petersen (soprano)
    Laertes: Toby Spence (tenor)
    Gertrude: Jennifer Larmore (mezzo-soprano)
    Claudius: James Morris (baritone)
    The Ghost: David Pittsinger (bass)
    Horatio: Liam Bonner(baritone)
    Polonius: Maxim Mikhailov (bass)
    First Gravedigger: Richard Bernstein (Bass)
    Second Gravedigger: Mark Schowalter (tenor)
    Louis Langrée (conductor)
    Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra.
    Louis Longree conducts a 19th-century Romantic version of Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet.
     Live From The Met, Verdi's Aida20100403 Set in the ancient Egypt of the pharaohs and with a masterly combination of grand set-pieces, including the spectacle of its swaggering Triumphal March, and intimate scenes, Aida tells the story of the Ethiopian slave girl who finds that her lover and her father are on the opposite sides of warring nations.
    A love rival to her princess employer, she chooses to be buried alive with her lover Radames, rather than endure life without him.
    Commissioned for the opening of the Suez Canal, Verdi's Aida has been a staple of the repertory ever since its 1871 Egyptian premiere and is probably the greatest music ever written to celebrate an artificial waterway.
    Chinese soprano-of-the-moment Hui He takes the title role and the internationally renowned Italian tenor Salvatore Licitra plays her lover.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    There will be live backstage interviews and the Met Quiz during the two intervals.
    Aida: Hui He (soprano)
    Radames: Salvatore Licitra (tenor)
    Amneris: Dolora Zajick (mezzo-soprano)
    Amonasro: Carlo Guelfi (baritone)
    King of Egypt: Stefan Kocán (bass)
    Ramfis (Chief Priest): Carlo Colombara (bass)
    High Priestess: Elizabeth DeShong (soprano)
    Messenger: Diego Torre (tenor)
    Marco Armiliato: conductor
    Chorus and Orchestra of Metropolitan Opera.
    Marco Armiliato conducts a performance of Verdi's spectacular opera Aida.
     Live From The Met, Mozart's Die Zauberflote20100410 Mozart: Die Zauberflöte (Magic Flute) live from the Met in New York.
    Nathan Gunn as Papageno, Matthew Polenzani as Tamino and Julia Kleiter as Pamina.
    Conducted by Adam Fischer.
    Tamino, trying to escape from a huge snake, trips and falls unconscious.
    Three ladies appear and kill the snake with their spears.
    When he recovers, Tamino sees dancing towards him an odd-looking man entirely covered with feathers.
    It is Papageno, a bird-catcher.
    He tells the astonished Tamino that this is the realm of the Queen of the Night.
    The gods have plans for Tamino, but first he must prove that he is worthy of admission to the Temple of Light.
    Luckily Tamino has the assistance of his magic flute and eventually overcomes the ordeals that are put in his way.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    There will be live backstage interviews with members of the cast during the interval.
    Papageno: Nathan Gunn (baritone)
    Tamino: Matthew Polenzani (tenor)
    Pamina: Julia Kleiter (soprano)
    Queen of the Night: Albina Shagimuratova (soprano)
    1st Lady: Wendy Bryn Harmer (soprano)
    2nd Lady: Jamie Barton (mezzo-soprano)
    3rd Lady: Tamara Mumford (mezzo-soprano)
    1st Boy: Jakob Taylor (treble)
    2nd Boy: Neem Ram Nagarajan (treble)
    3rd Boy: Jonathan A.
    Makepeace (alto)
    Papagena: Monica Yunus (soprano)
    Sarastro: Hans-Peter König (bass)
    Speaker: David Pittsinger (bass)
    Monostatos: Greg Fedderly (tenor)
    1st Priest: David Crawford (bass-baritone)
    2nd Priest: Bernard Fitch (tenor)
    1st Armed Man: Philip Webb (tenor)
    2nd Armed Man: Richard Bernstein (bass)
    Adam Fischer: Conductor
    Chorus and Orchestra of Metropolitan Opera.
    Adam Fischer conducts Julie Taymor's production of Mozart's Die Zauberflote.
     Live From The Met, Verdi's La Traviata20100417 This week's live broadcast from the Met is Verdi's La Traviata.
    The courtesan Violetta decides to put her party days behind when she meets Alfredo and settle down with him.
    But Alfredo's father begs her to leave him for the sake of his family name, and she agrees to sacrifice her love.
    By the time Alfredo discovers the truth behind her departure and hurries back to her, tuberculosis has set in, and it's too late.
    Angela Gheorghiu sings the role which launched her international career, with James Valenti as her Alfredo, and Yves Abel conducting.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    The two intervals will contain live backstage interviews with the cast and the famous Met Quiz.
    Violetta Valéra: Angela Gheorghiu (soprano)
    Alfredo Germont: James Valenti (tenor)
    Giorgio Germont: Thomas Hampson (baritone)
    Flora Bervoix: Theodora Hanslowe (mezzo-soprano)
    Annina: Kathryn Day (soprano)
    Gaston: Eduardo Valdes (tenor)
    Baron Douphol: John Hancock (baritone)
    Marquis d'Obigny: Louis Otey (bass)
    Doctor Grenvil: Paul Plishka (bass)
    Giuseppe: Juhwan Lee (tenor)
    Yves Abel: conductor
    Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra.
    Yves Abel conducts Verdi's tragic love story La Traviata, starring Angela Georghiu.
     Live From The Met, Puccini's Tosca20100424 Torture and suicide; murder and execution: despite the grisly plot, Tosca has been one of the most popular of all operas ever since its 1900 premiere.
    Puccini's unerring dramatic instinct makes for a compelling theatrical experience, and in the character of Tosca, he created a role that has attracted many of the great singing actresses of the last hundred years.
    Tonight's Tosca, who gets to sing some unforgettable arias including 'Vissi d'arte', is the celebrated American soprano, Patricia Racette.
    She heads a stellar international cast including German tenor Jonas Kaufmann as Tosca's ill-fated lover, and the great Welsh singer-actor, bass baritone Bryn Terfel in one of his signature roles: Scarpia, that seeming embodiment of cold calculation and evil.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    The two intervals will contain the famous Met Quiz and live backstage interviews with members of the cast.
    Tosca - Patricia Racette (soprano)
    Cavaradossi - Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
    Scarpia - Bryn Terfel (bass)
    Angelotti - David Pittsinger (bass)
    Sacristan - John del Carlo (bass)
    Spoletta - Eduardo Valdes (tenor)
    Sciarrone - Jeffrey Wells (bass)
    Gaoler - Richard Bernstein (bass)
    Shepherd Boy - Jonathan Makepeace (boy alto)
    Fabio Luisi - Conductor
    Metropolitan Chorus and Orchestra.
    From the Metropolitan Opera, New York, Fabio Luisi conducts Puccini's grisly opera Tosca.
     Live From The Met, Rossini's Armida20100501 Rossini's Armida, Live from the Metropolitan Opera New York.
    Renée Fleming sings the sorceress who plans to use her beauty to enslave the crusading soldiers.
    She falls in love with Rinaldo, who is captivated by her until he sees his reflection and realises he is no longer the noble warrior he once was.
    The New York Met has rounded up no fewer than six tenors for the Met premiere of Rossini's Armida, with Ricardo Frizza conducting.
    Presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    There will be live backstage interviews and the famous Met Quiz during the 2 intervals.
    Armida - Renée Fleming (soprano)
    Rinaldo - Lawrence Brownlee (tenor)
    Goffredo - John Osborn (tenor)
    Gernando/Carlo - Barry Banks (tenor)
    Ubaldo - Kobie van Rensburg (tenor)
    Eustazio - Yegishe Manucharyan (tenor)
    Idraote - Peter Volpe (bass)
    Astarotte - Keith Miller (bass)
    Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra, conductor Riccardo Frizza.
    Riccardo Frizza conducts Renee Fleming in the title role of Rossini's opera Armida.
     Live From The Met, Berg's Lulu20100508 An animal trainer presents to his audience the wonderful wild beasts they're are about to see.
    There's a tiger, a bear and - last but not least - a dangerous serpent - who will mesmerise, seduce and kill, and who eventually get murdered by Jack the Ripper.
    Berg's Lulu, live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York, conducted by Fabio Luisi.
    Marlis Petersen plays the scandalous femme fatale of the title, a role for which she has won international acclaim.
    Anne Sofie von Otter sings Countess Geschwitz, Gary Lehman is Alwa and James Morris is Dr.
    Schön.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with Ira Siff as guest commentator.
    There will be live backstage interviews and the Met Quiz during the two intervals.
    Lulu - Marlis Petersen (soprano)
    Countess Geschwitz - Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano)
    Alwa - Gary Lehman (tenor)
    Painter - Michael Schade (tenor)
    Animal Trainer/Acrobat - David Pittsinger (bass)
    Dr.
    Schon/Jack the Ripper - James Morris (baritone)
    Wardrobe Mistress/Schoolboy/Page - Ginger Costa-Jackson (soprano)
    Prince/Manservant/Marquis - Graham Clark (tenor)
    Schigolch - Gwynne Howell (bass)
    Theatre Manager/Banker - James Courtney (bass)
    Mother - Jane Shaulis (mezzo-soprano)
    Designer - Edyta Kulczak (mezzo-soprano)
    Journalist - Joshua Benaim (baritone)
    Servant - LeRoy Lehr (bass)
    Fabio Luisi - Conductor
    Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
    Soprano Marlis Petersen as the scandalous femme fatale in Berg's opera.
     Rossini's Il Turco In Italia20100515 Ivan Hewett presents Il Turco in Italia - Rossini's perceptive comedy of Neapolitan life and love, recorded at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in April.
    A Turkish Prince, Selim, arrives in Naples by boat, looking for an amorous adventure.
    At the same time, the respectable Don Geronio is struggling to keep his younger wife, Fiorilla, happy.
    She is more interested in flirting with the young men around her, and she is immediately drawn to the exotic young Turk.
    Meanwhile, the poet Prosdocimo is trying to find a subject for a new play, and he decides to stir things up in the name of theatre, especially when he discovers Zaida, a young gypsy girl who was jilted by a prince in Turkey, and Don Narciso, the previous lover of Fiorilla, now usurped by Selim.
    Rossini's lively vocal ensembles sparkle with desire, frustration, jealousy, and love.
    In this production, updated to the 1960s, this is all played out at the beach in Naples complete with pasta, wine, Italian cars, a Vespa, and a masked ball.
    With additional insights during the interval from writer and broadcaster Daniel Snowman, and members of the cast, the conductor Maurizio Benini, and the directors, Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier.
    Fiorilla - Aleksandra Kurzak (soprano)
    Don Narciso - Colin Lee (tenor)
    Don Geronio - Alessandro Corbelli (baritone)
    Selim - Ildebrando d'Arcangelo (bass)
    Prosdocimo - Thomas Allen (baritone)
    Zaida - Leah-Marian Jones (mezzo-soprano)
    Albazar - Steven Ebel (tenor)
    Maurizio Benini - Conductor
    Royal Opera Chorus
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
    Maurizio Benini conducts Rossini's perceptive comedy of Neapolitan life and love.
     Prokofiev's The Gambler20100522 The Royal Opera House curtains open onto the town of Roulettenburg where the whole of life is based around the casino.
    In the middle of this money-driven world is the possibility of a love story, but is Alexey really in love with Polina, or addicted to her in the same way as he is to his gambling? Prokofiev's rarely heard score is based on Dostoyevsky's novel, and contains some of his most unusual and energetic music.
    The cast of colourful characters include Roberto Saccà and Angela Denoke as the lovers, and John Tomlinson as the General whose life disintegrates as his aged aunt gambles away his inheritance.
    Andrew Mcgregor is joined by Prokofiev biographer David Nice, with interviews from the cast, conductor, and director.
    Presented by Andrew Mcgregor with guest David Nice
    Alexey - Roberto Saccà (tenor)
    Polina - Angela Denoke (soprano)
    General - John Tomlinson (bass)
    Blanche - Jurgita Adamonyte (mezzo-soprano)
    Marquis - Kurt Streit (tenor)
    Mr Astley - Mark Stone (baritone)
    Babulenka - Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano)
    Prince Nilsky - John Easterlin (tenor)
    Potapytch - Dawid Kimberg (baritone)
    Baron - Jeremy White (bass)
    Gaudy Lady - Simona Mihai (soprano)
    Pale Lady - Elisabeth Meister (soprano)
    Dubious Old Lady - Elizabeth Sikora (mezzo-soprano)
    Lady Comme Ci, Comme Ça - Carol Rowlands (soprano)
    Venerable Lady - Kai Rüütel (mezzo-soprano)
    Rash Gambler - Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (tenor)
    Hypochondriac Gambler - Steven Ebel (tenor)
    Hunchback Gambler - Alasdair Elliott (tenor)
    Aged Gambler - John Cunningham (bass-baritone)
    Fat Englishman - David Woloszko (bass-baritone)
    Tall Englishman - Lukas Jakobski (bass)
    Casino Director - Graeme Danby (bass)
    First Croupier - Hubert Francis (tenor)
    Second Croupier - Robert Anthony Gardiner (tenor)
    Antonio Pappano - Conductor
    Royal Opera Chorus
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
    Antonio Pappano conducts Prokofiev's rarely-heard opera, based on Dostoyevsky's novel.
     Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen20100529 holds a very special place in the repertoire - an opera whose characters are a mixture of human beings and animals and that started life as a cartoon-strip in a newspaper.
    It tells the story of the life of a Vixen from the moment she is adopted as a pet by the Forester to the moment she is shot by the Poacher.
    Inbetween times she's briefly a suffragette, marries and produces countless children.
    We meet her woodland friends and enemies - and their lives are contrasted with the human characters who live nearby, among them a lonely priest, an elderly schoolmaster and an overworked innkeeper.
    But the magic of Janacek's score is in the way he portrays all of these lives with his most colourful and deftly woven music, sometimes spiky, sometimes intensely lyrical.
    Amazingly, the recent performances at the Royal Opera House were the first time the great Janacek interpreter Sir Charles Mackerras had conducted the opera there.
    He was joined by the Australian soprano Emma Matthews making her house debut in the title role and Christopher Maltman singing the part of the Forester for the first time.
    Presented by Martin Handley.
    Vixen Sharp-Ears - Emma Matthews (soprano)
    Forester - Christopher Maltman (baritone)
    Fox - Elizabeth Meister (soprano)
    Schoolmaster/Mosquito - Robin Leggate (tenor)
    Gamekeeper's Wife/Owl - Madeleine Shaw (mezzo-soprano)
    Priest/Badger - Jeremy White (bass)
    Harasta - Matthew Rose (bass)
    Pasek - Alasdair Elliott (tenor)
    Inkeeper's Wife - Elizabeth Sikora (mezzo-soprano)
    Pepik - Simona Mihai (soprano)
    Frantik - Elizabeth Cragg (soprano)
    Rooster/Jay - Deborah Peake-Jones (soprano)
    Chief Hen - Glenys Groves (soprano)
    Cricket - Peter Shafran (treble)
    Caterpillar....Talor Hanson (child soprano)
    Frog - Harry Bradford (treble)
    Young Vixen - Eleanor Burke (child soprano)
    Woodpecker - Amanda Floyd (mezzo-soprano)
    Sir Charles Mackerras, Conductor
    Royal Opera Chorus
    Children's Chorus
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
    Charles Mackerras conducts Janacek's magical opera about the life of a vixen.
     Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier20100605 The Marschallin is deeply in love with her young lover Octavian, but knows that she's getting older, and one day he'll tire of her.
    Her fears are realised sooner than she thought when he presents a ceremonial silver rose to Sophie, and falls instantly in love with her.
    Strauss's opera Der Rosenkavalier contains comedy, pathos, and some truly beautiful writing for his female characters.
    This production, recorded last December at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden stars Soile Isokoski, Sophie Koch and Lucy Crowe with Kirill Petrenko conducting, and the broadcast includes interviews with cast and conductor.
    From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Presented by Christopher Cook
    Octavian - Sophie Koch (mezzo-soprano)
    Marschallin - Soile Isokoski (soprano)
    Sophie - Lucy Crowe (soprano)
    Baron Ochs - Peter Rose (bass)
    Herr von Faninal - Thomas Allen (bass)
    Valzacchi - Graham Clark (tenor)
    Annina - Leah-Marian Jones (mezzo-soprano)
    Marianne Leitmetzerin - Elaine McKrill (soprano)
    Notary - Lynton Black (bass-baritone)
    Italian Singer - Wookyung Kim (tenor)
    Noble Widow - Glenys Groves (soprano)
    Noble Orphans - Tamsin Coombs, Deborah Peake-Jones (sopranos),
    Andrea Hazell (mezzo-soprano)
    Major Domo to Marschallin....Robert Anthony Gardiner (tenor)
    Major Domo to Faninal - Steven Ebel (tenor)
    Doctor - Alan Duffield (tenor)
    Inkeeper - Robert Worle (tenor)
    Police Commissioner - Jeremy White (bass)
    Kirill Petrenko - Conductor
    Royal Opera Chorus
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
    Kirill Petrenko conducts a performance of Strauss' comedy of manners.
     Janacek's Katya Kabanova20100612 Among the more remarkable stories of reinvigorated old age is the miracle of Leos Janacek's creative Indian summer.
    Its cause was the Czech composer's passion for the already married Kamila Stösslová: they met when he was in his mid-sixties and she was nearly forty years his junior.
    But despite - or perhaps because of - the fact that it was a largely one-sided affair on his part, he poured his passion into the music he wrote in the last decade of his life and created a series of undoubted masterpieces, including the first of his four late operas, Katya Kabanova.
    It tells the tragic story of a woman trapped in a loveless marriage, stifled by provincial society -and the mother-in-law from hell.
    Katya has her brief moment of extra-marital passion which inexorably leads to her suicide.
    The pared-down intensity of Janacek's opera with its short, terse, scenes was echoed in director David Alden's acclaimed production, with American soprano Patricia Racette, making her English National Opera debut in the title role.
    Tenor Stuart Skelton (who made such an impression as Peter Grimes last season at ENO) plays Katya's lover - the man who seems to be in the right place at the right time, and who disappears rather too quickly and easily - and Susan Bickley is the mother in law you're glad you don't have.
    Before the opera begins, Martin Handley discusses its themes and origins with Mike Ashman.
    Recorded in March at the London Coliseum
    6.20pm
    Katya Kabanova....Patricia Racette (soprano)
    Boris....Stuart Skelton (tenor)
    Kabanicha....Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano)
    Tikhon....John Graham-Hall (tenor)
    Varvara....Anna Grevelius (mezzo-soprano)
    Vanya....Alfie Boe (tenor)
    Dikoy....Clive Bayley (bass)
    Glasha....Valerie Reid (mezzo-soprano)
    Kuligin....Nicholas Folwell (baritone)
    Feklusha....Michelle Daly (mezzo-soprano)
    Mark Wigglesworth....Conductor
    Orchestra of English National Opera.
    Martin Handley presents ENO's version of Janacek's tragic opera Katya Kabanova.
     Donizetti's Maria Stuarda20100619 Donizetti's 3-act opera Maria Stuarda was inspired by Schiller's play, and is based on fictional events leading to the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, and caused such controversy that it was originally banned in 1834.
    After then the opera was occasionally performed in Italy but in a censored version, and the opera's twentieth century revival was in 1958.
    The focus of the opera is on the fictional and confrontational meeting between Mary Stuart, the Catholic Queen of Scotland, and the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I, resulting in Mary's condemnation and execution.
    The opera is now considered one of Donizetti's most powerful and compelling, culminating in a dramatic final scene.
    Sarah Connolly sings the title role of Mary Stuart, and Antonia Cifrone sings Elizabeth.
    This new production by Opera North is directed by Antony McDonald, and is conducted by Guido Johannes Rumstadt, who makes his debut with the company.
    Presented by Donald Macleod.
    Mary Stuart - Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)
    Queen Elizabeth - Antonia Cifrone (soprano)
    Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester - Bülent Bezdüz (tenor)
    Sir William Cecil - David Kempster (baritone)
    George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury - Frédéric Bourreau (bass)
    Hannah Kennedy - Michelle Walton (soprano)
    Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North conducted by Guido Johannes Rumstadt.
    Donald Macleod presents a performance of Donizetti's opera about Mary, Queen of Scots.
     Verdi's Aida20100626 Lust and violence, war and doomed love: Aida is the story of the slave girl who finds that her father and her lover are on opposite sides in a confrontation between nations.
    It's one of the greatest love stories in opera, played out against a background of battles and heroic idealism.
    In this new production from Covent Garden, Micaela Carosi stars as Aida, Marcelo Álvarez is her beloved Radames, and Marianne Cornetti plays the role of Amneris, her rival for his affections.
    Presented by Suzy Klein with guest Roger Parker
    Aida - Micaela Carosi (soprano)
    Radames - Marcelo Álvarez (tenor)
    Amneris - Marianne Cornetti (mezzo-soprano)
    Ramfis - Giacomo Prestia (baritone)
    Amonasro - Marco Vratogna (baritone)
    King of Egypt - Robert Lloyd (bass)
    Messenger - Ji-Min Park (tenor)
    High Priestess - Elisabeth Meister (soprano)
    Nicola Luisotti - Conductor
    Royal Opera Chorus
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
    Suzy Klein presents a new Royal Opera House production of Verdi's great love story.
     Handel's Tamerlano20100703 Recorded at the Royal Opera House, one of Handel's most touching dramas, Tamerlano, a tale of tyranny and power, betrayal and love, in a production new to Covent Garden, directed by Graham Vick.
    Tamerlano, the legendary Tartar warlord, boasts of having conquered the proud Turkish Sultan Bajazet, now in prison.
    When the conqueror spurns Irene, his betrothed princess, for Asteria, the Sultan's daughter, he seals Bajazet's fate as he commits suicide, in one of Handel's most famous scenes.
    In the end, enlightenment prevails and Tamerlano, in typical opera seria fashion, repents from his bad deeds and takes Irene back, setting in motion a happy ending of sorts.
    This cast is lead by the Dutch mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn making her debut as the ruthless conqueror, Emperor of the Tartars; the American tenor Kurt Streit as the defeated Turkish Sultan Bajazet; the German soprano Christine Schaefer as his daughter Asteria, and the Italian contralto Sara Mingardo as her lover Andronico.
    Princess Irene is the Croatian soprano Renata Pokupic.
    Ivor Bolton conducts a period ensemble, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
    Presented by Louise Fryer with guest Sarah Lenton.
    Tamerlano - Christianne Stotijn (mezzo-soprano)
    Bajazet - Kurt Streit (tenor)
    Andronico - Sara Mingardo (contralto)
    Asteria - Christine Schaefer (soprano)
    Irene - Renata Pokupic (soprano)
    Leone - Vito Priante (bass)
    Ivor Bolton - Conductor
    Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
    Ivor Bolton conducts Handel's Tamerlano - a tale of tyranny and power, betrayal and love.
     Manon20100710 Massenet's Manon recorded last week at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    Music Director Antonio Pappano conducts a cast headed by soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Vittorio Grigolo.
    The performance is presented by Martin Handley who is joined by French music expert Claire Launchbury.
    When we first meet the young Manon she is on her way to a convent where she expects to spend the rest of her life.
    But she encounters a young nobleman, the Chevalier des Grieux, and her life is changed forever.
    The opera follows her as she tries to come to terms with the conflicts imposed by love, wealth, family and faith - a story that inspires Massenet to compose some of his most memorable and lyrical music.
    Manon Lescaut - Anna Netrebko (soprano)
    Chevalier des Grieux - Vittorio Grigolo (tenor)
    Lescaut - Russell Braun (tenor)
    Guillot de Morfontaine - Christophe Mortagne (tenor)
    De Bretigny - William Shimell (baritone)
    Pousette - Simona Mihai (sorpano)
    Javotte - Louise Innes (mezzo-soprano)
    Rosette - Kai Ruutel (mezzo-soprano)
    Inkeeper - Lynton Black (bass-baritone)
    Comte des Grieux - Christof Fischesser (bass)
    Sergeant - John Bernays (bass)
    Antonio Pappano - Conductor
    Royal Opera Chorus
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
    Martin Handley presents a new production of Massenet's great opera starring Anna Netrebko.
     Mozart's Idomeneo (edinburgh International Festival)20100918 Edinburgh International Festival
    Mozart - Idomeneo in 3 Acts
    The dramatic Greek drama of Idomeneo featuring the inevitable struggle of love versus duty, an insoluable love triangle and the intervention of a sea monster and Neptune himself, provide Mozart with the inspiration for this gloriously colourful early masterpiece.
    The Scottish Chamber Orchestra and a star-studded cast, conducted by Sir Roger Norrington present a concert performance from the Usher Hall in Edinburgh.
    Presented by Donald MacLeod
    Idomeneo - Kurt Streit (tenor)
    Idamante - Joyce DiDonato (mezzo soprano)
    Ilia - Rosemary Joshua (soprano)
    Elettra - Emma Bell (soprano)
    Arbace - Rainer Trost (tenor)
    Sacerdote - Keith Lewis (tenor)
    La Voce - Jan Martinik (bass)
    Sir Roger Norrington - Conductor
    Scottish Chamber Orchestra
    Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus.
    Mozart's Idomeneo from the Edinburgh International Festival.
     Britten's Billy Budd20100925 From this summer's Festival, a first for Glyndebourne: a new production of Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd, based on Herman Melville's allegorical tale of good versus evil on board an 18th century warship.
    Jacques Imbrailo sings Budd, a young foretopman whose beauty and goodness makes him immediately popular with the crew.
    But those same qualities also draw a strong reaction from the Master at Arms, John Claggart, and feelings he would rather leave repressed.
    John Mark Ainsley sings Captain Vere, whose fateful decision on board haunts him for the rest of his life.
    Andrew Mcgregor talks to director Michael Grandage about his operatic debut, and to Mark Elder who is also conducting Budd for the first time.
    Captain Vere....John Mark Ainsley (tenor)
    Billy Budd....Jacques Imbrailo (baritone)
    Claggart....Phillip Ens (bass)
    Mr.
    Redburn....Iain Paterson (bass)
    Flint....Matthew Rose (bass)
    Lieutenant Ratcliffe....Darren Jeffery (bass)
    Red Whiskers....Alasdair Elliott (tenor)
    Donald....John Moore (baritone)
    Dansker....Jeremy White (bass)
    The Novice....Ben Johnson (tenor)
    Squeak....Colin Judson (tenor)
    Bosun....Richard Mosley-Evans (baritone)
    The Glyndebourne Chorus
    London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Mark Elder, conductor.
    Britten: Billy Budd from Glyndebourne, starring Jacques Imbrailo and John Mark Ainsley.
     Verdi's Rigoletto20101002 Christopher Cook is at the Wales Millennium Centre for the much-anticipated debut of baritone Simon Keenlyside in the title role of Verdi's famously controversial tragedy.
    Welsh National Opera's revived production brings together director James McDonald and designer Robert Innes Hopkins to transport Verdi's Mantua to the Washington of the Kennedy era.
    It's a chance for the famously physical Keenleyside to recreate his court jester Rigoletto role as presidential aide, swimming in a pool of corruption, bullying and grotesque indulgence.
    Also featured are the American soprano Sarah Coburn making her UK debut, and a return to WNO by a much loved Welsh singer, tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones, in the role of the philandering and murderous Duke.
    Also in the presenter's box is Welsh bass and close friend of Simon Keenlyside, Gwynne Howell, who made his operatic debut in Verdi's opera.
    And before the final act there's a chance to explore the magical process of bringing the Oval Office into the opera house, as Christopher Cook meets the skilled draftsmen, carpenters and painters who convert a designer's vision into on-stage reality.
    More information about the production, including photographs and an interview with designer Robert Innes Hopkins are available at bbc.co.uk/radio3/opera.
    Rigoletto - Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
    The Duke - Gwyn Hughes Jones (tenor)
    Gilda - Sarah Coburn (soprano)
    Monterone - Michael Druiett (baritone)
    Sparafucile - David Soar (bass)
    Maddalena - Leah-Marian Jones (mezzo-soprano)
    Chorus and Orchestra of Welsh National Opera
    Pablo Heras-Casado - Conductor.
    Baritone Simon Keenlyside makes his debut in WNO's revived production of Verdi's tragedy.
     Wagner's Lohengrin20101009 Tonight's Opera on 3 is a performance from this season's Bayreuth Festival of Wagner's Lohengrin.
    Jonas Kaufmann makes his Bayreuth debut as the mysterious knight who arrives by swan, and refuses to reveal his identity.
    And Annette Dasch is the woman who falls in love and marries him, even though she is never to ask him his name.
    As the opening opera in the first season run by Wagner's two granddaughters, Observer critic Fiona Maddocks reveals what it was like to be at the first night of this controversial production.
    Presented by Andrew McGregor.
    Lohengrin - Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
    King Henry - Georg Zeppenfeld (bass)
    Elsa - Annette Dasch (soprano)
    Telramund - Hans-Joachim Ketelsen (baritone)
    Ortrud - Evelyn Herlitzius (mezzo-soprano)
    The Herald - Samuel Youn (bass)
    1st Nobleman - Stefan Heibach (tenor)
    2nd Nobleman - Willem van der Heyden (tenor)
    3rd Nobleman - Rainer Zaun (bass)
    4th Nobleman - Christian Tschelebiew (bass)
    Andris Nelsons - Conductor
    Bayreuth Festival Chorus
    Bayreuth Festival Orchestra.
    A performance given at the 2010 Bayreuth Festival of Wagner's controversial Lohengrin.
     Strauss's Salome20101016 Presented by Andrew McGregor
    Richard Strauss: Salome from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    'Salome is an opera full of characters regarding each other, unable to communicate...everyone's desire is unfulfilled , but everyone is looking all the time', says David McVicar's of Richard Strauss's Salome, as his 2008 production is resurrected in all its shocking glory at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    Based on a short biblical reference to a girl dancing for King Herod, and the immortal line: 'Bring me the head of John the Baptist', Oscar Wilde's play told a lurid tale of power and corruption, depravity and obsession...and Strauss set it to music without holding back in any way.
    Angela Denoke stars in the title role, Irina Mishura as Herodias and Gerhard Siegel as Herod, conducted by Helmut Haenchen.
    Narraboth - Andrew Staples (tenor)
    The Page - Sarah Castle (mezzo-soprano)
    First Soldier - Nicolas Courjal (bass)
    Second Soldier - Alan Ewing (bass)
    Jokanaan - Johan Reuter (baritone)
    A Cappadocian - John Cunningham (bass-baritone)
    Salome - Angela Denoke (soprano)
    Herod - Gerhard Siegel (tenor)
    Herodias - Irina Mishura (mezzo-soprano)
    First Jew - Adrian Thompson (tenor)
    Second Jew - Robert Anthony Gardiner (tenor)
    Third Jew - Hubert Francis (tenor)
    Fourth Jew....Steven Ebel (tenor)
    Fifth Jew - Jeremy White (bass)
    First Nazarene - Vuyani Mlinde (bass)
    Second Nazarene - Dawid Kimberg (baritone)
    Harmut Haenchen - Conductor
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
    Andrew McGregor presents Strauss's Salome from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
     Niobe, Regina Di Tebe20101023 Tonight's Opera on 3 is a rare chance to hear Agostino Steffani's Niobe, from the Royal Opera House in London.
    Based on Ovid's Metamorphoses, it tells the story of Queen Niobe whose pride insults the Gods.
    As punishment, her children are killed and in her grief she turns to stone.
    Veronique Gens sings Niobe, and male soprano Jacek Laszczkowski her husband Anfione, a role originally written for a castrato.
    Thomas Hengelbrock conducts his own Balthasar Neumann Ensemble, and discusses why Steffani's music, which had such an influence on Handel, deserves to become better known.
    Presented by Louise Fryer
    Anfione - Jacek Laszczkowski (Soprano)
    Niobe - Veronique Gens (Soprano)
    Nerea - Delphine Galou (Contralto)
    Clearte - Tim Mead (Alto)
    Tiberino - Lothar Odinius (Tenor)
    Manto - Amanda Forsythe (Soprano)
    Tiresia - Bruno Taddia (Baritone)
    Poliferno - Alastair Miles (Bass)
    Creonte - Iestyn Davies (Countertenor)
    Balthasar Neumann Ensemble
    Thomas Hengelbrock (conductor).
    A rare chance to hear Agostino Steffani's opera Niobe, regina di Tebe.
     Bizet's Les Pecheurs De Perles20101030 Tonight's Opera on 3 is a concert performance of Bizet's Les pêcheurs de perles.
    Leader of the pearl fishers, Zurga and his friend Nadir both fall for the same woman, but decide to put their friendship first and not see her again.
    When Léïla, now a priestess, appears in their camp a few months later, Nadir can't help his feelings, leaving Zurga with the dilemma of punishing or forgiving them.
    Alexandra Wilson presents, and talks to conductor Antonio Pappano about why there's more to this opera than just the famous duet.
    Presented by: Dr Alexandra Wilson
    Léïla - Nicole Cabell (soprano)
    Nadir - John Osborn (tenor)
    Zurga - Gerald Finley (baritone)
    Nourabad - Raymond Aceto (bass)
    Antonio Pappano, conductor
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Royal Opera Chorus.
    Alexandra Wilson introduces a performance of Bizet's opera Les pecheurs de perles.
     Gounod's Romeo Et Juliette20101106 Presented by Suzy Klein.
    From the Royal Opera House, in London, French specialist Daniel Oren conducts Charles Gounod's version of the Shakespeare eternal lovers, Roméo et Juliette, as they fight against hatred and intolerance before paying the ultimate price...
    The lovers' passionate liaison unravels magnificently through the most romantic duets, but this opera by the composer of Faust, is much more than that as the many rich ensembles and characters make for a compelling musical spectacle, true to The Bard's best dramatic intentions.
    This revival production by Nicolas Joël, not seen in a decade, features a cast led by Piotr Beczala and Nino Machaidze in the title roles.
    Cast:
    Roméo - Piotr Beczala (tenor)
    Juliette - Nino Machaidze (soprano)
    Mercutio - Stéphane Degout (tenor)
    Tybalt - Alfie Boe (tenor)
    Stéphano - Ketevan Kemoklidze (mezzo soprano)
    Duke of Verona - Simon Neal (bass)
    Count Paris - ZhengZhong Zhou (baritone)
    Frére Laurent - Vitalij Kowaljow (bass)
    Count Capulet - Darren Jeffery (baritone)
    Gertrude - Diana Montague (mezzo soprano)
    Grégorio - James Cleverton (baritone)
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Royal Opera House Chorus
    Daniel Oren, conductor.
    Daniel Oren conducts Charles Gounod's version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
     Strauss's Ariadne Auf Naxos20101113 Donald Macleod is at the Wales Millennium Centre for Richard Strauss's paradoxically light-hearted confection "Ariadne auf Naxos".
    Welsh National Opera's revived production by director Neil Armfield spins a web of contradictions and contrasts, in which boisterous comedy and tragedy collide.
    Along the way, Strauss manipulates the characters appearing in a Viennese businessman's theatrical entertainment, to explore some fascinating themes: the spiritual versus the material world, the nature of theatre, love and death and, ultimately the power of music.
    Mezzo soprano Sarah Connolly returns to the role of the gifted and much put upon young Composer.
    The star of the Composer's masterpiece, the Prima Donna, later Ariadne, is soprano Orla Boyan, making her debut with WNO.
    Also making their debuts are Ricardo Tamura in the tenor role of Bacchus and soprano Gillian Keith in the pyrotechnic role of Zerbinetta.
    WNO's music director, Lothar Koenigs, conducts.
    Major-Domo - Eric Roberts
    Music Master - Robert Poulton (baritone)
    Composer - Sarah Connolly (mezzo soprano)
    Bacchus - Ricardo Tamura (tenor)
    Lackey - Stephen Wells (bass)
    Officer - Philip Pooley (tenor)
    Wig-Maker - George Newton-Fitzgerald (bass)
    Zerbinetta - Gillian Keith (soprano)
    Ariadne - Orla Boylan (soprano)
    Dancing Master - Stephen Rooke (tenor)
    Naiad - Mary-Jean O'Doherty (soprano)
    Dryad - Patricia Orr (alto)
    Echo - Joanne Boag (soprano)
    Harlequin - Owen Webb (baritone)
    Scaramuccio - Aled Hall (tenor)
    Truffaldino - Julian Close (bass)
    Brighella - Wynne Evans (tenor)
    Orchestra of Welsh National Opera
    Conductor - Lothar Koenigs.
    Donald Macleod presents a Welsh National Opera production of Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos.
     Handel's Radamisto20101120 Presented by Donald Macleod
    Handel took the theatre-going public of London by storm with this intensely dramatic opera, Radamisto.
    Set in the ancient kingdom of Thrace, this is a story of nobility in the face of agression.
    Radamisto and his wife Zenobia are under siege in the city from the Armenian tyrant Tiridate.
    Tiridate has his eye on Zenobia as his prize, despite already being married to Polissena, who also happens to be Radamisto's sister.
    Radamisto's father, Farasmane, has already been captured, and Tiridate's henchman, Tigrane, is under instruction to bring Zenobia to him at all costs.
    Radamisto himself tries to follow a noble path despite the tumult surrounding him.
    Handel brought some of Italy's greatest singers to London for this opera, giving some wonderful arias to his star performers.
    In this new production from English National Opera, the acclaimed countertenor Lawrence Zazzo takes the title role, and the director David Alden teams up with the experienced Handelian, Laurence Cummings.
    Cast:
    Radamisto - Lawrence Zazzo (counter-tenor)
    Zenobia - Christine Rice (mezzo soprano)
    Tiridate - Ryan McKinny (baritone)
    Polissena - Sophie Bevan (soprano)
    Farasmane - Henry Waddington (bass)
    Tigrane - Ailish Tynan (soprano)
    Conductor - Laurence Cummings
    English National Opera Orchestra.
    Donald Macleod presents an ENO production of Handel's intensely dramatic opera Radamisto.
     Mozart's Don Giovanni20101127 Live
    6.15pm
    Young, arrogant, contemptuous and sexually voracious, Don Giovanni is the dissolute aristocrat who doesn't take no for an answer and leaves a trail of outrage and wrecked lives in his wake.
    But in the end, even he comes up against something he can't dupe, evade, or kill.
    One of the greatest (and most hummable) operas in the repertoire stars one of the UK's most exciting singers, Iain Paterson, in the title role, leading an outstanding cast, conducted by Kirill Karabits.
    Presenter Suzy Klein is joined by novelist Jeanette Winterson to discuss the multilayered music and the production by theatre director, Rufus Norris
    6.30pm
    Act 1
    8.00pm
    Interval Suzy Klein and novelist Jeanette Winterson continue their exploration of the opera's themes.
    8.20 Act 2
    Cast
    Don Giovanni - Iain Paterson (bass)
    Leporello - Brindley Sherratt (bass)
    Donna Anna - Katherine Broderick (soprano)
    Don Ottavio - Robert Murray (Tenor)
    Donna Elvira - Rebecca Evans (soprano)
    The Commendatore - Matthew Best (bass)
    Masetto...John Molloy (bass)
    Zerlina - Sarah Tynan (soprano)
    Conductor - Kirill Karabits
    Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera.
    Suzy Klein presents a production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, starring Iain Paterson.
     Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur20101204 Live from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden: Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur.
    Not heard at the Royal Opera House since 1906, Cilea's masterpiece is staged in a new production by David McVicar, starring Angela Gheorghiu and Jonas Kaufmann, and conducted by Mark Elder.
    Paris, 1730.
    Backstage at the Comédie-Française, preparations are in hand for a performance in which Adriana Lecouvreur will have a starring role.
    She is much admired, but her heart is set on Maurizio, who she believes is an officer in the service of the Count of Saxony.
    She is mistaken in this assumption, however, and she has a rival for the man's affections in the form of a princess who will stop at nothing to get rid of her.
    For a moment, it seems that all will go well - but the Princess will eventually have the upper hand.
    Presented by: Donald Macleod
    Cast:
    Adriana Lecouvreur - Angela Gheorghiu (soprano)
    Maurizio - Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
    Prince de Bouillon - Maurizio Muraro (bass)
    L'Abate di Chazeuil - Bonaventura Bottone (tenor)
    Michonnet - Alessandro Corbelli (baritone)
    Quinault - David Soar (bass)
    Poisson - Iain Paton (tenor)
    Princesse de Bouillon - Olga Borodina (mezzo soprano)
    Mlle Jouvenot - Janis Kelly (soprano)
    Mlle Dangeville - Sarah Castle (mezzo soprano)
    Conductor - Sir Mark Elder
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Royal Opera House Chorus.
    Donald Macleod presents a new production of Cilea's masterpiece Adriana Levouvreur.
     Rossini's Otello20101211 A concert performance of Rossini's rarely heard opera, setting Francesco Berio di Salsa's libretto based on a French translation of Shakespeare's play.
    The American tenor John Osborn sings the title role with Anna Caterina Antonacci as his wife Desdemona.
    Rossini's Otello was written for performance in Naples and first given in 1816.
    It many respects it has been overshadowed by Verdi's operatic masterpiece but Rossini's opera marks a real development in his dramatic style.
    The libretto gives a different emphasis to some of the characters both in Shakespeare's original and in Verdi's version most notably Iago.
    Rossini writes Otello, Iago and Rodrigo as tenors and his librettist replaces the important stolen handkerchief with a letter.
    The whole opera takes place in Venice with the Cypriot location forgotten.
    Presented by Alexandra Wilson with comments from Rossini biographer Richard Osborne.
    Evelino Pido conducts a concert performance in the Theatre Chatelet, Paris by the Lyon Opera recorded last month.
    Otello - John Osborn (Tenor)
    Desdemona - Anna Caterina Antonacci (Mezzo-soprano)
    Rodrigo - Dmitri Korchak (Tenor)
    Jago - José Manuel Zapata (Tenor)
    Emilia - José Maria Lo Monaco (Mezzo-soprano)
    Doge of Venice and Gondolier - Tansel Akzeybek (Tenor)
    Lucio - Fabrice Constans (Tenor)
    Elmiro - Marco Vinco (Bass)
    Lyon Opera Orchestra and Chorus
    Evelino Pidò (Conductor).
    Alexandra Wilson presents a concert performance of Rossini's rarely heard opera Otello.
     Live From The Met, Verdi's Don Carlo20101218 Don Carlo, the son of Philip II of Spain meets Elisabeth, the daughter of the King of France, whom he must marry to unite the two countries.
    He falls in love with her straight away, and when news reaches him that his father has decided to marry Elisabeth himself, he is devastated.
    This sets in motion a sequence of events with tragic consequences for everybody.
    In this live matinee performance from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts a cast including Marina Poplavskaya, Yonghoon Lee and Simon Keenlyside.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Elisabeth de Valois - Marina Poplavskaya, soprano
    Eboli - Anna Smirnova, mezzo-soprano
    Don Carlo - Yonghoon Lee, tenor
    Rodrigo - Simon Keenlyside, baritone
    Philip II - Ferruccio Furlanetto, bass
    Grand Inquisitor - Eric Halfvarson, bass
    Yannick Nézet-Séguin - Conductor
    Chorus and Orchestra of Metropolitan Opera.
    Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducts Verdi's tragic opera Don Carlo.
     Wagner's Tannhauser20101225 It's more than 20 years since the Royal Opera House last staged Wagner's opera telling the story of a medieval troubadour's tussle between the sensual and the spiritual.
    A new production, directed by Tim Albery, opened earlier this month and its cast is headed by the leading South African tenor Johan Botha in the title-role.
    The two women who represent the opposing poles of his attraction are Venus (sung by Michaela Schuster) and Elisabeth (sung by Eva-Maria Westbroek).
    There's also a rare chance to hear the leading German baritone Christian Gerhaher in an operatic role.
    The highly-experienced Wagnerian Semyon Bychkov conducts and Martin Handley introduces proceedings.
    Hermann - Christof Fischesser (Bass)
    Tannhäuser - Johan Botha (Tenor)
    Wolfram - Christian Gerhaher (Baritone)
    Walter - Timothy Robinson (Tenor)
    Biterolf - Clive Bayley (Bass)
    Heinrich - Steven Ebel (Tenor)
    Reinmar - Jeremy White (Bass)
    Elisabeth - Eva-Maria Westbroek (Soprano)
    Venus - Michaela Schuster (Mezzo-soprano)
    Semyon Bychkov - Conductor
    Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House.
    Wagner's opera about a medieval troubadour's tussle between the sensual and the spiritual.
     Mozart's Don Giovanni20110101 Franz Welser-Möst conducts the Vienna State Opera production of Don Giovanni, with Ildebrando D'Arcangelo in the title role, and Alex Esposito as Leporello.
    When Don Giovanni creeps into the house of the Commendatore hoping to seduce his daughter Anna, things do not go quite to plan.
    Anna cries out; her father rushes to help her and in the subsequent duel he is killed.
    So begins Mozart's masterpiece and a quest for vengeance which will take the Don and his faithful servant Leporello into the furthest realms of human experience.
    Don Giovanni - Ildebrando D'Arcangelo
    Donna Anna - Sally Matthews
    Don Ottavio - Saimir Pirgu
    Donna Elvira - Roxana Constantinescu
    Leporello - Alex Esposito
    Il Commendatore - Albert Dohmen
    Masetto - Adam Plachetka
    Zerlina - Sylvia Schwartz
    Vienna State Opera Chorus
    Vienna State Opera Orchestra
    Franz Welser-Möst.
    Franz Welser-Most conducts the Vienna State Opera production of Don Giovanni.
     Cosi Fan Tutte20110108 Presented by Martin Handley
    Sir Colin Davis conducts an exceptional recording of one of Mozart's wittiest operas, with a superlative cast, including Kiri Te Kanawa and Agnes Baltsa.
    Davis's finely polished account of the score deftly balances the humanity, irony, pain and humour of Da Ponte's complex battle of the sexes.
    When two army officers claim to be certain that their fiancés will be eternally faithful, Don Alfonso cannot resist the urge to prove them wrong.
    It will take him only a day, he claims, to prove that these - like all women - are fickle.
    His wager is accepted, and from then on, things get complicated.
    Ferrando - Stuart Burrows
    Guglielmo - Thomas Allan
    Don Alfonso - Richard Van Allan
    Fiordiligi - Kiri Te Kanawa
    Dorabella - Agnes Baltsa
    Despina - Daniela Mazzucato
    Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Conducted by Colin Davis.
    Colin Davis conducts Kiri te Kanawa in Cosi fan Tutte, one of Mozart's wittiest operas.
     Mozart Double Bill: Le Nozze Di Figaro And La Clemenza Di Tito20110108 Donald Macleod presents Le Nozze di Figaro, K492, with the Chicago Lyric Opera conducted by Andrew Davis, and La Clemenza di Tito, K621, conducted by Rene Jacobs.
    Le Nozze di Figaro, K492
    When Count Almaviva decides to exercise his droit de seigneur and sample the delights of Figaro's bride-to-be, Susanna, he sets off a train of events which do not make his life any easier.
    Figaro - Kyle Ketelsen
    Susanna - Danielle de Niese
    Countess - Anne Schwanewilms
    Count - Mariusz Kwiecien
    Cherubino - Joyce DiDonato
    Marcellina - Lauren Curnow
    Bartolo - Andrea Silvestrelli
    Basilio - Keith Jameson
    Antonio - Philip Kraus
    Barbarina - Angela Mannino
    Curzio - David Portillo
    Chicago Lyric Opera Chorus and Orchestra
    Conducted by Andrew Davis
    La Clemenza di Tito, K621
    Based on the life of the Roman Emperor Titus, the work was commissioned to celebrate the coronation of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor as King of Bohemia, in September 1791.
    At the core of the opera is Vitellia's plot to assassinate Titus, but there is also unrequited love, a great deal of intrigue, and some heart-stopping reversals of fortune along the way.
    In this acclaimed recording, Rene Jacobs conducts an all-star cast.
    Tito - Mark Padmore
    Vitellia - Alexandrina Pendatchanska
    Sesto - Bernarda Fink
    Annio - Marie-Claude Chappuis
    Servilia - Sunhae Im
    Publio - Sergio Foresti
    RIAS Kammerchor, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, conductor René Jacobs.
    Donald Macleod presents performances of Le nozze di Figaro and La clemenza di Tito.
     Mozart - Idomeneo, Re Di Creta20110109 Idomeneo, K366
    Idomeneo, at risk of drowning at sea, makes a vow to Neptune: to sacrifice, if he arrives safely on land, the first living creature he should meet.
    Unfortunately, when he is washed up on a Cretan beach, the first person he sees is his own son.
    Idomeneo - Anthony Rolfe Johnson
    Idamante - Anne Sofie von Otter
    Ilia - Sylvia McNair
    Elettra - Hillevi Martinpelto,
    Arbace - Nigel Robson
    Monteverdi Choir,
    English Baroque Soloists,
    John Eliot Gardiner.
    A complete performance of Mozart's opera Idomeneo, re di Creta, K366.
     Live From The Met, Verdi's La Traviata20110115 The Met season continues with Verdi's ever-popular La Traviata.
    The consumptive courtesan Violetta renounces her life of parties to settle down with the devoted Alfredo.
    But when Alfredo's father asks her to give Alfredo up for the sake of his family's reputation, she agrees to this terrible sacrifice.
    By the time Alfredo finds out the truth, it's too late for them.
    Gianandrea Noseda conducts a cast including Marina Poplavskaya and Matthew Polenzani as the ill-fated lovers.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Cast:
    Violetta Valéry - Marina Poplavskaya (Soprano)
    Alfredo Germont - Matthew Polenzani (Tenor)
    Giorgio Germont - Andrzej Dobber (Baritone)
    Flora Bervoix - Jennifer Holloway (Mezzo-soprano)
    Annina - Maria Zifchak (Soprano)
    Gastone - Scott Scully (Tenor)
    Barone Douphol - Jason Stearus (Baritone)
    Marchese d'Obigny - Kyle Pfortmiller (Bass)
    Dottore Grenvil - Luigi Roni (Bass)
    Giuseppe - Juhwan Lee (Tenor)
    Flora's servant - Seth Malkin (Bass)
    Commissioner....Joseph Turi (Bass)
    Gianandrea Noseda - (Conductor)
    Orchestra and Chorus of Metropolitan Orchestra.
    Gianandrea Noseda conducts Verdi's La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York.
     Live From The Met, Verdi's Rigoletto20110122 This year's Met season continues with Verdi's Rigoletto, based on Victor Hugo's play 'Le roi s'amuse'.
    The Duke of Mantua's hunchbacked jester Rigoletto has raised his daughter Gilda in seclusion from the world.
    When Count Monterone's daughter is seduced by the Duke, Rigoletto mocks him, causing Monterone to curse him.
    Then Gilda is also seduced by the Duke, and the curse begins to take terrible effect.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Rigoletto, the Duke's jester - Giovanni Meoni (Baritone)
    Gilda, his daughter - Nino Machaidze (Soprano)
    Duke of Mantua - Joseph Calleja (Tenor)
    Sparafucile, an assassin - Stefan Kocán (Bass)
    Maddalena, his sister - Kirstin Chávez (Contralto)
    Giovanna, Gilda's nurse - Kathryn Day (Mezzo-soprano)
    Count Ceprano - David Crawford (Bass)
    Countess Ceprano, his wife - Edyta Kulczak (Mezzo-soprano)
    Matteo Borsa, a courtier - Eduardo Valdes (Tenor)
    Count Monterone - Quinn Kelsey (Baritone)
    Marullo - Malcolm MacKenzie (Baritone)
    A Court Usher - Joseph Pariso (Bass)
    A Page - Patricia Steiner (Mezzo-soprano)
    Paolo Arrivabeni - Conductor
    Chorus and Orchestra of Metropolitan Opera.
    Paolo Arrivabeni conducts Verdi's opera Rigoletto, based on a Victor Hugo play.
     Live From The Met, Puccini's Tosca20110129 Live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York: Tosca, Puccini's tale of love, lust, corruption and revenge.
    In this revival of Luc Bondy's dramatic production, Sondra Radvanovsky sings the title role for the first time at the Met, starring as the prima donna with the firebrand artist lover, who thinks she knows how to outwit the notorious Baron Scarpia - the vicious Police Chief, who will stop at nothing to have her.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Floria Tosca, a celebrated singer - Sondra Radvanovsky (Soprano)
    Mario Cavaradossi, a painter - Marcelo Álvarez (Tenor)
    Baron Scarpia, chief of police - Falk Struckmann (Baritone)
    Cesare Angelotti, former Consul of the Roman Rep.
    Peter Volpe (Bass)
    A Sacristan - Paul Plishka (Bass)
    Spoletta, a police agent - Dennis Petersen (Tenor)
    Sciarrone, a gendarme - James Courtney (Bass)
    A Jailer - Harold Wilson (Bass)
    Chorus and Orchestra of Metropolitan Opera
    Marco Armiliato - Conductor.
    From the Metropolitan Opera in New York, a performance of Puccini's Tosca.
     Live From The Met, Verdi's Simon Boccanegra20110205 Dmitri Hvorostovsky stars in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, live from the Met, conducted by James Levine.
    Barbara Frittoli sings Amelia, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Fiesco, and Ramón Vargas, Adorno.
    In fourteenth-century Genoa, there is a conspiracy afoot to overthrow the aristocracy.
    Popular former pirate Simon Boccanegra will be made doge, but this public success is complicated by a private tragedy involving an illegitimate child he had by the daughter of a nobleman.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Simon Boccanegra, a corsair - Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Baritone)
    Maria Boccanegra, his daughter, aka Amelia - Barbara Frittoli (Soprano)
    Jacopo Fiesco, a Genoese nobleman - Ferruccio Furlanetto (Bass)
    Gabriele Adorno, a Genoese gentleman - Ramón Vargas (Tenor)
    Paolo Albiani, a goldsmith - Nicola Alaimo (Bass)
    Pietro, a Genoese popular leader - Richard Bernstein (Baritone)
    Captain of the Crossbowmen - Adam Laurence Herskowitz (Tenor)
    Amelia's maid - Edyta Kulczak (Mezzo-soprano)
    James Levine - Conductor
    Chorus and Orchestra of Metropolitan Opera.
    James Levine conducts Verdi's opera Simon Boccanegra, featuring Dmitri Hvorotovsky.
     John Adams's Nixon In China20110212 
    Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, John Adams's Nixon in China makes its debut at the Met in the same production first seen at ENO in 1987.
    In February 1972 President Nixon and his wife visit Chairman Mao in Communist China.
    The opera explores this legendary moment in American history, and the political and cultural differences which arise between the two leaders.
    Adam's wonderfully energetic score is conducted by the composer, with James Maddalena reprising Nixon, a role which he has made his own.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Richard Nixon - James Maddalena (Baritone)
    Pat Nixon - Janis Kelly (Soprano)
    Chou En-lai - Russell Braun (Baritone)
    Mao Tse-tung - Robert Brubaker (Tenor)
    Henry Kissinger - Richard Paul Fink (Bass)
    Chiang Ch'ing - Kathleen Kim (Soprano)
    Nancy T'sang, first secretary to Mao - Ginger Costa-Jackson (Mezzo-soprano)
    Second secretary to Mao - Teresa S.
    Herold (Contralto)
    Third secretary to Mao - Tamara Mumford (Contralto)
    John Adams - Conductor
    Chorus and Orchestra of Metropolitan Opera.
    From New York's Metropolitan Opera, John Adams conducts his 1987 opera Nixon in China.
     Live From The Met, Donizetti's Don Pasquale20110219 Live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
    In Donizetti's brilliant comedy, the elderly bachelor Don Pasquale plans to marry and produce an heir in order to disinherit his nephew, Ernesto, who has become infatuated with a young widow, Norina.
    Don Pasquale asks his doctor to help fix him up with a suitable woman but the cunning doctor tricks Pasquale into marrying a disguised Norina, who promptly begins to drive him to distraction.
    Anna Netrebko returns to the role of Norina, in which she made her Met debut.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Norina - Anna Netrebko (soprano)
    Ernesto - Matthew Polenzani (Tenor)
    Dr Malatesta - Mariusz Kwiecien (baritone)
    Don Pasquale - John Del Carlo (bass)
    Notary....Bernard Fitch (bass)
    Chorus and Orchestra of Metropolitan Opera
    conductor James Levine.
    James Levine conducts soprano Anna Netrebko in Donizetti's last comic opera, Don Pasquale.
     
