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#operapassion Day20171019Sara Mohr-Pietsch hosts a complete performance of an opera voted for by Radio 3 listeners.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Barenboim Conducts Cherubini's Medee In Berlin20181020Andrew McGregor presents a new production of Cherubini's Médée from Berlin Staatsoper, conducted by Daniel Barenboim, recorded earlier this week.

Born in Florence and a contemporary of Mozart and Beethoven, Cherubini settled early on in Paris and created numerous operas for French audiences - including in the style of 'opéra comique', with significant spoken sections in place of Italian recitatives..

The story is a re-telling of Euripides tragedy of the revenge of the enchantress Medea - truly a woman scorned - She is mother to two of Jason and the Argonauts sons, and years before helped Jason recover the golden fleece from Chalcis at the cost of rejection by her own family. Years later, as Jason is about to be married, but not to Medea, and she suddenly appears none too pleased, bent on revenge

Cherubini's focus is the psychological and emotional state of Medea, and this lifts the work out of its own time of post revolutionary Paris, into our own. In this new critical edition, sung in French, much of the editorial work has gone into the spoken sections to make the most of the dramatic situation and the emotional state of Medea.

Andrew McGregor is joined by Professor Sarah Hibberd to put into context Médée against the legacy of French Opera and assess Cherubini's contribution.

Médée....Sonya Yoncheva (Soprano)
Jason....Charles Castronovo (Tenor)
King Créon....Iain Paterson (Bass)
Dircé, Créon's daughter....Elsa Drelslg (Soprano)
Néris, Médée's slave....Marina Prudenskaya (Soprano)
Berlin State Opera Chorus
Berlin State Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim (Conductor)

SYNOPSIS
PRIOR STORY
Jason set off with the Argonauts to purloin the Golden Fleece in Colchis on the Black Sea. Once in Colchis, Jason and the king's daughter Médée fell in love with one another. With Médée's help, Jason was able to pilfer the fleece from her father's possessions. Once back in Greece, Jason learned that Pelias has driven his father to his death. To punish Pelias, Médée then tricked his daughter into killing and boiling him, claiming that it would rejuvenate him. Pursued by Acastus, the son of Pelias, the homeless couple fled across Greece, now with two children in tow. During their flight, the parents were separated: Jason reached Corinth with his two sons, where he was offered the possibility of marrying into the royal house.

ACT I
Dircé, the daughter of the King of Corinth, fears that Jason might leave her one day, just as he abandoned his first wife Médée. Jason has his Argonauts march and presents the bridal gift to Créon: the Golden Fleece. A stranger appears: it is Médée. Calmly and decisively, she declares that she will prevent Jason's adulterous marriage. She pleads with him not to reject “the mother of his sons,” but to no avail. When he refuses all responsibility for her and her deeds, she calls on him to choose between her love or her animosity. The argument escalates: both threaten to kill one another.

ACT II
Médée is furious: she has been forbidden all contact with her sons. Créon appears with his soldiers: in response to Jason's request, he offers her the chance to flee unharmed and promises to protect her children. Médée humbly begs to be tolerated in Corinth, and allays Créon's mistrust by insisting on her utter helplessness. She now comes up with the plan that horrifies even her: to take revenge Jason's betrayal not only by killing his wife, but his sons as well. Médée declares that her resistance is now broken. Jason rejects her request that the children accompany her into exile because of his great love of both. Jason responds to Médée's lament by allowing her to have contact with her children once more before her departure. Médée commands Néris to accompany her two sons to Dircé. They are to offer Médée's former bridal dress and her bridal crown as gifts, poisoned gifts that are to kill the new bride.

ACT III
Néris has set off with the children and the deadly gifts. A storm erupts. Médée has armed herself with a dagger and admonishes herself to be relentless. But when her children return, she is unable to carry out her intended murder. The dagger falls from her hands. Her rage against Jason and the love of her children are tearing her apart. She orders Néris to bring her children to safety from her. But just as Néris departs with them, Médée regrets her failure to carry out this ultimate punishment of Jason. Then cries of horror and Jason's mourning of the torturous death of Dircé, which has also killed Créon as well, come to her ear. Médée picks up the dagger and follows Néris and her children. Jason and the people want to punish Médée. Médée tells Jason that her children have been murdered and, declaring that she will wait for him in hell, leaps into the flames now raging in Créon's palace.

Andrew McGregor presents a new production from Berlin of Cherubini's Medee.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Beethoven's Fidelio From Garsington Opera20200926A rare chance to hear this exclusive semi-staged performance of Beethoven's opera, Fidelio from Garsington. The perfect story for our times, this thrilling opera revolves around the triumph of love, courage and freedom over oppression and isolation.

The soprano Katherine Broderick takes on the role of Leonore, who bravely disguises herself as a young man Fidelio in order to rescue her unfairly jailed husband Florestan, sung by tenor Toby Spence. Douglas Boyd conducts members of the Philharmonia Orchestra in a specially arranged orchestration of Beethoven's masterpiece.

Presented by