     Live From The Met, Gluck's Iphigenie En Tauride20110226 Another day in ancient Greece.
    Iphigenia is sacrificed by her father, but is saved by a goddess who transports her to Tauris, where she becomes High Priestess.
    Her brother Orestes, after murdering their mother (who had murdered their father, to avenge the sacrifice of Iphigenia), is pursued by the Furies.
    Fast forward fifteen years.
    Orestes and his friend Pylades are washed up on to the beach at Tauris by a storm.
    Time for a happy reconciliation? Not yet: neither Orestes nor Iphigenia recognize each other, and neither reveals to the other their true identity.
    As a recent and unknown arrival in Tauris it begins to look bad for Orestes when, in the course of her High Priestess duties, Iphigenia is ordered by her boss (Thoas, king of the Scythians) to sacrifice all strangers.
    Luckily, Iphigenia is reluctant to do the deed, and Thoas is prevented from finishing off Orestes himself by the timely arrival of Pylades with a group of Greek soldiers.
    Now, at last, it really is time for a happy ending.
    Ever since its 1779 Paris premiere, Gluck's potent take on post-Trojan War practical and psychological family problems has gripped audiences and attracted the great singers of the day.
    Soprano Susan Graham and tenor-turned-baritone Plácido Domingo play the siblings who unexpectedly wind up together and have to contend with all the usual predicaments of ancient Greek drama.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait.
    Iphigénie - Susan Graham (soprano)
    Oreste - Plácido Domingo (baritone)
    Pylade - Paul Groves (tenor)
    Thoas - Gordon Hawkins (bass)
    Chorus and Orchestra of the New York Metropolitan Opera
    Patrick Summers (conductor).
    Susan Graham and Placido Domingo in Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride, based on the Greek myth.
     
     Live From The Met, Rossini's Armida20110305 Live from the Metropolitan Opera.
    Rinaldo is a fierce warrior, determined to play his part in the crusades.
    But when he encounters Armida, who is on the opposing side, he loses sight of his Christian duties and idles as a lovesick prisoner in her enchanted garden.
    It is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue.
    Renée Fleming and Lawrence Brownlee star in the Met's new production.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait.
    Armida - Renee Fleming (soprano)
    Rinaldo - Lawrence Brownlee (tenor)
    Goffredo - John Osborn (tenor)
    Gernando - Antonino Siragusa (tenor)
    Carlo - Barry Banks (tenor)
    Ubaldo - Kobie van Rensburg (tenor)
    Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera
    Riccardo Frizza (conductor).
    From the Metropolitan Opera, New York, Riccardo Frizza conducts Rossini's Armida.
     Live From The Met, Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov20110312 Tonight's Live from the Met is Mussorgsky's dramatic Pushkin-based opera Boris Godunov.
    René Pape takes on one of the great operatic bass roles of Boris, who kills the heir to the Russian throne and subsequently becomes Tsar himself.
    Plagued by guilt and political problems, there's now a new claimant to power, threatening his own future, and that of his troubled country.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Boris Godunov - René Pape (bass)
    Marina - Ekaterina Semenchuk (mezzo-soprano)
    Dimitri - Aleksandrs Antonenko (tenor)
    Shuisky - Oleg Balashov (tenor)
    Rangoni - Evgeny Nikitin (bass-baritone)
    Pimen - Mikhail Petrenko (bass)
    Varlaam - Vladimir Ognovenko (bass)
    Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan opera
    Valery Gergiev - conductor.
    Valery Gergiev conducts bass Rene Pape in Mussorgsky's Pushkin-based opera Boris Godunov.
     Live From The Met, Donizetti's Lucia Di Lammermoor20110319 Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
    Natalie Dessay stars as the innocent Lucia, forced by her brother into a political marriage with Arturo when she's desparately in love with Edgardo.
    The heartbreak and ruthlessness of her brother become too much for the fragile heroine, with tragic consequences.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Lucia - Natalie Dessay (soprano)
    Edgardo - Joseph Calleja (tenor)
    Enrico - Ludovic Tezier (baritone)
    Raimondo - Kwangchul Youn (bass)
    Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera
    Patrick Summers - conductor.
    Patrick Summers conducts soprano Natalie Dessay in Donizetti's tragic Lucia di Lammermoor.
     
     Live From The Met, Tchaikovsky's The Queen Of Spades20110326 Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Tchaikovsky's opera tells the tragic tale of the young officer Hermann's obsession with gambling.
    An old Countess knows the secret of the winning cards, but, when Hermann confronts her and demands to know what it is, she dies.
    Returning later as an apparition, she offers Hermann the secret as a reward if he will marry her granddaughter Lisa.
    In the final scene of the opera Hermann wagers everything he has; the first two cards he chooses are winners, but the third, instead of being the winning ace, is the queen of spades.
    In desperation, Hermann stabs himself pleading for Lisa's forgiveness.
    Lisa - Karita Mattila (soprano)
    Paulina - Tamara Mumford (mezzo soprano)
    The Countess - Dolora Zajick (mezzo soprano)
    Ghermann - Vladimir Galouzine (tenor)
    Tomsky - Alexej Markov (baritone)
    Yeletsky - Peter Mattei (baritone)
    Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera
    Andris Nelsons - conductor.
    Andris Nelsons conducts a performance of Tchaikovsky's tragic opera The Queen of Spades.
     Live From The Met, Wagner's Das Rheingold20110402 Tonight's Live from the Met is the first installment of Wagner's Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold, in which all the problems for the gods in Valhalla and mortals on earth are set up for the rest of the epic cycle.
    A stellar cast includes Bryn Terfel as Wotan with Fabio Luisi conducting.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Freia - Wendy Bryn Harmer (soprano)
    Fricka - Stephanie Blythe (mezzo-soprano)
    Erda - Patricia Bardon (mezzo-soprano)
    Loge - Arnold Bezuyen (tenor)
    Mime....Gerhard Siegel (tenor)
    Wotan - Bryn Terfel (baritone)
    Alberich - Eric Owens (bass)
    Fasolt - Franz-Josef Selig (bass)
    Fafner - Hans-Peter Konig (bass)
    Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan opera
    Conductor - Fabio Luisi.
    Fabio Luisi conducts the first installment of Wagner's Ring cycle, Das Rheingold.
     
     Turnage's Anna Nicole20110402 Mark Anthony Turnage's Anna Nicole
    From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    Presented by Suzy Klein
    Written in partnership with librettist Richard Thomas, the creator of Jerry Springer: the Opera, Turnage's critically acclaimed new opera takes a close look at the life of Anna Nicole Smith, the Playboy bunny who married an octogenarian billionaire, only to discover that "there's no such thing as a free ranch".
    Anna Nicole - Eva-Maria Westbroek (Soprano)
    Old Man Marshall - Alan Oke (Tenor)
    The Lawyer Stern - Gerald Finley (Bass)
    Virgie - Susan Bickley (Mezzo soprano)
    Cousin Shelley - LorÃ(c) Lixenberg (Mezzo soprano)
    Larry King - Peter Hoare (Tenor)
    Aunt Kay - Rebecca de Pont Davies (Soprano)
    Blossom - Allison Cook (Mezzo soprano)
    Doctor - Andrew Rees (Baritone)
    Billy - Grant Doyle (Baritone)
    Daddy Hogan - Jeremy White (Bass)
    John Parricelli (Guitarist)
    John Paul Jones (Bass Guitarist)
    Peter Erskine (Drummer)
    Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House,
    Conductor - Antonio Pappano.
    From the Royal Opera House, Suzy Klein presents the world premiere of Anna Nicole.
     
     Live From The Met, Le Comte Ory20110409 Count Ory is determined to win the countess Adele, and will do anything to get access to the castle where the women are, including disguising himself and his men as nuns.
    Rossini's sparkling comedy Le Comte Ory has its Metropolitan Opera premiere with tenor star Jan Diego Florez as the count, Diana Damrau as Adele and Joyce DiDonato in the trouser role of Isolier.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Countess Adele - Diana Damrau (soprano)
    Isolier - Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano)
    Ragonde - Susanne Resmark (mezzo-soprano)
    Count Ory - Juan Diego Florez (tenor)
    Rimbaud - Stephane Degout (baritone)
    The Prompter - Rob Besserer (baritone)
    Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera
    Conductor - Maurizio Benini.
    Maurizio Benini conducts Rossini's opera Le Comte Ory in its Metropolitan Opera premiere.
     
     Berg: Wozzeck20110416 Berg's Wozzeck
    Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera.
    Here we go: jealousy, humiliation, murder and suicide.
    It sounds as if it could be any night at the opera.
    But Alban Berg's Wozzeck is one of the 20th century's greatest dramatic works, the story of a man at the bottom of the heap who goes to pieces under unrelenting pressure.
    It's an opera of extraordinary power which combines traditional musical forms with a plot of crushing despair, leaving no hint of hope or redemption.
    Berg's masterpiece calls for great singer-actors on stage and a virtuoso orchestra and conductor in the pit.
    Things are set fair with baritone Alan Held in the title role, mezzo Waltraud Meier as his common law wife, and an equally impressive supporting cast including Australian tenor-of-the-moment Stuart Skelton.
    James Levine conducts: over the past four decades, he has been the driving force behind the Met Orchestra's rise to the premiere league of US ensembles.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Wozzeck - Alan Held (Baritone)
    Marie - Waltraud Meier (Mezzo-soprano)
    Drum Major - Stuart Skelton (Tenor)
    Captain - Gerhard Siegel (Tenor)
    Doctor - Walter Fink (Bass)
    Andres - Russell Thomas (tenor)
    Margret - Wendy White (contralto)
    First Apprentice - Richard Bernstein (bass)
    Second Apprentice - Mark Schowalter (baritone)
    Madman - Philippe Castagner (tenor)
    A Soldier - Daniel Clark Smith (tenor)
    New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
    Conductor - James Levine.
    Berg's Wozzeck, with Alan Held and Waltraud Meier.
    James Levine conducts.
     
     Live From The Met, Richard Strauss's Capriccio20110423 Richard Strauss's Capriccio
    Live from the Metropolitan Opera
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    In Strauss's last opera, a poet and a musician vie for the attentions of a young widowed countess.
    It opens with a string sextet prelude, the work of the hopeful young composer, Flamand.
    The poet Olivier is preparing a new play for the Countess's birthday celebrations, and the two love rivals argue on a sensitive subject: which is of primary importance artistically - words or music? The Countess finds it impossible to choose between her two suitors.
    In one of Strauss's most intimate operas, he explores the nature of his own art.
    Countess - Renee Fleming (soprano)
    Clairon - Sarah Connolly (mezzo soprano)
    Flamand - Joseph Kaiser (tenor)
    Olivier - Russell Braun (tenor)
    The Count - Morten Frank Larsen (bass-baritone)
    La Roche - Peter Rose (bass)
    Monsieur Taupe - Bernard Fitch (tenor)
    Italian Singer - Olga Makarina (soprano)
    Barry Banks (tenor)
    The Major-Domo - Michael Devin (bass)
    New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
    conductor Andrew Davis.
    Richard Strauss's Capriccio, with Renee Fleming and Joseph Kaiser.
    Andrew Davis conducts.
     Live From The Met, Verdi's Il Trovatore20110430 Verdi's Il Trovatore
    Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait
    Leonora - Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano)
    Count di Luna - Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone)
    Manrico - Marcelo Álvarez (tenor)
    Azucena - Dolora Zajick (mezzo-soprano)
    Ines - Maria Zifchak (soprano)
    Ruiz - Eduardo Valdes (tenor)
    An Old Gypsy - Robert Mahler (bass)
    A Messenger - Raymond Aparentado (tenor)
    Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra
    Conductor - Marco Armiliato.
    From New York's Metropolitan Opera, a performance of Verdi's Il trovatore.
     Live From The Met, Strauss's Ariadne Auf Naxos20110507 Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos
    Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera
    In the grand house of an 18th century nobleman preparations are underway for the performance of a serious new opera, Ariadne auf Naxos, to be followed by an Italian comic opera.
    But due to a mix up with the timings, the performers are told that both operas are going to have to be performed at the same time.
    The composer will have to cut his opera, and the troupe of comedians will be let loose on the opera seria, trying to cheer Ariadne up with singing, dancing and advice about love.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait and Ira Siff.
    Ariadne - Violeta Urmana (soprano)
    The Composer - Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano)
    Zerbinetta - Kathleen Kim (soprano)
    Harlequin - Vasili Ladyuk (baritone)
    Scaramuccio - Mark Schowalter (tenor)
    Truffaldino - Joshua Bloom (bass)
    Brighella - Paul Appleby (tenor)
    The Music Master - Thomas Allen (baritone)
    Bacchus - Robert Dean Smith (tenor)
    The Dancing Master - Tony Stevenson (tenor)
    A Wigmaker - David Crawford (baritone)
    A Footman - James Courtney (bass)
    An Officer - Noah Baetge (tenor)
    The Major-Domo - Michael Devlin (spoken role)
    Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Conductor - Fabio Luisi.
    From New York's Metropolitan Opera, a performance of Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos.
     Live From The Met, Wagner's Die Walkure20110514 The Met's lavish production of Wagner's epic four-opera Ring reaches its second instalment, Die Walküre.
    If only Top God and serial philanderer Wotan had been able to keep his trousers on, he would have saved himself a great deal of trouble.
    As it is, eleven of his children stalk the stage, causing havoc in one way or another.
    Nine of them have chosen the career path of warrior-maidens - the Valkyries - including their leader (and Wotan's favourite) Brünnhilde.
    The other two are a pair of twins, Siegmund and Sieglinde.
    They have chosen the rather more questionable use of their time to be lovers - a relationship not only incestuous but also adulterous, since Sieglinde is already married.
    Wotan sends Big Sister Brünnhilde to guard the lovers, much to the chagrin of his missus, Fricka.
    Chagrin, because her job (ironically enough considering what her husband has put her through) is Goddess of the Sanctity of Marriage.
    Throw in a magic sword and the usual disobedience a father can expect from his kids and, sure as eggs is eggs, there'll be tears before bedtime.
    The no-expense-spared cast includes Bryn Terfel as the prodigious bed-hopper Wotan and Stephanie Blythe as his long-suffering wife, Fricka.
    Deborah Voight is the disobedient daughter and protective sister Brünnhilde, and Eva Maria Westbroek and Jonas Kaufmann the incestuous twins, Siegmund and Sieglinde.
    James Levine conducts.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Siegmund - Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
    Sieglinde - Eva-Maria Westbroek (soprano)
    Hunding - Hans-Peter König (bass)
    Wotan - Bryn Terfel (bass-baritone)
    Fricka - Stephanie Blythe (mezzo-soprano)
    Brünnhilde - Deborah Voigt (soprano)
    Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Conductor - James Levine.
    From the Metropolitan Opera, New York, James Levine conducts Wagner's Die Walkure.
     Wagner's Parsifal20110521 From the English National Opera
    Presented by Donald Macleod
    Mark Wigglesworth conducts ENO's highly acclaimed production of Wagner's last opera.
    The knights of the Holy Grail are in disarray.
    Only a blameless fool, made wise through compassion, can cure Amfortas's wound and so set them on the way to recovery.
    Unlikely as it seems at first, Parsifal might well be that saviour.
    Parsifal - Stuart Skelton (tenor)
    Amfortas - Iain Paterson (bass)
    Titurel - Andrew Greenan (bass)
    Gurnemanz - John Tomlinson (bass)
    Klingsor - Tom Fox (bass)
    Kundry - Jane Dutton (mezzo soprano)
    English National Opera Orchestra and Chorus
    Conductor - Mark Wigglesworth.
    Mark Wigglesworth conducts ENO's celebrated production of Wagner's last opera, Parsifal.
     Weinberg's The Portrait20110528 The Jewish composer Moisey (Mieczyslaw) Weinberg was born in Poland, but fled from the Nazis to Russia where he became a close friend of Shostakovich.
    However, today his music is much less well known than that of his contemporaries.
    His 3-act opera The Portrait is based on a short story by Nikolai Gogol, and tells the cautionary tale of the painter Chartkov who yearns for fame and fortune until he acquires a portrait which brings him exactly that.
    Blinded by the attentions of the rich and famous he betrays his artistic integrity and, distraught at his own actions, resorts to desperate measures.
    This new production by Opera North is directed by David Poutney, a leading figure in the revival of Weinberg's music.
    Acclaimed tenor Paul Nilon takes the lead role of Chartkov and the Orchestra of Opera North is conducted by Rossen Gergov.
    Presented by Christopher Cook with David Nice, an expert on Russian music.
    Chartkov - Paul Nilon (tenor)
    Liza - Katherine Broderick (soprano)
    Nikita - Richard Burkhard (baritone)
    Professor of Fine Arts/Journalist/Art Dealer/Landlady/Earl - Peter Savidge (baritone)
    Lamplighter/Noble Gentleman - Nicholas Sharratt (tenor)
    3rd Seller/Dignitary - Jonathan Best (bass)
    Policeman/General - Richard Angas (bass)
    Female Seller/Lady in Waiting - Helen Field (soprano)
    1st Seller/1st Waiter/Turk - Mark Le Brocq (tenor)
    2nd Seller/2nd Waiter/Cavalry Officer - Christopher Steele (tenor)
    Noblewoman - Carole Wilson (mezzo-soprano)
    Orchestra of Opera North conducted by Rossen Gergov.
    An Opera North production of Moisey Weinberg's three-act opera The Portrait.
     Massenet's Werther20110604 The passionate young poet Werther meets Sophie, and falls instantly in love with her.
    Sophie falls for him too, but had promised her dying mother she'd marry Albert, and can't break her vow.
    Werther won't accept this, leading to tragic consequences for everybody.
    Massenet's Goethe-based opera is performed at the Royal Opera House with star tenor Rolando Villazon and Sophie Koch as the doomed lovers.
    Antonio Pappano conducts, and talks to Andrew McGregor about his view of the opera.
    Presented by Andrew McGregor
    Werther - Rolando Villazon (tenor)
    Charlotte - Sophie Koch (mezzo-soprano)
    Albert - Audun Iversen (baritone)
    Sophie - Eri Nakamura (soprano)
    Magistrate - Alain Vernhes (bass)
    Johann - Darren Jeffrey (baritone)
    Schmidt - Stuart Patterson (tenor)
    Conductor - Antonio Pappano
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    Tenor Rolando Villazon and mezzo Sophie Koch star in Massenet's opera Werther.
     Rimsky-korsakov's The Tsar's Bride20110611 Presented by Martin Handley
    The Tsar has been looking for a bride, and assembled some 2000 girls for inspection.
    The one he's taken with is Marfa, but she is already promised in marriage to her childhood sweetheart Ivan.
    The situation is already complicated enough, but Marfa is also loved by another powerful man, Grigory, who's one of the Tsar's secret police.
    It's a love-triangle which has all the makings of catastrophe.
    Marfa Sobakina - Marina Poplavskaya (soprano)
    Grigory Gryaznoy - Johan Reuter (baritone)
    Lyubasha - Ekaterina Gubanova (mezzo-soprano)
    Ivan Sergeyevich Lïkov - Dmitry Popov (tenor)
    Elisa Bomelius - Vasily Gorshkov (bass)
    Vasily Sobakin - Paata Burchuladze (bass)
    Dunyasha Saburova - Jurgita Adamonyte (mezzo-soprano)
    Domna Saburova - Elizabeth Woollett (soprano)
    Malyuta-Skuratov - Alexander Vinogradov (bass)
    Petrovna - Anne-Marie Owens (mezzo-soprano)
    Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus
    Conductor - Sir Mark Elder.
    Martin Handley presents Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride, with baritone Johan Reuter.
     Verdi's Macbeth20110618 Presented by Andrew McGregor
    When witches prophesy that Macbeth will be made thane of Cawdor and eventually King of Scotland, they unleash in him a turmoil of anticipation and misery.
    But Lady Macbeth suffers none of her husband's uncertainty.
    She covets the kingship for him and is prepared to go to any length to obtain it.
    Simon Keenlyside plays Macbeth and Liudmyla Monastyrska Lady Macbeth in this acclaimed revival from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    Antonio Pappano conducts.
    Macbeth - Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
    Lady Macbeth - Liudmyla Monastyrska (soprano)
    Banquo - Raymond Aceto (bass)
    Macduff - Dmitri Pittas (tenor)
    Malcolm - Steven Ebel (tenor)
    Lady-In-Waiting - Elizabeth Meister (soprano)
    Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    Conductor - Antonio Pappano.
    Andrew McGregor presents a performance of the celebrated revival of Verdi's Macbeth.
     Beethoven's Fidelio20110625 Presented by Martin Handley
    The opera that cost Beethoven so much time and energy tells the story of a woman's determination to rescue her husband from imprisonment at the hands of an evil governor.
    Leonora disguises herself as a man - Fidelio - and takes a job as a guard at the prison where she believes her husband, Florestan, is interred.
    She manages to charm the prison warden and his family (to the extent that his daughter falls in love with her) before taking on the governor and achieving her aim.
    The Swedish soprano Nina Stemme tackles the demanding title-role for the first tme on stage and is supported by a highly experienced cast and conductor.
    Leonore - Nina Stemme (soprano)
    Florestan - Endrik Wottrich (tenor)
    Jaquino - Steven Ebel (tenor)
    Marzelline - Elizabeth Watts (soprano)
    Don Pizarro - John Wegner (bass)
    Don Fernando - Willard White (bass)
    Rocco - Kurt Rydl (bass)
    Prisoner - Dawid Kimberg (baritone)
    Royal Opera Chorus (Chorus Director Renato Balsadonna)
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Conductor - Mark Elder.
    Martin Handley presents a performance of Beethoven's opera Fidelio, starring Nina Stemme.
     Puccini's Madama Butterfly20110702 Live from the Royal Opera House in London - two acts and one interval.
    Presented by Suzy Klein.
    Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly: a tragic tale of boundless love and selfish betrayal, with undertones of the clashing of two cultures.
    The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, welcomes soprano Kristine Opolais in the title role, Cio-Cio San, a tender Japanese geisha who's deceived by Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, a thoughtless lieutenant in the US Navy, performed by tenor James Valenti.
    The Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, conducted by Andris Nelsons, take on this, one of Puccini's best scores, much loved for its passion, drama and sensuality.
    This is a revival of a production by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier.
    Cio-Cio San - Kristine Opolais (soprano)
    Pinkerton - James Valenti (tenor)
    Sharpless - Anthony Michaels-Moore (baritone)
    Goro - Robin Leggate (tenor)
    Suzuki - Helene Schneiderman (soprano)
    Bonze - Jeremy White (bass)
    Yamadori - Zheng Zhou (baritone)
    Royal Opera House Orchestra & Chorus
    Conductor - Andris Nelsons.
    From the Royal Opera House, Andris Nelsons conducts Puccini's Madama Butterfly.
     Massenet's Cendrillon20110709 Live from Covent Garden, the Royal Opera House presents its first ever production of Massenet's Cendrillon in a staging by French director Laurent Pelly with an all-star cast including Joyce DiDonato and Alice Coote.
    Massenet's score stays true to Perrault's well-known Cinderella story, but adding a coloratura soprano fairy-godmother, and some ravishing duets for Cendrillon and her prince.
    Donald Macleod is joined by Sarah Lenton to discuss the background to Massenet's opera, and interviews the cast and conductor about their roles in it.
    Presented by Donald Macleod
    Cendrillon....Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo-soprano)
    La Fée - Eglise Gutiérrez (Soprano)
    Le Prince Charmant - Alice Coote (Mezzo-soprano)
    Madame de la Haltière - Ewa Podles (Mezzo-soprano)
    Pandolfe - Jean-Philippe Lafont (Baritone)
    Noémie - Madeleine Pierard (Soprano)
    Dorothée - Kai Rüütel (Mezzo-soprano)
    Roi - Jeremy White (Bass)
    Doyen de la Faculté - Harry Nicoll (Tenor)
    Surintendant des Plaisirs - Dawid Kimberg (Baritone)
    Premier Ministre - John-Owen Miley-Read
    Royal Opera House orchestra & chorus
    Conductor - Bertrand de Billy.
    Donald Macleod presents a Royal Opera House production of Massenet's Cendrillon.
     Puccini's Il Trittico20110917 The Royal Opera House season begins with a production of Il Trittico, directed by Richard Jones and broadcast live.
    Puccini's triple bill comprises three contrasting one act operas encompassing lust, murder, faith, romance and comedy.
    In Il Tabarro Eva-Maria Westbroek sings Giorgetta whose affair with a deckhand provokes her husband to murder.
    Then we move to the world of a convent where Suor Angelica sung by Ermonela Jaho has been banished for having an illegitimate child.
    Both these are new productions.
    Finally a revival of Richard Jones' production of the farcical comedy where Gianni Schicchi, sung by Lucio Gallo, tricks a grasping family out of its inheritance.
    Donald Macleod presents and is joined by Italian opera scholar, Roger Parker.
    Plus an interview with Elaine Padmore, the outgoing Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House.
    Il Tabarro
    Michele....Lucio Gallo (Baritone)
    Luigi - Aleksandrs Antonenko (Tenor)
    Tinca - Alan Oke (Tenor)
    Talpa - Jeremy White (Bass)
    Giorgetta....Eva-Maria Westbroek (Soprano)
    Venditore....Ji-Min Park (Tenor)
    Frugola - Irina Mishura (Mezzo-soprano)
    Lovers....Anna Devin (Soprano)
    Robert Anthony Gardiner (Tenor)
    Suor Angelica
    Sister Angelica - Ermonela Jaho (Soprano)
    The Princess....Anna Larsson (Mezzo-soprano)
    The Abbess....Irina Mishura (Mezzo-soprano)
    The Monitress....Elena Zilio (Mezzo-soprano)
    Mistress of the Novices....Elizabeth Sikora (Mezzo-soprano)
    Sister Genovieffa....Anna Devin (Soprano)
    Nursing Sister....Elizabeth Woollett (Soprano)
    Alms Sisters....Gillian Webster (Soprano)and Kathleen Wilder (Soprano)
    Sister Osmina....Eryl Royle (Soprano)
    Sister Dolcina....Elizabeth Key (Soprano)
    Gianni Schicchi
    Gianni Schicchi....Lucio Gallo (Baritone)
    Lauretta....Ekaterina Siurina (Soprano)
    Rinuccio....Francesco Demuro (Tenor)
    Zita....Elena Zilio (Mezzo-soprano)
    Gherardo....Alan Oke (Tenor)
    Nella - Rebecca Evans (Soprano)
    Betto di Signa -
    Simone....Gwynne Howell (Bass)
    Marco....Robert Poulton (Baritone)
    La Ciesca....Marie Mclaughlin (Soprano)
    Spinelloccio....Henry Waddington (Bass)
    Ser Amantio di Nicolao....Enrico Fissore (Baritone)
    Royal Opera House Orchestra
    Royal Opera House Chorus
    Conductor - Antonio Pappano.
    Puccini's opera triple bill, comprised of Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi.
     Gounod's Faust20110924 Granted, the plot's not up to much.
    Cursed by her brother, the virginal Marguerite is left pregnant, miserable, mad and seemingly beyond redemption by the ageing Faust who's made a devilish pact to exchange his soul for youth.
    All's well that ends well though, because by close of play Marguerite has been borne up to heaven by a chorus of angels.
    But when has an implausible story ever been a problem for an opera? Because what matters about Gounod's 'Faust' (and what has kept it in the repertoire for over 150 years) is a succession of showstoppers, including solo numbers (the famous Jewel Song among them), ensembles and choruses.
    What 'Faust' needs is a stellar cast, which is what we get in this revival of David McVicar's Royal Opera House production broadcast live from Covent Garden.
    It's led by Angela Gheorghiu as Marguerite who's joined by a trio of fetching men.
    The young Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo plays the vile seducer of the title role, the charismatic bass René Pape is the diabolical Méphistophélès who makes Faust an offer he can't refuse, and smouldering Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky is Valentin, the brother Marguerite could live without.
    Presented by Louise Fryer in conversation with Claire Launchbury.
    Faust - Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
    Méphistophélès - René Pape (Bass)
    Marguerite - Angela Gheorghiu (Soprano)
    Valentin - Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Baritone)
    Siebel - Michele Losier (Mezzo-soprano)
    Martha Schwerlein - Carole Wilson (Mezzo-soprano)
    Conductor - Evelino Pidò
    Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Louise Fryer presents Gounod's Faust.
     Puccini: Tosca20111001 Jealousy, torture, murder and suicide: the path of true love certainly produces a bumpy ride in Puccini's Tosca.
    It's a work that can make for a compelling night at the theatre.
    But when, as here, you get a cast, conductor and orchestra all at the top of their game, it is positively overwhelming.
    In what was the undoubted hot ticket of the season in July this year, three of the great operatic performers of our time are united for one of only two performances: Angela Gheorghiu sings the title role, Jonas Kaufmann is her lover Cavaradossi, and Bryn Terfel is that menacing embodiment of sadistic evil, Baron Scarpia.
    Antonio Pappano conducts.
    Not to be missed.
    Presented by Suzy Klein in conversation with William Ward who puts Tosca's Rome setting in context.
    Tosca - Angela Gheorghiu (Soprano)
    Cavaradossi - Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
    Scarpia - Bryn Terfel (Baritone)
    Spoletta - Hubert Francis (Tenor)
    Angelotti - Lukas Jakobski (Bass)
    Sacristan - Jeremy White (Bass)
    Sciarrone - Zheng Zhou (Baritone)
    Shepherd Boy....William Payne (treble)
    Conductor - Antonio Pappano
    Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    Puccini's Tosca featuring soprano Angela Gheorghiu in the title role.
     Debussy: Pelleas Et Melisande20111008 Debussy's opera Pelleas et Melisande in a concert performance recorded in May this year at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees, Paris.
    Presented by Ivan Hewett with comments from Maeterlinck expert Patrick McGuinness.
    Melisande - Natalie Dessay (Soprano)
    Pelleas - Simon Keenlyside (Baritone)
    Genevieve - Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Contralto)
    Golaud - Laurent Naouri (Baritone)
    Arkel - Alain Vernhes (Bass)
    Yniold....Khatouna Gardelia (soprano)
    The Doctor - Nahuel di Pierro (Bass)
    The Paris Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Louis Langree
    Debussy based his only completed opera on the play by the Belgian poet and playwright Maurice Maeterlinck.
    Pelleas is one of Simon Keenlyside's most celebrated roles and the husband and wife duo of Natalie Dessay and Laurent Naouri take the other central roles of Melisande and Golaud.
    When Debussy came to write Pelleas he was keen not to write an opera like the typical 19th century classics which preceded him.
    "The drama of Pelleas", he wrote "contains far more humanity than those so-called "real-life" documents".
    A concert performance of Debussy's opera Pelleas et Melisande given in Paris in May 2011.
     Weinberg's The Passenger20111015 Presented by Andrew McGregor
    Although Mieczyslaw Weinberg finished his opera The Passenger in 1968, it was banned in the USSR and never performed in the composer's lifetime.
    Only last year did it receive a full staging, when David Pountney directed it at last year's Bregenz Festival, 14 years after Weinberg's death.
    A chance encounter between two women travelling at sea - one a former Auschwitz guard, the other ("The Passenger") a former prisoner - triggers memories which plunge them into a moral battle between guilt and denial, retribution and absolution.
    Recorded at the 2010 Bregenz Festival.
    Martha, The Passenger - Elena Kelessidi
    Lisa - Michelle Breedt
    Walter - Roberto Sacca
    Tadeusz - Artur Rucinski
    Katja - Svetlana Doneva
    Krzystina - Angelica Voje
    Vlasta - Elzbieta Wróblewska
    Hannah - Agnieszka Rehlis
    Yvette - Talia Or
    Old woman prisoner - Helen Field
    Bronka - Liuba Sokolova
    1st SS-officer - Tobias Hächler
    2nd SS-officer - Wilfried Staber
    3rd SS-officer - David Danholt
    Steward - Richard Angas
    Boss - Heide Capovilla
    Chorus of the Prague Philharmonic;
    Vienna Symphony Orchestra;
    Conductor, Teodor Currentzis.
    Andrew McGregor presents a performance of Mieczyslaw Weinberg's opera The Passenger.
     Gilbert And Sullivan's Ruddigore20111022 Sir Despard Murgatroyd has inherited a witch's curse from centuries previously, compelling each baronet of Ruddigore to commit a daily crime, or die in agony.
    So when his long-lost elder brother, Robin Oakapple, is exposed as the rightful heir to the title, it's a huge relief.
    Despard atones for his previous 10 years of evil acts, and marries Mad Margaret, while Robin's troubles start when his weak attempts at committing crimes drag his ancestors back from the dead.
    However, with a Gilbertian twist, all ends happily when the curse is rescinded.
    Ruddigore, or The Witch's Curse, one of the comic operas that Gilbert and Sullivan wrote for the Savoy Theatre, contains some of the most engaging music Sullivan ever wrote, and under John Wilson's baton it should be a riveting performance of Jo Davies's production.
    Richard Burkhard takes the role of Sir Despard Murgatroyd, along with Grant Doyle as Robin Oakapple.
    Presented by Christopher Cook
    Robin Oakapple / Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd - Grant Doyle (baritone)
    Sir Despard Murgatroyd - Richard Burkhard (baritone)
    Mad Margaret - Heather Shipp (mezzo-soprano)
    Richard Dauntless - Hal Cazalet ((tenor)
    Sir Roderick Murgatroyd - Steven Page (baritone)
    Old Adam Goodheart - Richard Angas (bass)
    Rose Maybud - Amy Freston (soprano)
    Dame Hannah - Anne Marie Owens (contralto)
    Zorah - Gillene Herbert (soprano)
    Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North.
    Conductor, John Wilson.
    From the Grand Theatre, Leeds, Christopher Cook presents Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore.
     The Queen Of Spades20111029 From the Grand Theatre in Leeds, Christopher Cook introduces Opera North's new period production of Tchaikovsky's tragic tale of obsession and greed - The Queen of Spades.
    The young gambler Hermann attempts to end his run of bad luck by trying to discover the old Countess' secret of the cards and winning the hand of her granddaughter Lisa in marriage.
    Willing to risk everything, he ends up gambling with love and life and losing at both.
    This English language version of Tchaikovsky's final Pushkin Opera is directed by Neil Bartlett and translated by him and Martin Pickard, with Dame Josephine Barstow as the Countess, Orla Boylan as Lisa and Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts as Herman.
    The Orchestra of Opera North is conducted by Richard Farnes
    Lisa - ORLA BOYLAN (Soprano);
    Countess - JOSEPHINE BARSTOW (Soprano);
    Herman - JEFFREY LLOYD-ROBERTS (Tenor);
    Count Tomsky - JONATHAN SUMMERS (Baritone);
    Prince Yeletsky - WILLIAM DAZELEY (Baritone);
    Pauline - ALEXANDRA SHERMAN (Mezzo-Soprano);
    Governess - FIONA KIMM (Mezzo-Soprano);
    Chekalinsky - DANIEL NORMAN (Tenor);
    Sourin - JULIAN TOVEY (Baritone);
    Masha - GILLENE HERBERT (Soprano);
    Tchaplitsky - DAVID LLEWELLYN (Tenor);
    Narumov - DEAN ROBINSON (Bass);
    Master of Ceremonies - PAUL RENDALL (Tenor);
    Chloe - MIRANDA BEVIN (Soprano);
    Orchestra of Opera North conducted by Richard Farnes.
    Tchaikovsky's opera The Queen of Spades performed by Opera North in Leeds Grand Theatre.
     Domingo Celebration20111105 Presented by Andrew McGregor
    A special homage to Placido Domingo, one of the greatest voices of all time and an artist renowned world-wide, well beyond the realm of music.
    The Royal Opera House celebrates the 40th anniversary of his London debut with acts from three Verdi operas that have had special significance in the Spanish tenor's career.
    In the title roles of Otello, Rigoletto and Simon Boccanegra, Domingo - who also turned 70 this year - portrays three immensely complex characters, all facing dramatic actions.
    The recently added baritone roles of the last two are testimony to both his incredibly wide repertory and his artistic hunger.
    This once-in-a-life-time celebration starts with Domingo as Otello, perhaps his most legendary portrayal and a role he's made entirely his own.
    Antonio Pappano, the Royal Opera House Music Director, conducts a star-studded cast.
    Otello/Rigoletto/Boccanegra....Placido Domingo (Tenor - Baritone)
    Desdemona/Amelia....Marina Poplavskaya (Soprano)
    Gilda....Ailyn Perez (Soprano)
    Duke/Adorno....Francesco Meli (Tenor)
    Ludovico/Sparafucile/Fiesco....Paata Burchuladze (Bass)
    Iago....Jonathan Summers (Bass)
    Royal Opera House Orchestra & Chorus
    Conductor....Antonio Pappano.
    A Placido Domingo celebration, featuring acts from Otello, Rigoletto and Simon Boccanegra.
     Wagner's Der Fliegende Hollander20111112 Tonight's Opera on 3 is a production of Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer recorded at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    Egils Silins sings the legendary Dutchman, cursed to sail his ghostly ship for eternity and only allowed ashore every seven years.
    The only way to break the curse is to find a woman who will be faithful to him until death.
    Anje Kampe sings Senta, who believes she is that woman, despite having promised herself to somebody else.
    Jeffrey Tate conducts a revival of Tim Albery's 2009 production.
    Presented by Louise Fryer
    Daland - Stephen Milling (Bass)
    Senta - Anja Kampe (Soprano)
    Erik - Endrik Wottrich (Tenor)
    Steersman - John Tessier (Tenor)
    The Dutchman - Egils Silins (Bass)
    Conductor - Jeffrey Tate
    Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus.
    Louise Fryer presents a performance of Wagner's celebrated opera Der Fliegende Hollander.
     Bellini's La Sonnambula20111119 Tonight's Opera on 3 is Bellini's La Sonnambula recorded at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    Amina is about to marry Elvino, but her plans are disrupted when a stranger, Count Rodolfo arrives and provokes Elvino's jealousy.
    Later that night when Amina sleepwalks towards Rodolfo, Elvino assumes she's been unfaithful to him.
    In Bellini's tuneful opera, Eglise Gutierrez sings the unfortunate sleepwalking Amina and Celso Albelo her doubting lover.
    Ivan Hewett presents, and is joined in the box by translator and writer on music, Kenneth Chalmers.
    Lisa - Elena Xanthoudakis (Soprano),
    Amina - Eglise Gutierrez (Soprano),
    Teresa - Elizabeth Sikora (Mezzo-soprano),
    Elvino - Celso Albelo (Tenor),
    Count Rodolfo - Michele Pertusi (Baritone),
    Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus,
    Daniel Oren (conductor).
    Ivan Hewett presents a performance of Bellini's opera about a sleepwalker, La Sonnambula.
     Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin20111126 Presented by Martin Handley
    Tchaikovsky's most famous opera is based on a verse-novel by Pushkin.
    It tells the story of the relationship between Eugene Onegin, a young St.
    Petersburg man-about-town and the woman who he initially rejects and then realises that he truly loves, Tatiana.
    Between rejecting her and realising that he's made a terrible mistake he flirts with her sister, who is engaged to his friend, the poet Lensky.
    A duel ensues in which Lensky is killed.
    By the end of the opera Onegin is left alone and broken-hearted.
    This new production from English National Opera is directed by Deborah Warner and stars the young Norwegian baritone Audun Iversen in the title role.
    He's joined by the South-African soprano Amanda Echalaz (who was such a huge success when she sang Tosca at ENO last hear) as Tatiana and English tenor Toby Spence as the doomed poet.
    ENO's Music Director Edward Gardner conducts.
    Eugene Onegin....Audun Iversen (baritone)
    Tatyana....Amanda Echalaz (soprano)
    Lensky....Toby Spence (tenor)
    Prince Gremin....Brindley Sherratt (bass)
    Olga....Claudia Huckle (mezzo-soprano)
    Madame Larina....Diana Montague (mezzo-soprano)
    Filipievna....Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo soprano)
    Zaretski....David Stout (baritone)
    English National Opera Orchestra and Chorus
    Conductor....Edward Gardner.
    Martin Handley presents an ENO performance of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.
     Live From The Met, Handel's Rodelinda20111203 This year's season of Live from the Met broadcasts begins with Handel's Rodelinda.
    King Bertarido has been deposed, assumed dead, leaving his Queen, Rodelinda and son behind.
    Grimoaldo is determined to become king, not realising that Bertarido is in fact alive, and planning to come back to rescue his family.
    Handel's opera contains some glorious music and is sung by a stellar cast including Renee Fleming and Andreas Scholl, and conducted by Harry Bicket.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Rodelinda....Renee Fleming (Soprano)
    Eduige - Stephanie Blythe (Mezzo-soprano)
    Bertarido - Andreas Scholl (Counter-tenor)
    Unulfo - Iestyn Davies (Counter-tenor)
    Grimoaldo - Joseph Kaiser (Tenor)
    Garibaldo - Shenyang (Bass-baritone)
    Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Conductor....Harry Bicket.
    Harry Bicket conducts Handel's Rodelinda, starring Renee Fleming and Andreas Scholl.
     Live From The Met, Gounod's Faust20111210 Live from the Met
    When the New York Metropolitan Opera opened in 1883 the very first opera to be staged was Gounod's Faust and it has been enormously popular there ever since.
    It tells the famous story of Dr Faust and how he sells his soul to the devil, Mephistopheles, in order to regain his youth.
    It's the opera that features in the plot of 'Phantom of the Opera' and it's music includes some very famous numbers, including the 'Jewel Song' and the Soldiers Chorus.
    Initially something of a failure, Gounod's Faust has been providing a great night out at the opera (and a great challenge to star singers) ever since its first revival in 1863 and will no doubt do so for many years to come.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Faust....Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
    Méphistophélès....René Pape (bass)
    Marguerite....Marina Poplavskaya (soprano)
    Valentin....Russell Braun (baritone)
    Wagner....Jonathan Beyer (baritone)
    Siébel....Michèle Losier (mezzo-soprano)
    Marthe Schwerlein....Wendy White (mezzo-soprano)
    New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
    Conductor....Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
    From the Metropolitan Opera, New York, Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducts Gounod's opera Faust.
     Live From The Met, Puccini's Madama Butterfly20111217 Puccini's Madama Butterfly
    Live from the Met
    It's never an easy life being a heroine in a Puccini opera and Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly to her friends) is no exception.
    The inevitable downward spiral begins when fifteen-year-old Butterfly marries American sailor Pinkerton.
    Denounced and cursed by her distinguished but hard-up family for giving up her ancestral religion in favour of Christianity, it's not long before she's left by her husband who promises to return 'when the robins build their nests'.
    A single parent, courtesy of Pinkerton, Butterfly has to wait three years before she sets eyes on him again.
    And who can blame her if she doesn't like what she sees: not only Pinkerton but his American wife, Kate.
    There's only one way out for a Puccini heroine in a situation like this: suicide.
    With its celebrated set pieces (including 'Un bel dì') and gripping dramatic narrative, 'Madama Butterfly' is one of Puccini's greatest operas.
    Butterfly is a signature role for Chinese-born soprano Liping Zhang and she's joined by leading American tenor Robert Dean as the fickle American seaman.
    They're conducted by a man who knows 'Butterfly' from the inside - and who was no mean Pinkerton himself: Plácido Domingo.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff
    Cio-Cio San - Liping Zhang (soprano)
    Suzuki - Maria Zifchak (mezzo-soprano)
    Pinkerton....Robert Dean Smith (tenor)
    Sharpless - Luca Salsi (baritone)
    Goro....Joel Sorensen (tenor)
    Prince Yamadori....Luthando Qave (tenor)
    The Bonze....Daniel Sumegi (bass)
    Yakuside....Craig Montgomery (bass)
    The Imperial Commissioner - David Crawford (bass)
    The Official Registrar - David Lowe (bass)
    Cio-Cio San's mother - Belinda Oswald (mezzo-soprano)
    The aunt....Jean Braham (soprano)
    The cousin....Laura Fries (soprano )
    Kate Pinkerton....Jennifer Johnson (mezzo-soprano)
    New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
    Conductor - Plácido Domingo.
    Placido Domingo conducts the Metropolitan Opera orchestra in Puccini's Madama Butterfly.
     Live From The Met, Donizetti's La Fille Du Regiment20111224 Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment
    Live from the Met
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait, with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment with Nino Machaidze (Marie) and Lawrence Brownless (Tonio).
    Yves Abel conducts the Metropolitan Opera orchestra and chorus.
    The opera is set in a Swiss village in the Tyrolean Alps, where a French regiment is passing through.
    They're led by Sergeant Sulpice and the regiment has a "daughter" named Marie - though she's really more like their mascot and their maid.
    They found her when she was only a baby, and they've raised her ever since.
    Marie is in love with a Swiss villager named Tonio.
    Unfortunately, there's a complication: she's only allowed to marry a member of the Regiment.
    The opera is famous for Tonio's aria "Ah! mes amis, quel jour de fête!" which has been called the "Mount Everest" for tenors as it features nine high Cs.
    Marie....Nino Machaidze (soprano)
    Tonio....Lawrence Brownlee (tenor)
    Sergeant Sulpice....Maurizio Muraro (bass)
    Marquise of Berkenfeld....Ann Murray (mezzo-soprano)
    Hortensius....James Courtney (bass)
    A corporal....Roger Andrews (bass)
    The Duchess of Krakenthorp....Kiri Te Kanawa (spoken role)
    New York Metropolitan opera orchestra and chorus
    Conductor....Yves Abel.
    Yves Abel conducts Donizetti's La fille du regiment at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
     Verdi's La Traviata20111231 Presented by Martin Handley
    From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Verdi's enduring favourite, La Traviata, recorded earlier this month. Adapted from Dumas' novel La Dame aux Camélias, it's the story of the Fallen Woman, the tragic courtesan who pays the ultimate price for taking a lover only to be forced to leave him against her wishes, as they break Parisian society's conventions. Soprano Ailyn Pérez portrays Violetta, la Traviata, in a Covent Garden debut role; Alfredo, her young, carefree lover is performed by tenor Piotr Beczala; his father, Giorgio Germont, whose family's honour is compromised by the doomed lovers, is portrayed by Simon Keenlyside - his first time in the Covent Garden stage performing a role he took recently to Japan with the ROH. This classic production of La Traviata, by Richard Eyre, provides a fascinating portrait into a pleasure-seeking, double-standards, decadent society. At the helm of the Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus is Patrick Lange.
    Violetta Valéry....Ailyn Pérez (Soprano)
    Alfredo Germont....Piotr Beczala (Tenor)
    Giorgio Germont....Simon Keenlyside (Baritone)
    Baron Douphol....Eddie Wade (Baritone)
    Doctor Grenvil....Christophoros Stamboglis (Bass)
    Flora Bervoix....Hanna Hipp (Mezzo soprano)
    Marquis D'Obigny....Daniel Grice (Bass baritone)
    Gastone de Letorières....Ji Hyun Kim (Tenor)
    Annina....Gaynor Keeble (Mezzo soprano)
    Giuseppe....Neil Gillespie (Tenor)
    Messenger....John Bernays (Bass)
    Conductor....Patrick Lange
    The Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House.
    A performance of Verdi's La Traviata, given at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
     Wagner's Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg20120101 Wagner's Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg
    Presented by Martin Handley
    Wagner's Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg with Wolfgang Koch (Hans Sachs), Simon O'Neill (Walter von Stolzing) and Emma Bell (Eva). Antonio Pappano conducts live from the Royal Opera.
    Seizing his opportunity after mass, Walther, a young knight from Franconia asks Eva Pogner if she happens to be engaged. Eva, who has fallen in love with Walther at first sight, tells him that her father has arranged to give her hand in marriage to the winner of the guild's song contest on the next day. Walther plans to qualify as a mastersinger during the guild meeting, traditionally held in the church after mass, and thus earn a place in the song contest despite his utter ignorance of the master-guild's rules and conventions. But this is easier said than done...
    Hans Sachs...Wolfgang Koch (Baritone)
    Walter von Stolzing...Simon O'Neill (Tenor)
    Eva...Emma Bell (Soprano)
    Sixtus Beckmesser...Peter Coleman-Wright (Baritone)
    Veit Pogner...John Tomlinson (Bass)
    David...Toby Spence (Tenor)
    Magdalene...Heather Shipp (Mezzo soprano)
    Kunz Vogelgesang...Colin Judson (Tenor)
    Konrad Nachtigall...Nicholas Folwell (Baritone)
    Fritz Kothner...Donald Maxwell (Baritone)
    Hermann Ortel...Jihoon Kim (Baritone)
    Balthazar Zorn...Martyn Hill (Tenor)
    Augustin Moser...Pablo Bemsch (Tenor)
    Eisslinger...Andrew Rees (Baritone)
    Hans Foltz...Jeremy White (Bass)
    Hans Schwarz..Richard Wiegold (Bass)
    Nightwatchman...Robert Lloyd (Bass)
    Conductor...Antonio Pappano
    Royal Opera Chorus
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
    Martin Handley presents a performance of Wagner's opera Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg.
     Live From The Met, Humperdinck's Hansel Und Gretel20120107 This English language production of Humperdinck's perennially popular Hansel and Gretel is The Met's equivalent to a seasonal panto. Including all the fun of cross-dressing, with mezzo Alice Coote (brother to Aleksandra Kurzak's Gretel) donning trousers to play Hansel, and tenor Robert Brubaker pulling on a frock and clutching a broomstick to play the wicked witch. One of Britain's hottest musical exports, Robin Ticciati, conducts.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel
    Hansel....Alice Coote (Mezzo soprano)
    Gretel....Aleksandra Kurzak (Soprano)
    The Gingerbread Witch....Robert Brubaker (Tenor)
    Peter....Dwayne Croft (Baritone)
    Gertrud....Michaela Martens (Mezzo soprano)
    Sandman....Jennifer Johnson Cano (Soprano)
    Dewman....Lei Xu (Soprano)
    Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus
    Conductor....Robin Ticciati.
    Robin Ticciati conducts the English version of Humperdinck's opera Hansel und Gretel.
     Rameau's Castor And Pollux20120114 Here's something: a love square. Two sides are made from Castor and Pollux, twin progeny of Jupiter, one divine one mortal. The term 'brotherly love' might have been coined for them. The other two sides, a pair of sisters: Telaïre and Phoebe.
    Both Castor and Pollux love Telaïre; Phoebe loves Pollux but the sentiment is not reciprocated. Telaïre loves Castor better than Pollux and when Castor is killed in battle she asks the surviving sibling to get Jupiter to bring him back to life. Thinking that his brother's happiness is more important than his own, Pollux sets about helping out. But nothing's simple and terms and conditions apply: Jupiter has decreed that Pollux must exchange his immortality for Castor's mortality. And it gets worse. As Pollux enters the Underworld to reclaim Castor, he not only has to endure the all the horrors the nether regions have to throw at him, but he also has to put up with Phoebe and her endless jealousy.
    All's well that ends well - if not for everybody. Jupiter decides to make both brothers immortal and sends them up to the heavens to become the Gemini (what else?) constellation. Phoebe has killed herself; Telaïre is left on earth, bereft. It's a happy ending, Greek myth-style.
    Although Rameau is one of the great dramatic composers the baroque era and 'Castor and Pollux' is widely regarded as his masterpiece, this is the first time any Rameau opera has been staged at ENO. A cast including some of the UK's finest young singers is conducted by period instrument specialist Christian Curnyn in this new production by Barry Kosky, translated by Amanda Holden.
    Presented by Donald Macleod in conversation with Simon Heighes
    Castor....Allan Clayton (tenor)
    Pollux....Roderick Williams (baritone)
    Telaïre....Sophie Bevan (soprano)
    Phoebe....Laura Tatulescu (soprano)
    Jupiter....Henry Waddington (bass)
    High Priest of Jupiter....Andrew Rupp (baritone)
    Mercury/Athlete....Ed Lyon (tenor)
    English National Opera Orchestra and Chorus
    Conductor....Christian Curnyn.
    Christian Curnyn conducts the ENO Orchestra and Chorus in Rameau's Castor and Pollux.
     Live From The Met, The Enchanted Island20120121 The Enchanted Island (Music by Handel, Rameau and Vivaldi)
    Live from The Met
    The Live from the Met season continues with the world première of The Enchanted Island, a contemporary revival of the 18th century musical pastiche by the British librettist Jeremy Sams in collaboration with the Baroque music expert William Christie. Inspired by two Shakespeare plays, the story finds the four lovers from A Midsummer Night's Dream landed on an island where Sycorax and Prospero from The Tempest are embroiled in a supernatural battle. This modern Baroque fantasy features arias by various composers including Handel, Rameau and Vivaldi.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff
    Prospero....David Daniels (countertenor)
    Sycorax....Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano)
    Ariel....Danielle de Niese (soprano)
    Neptune....Placido Domingo (tenor)
    Caliban....Luca Pisaroni (baritone)
    Miranda....Lisette Oropesa (soprano)
    Ferdinand....Anthony Roth Constanzo (countertenor)
    Helena....Layla Claire (soprano)
    Hermia....Elizabeth DeShong (mezzo-soprano)
    Demetrius....Paul Appleby (tenor)
    Lysander....Elliot Madore (baritone)
    New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
    Conductor....William Christie.
    Joyce DiDonato, David Daniels and Placido Domingo star in Jeremy Sams's musical pastiche.
     Live From The Met - Puccini's Tosca20120128 Live from The Met
    The action of Puccini's masterpiece takes place over a single day and night in Rome. During that day an escaped political prisoner shelters in a church. An artist, Mario Cavaradossi, helps him. The artist's lover is opera-singer Floria Tosca - passionate and jealous. The sadistic Chief of Police Baron Scarpia is hunting both the escaped prisoner and (for very different reasons) Tosca. By the following morning Scarpia, Cavaradossi and Tosca are all dead - murder, a firing squad and suicide. All of the ingredients for the grandest of operas are present and Puccini's mastery of the art of music-theatre produces an opera that manages to be both ingeniously composed and highly popular.
    The Met has assembled a strong cast for this revival. Leading American soprano Patricia Racette sings the title role, the outstanding Argentine tenor Marcelo Álvarez is Cavaradossi and the veteran American bass-baritone James Morris brings his enormous experience to the role of Scarpia. The conductor is the young Finnish maestro Mikko Franck. He's currently Finnish National Opera's Artistic Director and General Music Director - a job to which he was appointed 8 years ago at the age of 25.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Tosca...Patricia Racette (Soprano)
    Cavaradossi...Marcelo Álvarez (Tenor)
    Scarpia...James Morris (Bass)
    Sacristan...Paul Plishka (Bass)
    Cesare Angelotti...Richard Bernstein (Bass)
    Spoletta...Joel Sorensen (Tenor)
    Sciarrone...James Courtney (Bass)
    Jailer...Jeremy Galyon (Bass)
    New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Conductor....Mikko Franck.
    Puccini's Tosca, from the New York Met, with soprano Patricia Racette in the title role.
     Live From The Met, Donizetti's Anna Bolena20120204 Donizetti's Anna Bolena live from the Met.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Anna Netrebko portrays the ill-fated queen driven insane by her unfaithful king, in Donizetti's tragic two-act opera. She sings one of opera's greatest mad scenes as Henry VIII abandons her and takes up with Jane Seymour, previously her lady-in-waiting. Ekaterina Gubanova sings Jane, Ildar Abdrazakov takes the role of Henry VIII, and Marco Armiliato conducts.
    Anna Bolena....Anna Netrebko (soprano)
    Giovanna Seymour....Ekaterina Gubanova (mezzo-soprano)
    Enrico VIII....Ildar Abdrazakov (bass)
    Smeaton....Tamara Mumford (contralto)
    Lord Riccardo Percy....Stephen Costello (tenor)
    New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Marco Armiliato (conductor).
    A performance from the Metropolitan Opera in New York of Donizetti's tragic Anna Bolena.
     Live From The Met, Wagner's Gotterdammerung20120211 Wagner's Götterdämmerung
    Live from the Met
    When the Rope of Destiny breaks and logs from the World Ash are piled around Valhalla, it marks the beginning of the end for the motley bunch of misfits from the fourth and final part of Wagner's epic operatic sequence. As in previous episodes, heroes, gods, dwarves and fresh-water mermaids accompany their scramble for the curse-laden ring with the usual oaths and arguments. But this time, what with cataclysmic fire and flood, there can be no sequel. Götterdämmerung - Twilight of the Gods - means just that.
    The Met's no-expense-spared Ring has an impressive cast led by two of the great Wagnerian singers of our time, Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde and Jay Hunter Morris as Siegfried.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff
    Brünnhilde....Deborah Voigt (Soprano)
    Gutrune....Wendy Bryn Harmer (Bass)
    Waltraute....Waltraud Meier (Mezzo-soprano)
    Siegfried....Jay Hunter Morris (Tenor)
    Gunther....Iain Paterson (Baritone)
    Alberich....Eric Owens (Baritone)
    Hagen....Hans-Peter König (Bass)
    First Norn....Maria Radner (Contralto)
    Second Norn....Elizabeth Bishop (Mezzo-soprano)
    Third Norn....Heidi Melton (Soprano)
    Woglinde....Erin Morley (Soprano)
    Wellgunde....Jennifer Johnson Cano (Soprano)
    Flosshilde....Tamara Mumford (Mezzo-soprano)
    New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Conductor....Fabio Luisi.
    Fabio Luisi conducts Wagner's Gotterdammerung at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
     Rossini's Il Barbiere Di Siviglia20120218 Live from The Met
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff
    Rosina....Diana Damrau (contralto)
    Figaro....Rodion Pogossov (baritone)
    Count Almaviva....Colin Lee (tenor)
    Dr Bartolo....John Del Carlo (bass)
    Don Basilio....Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass)
    Fiorello....Edward Parks (bass)
    Berta....Wendy White (soprano)
    Ambrogio....Rob Besserer (bass)
    New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Conductor....Maurizio Benini.
    Rossini's Il Barbiere Di Siviglia Live from The Met. Maurizio Benini conducts.
     Live From The Met, Verdi's Ernani20120225 Verdi's Ernani
    Live from The Met
    Elvina is being forced to marry her elderly uncle Silva. Ernani is in love with her, and plans to rescue her from her fate. But when he arrives at the castle he finds Elvina with Don Carlo, the King of Spain, who has also declared his love. In Verdi's dramatic early drama Angela Meade sings Elvina, the woman who finds herself loved by three men, leading to tragic consequences. Top Verdians Marcello Giordani, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Ferruccio Furlanetto sing her suitors.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Ernani....Marcello Giordani (tenor)
    Don Carlo....Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone)
    Don Ruy de Silva....Ferrucio Furlanetto (bass)
    Elvira....Angela Meade (soprano)
    Giovanna....Mary Ann McCormick (soprano)
    Don Riccardo....Adam Laurence Herskowitz (tenor)
    Jago....Jeremy Galyon (bass)
    New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Conductor....Marco Armiliato.
    From the Metropolitan Opera, New York, Marco Armiliato conducts Verdi's opera Ernani.
     Opera On 3 From The Royal Opera House, Mozart's Don Giovanni20120310 Mozart's Don Giovanni
    Live from the Met
    Indiscriminate and sexually voracious, Don Giovanni is a man who doesn't take no for an answer, leaving a trail of outrage and wrecked lives in his wake. But in the end, even he comes up against something he can't dupe, evade, or kill. One of the greatest (and most hummable) operas in the repertoire stars baritone Gerald Finley in the title role and Bryn Terfel as his manservant Leporello.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff
    Don Giovanni....Gerald Finley (baritone)
    Leporello....Bryn Terfel (bass)
    Donna Anna....Marina Rebeka (soprano)
    Donna Elvira....Ellie Dehn (soprano)
    Don Ottavio....Matthew Polenzani (tenor)
    Masetto....Shenyang (bass)
    Zerlina....Isabel Leonard (soprano)
    Il Commendatore....James Morris (bass)
    New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Conductor....Andrew Davis.
    Andrew Davis conducts a performance of Mozart's opera buffa Don Giovanni.
     Live From The Met, Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina20120317 Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina
    Live from The Met
    Mussorgsky's sweeping epic tale is back on the Met stage for the first time in more than a decade. The opera, set during the reign of Peter the Great, tells the story of rebellion led by Prince Ivan Khovansky, commander of the streltsy guards, against the ruler and his attempts to bring reforms to Russia. In the end Peter the Great succeeds, the rebellion is crushed and Khovansky's followers commit mass suicide.
    Kirill Petrenko conducts, with Olga Borodina as the Old Believer Marfa and Vladimir Galouzine as the Russian statesman Prince Vasily Golitsyn.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Marfa....Olga Borodina (mezzo-soprano)
    Andrei Khovansky....Misha Didyk (tenor)
    Vasily Golitsin....Vladimir Galouzine (tenor)
    Shaklovity....George Gagnidze (bass-baritone)
    Ivan Khovansky....Anatoli Kotscherga (bass)
    Dosifei....Ildar Abdrazakov (bass)
    Susanna....Maria Gavrilova (soprano)
    Scrivener....John Easterlin (tenor)
    Emma....Wendy Bryn Harmer (soprano)
    Varsonofyev....David Crawford (bass)
    Kuzka....Mark Schowalter (tenor)
    Streshnev....Michael Todd Simpson (tenor)
    New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Conductor....Kirill Petrenko.
    Kirill Petrenko conducts Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
     The Spirit Of Schubert, Fierrabras20120324 BBC Radio 3's celebration of The Spirit of Schubert continues with Fierrabras, Schubert's last completed opera and an early example of the German romantic operatic style. The story is set in the courts of the Frankish King Charlemagne and the Moorish Prince Boland. Boland's son and daughter are both in love with members of the Frankish court. While his daughter, Florinda wins her knight, his son, Fierrabras realises his love, Emma is already in love with somebody else.
    Because of the vogue for Italian opera in the 1820s, especially Rossini, Schubert's Fierrabras was overlooked by the Kärntnertor Theatre who commissioned it, and it didn't get its first performance for another 60 years. It has never really entered the repertory, but is a dramatic tale of love, honour, courage and chivalry with some glorious music. It's given here by a stellar cast including Karita Mattila and Josef Protschka, conducted by Claudio Abbado.
    Presented by Andrew McGregor
    Emma....Karita Mattila (soprano)
    König Karl....Robert Holl (bass)
    Roland....Thomas Hampson (baritone)
    Eginhard....Robert Gambill (tenor)
    Boland....László Polgár (bass)
    Fierrabras....Josef Protschka (tenor)
    Florinda....Cheryl Studer (soprano)
    Maragond....Brigitte Balleys (contralto)
    Brutamonte....Hartmut Welker (baritone)
    Arnold Schoenberg Choir
    The Chamber Orchestra of Europe
    Conductor....Claudio Abbado.
    Andrew McGregor presents a performance of Schubert's last completed opera, Fierrabras.
     Live From The Met, Massenet's Manon20120407 Massenet's Manon
    Live from The Met
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    When the Chevalier des Grieux turns up to catch the coach to Paris, he has an encounter which will turn his life upside down. He falls in love with Manon at first sight. When she tells him that her fondness for pleasure has led her family to send her to a convent, he is determined to rescue her from such a fate. But all will not go smoothly for the eloping couple.
    Anna Netrebko's dazzling portrayal of the tragic heroine in Laurent Pelly's new production travels to the Met from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Piotr Beczala and Paulo Szot also star, with the Met's Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi on the podium.
    Manon....Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
    Chevalier des Grieux....Piotr Beczala (Tenor)
    Lescaut....Paulo Szot (Baritone)
    Comte des Grieux....David Pittsinger (Bass)
    Guillot Morfontaine....Christoph Mortagne (Baritone)
    Monsieur de Bretigny....Bradley Garvin (Bass)
    Poussette....Anne-Carolyn Bird (Soprano)
    Javotte....Jennifer Black (Soprano)
    Rosette....Ginger Costa-Jackson (Mezzo-soprano)
    Innkeeper....Philip Cokorinos (Tenor)
    Maid....Kathryn Day (Mezzo-soprano)
    New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Conductor...Fabio Luisi.
    Fabio Luisi conducts Massenet's opera Manon, with Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczala.
     Live From The Met, Verdi's La Traviata20120414 Tonight's Live From the Met is Verdi's La Traviata. Consumptive courtesan Violetta Valery vows to give up her party life and settle down when she falls in love with Alfredo. But their countryside idyll is disrupted by Alfredo's father who asks Violetta to leave him for the sake of his family's reputation. Natalie Dessay makes her Met role debut as the doomed courtesan who sacrifices her own happiness, and Matthew Polenzani her lover.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff
    Violetta....Natalie Dessay (Soprano)
    Alfredo....Matthew Polenzani (Tenor)
    Giorgio Germont....Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Baritone)
    Flora Bervoix....Patricia Risley (Soprano)
    Annina....Maria Zifchak (Soprano)
    Gastone....Scott Scully (Tenor)
    Barone Douphol....Jason Stearns (Tenor)
    Marchese D'obigny....Kyle Pfortmiller (Bass)
    Dottore Grenvil....Luigi Roni (Baritone)
    Giuseppe....Juhwan Lee (Tenor)
    A Gentleman....Peter Volpe (Bass)
    Messenger....Joseph Turi (Bass)
    New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Conductor....Fabio Luisi.
    Natalie Dessay and Matthew Polenzani play the lead roles in Verdi's La Traviata.
     Live From The Met, Wagner's Siegfried20120421 Wagner's Siegfried
    Live from The Met
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff
    When Siegfried eventually finds the sleeping Brünnhilde, he is overwhelmed by her beauty and finally realizes the meaning of fear. Awakened by his kiss, Brünnhilde tries to resist his declarations of passion, but finally gives in and joins Siegfried in praise of love.
    Siegfried....Jay Hunter Morris (tenor)
    Brünnhilde....Deborah Voigt (soprano)
    Erda....Patricia Bardon (contralto)
    Mime....Gerhard Siegel (tenor)
    Wanderer....Bryn Terfel (bass-baritone)
    Alberich....Eric Owens (baritone)
    Fafner....Hans-Peter Konig (bass)
    Waldvogel....Erin Morley (soprano)
    Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Fabio Luisi (conductor).
    From the Metropolitan Opera, New York, Fabio Luisi conducts Wagner's Siegfried.
     Live From The Met, Wagner's Die Walkure20120428 Wagner's Die Walkure
    Live from The Met
    Part two of Wagner's Ring Cycle, in which Siegmund and his sister Sieglinde fall in love with each other, and Brunnhilde is banished to a fire-surrounded rock by her father, Wotan, for disobeying him. Only a hero will be able to break through the flames to rescue her - could Sieglinde's unborn baby Siegfried be man Brunnhilde is waiting for? The Met's production of Die Walkure has a stellar cast including Eva-Maria Westbroek, Katarina Dalayman, Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel.
    Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.
    Siegmund....Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
    Sieglinde....Eva-Maria Westbroek (Soprano)
    Hunding....Hans-Peter Konig (Bass)
    Wotan....Bryn Terfel (Baritone)
    Fricka....Stephanie Blythe (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Brunnhilde....Katarina Dalayman (Soprano)
    Gerhilde....Kellie Cae Hogan (Soprano)
    Ortlinde....Wendy Bryn Harmer (Soprano)
    Waltraute....Marjorie Elinor Dix (Soprano)
    Schwertleite....Mary Phillips (Soprano)
    Helmwige....Molly Fillmore (Soprano)
    Seigrune....Eve Gigliotti (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Grimgerde....Mary Ann Mccormick (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Rossweisse....Lindsay Ammann (Mezzo-Soprano)
    New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Fabio Luisi....Conductor.
    Fabio Luisi conducts part two of Wagner's Ring Cycle, Die Walkure.
     Jonathan Harvey's Wagner Dream20120505 The dying Wagner reflects on his unfinished Buddhist opera, and is reconciled with his wife. Martyn Brabbins conducts a superb British cast, BBC Symphony Orchestra ensemble and IRCAM electronics.
    For decades, Wagner pondered an opera on a Buddhist theme. Starting from the sketches he left behind, Harvey has built a rich operatic fantasy. It mingles scenes from Wagner's domestic life with the myth of Prakriti, whose love for the Buddhist monk Ananda is at first thwarted, but finally reaches a chaste fulfilment.
    The UK premiere of Jonathan Harvey's opera was recorded during the Total Immersion Weekend at the Barbican in London in January. Presented by Tom Service with Professor Jonathan Cross.
    Jonathan Harvey: Wagner Dream (UK premiere).
    Simon Bailey (bass)....Vairochana
    Claire Booth (soprano)....Prakriti
    Richard Angas (bass)....Old Brahmin
    Andrew Staples (tenor)....Ananda
    Roderick Williams (bass baritone)....Buddha
    Hilary Summers (mezzo)....Mother of Prakriti
    BBC Symphony Orchestra
    Gilbert Nouno & Franck Rossi (IRCAM) electronics
    Martyn Brabbins (conductor).
     John Adams's The Death Of Klinghoffer20120512 Presented by Andrew McGregor
    John Adams and his librettist Alice Goodman always knew that using the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro as the basis for an opera would be a hot potato. But quite how hot, even he couldn't have predicted. The controversy surrounding 'The Death of Klinghoffer', with its grisly plot including the murder of an elderly, disabled American Jew, has never abated since its 1991 premiere in Brussels. It has taken over twenty years for it to be staged in the UK and this production, directed by Tom Morris and recorded at English National Opera, is the first at a British opera house. Andrew McGregor explores the opera's themes and controversy with Penny Woolcock, who herself directed a film of 'Klinghoffer'. And in the interval, former BBC Middle East correspondent Tim Franks throws light on the political background of the region in the mid-80s.
    Klinghoffer....Alan Opie (Baritone)
    Captain....Christopher Magiera (Baritone)
    Marilyn Klinghoffer....Michaela Martens (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Molqui....Edwin Vega (Tenor)
    Rambo....Sidney Outlaw (Baritone)
    Mamoud....Richard Burkhard (Baritone)
    Austrian Woman....Kathryn Harries (Soprano)
    First Officer....James Cleverton (Baritone)
    Swiss Grandmother....Lucy Shaufer (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Palestinian Woman....Clare Presland (Soprano)
    British Dancing Girl....Kate Miller-Heidke (Singer)
    Chorus and Orchestra of English National Opera
    Conductor....Baldur Brönnimann.
     Gerald Barry's The Importance Of Being Earnest20120519 Irish composer Gerald Barry's three-act opera based on the iconic Oscar Wilde play - 'a trivial comedy for serious people' - was premiered in Los Angeles last year, an occasion which the Los Angeles Times described as 'engagingly funny and mind-boggingly virtuosic'. In this performance, recorded last month in London's Barbican Hall, Thomas Ades conducts the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
    CAST
    Barbara Hannigan....Cecily Cardew
    Peter Tantsits....John Worthing
    Joshua Bloom....Algernon Moncrieff
    Katalin Karolyi....Gwendolen Fairfax
    Hilary Summers....Miss Prism
    Alan Ewing....Lady Bracknell
    Benjamin Bevan....Lane/Merriman
    Joshua Hart....Dr Chasuble
    Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
    Thomas Ades (conductor).
     Judith Weir's Miss Fortune20120519 Tonight's Opera on 3 is a recording of the British premiere of Judith Weir's new opera Miss Fortune, from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Miss Tina Fortune is born into a wealthy family, but loses her luck thanks to the meddling hands of Fate, who is ever-present on stage with her. Her fortune only begins to improve when she confronts Fate, and they come to a truce. Judith Weir's new opera includes break-dancing, lottery wins, exploding kebab vans, and some beautiful music. Sara Mohr-Pietsch presents and talks to Judith Weir and conductor Paul Daniel about the opera.
    Presented by Sara Mohr-Pietsch
    Tina....Emma Bell (Soprano)
    Simon....Jacques Imbrailo - Baritone)
    Fate....Andrew Watts (Counter-Tenor)
    Donna....Anne-Marie Owens (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Hassan....Noah Stewart (Tenor)
    Lord Fortune....Alan Ewing (Bass)
    Lady Fortune....Kathryn Harries (Soprano)
    Royal Opera House Orchestra
    Royal Opera House Chorus
    Conductor....Paul Daniel.
     Mozart's The Marriage Of Figaro20120526 Presented by Louise Fryer
    Ildebrando D'Arcangelo stars as Figaro, Lucas Meachem as Count Almaviva and Aleksandra Kurzak as Susanna in Mozart's great comic opera. Sir Antonio Pappano conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera.
    When Count Almaviva takes an over-eager interest in his cunning manservant's wife-to-be, he sets off an elaborate train of events and finds himself thwarted many times. But after a day of madness and a night of confusion, everything ends more or less happily.
    Figaro....Ildebrando D' Arcangelo (Bass)
    Susanna....Aleksandra Kurzak (Soprano)
    Bartolo....Carlo Lepore (Bass)
    Marcellina....Ann Murray (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Cherubino....Anna Bonitatibus (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Count Almaviva....Lucas Meachem (Baritone)
    Basilio....Bonaventura Bottone (Tenor)
    Antonio....Jeremy White (Bass)
    Don Curzio....Harry Nicoll (Tenor)
    Barbarina....Susana Gaspar (Soprano)
    Countess Almaviva....Kate Royal (Soprano)
    Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    conductor Antonio Pappano.
     Dvorak's Rusalka20120602 DvoÅ™ak's Rusalka
    Presented by Louise Fryer
    Tonight's Opera on 3 is a recording of the Royal Opera's first fully staged production of Dvořak's Rusalka. In a radical interpretation by Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito, Dvořak's "lyric fairytale" stars Finnish soprano Camilla Nylund in the title role and Yannick Nezet-Seguin makes his Royal Opera debut conducting the late Romantic score, which features the celebrated aria "Song to the Moon".
    Rusalka....Camilla Nylund (Soprano)
    Vodnik, Spirit Of The Lake....Alan Held (Baritone)
    Prince....Brian Hymel (Tenor)
    Foreign Princess....Petra Lang (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Jezibaba....Agnes Zwierko (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Voice Of Huntsman....Daniel Grice (Bass Baritone)
    Gamekeeper....Gyula Orendt (Baritone)
    Kitchen Boy....Ilse Eerens (Soprano)
    Wood Nymph....Anna Devin (Soprano)
    Wood Nymph....Madeleine Pierard (Soprano)
    Wood Nymph....Justina Gringyte (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Conductor....Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
     Verdi's Rigoletto20120609 Presented by Louise Fryer
    Verdi's tragic and provocative tale of the cynical court jester who, against his better nature, wreaks havoc with the lives of others. But then the tables are turned and he's doomed to bring about the death of the one person he holds most dear - his daughter Gilda. In this revival of David McVicar's production for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Dimitri Platanias is the hunchback jester, Ekaterina Siurina his daughter Gilda, and Vittorio Grigolo the handsome, amoral Duke who poses as a penniless student to gain Gilda's love.
    Duke Of Mantua....Vittorio Grigolo (Tenor)
    Rigoletto....Dimitri Platanias (Baritone)
    Gilda....Ekaterina Siurina (Soprano)
    Maddalena....Christine Rice (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Sparafucile....Matthew Rose (Bass)
    Giovanna....Elizabeth Sikora (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Monterone....Gianfranco Montresor (Baritone)
    Marullo....Zheng Zhou (Baritone)
    Borsa....Pablo Bemsch (Tenor)
    Count Ceprano....Jihoon Kim (Bass Baritone)
    Countess Ceprano....Susana Gaspar (Soprano)
    Usher....Nigel Cliffe (Tenor)
    Page....Andrea Hazell (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera
    Conductor....John Eliot Gardiner.
     Puccini's La Boheme20120616 Presented by Martin Handley
    For Rodolfo, living in poverty with a group of bohemian friends, life changes when there's a knock at the door, and Mimì, a fragile seamstress who lives in another room in the building, asks for help with her candle. But, as he discovers, love does not bring happiness. Puccini's La Boheme, an opera which seems to have a special place in the hearts of performers and audience alike, returns to Covent Garden.
    Rodolfo....Joseph Calleja (Tenor)
    Mimi....Carmen Giannattasio (Soprano)
    Marcello....Fabio Maria Capitanucci (Baritone)
    Schaunard....Thomas Oliemans (Tenor)
    Colline....Yuri Vorobiev (Bass)
    Musetta....Nuccia Focile (Soprano)
    Benoit....Jeremy White (Bass)
    Alcindoro....Donald Maxwell (Baritone)
    Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House
    Conductor....Semyon Bychkov.
     Mozart's Don Giovanni20120623 Don Giovanni
    Presented by Donald Macleod
    24 Hours: the Last Day in the Life of the World's Most Infamous Serial Seducer. Don Giovanni - Mozart's tale of vengeance and retribution, even from beyond the grave - in its latest incarnation at the Royal Opera House, with Erwin Schrott in the title role, and Alex Esposito as his servant Leporello. The conductor is Constantinos Carydis.
    Don Giovanni....Erwin Schrott (Bass)
    Leporello....Alex Esposito (Bass)
    Commendatore....Reinhard Hagen (Bass)
    Donna Elvira....Ruxandra Donose (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Donna Anna....Carmela Remigio (Soprano)
    Don Ottavio....Pavol Breslik (Tenor)
    Zerlina....Kate Lindsey (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Masetto....Matthew Rose (Bass)
    Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera
    Conductor....Constantinos Carydis.
     Verdi's Falstaff20120630 Sir John Falstaff is fat and greedy, lecherous and ridiculous. And short of cash. He tries to kill two birds with one stone when he pursues two wealthy women, setting in motion a train of events which inevitably lead to his comeuppance. Verdi's late, great Shakespeare-based opera is a comic tour de force, overflowing with energy and a seemingly infinite succession of musical ideas. Robert Carsen's new production for Covent Garden, updates the action to 1950s Windsor and features an ensemble cast lead by one of the great Falstaffs of our day, Ambrogio Maestri. Presented by Ivan Hewett in conversation with Alexandra Wilson.
    Falstaff....Ambrogio Maestri (Baritone)
    Mrs Alice Ford....Ana Maria Martinez (Soprano)
    Nannetta....Amanda Forsythe (Soprano)
    Mrs Meg Page....Kai Ruutel (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Mistress Quickly....Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Contralto)
    Fenton....Joel Prieto (Tenor)
    Ford....Dalibor Jenis (Baritone)
    Dr Caius....Carlo Bosi (Tenor)
    Bardolph....Alasdair Elliott (Tenor)
    Pistol....Lukas Jakobski (Bass)
    Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    conductor, Daniele Gatti.
     Detlev Glanert's Caligula20120707 Presented by Christopher Cook
    From the English National Opera at the London Coliseum - an appropriate setting - the UK premiere of Detlev Glanert's opera Caligula, already acclaimed as perhaps the finest German opera of the 21-st century. Baritone Peter Colman-Wright takes the title role as a larger-than-life, timeless dictator in a veritable tour-de-force inspired by Albert Camus' existentialist play portraying the Roman Emperor in the shadow of Hitler and Stalin. This disturbing spectacle of tyranny, corruption and decadence is set by director Benedict Andrews in a contemporary football stadium.
    Caligula....Peter Coleman-Wright (baritone)
    Caesonia....Yvonne Howard (mezzo-soprano)
    Helicon....Christopher Ainslie (countertenor)
    Cherea....Pavlo Hunka (bass-baritone)
    Scipio....Carolyn Dobbin (mezzo-soprano)
    Mucius....Brian Galliford (tenor)
    Mereia/Lepidus....Eddie Wade (baritone)
    Livia....Julia Sporsen (soprano)
    English National Opera Chorus
    English National Opera Orchestra
    Conductor....Ryan Wigglesworth.
     Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress20120922 Presented by Donald Macleod
    Scottish Opera's new production by David McVicar of The Rake's Progress by Stravinsky is headed by the Lithuanian tenor Edgaras Montvidas in the role of The Rake - Tom Rakewell, Carolyn Sampson as the ever-faithful Anne Trulove, Leah-Marian Jones as Baba the Turk, and Steven Page as Nick Shadow, with the Chorus of Scottish Opera, chorus-master James Grossmith, and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, leader Anthony Moffat. The performance is conducted by Sian Edwards. The libretto by W H Auden and Chester Kallman draws its inspiration from Hogarth's 18th century engravings of the same title and charts the hapless progress of Tom Rakewell and his moral decline and final descent to madness aided by Nick Shadow, who turns out to be the devil.
    Trulove - Graeme Broadbent (Bass)
    Anne Trulove - Carolyn Sampson (Soprano)
    Tom Rakewell - Edgaras Montvidas (Tenor)
    Nick Shadow - Steven Page (Bass)
    Mother Goose - Karen Murray (Mezzo)
    Baba the Turk - Leah-Marian Jones (Mezzo)
    Sellem - Colin Judson (Tenor)
    Keeper Of The Madhouse - Ross McInroy (Bass)
    Scottish Opera Orchestra & Chorus
    Conductor, Sian Edwards.
     Charpentier's David Et Jonathas20120929 Donald Macleod presents Marc-Antoine Charpentier's David et Jonathas recorded at this year's Aix-en-Provence festival and conducted by William Christie.
    Christie recorded Charpentier's biblical tragedy almost 25 years ago. He returned to the work in a staging by Andreas Homoki first given in July this year at Aix, repeated at the Edinburgh Festival in August and which will travel to New York next year.
    The work was written for and first performed at the College Louis-le-Grand, a Jesuit college in Paris in 1688.
    The libretto by a Jesuit priest Father Francois Bretonneau is based on the Old Testament story of the friendship between David and the younger Jonathan, son of Saul.
    Originally the five acts of the tragedie en musique were each followed by an act of a spoken drama on the subject by another priest.
    Here the work is perfomed without the drama and with the original prologue moved to between Acts 3 and 4.
    The story is about the very close and homo-erotic relationship between the hero David and Jonathan. Saul, a broken man after the death of his wife, mistrusts David's friendship with his son not least because they are from different tribes and when they go to war with one another David and Jonathan have no choice but to fight on opposing sides with tragic consequences.
    Donald Macleod talk to William Christie and Andreas Homoki about the piece and to Pascal Charbonneau and Ana Quintans about their roles.
    David....Pascal Charbonneau (tenor)
    Jonathas....Ana Quintans (soprano)
    Saul....Neal Davies (bass-baritone)
    Archis....Frederic Caton (bass)
    Joabel....Kresimir Spicer (tenor)
    La Pythonisse....Dominique Visse (counter-tenor)
    L'Ombre de Samuel....Pierre Bessiere (bass)
    Chorus and Orchestra of Les Arts Florissants
    Conductor....William Christie.
     Mozart's The Magic Flute20121006 One of Mozart's last works, The Magic Flute is by turns sublime and ridiculous. It's an opera where true love, jealousy and freemasonry are afoot in an imaginary ancient Eygpt. And with its evil Queen of the Night, giant serpent, pairs of lovers and, of course, magic flute it could well be a pantomime farce. But it just happens to have some of the greatest music Mozart ever wrote. This performance was recorded at the 2012 Salzburg Festival with veteran period instrument specialist Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting his long-time ensemble, the Vienna Concentus Musicus. Presented by Andrew McGregor.
    Sarastro....Georg Zeppenfeld (Bass)
    Tamino....Bernard Richter (Tenor)
    Queen Of The Night....Mandy Fredrich (Soprano)
    Pamina....Julia Kleiter (Soprano)
    First Lady....Sandra Trattnigg (Soprano)
    Second Lady....Anja Schlosser (Mezzo)
    Third Lady....Wiebke Lehmkuhl (Contralto)
    Three Boys....soloist from Tolzer Knabenchor
    Papageno....Markus Werba (Baritone)
    Papagena....Elisabeth Schwarz (Soprano)
    Monostatos....Rudolf Schasching (Tenor)
    Speaker....Martin Gantner (Baritone)
    First Armoured Man / First Priest....Lucian Krasznec (Tenor)
    Second Armoured Man....Andreas Horl (Bass)
    Concentus Musicus Vienna
    Conductor....Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
     Handel's Jephtha20121013 Presented by Louise Fryer.
    Katie Mitchell's electrifying production of Jephtha is headed by the tenor Robert Murray in the role of Jephtha, with Fflur Wyn as Iphis, Alan Ewing as Zebul and Diana Montague as Storge, with the chorus and orchestra of Welsh National Opera. The performance is conducted by Paul Goodwin.
    Jephtha....Robert Murray (tenor)
    Zebul....Alan Ewing (bass)
    Storge....Diana Montague (mezzo soprano)
    Iphis....Fflur Wyn (soprano)
    Hamor....Robin Blaze (counter-tenor)
    Angel....Claire Ormshaw (soprano)
    Chorus and orchestra of Welsh National Opera
    Conductor, Paul Goodwin
    Handel's final oratorio, written as his health and eyesight were failing, takes as its theme the necessity of man's submission to destiny. Jephtha has led his people through war to a great victory, but there is a terrible catch. Before battle commenced, Jephtha rashly made a vow that, if he were to win, he would sacrifice the first person he encountered on his return. To his horror, his beloved daughter Iphis is the first to greet him on his homecoming.
     Verdi's Otello20121020 Tonight's Opera on 3 is Verdi's great late Shakesperean opera Otello, in a critically acclaimed production recorded at the Royal Opera House in July. The young Latvian tenor Aleksanders Antonenko takes the hugely demanding role of Otello, the respected black general whose downfall is his jealousy. Lucio Gallo sings the manipulative Iago who is determined to destroy his nemesis, and Anja Harteros Otello's loyal but doomed wife. Verdi expect Roger Parker joins Martin Handley in the box to discuss the music and history of this unusual and often problematic opera, and there are also contributions from cast members, and conductor Antonio Pappano.
    Presented by Martin Handley.
    Otello....Aleksandrs Antonenko (Tenor)
    Desdemona....Anja Harteros (Soprano)
    Iago....Lucio Gallo (Baritone)
    Cassio....Antonio Poli (Tenor)
    Emilia....Hanna Hipp (Mezzo-Soprano)
    Roderigo....Ji-Hyun Kim (Tenor)
    Montano....Jihoon Kim (Bass Baritone)
    Lodovico....Brindley Sherratt (Bass)
    Royal Opera House Orchestra
    Royal Opera House Chorus
    Conductor, Antonio Pappano.
     Donizetti's Caterina Cornaro20121027 Presented by John Shea.
    Set in Venice in the 15th century, Caterina's wedding to Gerardo is interrupted by a masked man who says it's the senate's wish that Caterina should marry Lusignano, the King of Cyprus. On threat of death, Caterina agrees. Gerardo, though is determined to get her back, and begins to realise that Lusignano is actually not an enemy, but as much a victim of circumstance as he is.
    A rare chance to hear Donizetti's late opera, based on the true story of Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus, Jerusalem and Armenia in a new recording by the BBC Symphony Orchestra. John Shea presents, and is joined by Italian opera expert Francesco Izzo to explain the opera's troubled history.
    Caterina Cornaro....Carmen Giannattasio (Soprano)
    Gerardo....Colin Lee (Tenor)
    Lusignano....Troy Cook (Baritone)
    Andrea Cornaro....Graeme Broadbent (Bass)
    Strozzi & A Knight of the King....Loic Felix (Tenor)
    Mocenigo....Vuyani Mlinde (Bass-baritone)
    BBC Singers
    BBC Symphony Orchestra
    Conductor....David Parry.
     Handel's Julius Caesar20121103 Andrew McGregor presents English National Opera's brand new production of one of Handel's greatest operas. The action centres around Cleopatra's quest to overthrow her brother Ptolemy in order to gain control of Egypt, and the burgeoning love affair between her and the emperor Julius Caesar.
    Written for some of the finest singers of Handel's day, Julius Caesar features some of Handel's most popular arias.
    The Romans
    Julius Caesar....Lawrence Zazzo (counter-tenor)
    Curio....George Humphreys (bass)
    Cornelia Pompey's widow....Patricia Bardon (mezzo-soprano)
    Sesto - Daniela Mack (mezzo-soprano)
    The Egyptians
    Cleopatra....Anna Christy (soprano)
    Ptolemy, Cleopatra's brother....Tim Mead (counter-tenor)
    Achillas, his general....Andrew Craig Brown (bass-baritone)
    Nirenus, Cleopatra's servant....James Laing (counter-tenor)
    English National Opera Orchestra
    English National Opera Chorus
    Conductor....Christian Curnyn.
     Gounod's Faust20121110 Louise Fryer presents Opera North's new production of Gounod's Faust - bringing a modern spin to one of the most popular 19th Century Operas.
    Faust....Peter Auty (tenor)
    Méphistophélès....James Creswell (bass)
    Wagner....Paul Gibson (bass)
    Valentin....Marcin Bronikowski (baritone)
    Siébel....Robert Anthony Gardiner (tenor)
    Marguerite....Juanita Lascarro (soprano)
    Marthe....Sarah Pring (mezzo-soprano)
    Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North
    Conductor....Stuart Stratford.
     Rossini's Matilde Di Shabran20121117 John Shea presents a recording of Rossini's Matilde di Shabran from the 2012 Pesaro Festival conducted by Michele Mariotti with Olga Peretyatko in the title role.
    Matilde di Shabran - Olga Peretyatko (soprano)
    Edoardo -.Anna Goryachova (mezzo)
    Raimondo Lopez - Marco Filippo Romano (baritone)
    Corradino - Juan Diego Flórez (tenor)
    Ginardo - Simon Orfila (bass-baritone)
    Aliprando - Nicola Alaimo (baritone)
    Isidoro - Paolo Bordogna (baritone)
    Contessa d'Arco - Chiara Chialli (mezzo)
    Egoldo - Giorgio Misseri (tenor)
    Rodrigo - Ugo Rosati (tenor)
    Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale, Bologna
    Michele Mariotti, conductor.
     Vaughan Williams's The Pilgrim's Progress20121124 Live from English National Opera
    Presented by Martin Handley
    John Bunyan's allegory The Pilgrim's Progress was first read to Vaughan Williams as a young boy in the 1870's and the gripping story and vivid imagery stayed with the composer throughout the rest of his life culminating in his opera which he finished in 1951 - seventy years later.
    Vaughan Williams own religious views were complex - as the son of an Anglican vicar and a relative of Charles Darwin they probably couldn't be anything else. When he was an undergraduate he professed to being an atheist but always mantained a spiritual side even if he wasn't a practicing Christian. He wrote a Mass and took on the job of editing the English Hymnal and included his own hymn tune 'York' in the opening bars of the Pilgrim's Progress. Vaughan Williams wrote his own libretto and in his hands Bunyan's tale becomes universal - Christian becomes Pilgrim and all references to Christ are missing from what the composer said was a 'morality' rather than an opera, in doing so Bunyan's Christian story becomes something much more universal.
    Bunyan's tale is a dream of a quest with Bunyan himself as the dreamer and the pilgrim his alter ego who overcomes trials and tribulations on the real and symbolic journey from his home in the 'City of Destruction' to the 'Celestial City'. Along the way he receives guidance from the Evangelist, meets objections from his four neighbours Obstinate, Pliable, Mistrust and Timorous, is given succour at the House Beautiful before fighting and defeating the fiend Apollyon. He is imprisoned after false evidence is presented against him when he refuses to be seduced by the flesh and material delights of Vanity Fair. Escaping he continues on his way, Mr and Mrs By-Ends refuse to join him as they will only continue when the path is easy, Pilgrim pushes on aided by 'The Shepherds of the Delectable Mountains' who point him straight at the gates of the Celestial City where Christian finds eternal salvation.
    Yoshi Oida's acclaimed new production for English National Opera is set in Bunyan's prison - with baritone Roland Wood playing the roles of both Pilgrim and John Bunyan and Bunyan's fellow prisoners taking on all the other parts from the serene spiritual guides of the House Beautiful through to the gaudy pleasure seekers of Vanity Fair.
    Pilgrim/John Bunyan....Roland Wood (baritone)
    Evangelist/Watchful/First Shepherd....Benedict Nelson (baritone)
    Obstinate/Herald/Lord Hate-Good....George von Bergen (baritone)
    Interpreter/Usher/Mr By-Ends/Second Shepherd....Timothy Robinson (tenor)
    Timorous/Lord Lechery/Messenger....Colin Judson (tenor)
    Pliable/Superstition/Celestial Voice 1....Alexander Sprague (tenor)
    Mistrust/Apollyon/Envy/Third Shepherd....Mark Richardson (bass-baritone)
    First Shining One/Madam Wanton/Voice of a Bird/Celestial Voice 3....Eleanor Dennis (soprano)
    2nd Shining One/ Branch-Bearer/ Malice....Aoife O'Sullivan (soprano)
    Third Shining One/Cup-bearer/Pickthank/Woodcutter's Boy....Kitty Whately (mezzo-soprano)
    Madam Bubble/Mrs By-Ends/Celestial Voice 2....Ann Murray (mezzo-soprano)
    Chorus and Orchestra of English National Opera
    Martyn Brabbins, conductor.
     Donizetti's L'elisir D'amore20121201 Presented by Sara Mohr-Pietsch
    Laurent Pelly's production of Donizetti's comic opera L'elisir d'amore live from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, starring Roberto Alagna and Aleksandra Kurzak and conducted by Bruno Campanella.
    The young farm worker Nemorino is passionately in love with Adina, the farm's beautiful owner, but his attempts at winning her heart are thwarted by the boastful military sargeant Belcore, who secures Adina's hand in marriage. Can Nemorino's fortunes in love be turned around by the quack doctor Dulcamara and his magic potions?
    Adina - Aleksandra Kurzak (soprano)
    Nemorino - Roberto Alagna (tenor)
    Belcore - Fabio Capitanucci (bass)
    Dulcamara - Ambrogio Maestri (bass)
    Giannetta - Susana Gaspar (soprano)
    Chorus of the Royal Opera
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    Bruno Campanella, conductor.
     Meyerbeer's Robert Le Diable20121215 Live from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    Presented by Martin Handley.
    Laurent Pelly's new production of Robert le diable brings Meyerbeer's grand opera to the Covent Garden stage for the first time since 1890. Though hugely successful when it had its premiere in Paris in 1831 - Chopin described it as "a masterpiece...Meyerbeer has made himself immortal" - the opera subsequently fell out of favour and was rarely performed in the 20th century. It depicts a grand battle between good and evil, as Robert's genuine love for Isabelle, expressed in tender duets, is threatened by the malevolent influence of the deceptively charming Bertram. With a sensational plot featuring courtly entertainments, jousting, romance and the supernatural, the work features one of opera's most memorable scenes - the ballet of the nuns.
    Bryan Hymel sings Robert with Patrizia Ciofi John Relyea. Daniel Oren conducts.
    Robert - Bryan Hymel (tenor)
    Bertram - John Relyea (bass)
    Raimbaut - Jean-François Borras (tenor)
    Alice - Marina Poplavskaya (soprano)
    Isabelle - Patrizia Ciofi (soprano)
    Alberti - Nicolas Courjal (bass)
    Priest/Chevalier - Jihoon Kim (bass)
    Herald/Chevalier - Pablo Bemsch (tenor)
    Master of Ceremonies/Chevalier - David Butt Philip (tenor)
    Chevalier - Ashley Riches (baritone)
    Dame - Dusica Bijelic (soprano)
    Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    Daniel Oren, conductor.
     Britten 100: Billy Budd20130126 Presented by Tom Service.
    Starting our broadcasts of all of Benjamin Britten's operas in this, his centenary year, is a new production of Billy Budd, recorded last year at the English National Opera in London. Director David Alden sets the events at the HMS Indomitable, based on Herman Melville's novella, in a claustrophobic and dark world where good and evil, innocence and betrayal clash with tragic consequences. Edward Gardner conducts a stellar cast, including the debut of Benedict Nelson in the title role, the ever pure and charismatic, but eventually doomed young sailor; Kim Begley as the tormented Captain Vere, seeking redemption from his moral dilemma, and Matthew Rose as the evil Master-at-Arms Claggart, who masterminds Billy's unfair downfall.
    During the broadcast there'll be an introduction to the opera which will be available as a free download as part of the Radio 3 Opera Guides series.
    Billy Budd.... Benedict Nelson (baritone)
    Captain Vere.... Kim Begley (tenor)
    Claggart.... Matthew Rose (bass)
    Mr Redburn.... Jonathan Summers (baritone)
    Mr Flint.... Darren Jeffery (bass-baritone)
    Lieutenant Ratcliffe.... Henry Waddington (baritone)
    Red Whiskers.... Michael Colvin (tenor)
    Donald.... Duncan Rock (baritone)
    Dansker.... Gwynne Howell (bass)
    Novice.... Nicky Spence (tenor)
    Squeak.... Daniel Norman (tenor)
    Bosun.... Andrew Rupp (bass)
    The Novice's Friend.... Marcus Farnsworth (baritone)
    First Mate.... Oliver Dunn (bass)
    Second Mate.... Gerard Collett (bass)
    Maintop.... Jonathan Stoughton (tenor)
    Chorus and orchestra of English National Opera
    Edward Gardner, conductor.
     Charpentier's Medea20130518 Donald Macleod presents Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Medea at the London Coliseum in a new production for English National Opera by David McVicar. Sarah Connolly sings the title role, as the vengeful sorceress willing to sacrifice her own children to avenge her faithless husband Jason, performed by tenor Jeffrey Francis. Christian Curnyn conducts the chorus and the orchestra of English National Opera.
    Medea....Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)
    Jason....Jeffrey Francis (tenor)
    Creon....Brindley Sherratt (bass)
    Creusa/Phantom I....Katherine Manley (soprano)
    Orontes....Roderick Williams (baritone)
    Nerina....Rhian Lois (soprano)
    Cleonis/Cupid....Aoife O'Sullivan (soprano)
    Arcas/Vengeance....Oliver Dunn (baritone)
    Corinthian/Jealousy....John McMunn (tenor)
    Italian woman/Phantom II....Sophie Junker (soprano)
    Corinthian/Argive....Jeremy Budd (tenor)
    Cupid's captives....Aoife O'Sullivan (soprano)
    Sophie Junker (soprano) and John McMunn (tenor)
    Chorus and Orchestra of English National Opera
    Christopher Curnyn, conductor.
     Berg's Lulu20130525 Alban Berg's "Lulu"
    Presented by Louise Fryer.
    The first of two visits this weekend to Welsh National Opera, for a recording of David Pountney's brilliant new production of Alban Berg's operatic swansong, "Lulu". Unfinished on Berg's death in 1935, tonight's performance includes the British broadcast premiere of Eberhard Kloke's recent completion of the final act. Soprano Marie Arnet debuts in the title role, with baritone Ashley Holland as the darkly complex Dr. Schön. Lothar Köenigs conducts.
    Animal Tamer/Schigolch... Richard Angas (bass)
    Alwa... Peter Hoare (tenor)
    Dr. Schön... Ashley Holland (baritone)
    Lulu... Marie Arnet (soprano)
    Artist/Negro... Mark Le Brocq (tenor)
    Professor of Medicine... Michael Clifton-Thompson (tenor)
    Prince/Manservant/Marquis...Alan Oke (tenor)
    Wardrobe Mistress/Groom/Schoolboy... Patricia Orr (mezzo soprano)
    Theatre Manager/Banker... Nicholas Folwell (baritone)
    Countess Geschwitz... Natascha Petrinsky (mezzo soprano)
    Acrobat... Julian Close (bass)
    Journalist... Alastair Moore (baritone)
    Servant... Julian Boyce (tenor)
    Designer... Louise Ratcliffe (mezzo soprano)
    Mother... Jessica Handley Greaves (mezzo soprano)
    15-year old girl... Anitra Blaxhall (soprano)
    Police Commissioner... Simon Crosby Buttle
    Clown... Jasey Hall
    Stagehand...George Newton-Fitzgerald
    Onstage musicians... Heather Badke-Hohmann (violin), David Doidge (piano), Mario Conway (accordion)
    Chorus and Orchestra of Welsh National Opera
    Lothar Koenigs (conductor)
    Berg's sumptuous score breathes life into one of opera's most fascinating characters. "Lulu" is a woman with a troubled past and a fatally irresistible appeal to men. Set in the 1920s, infused with elements of burlesque, surrealism and jazz, Berg's adaptation of Wedekind's plays is a mixture of tragedy and farce. Lulu is a seductress and a murderess who uses sex with a succession of men to attain social advancement. Ultimately downfall follows her ascent up the social ladder. Reduced to prostitution, this twentieth century free-spirit meets a brutal death at the hands of Jack the Ripper.
     Wagner 200 - Lohengrin20130526 Wagner 200: Donald Macleod and theatre historian Sarah Lenton introduce Wagner's epic fairytale Lohengrin, live from the Wales Millennium Centre in a new production by Antony McDonald for Welsh National Opera. Described as the composer's 'Romantic opera', Lohengrin transports us to the tenth century where themes of chivalry, love and redemption collide. In the first interval there'll be a Radio 3 Music Guide to the opera, available also as a free download.
    3.00 - Act 1
    4.00 - Interval
    Nicholas Baragwanath explores the issues of longing and distance which fill the work, with contributions from singer Petra Lang and conductor Semyon Bychkov.
    Plus there's a journey backstage with the costume department of WNO where slick teamwork and planning are required to reclothe panting opera stars in a matter of minutes
    4.30 - Act 2
    6.00 - Interval
    Could Wagner ever have been a great symphonist? Composer Matthew King is convinced he could have been, so much so that he's attempting to create a work based on a handful of late sketches. Donald Macleod meets him to discover whether the fragments might be clues to a Wagnerian revolution in symphonic music.
    6.30 - Act 3
    Lohengrin - Peter Wedd (tenor)
    Elsa - Emma Bell (soprano)
    Ortrud - Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano)
    Friedrich von Telramund - Claudio Otelli (baritone)
    Heinrich - Matthew Best (bass)
    Chorus and Orchestra of Welsh National Opera
    Lothar Koenigs (conductor).
     Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin20130601 Launching our Royal Opera House, Covent Garden season Sara Mohr-Pietsch introduces a performance of Tchaikovsky's tragic opera based on Pushkin's verse novel. Stuck on a country estate, Tatyana shuns the local festivities, preferring to immerse herself in romantic novels. When a stranger, Onegin, arrives, she takes him on a walk and falls in love with him. Onegin spurns her interest after he receives a letter from her. Years pass and Tatyana marries another man, but when she meets Onegin some years later, he realises the mistake he made and though Tatyana admits to being in love with him still, she refuses to leave her husband.
    Recorded earlier this year at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, this is Kasper Holten's first production for the ROH since taking over as Director of Opera. Krassimira Stoyanova and Simon Keenlyside star as the doomed lovers, and the young British conductor Robin Ticciati conducts.
    Tatyana - Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano)
    Eugene Onegin - Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
    Madame Larina - Diana Montague (mezzo-soprano)
    Filipyevna - Kathleen Wilkinson (mezzo-soprano)
    Olga - Elena Maximova (mezzo-soprano)
    A Peasant Singer - Elliot Goldie (tenor)
    Lensky - Pavol Breslik (tenor)
    Monsieur Triquet - Christoph Mortagne (tenor)
    A Captain - Michel de Souza (baritone)
    Zaretsky - Jihoon Kim (bass)
    Prince Gremin - Peter Rose (bass)
    Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    Robin Ticciati, conductor.
     Verdi 200 - Nabucco20130608 Verdi 200:
    BBC Radio 3's Verdi 200 Season continues with Nabucco, starring Placido Domingo singing the title role for the very first time anywhere in the world and Liudmyla Monastryska in the dazzling role of Abigaille, in a new production by Daniele Abbado recorded last month at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Domingo sings yet another baritone role as he takes on Nebuchadnezzar, King of the Babylonians, in the biblical story which so much resounded in the hearts of Italians at the time. The fight of the Hebrews against oppression and exile took a different twist in a tale of love and patriotism, represented in the celebrated chorus 'Va Pensiero', one of Verdi's most famous pieces. Nicola Luisotti conducts the chorus and orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
    Presented by Martin Handley.
    Nabucco....Placido Domingo (baritone)
    Abigaille....Liudmyla Monastryka (soprano)
    Zaccaria....Vitalij Kowaljow (bass)
    Fenena....Marianna Pizzolato (mezzo-soprano)
    Ismaele....Andrea Care (tenor)
    Anna....Dusica Bijelic (soprano)
    Abdallo....David Butt Philip (tenor)
    High Priest of Baal....Robert Lloyd (bass)
    Chorus and orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    Nicola Luisotti, conductor.
     Rossini's La Donna Del Lago20130615 Rossini's opera La Donna del Lago performed at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
    Ivan Hewett introduces Rossini's La Donna del Lago, recorded last month at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, starring Juan Diego Florez, Joyce DiDonato and Colin Lee.
    Based on Walter Scott's The Lady of the Lake, Rossini's opera illustrates the Romantic fascination with Renaissance Scotland as a place of wild emotion and political confrontation.
    Elena, the Lady of the Lake, longs to be united with her true love, Malcom. But her father, the rebel Duglas, is determined that she will marry the Highland chief Rodrigo. Torn between love and duty, she finds her plight is made all the more complicated by Uberto, a handsome stranger who nobody seems to know much about.
    This new production by John Fulljames contains, in the words of one critic, "some of the most spectacular singing to be heard at Covent Garden for a while", and celebrates not only the historic Scotland in which the action of the opera takes place, but also the Scotland of the nineteenth century, the period of Rossini and Sir Walter Scott (when fascination with Scots history was at its height). The production highlights the beauty of Scottish landscape, of which the heroine, Elena, is a symbol, while not forgetting the struggles and battles that feature in all retellings of Scottish history.
    Elena....Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano)
    King James of Scotland....Juan Diego Flórez (tenor)
    Malcolm....Daniela Barcellona (mezzo-soprano)
    Douglas....Simon Orfila (bass)
    Rodrigo....Colin Lee (tenor)
    Albina....Justina Gringyte (mezzo-soprano)
    Serano....Robin Leggate (tenor)
    A Bard....Christopher Lackner (baritone)
    King's Soldier....Pablo Bemsch (tenor)
    Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    Michele Mariotti, conductor.
     George Benjamin's Written On Skin20130622 Recorded earlier this year at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    The British premiere production, by the director Katie Mitchell, of George Benjamin's new opera Written on Skin, which was first performed at the Aix-En-Provence Festival in 2012. With a poetic text by Martin Crimp, it has has been hailed by critics as "exquisitely crafted and deeply resonant" (The Telegraph) and "nothing short of a triumph" (The Guardian).
    With a beautifully rich score by Benjamin which makes use of instruments such glass harmonica, cowbells and mandolins, the opera is an emotional drama of sex, suicide, murder and cannibalism based on a 13th century Provencal story. A powerful Protector commissions the Boy, a young artist, to create an illuminated book to celebrate his life's achievements; a project which sparks the rebellion of the Protector's wife Agnès and sets the scene for a dramatic act of revenge.
    The Protector....Christopher Purves (bass-baritone)
    Agnès....Barbara Hannigan (soprano)
    Angel 1/The Boy....Bejun Mehta (countertenor)
    Angel 2/Marie....Victoria Simmonds (mezzo-soprano)
    Angel 3/John....Allan Clayton (tenor)
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    George Benjamin (conductor).
     Britten's Gloriana20130629 Britten's opera on Elizabeth I, Gloriana, live from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    Commissioned by the Royal Opera House and 'dedicated by gracious permission to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in honour of whose coronation it was composed', Britten's 'Gloriana' is the story of an old queen's infatuation with a hot-headed younger man.
    At its premiere, there were mutterings that the opera's emphasis on an ageing, ungracious monarch was an inappropriate way to celebrate the coronation. But sixty years later it's easier see that with its masterly exploration of the tension between public and private, heart and duty, and its contrasting scenes of grandeur and intimacy, 'Gloriana' is in fact among the finest of Britten's operas.
    Broadcast live from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, starring Susan Bullock as the Virgin Queen and Toby Spence as the impetuous Earl of Essex.
    Presented by Louise Fryer in conversation with John Bridcut, including comments from performers and director Richard Jones. Plus the Radio 3 Opera Guide to Gloriana, with the Britten experts Paul Kildea and Philip Reed, and the soprano Dame Josephine Barstow.
    Elizabeth I, Queen of England....Susan Bullock (soprano)
    Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex....Toby Spence (tenor)
    Frances Devereux, Lady Essex....Patricia Bardon (mezzo-soprano)
    Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy....Mark Stone (baritone)
    Penelope, Lady Rich....Kate Royal (soprano)
    Sir Robert Cecil....Jeremy Carpenter (baritone)
    Sir Walter Raleigh....Clive Bayley (bass)
    Henry Cuffe....Ben Bevan (baritone)
    Lady-in-Waiting....Nadine Livingston (soprano)
    Blind Ballad Singer....Brindley Sherratt (bass)
    Recorder of Norwich....Jeremy White (bass)
    Housewife....Carol Rowlands (mezzo-soprano)
    Spirit of the Masque....Andrew Tortise (tenor)
    Master of Ceremonies....David Butt Philip (tenor)
    City Crier....Michel de Souza (baritone)
    Chorus and orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    Paul Daniel, conductor.
     Wagner 200 - Rienzi20130706 John Shea presents an archive recording from 1976 of Wagner's third opera Rienzi.
    Wagner 200. John Shea presents the final Opera on 3 of the season, a BBC archive recording from 1976 of Wagner's third opera Rienzi, the Last of the Tribunes in the 1842 version with additional music orchestrated from sketches.
    Rienzi is a grand opera in 5 acts owing a great deal to the examples of the genre by Meyerbeer and Halévy. The original performance material for Rienzi was destroyed during the Dresden bombings of 1945 as was the score which was apparently given to Hitler as a present and lost in the destruction of his bunker in Berlin. Consequently performances since then, which have been few and far between, have been reconstructions. In the mid 1970s Edward Downes and others worked on the most complete version ever heard which was later published in the Wagner Edition. Wagner scholar John Deathridge tells John Shea about the preparation of the material for this studio recording and there's also a Radio 3 Opera Guide about Rienzi which can be downloaded for free after the broadcast.
    Rienzi is set in Rome in the middle ages and the central figure is Cola di Rienzi, who leads the populace against the power for the nobles.
    Wagner based it on the novel by the English writer Henry Bulwer-Lytton published in 1835. He completed it in 1840 and it was first performed in Dresden in 1842 when despite its length it was a considerable success and led to Wagner becoming Kapellmeister at the Dresden Opera the following year. However because of its scale Wagner subsequently made cuts and throughout the 19th century it was often performed in Germany and other parts of Europe and even reached America. Wagner later disowned the work and like his two earlier operas it has never been staged at the Bayreuth Festival, the Wagner festival still run by his descendants.
    Rienzi....John Mitchinson (tenor)
    Irene....Lois McDonall (soprano)
    Stefano Colonna....Michael Langdon (bass)
    Adriano....Lorna Haywood (soprano)
    Paolo Orsini....Raimund Herincx (baritone)
    Raimondo....David Ward (bass)
    Baroncelli....Adrian De Peter (tenor)
    Cecco del Vecchio....Paul Herald (bass)
    Messenger of Peace....Elizabeth Gale (soprano)
    Herald....Brian Cookson (tenor)
    BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra
    BBC Northern Singers
    Conducted by Edward Downes.
     Wagner 200: Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg20130914 Wagner's comedy Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg was performed at this summer's Salzburg Festival in a new production by Stefan Herheim. Jonathan Swain launches a new series of Opera on 3 and continues Radio 3's Wagner 200 celebrations with this recording of the production.
    Eva - Anna Gabler (soprano)
    Magdalene - Monika Bohinec (mezzo-soprano)
    Hans Sachs - Michael Volle (bass-baritone)
    Walther von Stolzing - Roberto Saccà (tenor)
    Veit Pogner - Georg Zeppenfeld (bass)
    Sixtus Beckmesser - Markus Werba (baritone)
    David - Peter Sonn (tenor)
    Kunz Vogelgesang - Thomas Ebenstein (tenor)
    Konrad Nachtigall - Guido Jentjens (bass)
    Fritz Kothner - Oliver Zwarg (baritone)
    Balthasar Zorn - Benedikt Kobel (tenor)
    Ulrich Eisslinger - Franz Supper (tenor)
    Augustin Moser - Thorsten Scharnke (tenor)
    Hermann Ortel - Karl Huml (bass)
    Hans Schwarz - Dirk Aleschus (bass)
    Hans Foltz - Roman Astakhov (bass)
    Nightwatchman - Tobias Kehrer (bass)
    Vienna State Opera Chorus Concert Association
    Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    Conducted by Daniele Gatti.
     Wagner's Liebesverbot20130921 Das Liebesverbot
    or "The Ban on Love"
    Wagner's early comic opera, based on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. Sir Edward Downes conducts a top-flight cast in a performance recorded in Manchester in 1976.
    Friedrich - Raimund Herincx (baritone)
    Luzio - Alexander Young (tenor)
    Claudio - Ian Caley (tenor)
    Antonio - Neil Jenkins (tenor)
    Angelo - William Elvin (baritone)
    Isabella - April Cantelo (soprano)
    Mariana - Ilse Wolf (soprano)
    Brighella.... Lawrence Richard (baritone)
    Danieli - Leslie Fyson (bass)
    Dorella - Elizabeth Gale (soprano)
    Pontio Pilato - David Lennox (tenor)
    BBC Northern Singers
    BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra
    Conducted by Edward Downes.
     Puccini's La Rondine20130930 Opera on 3 from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Magda enjoys a comfortable life as the mistress of the rich banker Rambaldo, but this all changes when she meets the young Ruggero who falls in love with her. She leaves Rambaldo for him, but is she really in love with Ruggero, or just trying to recreate the exciting romances of her youth? Angela Gheorghiu sings Madga, the restless swallow in the title of Puccini's light opera La Rondine, with Charles Castronovo as her unfortunate lover. Marco Amiliato conducts the Royal Opera House Orchestra in Puccini's little-known but very tuneful score.
    Presented by Martin Handley.
    Magda - Angela Gheorghiu (soprano),
    Ruggero Lastouc - Charles Castronovo (tenor),
    Lisette - Sabina Puertolas (soprano),
    Prunier - Edgaras Montvidas (tenor),
    Rambaldo Fernandez - Pietro Spagnoli (baritone),
    Yvette - Du?ica Bijelic (soprano),
    Bianca - Hanna Hipp (soprano),
    Suzy - Justina Gringyte (mezzo-soprano),
    Gobin - Pablo Bemsch (tenor),
    Périchaud - John Cunningham (baritone),
    Crébillon - Ashley Riches (bass),
    Georgette - Kathy Batho (soprano),
    Gabriella - Melissa Alder (soprano),
    Lolette - Amanda Floyd (soprano),
    Rabonier - Jonathan Fisher (bass),
    Young Man - Elliot Goldie (tenor),
    Distant Voice - Du?ica Bijelic (soprano),
    Maître d'hôtel - John Bernays (bass),
    Royal Opera Chorus
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Conducted by Marco Armiliato.
     Verdi 200: Don Carlo20131007 Part of Radio 3's Verdi 200 celebrations, Andrew McGregor presents a performance of Verdi's opera Don Carlo recorded at the Royal Opera House conducted by Antonio Pappano, starring Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros
    Don Carlos - Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
    Elisabeth - Anja Harteros (soprano)
    Princess Eboli - Béatrice Uria-Monzon (mezzo-soprano)
    Rodrigo - Mariusz Kwiecien (baritone)
    Philippe II - Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass)
    Grand Inquisitor - Eric Halfvarson (bass)
    Charles V - Robert Lloyd (bass)
    Count of Lerma - Pablo Bemsch (tenor)
    Tebaldo - Dusica Bijelic (soprano)
    Royal Opera Chorus
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Conducted by Antonio Pappano
    This historical drama is based on Friedrich von Schiller's play 'Don Carlos, Infant of Spain' and is performed here in the five-act Italian version. Don Carlo, Prince of Asturias - sung by tenor Jonas Kaufmann, is the Spanish heir to the throne but in order to secure a peace treaty he has to see his betrothed lady, Elisabeth de Valois, soprano Anja Harteros, marry his own father, King Philip II. The opera is full of dramatic elements in addition to this love triangle, including the sacrifice of a deep friendship, mistaken identities, and a huge struggle between church and state. The power of Verdi's music is spell-binding and is perhaps at its most intense during the famous confrontation in Act IV between the King - sung here by bass Ferruccio Furlanetto - and the Grand Inquisitor, the bass Eric Halfvarson. Antonio Pappano conducts a marvellous cast, with the Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, in a performance one critic called 'an evening of pure vocal pleasure.'.
     Verdi 200: Il Trovatore20131012 recorded at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich earlier this year with Jonas Kaufmann making his debut in the role of Manrico and Anja Harteros as Leonora. The production was by Olivier Py and drew a lot of criticism for its modern approach.
    Jonas Kaufmann one of the world's leading tenors continues to expand his repertoire into some of the heavier Italian roles with Manrico, the troubadour of the opera's title. He's joined once again by one of his regular collaborators, the German soprano Anja Harteros, as Leonora, the subject of his affection.
    Il Trovatore was one of Verdi's most successful operas even during his lifetime. In the three years following its premiere in 1853 it received more than 200 productions worldwide. And today it remains one of the most popular operas in the repertoire. He wrote it during a period which also saw the composition of Rigoletto and La Traviata, so by the time Verdi was forty he was at the height of his powers.
    The story is sometimes parodied for the melodramatic and seemingly outrageous nature of some of the plot. Salvatore Cammarano wrote the libretto but died before its completion so Verdi found a new collaborator in the Neapolitan poet Leone Bardare.
    Manrico is an enemy of the Count di Luna, a nobleman and soldier. They are also both in love with Leonora a noblewoman who returns Manrico's love. A gypsy, Azucena, is also the Count's enemy as his father killed her mother. She wants to avenge her mother's death so years before has abducted one of the Count's sons. This is Manrico who thinks that Azucena is his mother, though he learns she is not during the opera.
    Manrico and Azucena are eventually imprisoned by the Count and Leonora offers to give herself to him to secure their release. However she takes poison and dies in Manrico's arms. When Di Luna finds her dead he orders Manrico's execution and he's taken away. Only then does Azucena tell Di Luna that Manrico was actually his brother.
    Manrico....Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
    Leonora....Anja Harteros (soprano)
    Count di Luna....Alexey Markov (baritone)
    Azucena....Elena Manistina (mezzo-soprano)
    Ferrando....Kwangchul Youn (bass)
    Inez....Golda Schultz (soprano)
    Ruiz....Francesco Petrozzi
    A Gypsy....Rafal Pawnuk
    A Messenger....Joshua Stewart
    Bavarian State Opera Chorus
    Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
    Conducted by Paolo Carignani.
     Britten 100: Death In Venice20131019 Britten 100:
    In the composer's centenary year Louise Fryer introduces Britten's final opera, live from the Grand Theatre, Leeds. The production by the Japanese director Yoshi Oida was originally seen at the Aldeburgh Festival and is now performed by Opera North and conducted by their music director Richard Farnes.
    Britten wrote of Death in Venice "It's either the best or the worst music I've ever written" later adding of the work "it's everything that Peter Pears and I have stood for."
    The libretto is by Myfanwy Piper and is based on the novella by Thomas Mann and deals with the developing infatuation of an ageing writer for a young Polish boy staying with the rest of his family on holiday in Venice.
    During the interval there's a chance to hear our Radio 3 Music Guide to the opera which will also be available to download.
    7.00 Britten - Death in Venice Act I
    8.20 Interval - Radio 3 Opera Guide to Death in Venice
    8.40 Britten - Death in Venice Act II
    Gustav von Aschenbach - Alan Oke (tenor)
    Traveller/Elderly Fop/Old Gondolier/Hotel Manager/Hotel Barber/Leader of the Players/Voice of Dionysus - Peter Savidge (baritone)
    Voice of Apollo - Christopher Ainslie (countertenor)
    English Clerk - Damian Thantrey (baritone)
    Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North
    Richard Farnes (conductor).
    Live from the Leeds Grand Theatre, an Opera North production of Britten's Death in Venice.
     Wagner 200: Die Feen20131028 As part of Wagner 200 celebrations, Martin Handley introduces Wagner's rarely heard Opera Die Feen in a recording conducted by Sir Edward Downes, featuring John Mitchinson and April Cantelo.
    Arindal... John Mitchinson (Tenor)
    Ada... April Cantelo (Soprano)
    Lora... Lorna Haywood (Soprano)
    Morald... Tom McDonnell (Baritone)
    Gunther... Richard Greager (Tenor)
    Gernot... Paul Hudson (Bass)
    Drolla... Teresa Cahill (Soprano)
    Zermina... Elizabeth Gale (Soprano)
    Farzana... Della Jones (Mezzo-soprano)
    Harald/ Groma/Fairy King... Don Garrard (Bass)
    Messenger... Jolyon Dodgson (Baritone)
    BBC Northern Singers
    BBC Northern Orchestra
    Edward Downes (Conductor)
    Die Feen was Wagner's first completed opera, a 3-act Romantic opera written when Wagner was 20 to his own libretto. The work received its first performance five years after Wagner's death, and wasn't staged in Britain until 1969. The models for Wagner's work were Weber and Marschner with whose work he had become familiar working as chorus master at Wurzburg. The plot involves Ada, half fairy, half mortal, who has fallen in love with Arindal, King of Tramond, and she agrees to marry him on the one condition that he does not ask her identity. Their union is blissfully happy until of course curiosity gets the better of Arindal and he asks who she is, resulting of course in Ada's disappearance. Ada reappears in Act 2 and sets Arindal various tasks, all of which he fails, and he is driven insane. The fairy tale does have a happy ending though, as the Fairy King grants Arindal immortality so he and Ada can live together in fairyland. Martin Handley introduces a recording of the opera from 1974 starring John Mitchinson as Arindal and April Cantelo as Ada, conducted by Sir Edward Downes.
    Martin Handley introduces a performance of Wagner's rarely-heard opera Die Feen.
     Donizetti's Roberto Devereux20131104 Presented by Mary King
    Alessandro Talevi's new production of Donizetti's rarely heard Roberto Devereux is headed by soprano Alexandra Deshorties as Elizabeth, Queen of England, and tenor Leonardo Capalbo as Robert Devereux the Earl of Essex, with David Kempster and Leah-Marian Jones as the Duke and Duchess of Nottingham, Geraint Dodd as Lord William Cecil, and William Robert Allenby as Sir Walter Raleigh, with the chorus and orchestra of Welsh National Opera. The performance is conducted by Daniele Rustioni.
    Donizetti's third Tudor opera, Roberto Devereux, is given a new look by Director Alessandro Talevi, and Designer Madeleine Boyd. It is a story of love and deceit; Devereux is the lover of Queen Elizabeth I but Parliament has pushed through a charge of treason against him. The Queen's attempts to save Devereux are frustrated by her suspicions that he loves another. Devereux and Sarah, the Duchess of Nottingham, have been seeing each other for some time, and upon discovery of this fact by both the Queen and the Duke of Nottingham, Devereux must meet an inevitable end. The Queen in turn, is forced to confront her old age and a lonely journey towards her own death, and in a fit of frustration and anger, announces her abdication in favour of Charles I.
    Elizabeth, Queen of England - Alexandra Deshorties (soprano)
    Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex - Leonardo Capalbo (tenor)
    Duke of Nottingham - David Kempster (baritone)
    Duchess of Nottingham - Leah-Marian Jones (mezzo-soprano)
    Lord William Cecil - Geraint Dodd (tenor)
    Sir Walter Raleigh - William Robert Allenby (baritone)
    A page - George Newton-Fitzgerald (bass)
    A servant of Nottingham - Stephen Wells (bass)
    Chorus and orchestra of Welsh National Opera
    Conductor, Daniele Rustioni.
     Beethoven's Fidelio20131111 Ivan Hewett introduces Beethoven's Fidelio in a new production by Calixto Bieito, recorded last month at the English National Opera in London. The soprano Emma Bell takes on the title role as the brave Leonora who, disguised as young man Fidelio, rescues her unfairly jailed husband Florestan, sung by the tenor Stuart Skelton. The stage at the Coliseum is transformed in this contemporary setting into a big prison of metal and plastic, a truly claustrophobic labyrinth in which all characters are prisoners, one way or another. The orchestra and chorus of the ENO are conducted by Music Director Edward Gardner. And there's a dramatic cameo by the Heath String Quartet too.
    Leonora - Emma Bell (Soprano)
    Florestan - Stuart Skelton (Tenor)
    Rocco - James Creswell (Bass
    Marzelline - Sarah Tynan (Soprano)
    Jaquino - Adrian Dwyer (Bass)
    Don Pizarro - Philip Horst (Bass)
    Don Fernando - Roland Wood (Baritone)
    First prisoner....Anton Rich (Tenor)
    Second prisoner - Ronald Nairne (Bass)
    English National Opera Orchestra
    English National Opera Chorus
    Edward Gardner, conductor
    The Heath String Quartet - Oliver Heath and Cerys Jones, violins; Gary Pomeroy, viola; and Christopher Murray, cello.
     Verdi 200: Les Vepres Siciliennes20131118 Hélène... Lianna Haroutounian (soprano)
    Henri... Bryan Hymel (tenor)
    Procida... Erwin Schrott (bass)
    Guy de Montfort... Michael Volle (baritone)
    Ninetta... Michelle Daly (contralto)
    Thibault... Neal Cooper (tenor)
    Daniéli... Nicolas Darmanin (tenor)
    Mainfroid... Jung Soo Yun (tenor)
    Robert... Jihoon Kim (baritone)
    Le Sire de Béthune... Jean Teitgen (bass)
    Le Comte de Vaudemont... Jeremy White (bass)
    Royal Opera Chorus
    Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Conducted by Antonio Pappano
    Part of BBC Radio 3's Verdi 200 celebrations, Donald Macleod presents the opera and is joined by Verdi-expert Flora Willson as Antonio Pappano conducts The Royal Opera's first-ever staging of Verdi's 5-act grand opera, directed by Stefan Herheim in his UK debut.
    Written for the Paris Opera in 1855, Verdi adopted the elaborate styles and traditions of French Grand opera in Les Vêpres Siciliennes. It is a tale of family relationships, loyalty, patriotism and revenge.
    Based on a story set in 1282, Sicily has been invaded by the French, and the Duchess Hélène (sung by soprano Lianna Haroutounian) is being held hostage by Montfort (baritone Michael Volle), the French Governor. Hélène reveals that her brother was executed by Montfort and she is seeking revenge, and is assured by Henri (tenor Bryan Hymel) how deeply he despises Montfort, although he does not realise that he is Montfort's son. Procida (bass Erwin Schrott) is a Sicilian, also seeking revenge after the French attack, and he involves Henri and Hélène in a plot to assassinate Montfort. However, once he knows he is Montfort's son, Henri is torn between his love for Hélène and his loyalty to his father and country, and ultimately this predicament leads to everybody losing everything.
     Britten 100: Albert Herring20131123 Live from the Barbican, Steuart Bedford conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra and a fabulous ensemble cast including Christine Brewer as Lady Billows, Gillian Keith as Miss Wordsworth, Roderick Williams as Mr Gedge and rising star Andrew Staples as Albert himself.
    Presented by Donald Macleod with contributions from Steuart Bedford who knew and worked with Britten, and members of the cast. Plus, in the Radio 3 Opera Guide at about eight o'clock, soprano Dame Josephine Barstow and Britten experts Paul Kildea and Christopher Wintle uncover the sophistication that lies at the heart of Brittten's comic masterpiece.
    Britten: Albert Herring
    Lady Billows - Christine Brewer (soprano)
    Florence Pike - Gaynor Keeble (mezzo)
    Miss Wordsworth - Gillian Keith (soprano)
    Mr Gedge - Roderick Williams (baritone)
    Mr Upfold - Adrian Thompson (tenor)
    Superintendent Budd - Matthew Rose (bass)
    Sid - Marcus Farnsworth (baritone)
    Albert - Andrew Staples (tenor)
    Nancy - Kitty Whately (mezzo)
    Mrs Herring - Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo)
    BBC Symphony Orchestra
    Steuart Bedford (conductor)
    Kenneth Richardson (director)
    In the Suffolk town of Loxford, the lax morals of the local girls preclude local worthy Lady Billows from finding an appropriate candidate to crown May Queen. Desperate times call for desperate measures and she finds a suitably virtuous May King in Albert Herring, whose domineering mother has kept him on the straight and narrow. But it only takes lemonade spiked with rum for Albert to go off the rails and discover there's more to life than than doing what mother tells him.
    Once again Britten found inspiration on his doorstep but unlike the grim tale of Peter Grimes from a couple years earlier, Albert Herring's affectionate parody of small-town life is a comic tour de force.
     Verdi 200: Don Carlos20131125 Verdi 200: Claudio Abbado conducts the original French version of Don Carlos.
    Verdi 200:
    John Shea presents the 1886 five act French version of Don Carlos with Placido Domingo in the title role and Katia Ricciarelli as Elisabeth. With background from Flora Willson.
    Don Carlos in its complete form is Verdi's longest opera. It was written for the Paris Opera whose resources were considerable with long rehearsals, opportunities for large scale production and a large chorus and orchestra. Not to mention the financial rewards for the composer. Initially Verdi was uninterested in the subject and it was 15 years before he changed his mind when he was asked to compose a large scale opera for Napoleon III's Universal Exhibition in 1867. The opportunity to create a success in a city where Meyerbeer was the king of opera was a great enticement.
    The libretto was based on the play by Schiller but Verdi the theatrical genius knew it needed more and asked his librettists Mery and du Locle to compose a duet between Carlos and Rodrigo and between the King and the Grand Inquisitor. For spectacle there was the Act 3 auto da fe scene with its executions.
    At the centre of the story are three sets of relationships: between Elisabeth who wants to marry Carlos but ends up with his father the King, between Eboli the former mistress of Philip but now in love with Carlos and the friednship between Carlos and Posa who is also loved and admired by the King.
    Elisabeth de Valois - Katia Ricciarelli (Soprano)
    La Princesse Eboli - Lucia Valentini Terrani (Mezzo-soprano)
    Don Carlos - Placido Domingo (Tenor)
    Rodrigue Marquis de Posa - Leo Nucci (Baritone)
    Philippe II Roi d'Espagne - Ruggero Raimondi (Bass)
    Le Grand Inquisiteur - Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass)
    A Monk - Nikita Storoyev (Bass)
    Thibault - Ann Murray (Mezzo-soprano)
    Le Comte de Lerme - Tibere Raffalli (Tenor)
    The Royal Herald - Antonio Savastano (Tenor)
    Voice from High - Arleen Auger (Soprano)
    La Scala Chorus
    La Scala Orchestra
    Conductor Claudio Abbado.
     Berg's Wozzeck20131202 A performance of Berg's opera Wozzeck, given at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    Tonight's Opera on 3 recorded at the Royal Opera House is Berg's examination of the complexities of the human soul - his opera Wozzeck in a revival of a production by Keith Warner.
    The poor soldier Wozzeck is kept grounded by his girlfriend Marie and their child, despite suffering hallucinations and being tormented by the Captain and the Doctor. When Marie has an affair with the dashing Drum Major, it's too much for Wozzeck, who gradually begins to lose his grip on sanity. Berg's setting of Buchner's play has vivid characterisation and powerful music, and is sung by a very strong cast including Simon Keenlyside in the title role, Karita Mattila as Marie and John Tomlinson as the Doctor.
    Presented by Andrew McGregor
    Wozzeck....Simon Keenlyside (Baritone)
    Marie....Karita Mattila (Soprano)
    Captain....Gerhard Siegel (Tenor)
    Doctor....John Tomlinson (Bass)
    Drum Major....Endrik Wottrich (Tenor)
    Andres....John Easterlin (Tenor)
    Margret....Allison Cook (Mezzo-soprano)
    First Apprentice....Jeremy White (Bass)
    Second Apprentice/Soldier....Grant Doyle (Baritone)
    Idiot....Robin Tritschler (Tenor)
    Royal Opera House Orchestra
    Royal Opera House Chorus
    Mark Elder (Conductor).
     Wagner's Parsifal20131211 , in a new production by Stephen Langridge, live from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. With Simon O'Neill, Rene Pape, Angela Denoke and Gerald Finley conducted by Antonio Pappano. Presented by Martin Handley with guest, Wagner scholar Nicholas Baragwanath. With contributions from cast, conductor and director.
    Wagner's final music drama presents a religious community in decay, whose rituals have become empty and meaningless. One of their leaders, Gurnemanz, is searching for "a pure fool made wise through compassion." According to a prophecy the pure fool will redeem the order and give them a new lease of life. Parsifal is the young thug who bursts in on the scene in Act one, goes through trials of sexual temptation and compassion in the middle act only to return as the redeemer of the community at the end. Combining the Christian grail legend with elements of Buddhism and the pessimistic philosophy of Schopenhauer, this artwork about religion is for many people a religious experience in itself and it was the only one of Wagner's operas written for performance in the Festspielhaus at Bayreuth.
    Parsifal....Simon O'Neill (tenor)
    Kundry....Angela Denoke (soprano)
    Gurnemanz....Rene Pape (bass)
    Amfortas....Gerald Finley (baritone)
    Klingsor....Willard W. White (bass)
    Titurel....Robert Lloyd (bass)
    First Knight....David Butt Philip (tenor)
    Second Knight....Charbel Mattar (bass)
    First Esquire....Dusica Bijelic (soprano)
    Second Esquire....Rachel Kelly (mezzo-soprano)
    Third Esquire....Sipho Fubesi (tenor)
    Fourth Esquire....Luis Gomes (tenor)
    First Flowermaiden....Celine Byrne (soprano)
    Second Flowermaiden....Kiandra Howarth (soprano)
    Third Flowermaiden....Anna Patalong (soprano)
    Fourth Flowermaiden....Anna Devin (soprano)
    Fifth Flowermaiden....Ana James (soprano)
    Sixth Flowermaiden....Justina Gringyte (mezzo-soprano)
    Chorus Royal Opera Chorus
    Orchestra Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
    Conducted by Antonio Pappano
    *1700 Act 1
    *1850 Interval 1
    *1930 Act 2
    *2040 Interval 2
    *2110 Act 3.
     Britten 100: The Rape Of Lucretia20131228 Britten 100: The Rape of Lucretia from Glyndebourne, with Claudia Huckle in the title role and Kate Valentine and Allan Clayton as the Chorus. Nicolas Collon conducts.
    Premiered at Glyndebourne in 1946, Britten's chamber opera is given a new production by Fiona Shaw, described by one critic as "opera at its most nakedly powerful". It is an extraordinary and tightly- focused treatment of a legend which has acquired numerous layers in painting, poetry and drama. Lucretia is raped by the tyrant Tarquinius Superbus, ruler of Rome, and chooses to kill herself rather than live with the shame. The action of the opera is commented on throughout by a Male and Female Chorus who occupy another dimension, at times narrating the story and at times voicing the thoughts of the different characters.
    Male Chorus....Allan Clayton (Tenor)
    Lucretia....Claudia Huckle (Mezzo-soprano)
    Female Chorus....Kate Valentine (Soprano)
    Collatinus....David Soar (Bass)
    Junius....Oliver Dunn (Baritone)
    Tarquinius....Duncan Rock (Baritone)
    Bianca....Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Mezzo-soprano)
    Lucia....Ellie Laugharne (Soprano)
    The Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra
    Nicholas Collon (conductor).
     Richard Strauss 150 - Capriccio20140104 Richard Strauss 150
    Launching Radio 3's celebration sof the 150th anniversary of his birth,
    Renee Fleming sings the role of the Countess Madeleine in a concert performance of Strauss's last opera conducted by Andrew Davis recorded at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Presented by Louise Fryer with contributions from the cast and conductor.
    Capriccio dramatises the perennial question: which is more important in opera - words or music? The composer Flamand and the poet Olivier both compete for the affection of the Countess, while the seasoned director, La Roche brings a sense of reality and pragmatism to the proceedings. Strauss lavished a wealth of operatic experience on this late bloom of his indian summer, ending with a celebrated solo scene for the Countess which crowns a life-long love affair with the soprano voice.
    The Countess....Renee Fleming (Soprano)
    Clairon....Tanja Ariane Baumgartner (Mezzo-soprano)
    Flamand....Andrew Staples (Tenor)
    Olivier....Christian Gerhaher (Baritone)
    The Count....Boje Skovhus (Baritone)
    La Roche....Peter Rose (Bass)
    Mary Plazas....Mary Plazas (Soprano)
    Barry Banks....Barry Banks (Tenor)
    Royal Opera House Orchestra
    Andrew Davis (Conductor).
     Strauss 150: Elektra20140106 Elektra by Richard Strauss, from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducted by Andris Nelsons.
    Christine Goerke sings the title role.
    Part of Radio 3's Music on the Brink.
    The Greek hero Agamemnon returns home from the Trojan war, only to be murdered by his wife Klytemnestra and her lover, Aegisthus. His daughter, Elektra, has become possessed by a desperate need to revenge her father and will not rest until she has done so. Strauss's music plunges the audience straight into this psychologically intense and violent world, and Charles Edwards's production highlights the moral decay at its heart.
    Elektra....Christine Goerke (Soprano)
    Chrysothemis....Adrianne Pieczonka (Soprano)
    Klytemnestra....Michaela Schuster (Soprano)
    Confidante....Louise Armit (Mezzo-soprano)
    Trainbearer....Marianne Cotterill (Soprano)
    Young Servant....Douglas Jones (Tenor)
    Old Servant....Jeremy White (Bass)
    Orestes....Iain Paterson (Bass)
    Orestes's Companion....John Cunningham (Bass)
    Aegisthus....John Daszak (Tenor)
    First Maid....Elaine Mckrill (Soprano)
    Second Maid....Anna Burford (Mezzo-soprano)
    Third Maid....Catherine Carby (Mezzo-soprano)
    Fourth Maid....Elizabeth Sikora (Mezzo-soprano)
    Fifth Maid....Elizabeth Woollett (Soprano)
    Royal Opera House Orchestra
    Royal Opera House Chorus
    Andris Nelsons (Conductor).
     Turnage's Greek20140217 Mark Anthony Turnage's Greek, in Michael McCarthy?s award-winning production for Music Theatre Wales, from the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    First performed in 1988, Greek was Turnage's first opera and it confirmed him as a major voice on the British contemporary music scene. With Turnage's typically muscular fusion of classical and jazz influences, and a hard-hitting libretto adapted from Steven Berkoff?s verse play of the same name, the opera is a version of the Oedipus story, relocated to the East End of London. Oedipus, the tragic hero who kills his father and marries his mother, becomes Eddy (Marcus Farnsworth), a young man who tries to escape his fate.
    It's presented by Sara Mohr-Pietsch, who talks to Mark-Anthony Turnage in between the two acts.
    Eddy....Marcus Farnsworth (Baritone)
    The remaining characters are shared between the company as follows:
    Eddy's Mum/Waitress/Sphinx....Sally Silver (Soprano)
    Eddy's Sister/Waitress who becomes Eddy's Wife/Sphinx....Louise Winter (Mezzo-soprano)
    Eddy's Dad/Cafe Manager/Chief of Police...Gwion Thomas (Baritone)
    The Music Theatre Wales Ensemble
    Michael Rafferty (conductor).
     Mozart's Don Giovanni20140303 Tonight's Opera on 3 is a new production of Mozart's ever-popular Don Giovanni recorded last month at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Mariusz Kwiecien sings the charismatic seducer who meets his match in the ghost of the man he kills, and Véronique Gens, Malin Bystrom and Elizabeth Watts sing the women who get drawn helplessly into his net.
    Louise Fryer presents, and talks to director Kasper Holten about his interpretation of Mozart and Da Ponte's characters, and what hell means to a contemporary audience.
    Don Giovanni - Mariusz Kwiecien (Baritone)
    Leporello - Alex Esposito (Bass)
    Commendatore - Alexander Tsymbalyuk (Bass)
    Donna Elvira - Véronique Gens (Soprano)
    Donna Anna - Malin Bystrom (Soprano)
    Don Ottavio - Antonio Poli (Tenor)
    Zerlina - Elizabeth Watts (Soprano)
    Masetto - Dawid Kimberg (Baritone)
    Royal Opera House Chorus
    Royal Opera House Orchestra
    Nicola Luisotti (Conductor).
     Handel's Rodelinda20140308 One of Handel's most popular operas, Rodelinda is an epic story of love, power and mistaken identity, with music of exceptional power and emotion. Bertarido has been driven from his kingdom by Grimoaldo and is presumed dead, leaving behind his grieving wife, Rodelinda. Grimoaldo will imprison Rodelinda unless she agrees to marry him, thereby allowing him to seize Bertarido's throne for himself. But then the exiled king returns in disguise.
    The baroque specialist Christian Curnyn conducts this new production for English National Opera by Richard Jones, with an expert Handelian cast.
    Presented by Martin Handley, with guest Berta Joncus and interviews from the cast.
    6.00pm: Handel: Rodelinda (Act 1)
    6.55pm: Interval
    7.15 pm: Handel: Rodelinda (Act 2)
    8.10pm: Interval
    8.30pm: Handel: Rodelinda (Act 3)
    Rodelinda - Rebecca Evans (Soprano)
    Bertarido - Iestyn Davies (Countertenor)
    Grimoaldo - John Mark Ainsley (Tenor)
    Edulge - Susan Bickley (Mezzo-soprano)
    Unulfo - Christopher Ainslie (Countertenor)
    Garibaldo - Richard Burkhard (Baritone)
    English National Opera Orchestra
    Christian Curnyn (Conductor).
     Strauss 150: Die Frau Ohne Schatten20140329 Richard Strauss's opera Die Frau ohne Schatten (The Woman without a Shadow) live from London's Royal Opera House, conducted by Semyon Bychkov in a new production by Claus Guth, starring Johan Botha, Emily Magee, Michaela Schuster, Johan Reuter and Elena Pankratova.
    Presented by Donald Macleod with guest, Strauss expert William Mival. Including interviews with the conductor, director and singers.
    On the surface, the opera is a fairy tale about two contrasting couples and how love can only be truly fulfilled and meaningful through the birth of children. This narrow world view has possibly been the reason why some people have found the story uncongenial. For a long time is was one of the less performed of Strauss's works. However in recent productions the complex web of symbols at work in the piece have been deconstructed to reveal layers of meaning about the nature of love and human psychology.
    Emperor - Johan Botha (Tenor)
    Empress - Emily Magee (Soprano)
    Nurse (Amme) - Michaela Schuster (Mezzo-soprano)
    Barak - Johan Reuter (Baritone)
    Barak's Wife - Elena Pankratova (Soprano)
    One-Eyed Brother - Adrian Clarke (Baritone)
    One-Armed Brother - Jeremy White (Bass)
    Hunchback Brother - Hubert Francis (Tenor)
    Spirit Messenger - Ashley Holland (Baritone)
    Voice of a Falcon - Anush Hovhannisyan (Soprano)
    Apparition of a Youth - David Butt Philip (Baritone)
    Guardian of the Threshold - Dusica Bijelic (Soprano)
    Voice from Above - Catherine Carby (Mezzo-soprano)
    Royal Opera House Orchestra
    Royal Opera House Chorus
    Conductor....Semyon Bychkov
    *1800 Act 1
    *1905 First interval (including artist interviews)
    *1930 Act 2
    *2030 Interval 2 (including artist interviews and an extended interview with tonight's conductor, Semyon Bychkov)
    *2055 Act 3.
     Puccini's La Fanciulla Del West20140405 Tonight's Opera on 3 is Puccini's La Fanciulla del West, the Girl of the Golden West, set in a mining town during the American gold rush of 1849. An unlikely setting for an Italian opera, but one that has a happy ending! It tells the tale of Minnie, the bartender in the saloon whom all the local men adore, and Dick Johnson alias Ramerrez, a notorious bandit. Dick and Minnie fall in love on first meeting, so much so that he vows to change his life as a bandit. Puccini wrote the romantic leads for two great singers: Enrico Caruso and Emmy Destin, but the roles in this recording are sung by two contemporary great singers: Nina Stemme and Jonas Kaufmann. Andrew McGregor is joined by musicologist Alexandra Wilson, to discuss this performance given last October at the Vienna State Opera, under conductor Franz Welser-Möst.
    Minnie - Nina Stemme (soprano)
    Dick Johnson alias Ramerrez - Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
    Jack Rance, sheriff - Tomasz Konieczny (baritone)
    Nick, bartender at the Polka saloon - Norbert Ernst (tenor)
    Ashby, Wells Fargo agent - Paolo Rumetz (bass)
    Sonora, a miner - Boaz Daniel (baritone)
    Trin, a miner - Michael Roider (tenor)
    Sid, a miner - Hans Peter Kammerer (baritone)
    Bello, a miner - Tae-Joong Yang (baritone)
    Harry, a miner - Peter Jelosits (tenor)
    Joe, a miner - Carlos Osuna (tenor)
    Happy, a miner - Clemens Unterreiner (baritone)
    Jim Larkens, a miner - Il Hong (bass)
    Billy Jackrabbit, an Indian - Jongmin Park (bass)
    Wowkle, his squaw - Juliette Mars (mezzo-soprano)
    Jake Wallace, a travelling camp minstrel - Alessio Arduini (baritone)
    José Castro, a mestizo "greaser" - Alessio Arduini (bass)
    The Pony Express rider - Wolfram Igor Derntl (tenor)
    Vienna State Opera Chorus
    Vienna State Opera Orchestra
    Franz Welser-Möst.
     Cavalli's L'ormindo20140414 Louise Fryer introduces a rare Baroque gem, recorded earlier this month at The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in London, in its inaugural season: Francesco Cavalli's opera L'Ormindo, in a co-production between The Shakespeare's Globe and the Royal Opera House directed by Kasper Holten. Christian Curnyn conducts the Orchestra of the Early Opera Company leading a cast including tenors Samuel Boden and Ed Lyon as the princes Ormindo and Amidas, who fight for the love of Queen Erisbe, sung by Susanna Hurrell. There can only be one winner in this story of fate, adultery and forgiveness...
    Ormindo - Samuel Boden (Tenor)
    Amidas / Wind - Ed Lyon (Tenor)
    Love / Nerillus - James Laing (Countertenor)
    Eryka / Wind - Harry Nicoll (Tenor)
    Music / Erisbe - Susanna Hurrell (Soprano)
    Ariadenus - Graeme Broadbent (Bass)
    Destiny / Osman / Wind - Ashley Riches (Baritone)
    Lady Luck / Sicile - Joelle Harvey (Soprano)
    Mirinda - Rachel Kelly (Mezzo-soprano)
    Orchestra of the Early Opera Company
    Christian Curnyn (Conductor).
     Gounod's Faust20140422 Tonight's Opera on 3 is a performance of Gounod's Faust, once one of the most famous and most performed operas. Based on Goethe's dramatic poem, it's a tale of romance, temptation and tragedy, and the clash between religion and satanic powers. Faust, sung by the Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja, has become bored with life and its limitations, and makes a pact with the Devil, represented by Méphistophélès, baritone Bryn Terfel: the Devil promises that he will satisfy Faust's hedonistic requests in exchange for his soul. Gounod's Faust contains many musical highlights including the Soldiers' Chorus, and Marguerite's stunning Jewel Song - sung tonight by soprano Sonya Yoncheva. The Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House are conducted by Maurizio Benini, and tonight's live performance is presented by Donald Macleod.
    Live from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    Faust - Joseph Calleja (Tenor)
    Méphistophélès - Bryn Terfel (Baritone)
    Marguerite - Sonya Yoncheva (Soprano)
    Valentin - Simon Keenlyside (Baritone)
    Wagner - Jihoon Kim (Bass Baritone)
    Siébel - Renata Pokupic (Mezzo-soprano)
    Martha Schwerlein - Diana Montague (Mezzo-soprano)
    Royal Opera House Orchestra
    Royal Opera House Chorus
    Maurizio Benini (Conductor).
     Julian Anderson's Thebans20140526 Presented by Andrew McGregor
    Julian Anderson's new opera to a libretto by Frank McGuinness based on Sophocles' Oedipus trilogy from English National Opera. Edward Gardner conducts a cast led by Roland Wood as Oedipus.
    "Familes are terrifying" says librettist Frank McGuinness about Sophocles' Theban plays, Julian Anderson adds "It's what happens when you mingle personal and political: they don't mix". In this version of the Greek dramas, the three individual plays are rendered down to one Act each to create a taught retelling of the story of Oedipus's journey from proud King of Thebes to blind, wandering exile.
    In Oedipus the King Thebes is cursed with disease and pestilence and the Delphic Oracle proclaims that to cure itself the city must drive out the man who killed the old king. Roland Wood's Oedipus vows to seek out the killer and in doing so sets a chain of events that leads to the knowledge that he killed his father, married Jocasta - his mother - and fathered three children/siblings. Jocasta kills herself and Oedipus is driven from Thebes.
    Anderson and McGuinness reverse the usual order of the second and third plays so that the dark heart of the opera is Antigone - set in a Fascistic state in Pierre Audi's production complete with brutalist decor and a chorus of black-shirts. Oedipus is dead, as are his two sons who have killed each other in a fraternal fight to reclaim the city from their mother's brother Creon who now rules. Only his daughter, Antigone, survives and is engaged to Creon's son but her disobedience in performing funeral rites for one of her dead brothers leads to tragedy and her own death.
    The opera spools back time for the final part - Oedipus at Colonus. Set in a post-apocalyptic winter, Oedipus and Antigone stumble to Colonus, a sacred place. He encounters his son Polynices who he curses, Creon arrives with soldiers to carry off Antigone but she is saved by the intervention of Theseus, King of Colonus. Oedipus says goodbye to his daughter and departs the world, while Antigone is left alone to mourn her father.
    Act 1 - Oedipus the King
    Act 2 - Antigone
    Act 3 - Oedipus at Colonus
    Oedipus - Roland Wood (Baritone)
    Creon - Peter Hoare (Tenor)
    Antigone - Julia Sporsen (Soprano)
    Tiresias - Matthew Best (Bass)
    Jocasta - Susan Bickley (Mezzo-soprano)
    Messenger - Christopher Ainslie (Countertenor)
    Haemon - Anthony Gregory (Tenor)
    Polynices - Jonathan Mcgovern (Baritone)
    English National Opera Orchestra
    English National Opera Chorus
    Edward Gardner (Conductor).
     Verdi's Attila20140602 From San Francisco Opera a production recorded in 2012 of Verdi?s Attila, a historic drama inspired by the mythic and barbarian King of the Huns. As he invades Italy threatening the power of the Roman Empire Attila falls in love with a prisoner, the fair Odabella, with tragic consequences in this tale of betrayal and revenge. Bass Ferruccio Furlanetto leads a stellar cast in the title role, portraying the Hun as an ambitious but tormented character; Odabella, the merciless avenger, is soprano Lucrecia Garcia. Maestro Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Presented by John Shea.
    Attila....Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass)
    Odabella? Lucrecia Garcia (soprano)
    Foresto? Diego Torre (tenor)
    Ezio? Quinn Kelsey (baritone)
    Uldino? Nathaniel Peake (tenor)
    Pope Leo I? Samuel Ramey (bass)
    San Francisco Opera Chorus
    San Francisco Opera Orchestra
    Nicola Luisotti (conductor).
     Poulenc's Dialogues Des Carmelites20140607 Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites.
    Live from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
    Presented by Sara Mohr-Pietsch with Jeremy Sams
    Poulenc takes the harrowing story of the martyrdom of the nuns of Compiègne during the French Revolution, and creates a rich and moving work which centres on Blanche, a young novice who deals with her own fears to face her destiny.
    Robert Carsen's production comes to London as Simon Rattle returns to Covent Garden to conduct his first production there since Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande in 2007.
    Blanche - Sally Matthews (Soprano)
    Constance - Anna Prohaska (Soprano)
    Madame Lidoine - Emma Bell (Soprano)
    Mother Marie - Sophie Koch (Mezzo-soprano)
    Madame de Croissy - Deborah Polaski (Soprano)
    Marquis de la Force - Thomas Allen (Baritone)
    Chevalier de la Force - Yann Beuron (Tenor)
    Mother Jeanne - Elizabeth Sikora (Mezzo-soprano)
    Sister Mathilde - Catherine Carby (Mezzo-soprano)
    Father Confessor - Alan Oke (Tenor)
    First Commissary - David Butt Philip (Baritone)
    Second Commissary - Michel De Souza (Baritone)
    First Officer - Ashley Riches (Baritone)
    Gaoler - Craig Smith (Conductor)
    M.Javelinot - John Bernays (Bass)
    Thierry - Neil Gillespie (Tenor)
    Royal Opera House Orchestra
    Royal Opera House Chorus
    Simon Rattle (Conductor).
    Opera on 3Schoenberg's Moses Und Aron20140616 Presented by Christopher Cook.

    A rare opportunity to hear Arnold Schoenberg's masterpiece "Moses und Aron" from Welsh National Opera. Loosely drawn from the biblical stories of Moses, his brother Aaron and the flight of the Jews from Egypt, the opera is a culmination of Schoenberg's pre-occupation with musico-dramatic form and the prevailing cultural conflicts of the 1920s and 30s. Responding to the rise of fascism and anti-semitic rhetoric, in this old testament adaptation, Schoenberg reconnects with his own Jewish identity and faith as Moses, a spoken role, performed here by Sir John Tomlinson, struggles to overcome his despair that he will be unable to find the right words to tell the people of God's will.

    Still incomplete at Schoenberg's death in 1951, the two acts performed in WNO's new production nonetheless reach a dramatic point of conclusion, when the gap between Moses, acting under the direct authority of God, and Aron, whose talent for communication presents persuasive, yet confusing images to the chosen people, widens to become morally irreconcilable.

    Moses - John Tomlinson (Speaker)
    Aron ...... Mark le Brocq (Tenor)
    A Young Maiden/First Naked Virgin - Elizabeth Atherton (Soprano)
    A Youth - Alexander Sprague (Tenor)
    Another Man/Ephraimite - Daniel Grice (Baritone)
    A Priest - Richard Wiegold (Bass)
    First Elder - Julian Boyce (Bass)
    Second Elder - Laurence Cole (Bass)
    Third Elder - Alastair Moore/Julian Boyce (Bass)
    Sick Woman/Fourth Naked Virgin - Rebecca Afonwy-Jones (Mezzo-soprano)
    Naked Youth - Edmond Choo (Tenor)
    Second Naked Virgin - Fiona Harrison (Soprano)
    Third Naked Virgin - Louise Ratcliffe (Mezzo-soprano)
    Chorus of six solo voices - Fiona Harrison (Soprano), Amanda Baldwin, Sian Meinir (Mezzo-sopranos), Peter Wilman (Tenor), Alastair Moore/Alastair Merry, Laurence Cole (Basses)
    Chorus and Extra Chorus of Welsh National Opera
    Orchestra of Welsh National Opera
    Lothar Koenigs (Conductor).
    Opera on 3Schoenberg's Moses Und Aron20140616  
     Henze's Boulevard Solitude20140621 A rare opportunity to hear one of the masterpieces of the post-war operatic canon, Composed shortly after the Second World War, Boulevard Solitude is Henze's take on the story of Manon Lescaut, which had already attracted many composers before him. No genteel romance for Henze, though: his telling of the story takes us into a seedy world of desperate lowlife characters - rootless, loveless, egocentric, and desperate for drugs, money, and sex.
    The story unfolds without a break in a series of seven scenes, the first of which takes place in a railway station bar, where Armand sees Manon and is instantly lovestruck. In the scenes that follow we witness the futility of his good intentions in the face of greed and desperation, and chart the course of their affair as it descends into a catastrophe largely brought about by Manon's bullying brother Lescaut.
    This production was part of Welsh National Opera's Fallen Women season, and in his introduction Christopher Cook speaks to WNO's Artistic Director David Pountney, and the principal protagonists, about the opera and their roles within it.
    Armand des Grieux - Jason Bridges (tenor)
    Manon Lescaut - Sarah Tynan (soprano)
    Lescaut - Benjamin Bevan (baritone)
    Monsieur Lilaque - Adrian Thompson (tenor)
    Francis - Alastair Moore (bass)
    Young Lilaque - Laurence Cole (bass)
    Mr Man - Tomasz Wygoda
    Chorus of Welsh National Opera
    Orchestra of Welsh National Opera
    Lothar Koenigs (conductor).
     Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini20140630 Andrew McGregor introduces a performance of the new production by Terry Gilliam at English National Opera of Berlioz's rarely-performed opera Benvenuto Cellini. It recounts the colourful and sometimes outrageous memoirs of Cellini, the 16th century artist, goldsmith and sculptor, sung by the tenor Michael Spyres. The tale focuses on Cellini's love for Teresa, sung by soprano Corinne Winters, and how Cellini successfully confounded his rival Fieramosca, baritone Nicholas Pallesen, by finishing the commission to cast a bronze statue of Perseus. Andrew McGregor presents the performance and talks to Dr Sarah Hibberd from Nottingham University about some of the remarkable musical elements of Berlioz's thrilling and beautiful score, conducted by ENO Musical Director Edward Gardner.
    Benvenuto Cellini....Michael Spyres (Tenor)
    Teresa....Corinne Winters (Soprano)
    Balducci....Pavlo Hunka (Bass)
    Fieramosca....Nicholas Pallesen (Baritone)
    Pop Clement VII....Willard White (Bass)
    Ascanio....Paula Murrihy (Mezzo-soprano)
    Francesco....Nicky Spence (Tenor)
    Bernardino....David Soar (Bass)
    Pompeo....Morgan Pearse (Bass Baritone)
    English National Opera Chorus
    English National Opera Orchestra
    Edward Gardner (Conductor).
     Puccini's Manon Lescaut20140701 Live from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    Presented by Martin Handley
    Puccini's Manon Lescaut in a new production by Jonathan Kent, with Kristine Opolais as Manon, Jonas Kaufmann as des Grieux and Maurizio Muraro as Geronte de Ravoir. Antonio Pappano conducts.
    Manon Lescaut - Kristine Opolais (Soprano)
    Chevalier des Grieux - Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor)
    Lescaut - Christopher Maltman (Baritone)
    Geronte de Ravoir - Maurizio Muraro (Bass)
    Singer - Nadezhda Karyazina (Soprano)
    Edmondo - Benjamin Hulett (Tenor)
    Dancing Master - Robert Burt (Tenor)
    Lamplighter - Luis Gomes (Tenor)
    Innkeeper - Nigel Cliffe (Baritone)
    Sergeant - Jihoon Kim (Bass Baritone)
    Naval Captain - Jeremy White (Bass)
    Royal Opera House Orchestra
    Royal Opera House Chorus
    Antonio Pappano (Conductor)
    Manon, who has shown a taste for pleasure, is on her way to a convent on the orders of her parents when she meets the young student Des Grieux. The pair fall in love and elope to Paris, but when the elderly Geronte offers Manon a life of wealth and luxury, her head is turned. Puccini's first triumph returns to Covent Garden for the first time in 30 years, with Kristine Opolais as Manon, Jonas Kaufmann as the Chevalier des Grieux and Maurizio Muraro as Geronte de Ravoir. Antonio Pappano conducts.

    Duration

    • 03 Hours 30 Minutes
    • 03 Hours 15 Minutes
    • 03 Hours 55 Minutes
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    • 02 Hours 45 Minutes
    • 04 Hours 40 Minutes
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    • 02 Hours 35 Minutes
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    • 06 Hours
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    • 02 Hours 45 Minutes
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    • 05 Hours 15 Minutes
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    • 06 Hours
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    • 05 Hours
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    • 22 Hours
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    Duration

    • 02 Hours 30 Minutes
    • 02 Hours 10 Minutes
    • 03 Hours 15 Minutes

    Genre

    • Genre: Classical, Music, Opera, Classical, Music, Performances & Events
    • Genre: Musical, Drama, Classical, Music, Opera, Classical, Music, Performances & Events
    • Genre: , , Classical, , Opera,

    Genre

    • Genre: Classical, Music, Opera, Classical, Music, Performances & Events

    Live From the met

    • The operas broadcast under the Live From The Met title are relays from the US broadcasting station, and the BBC is not allowed to make then available to listeners outside the UK, or to make them available on Listen Again or iPlayer services.
    • Sometimes they include the US programmes that go in the interval, e.g. a quiz, or sometimes they go to Radio 3 for the interval, which often is Twenty Minutes.

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    Programme Id

    • Programme ID: b006tnpy

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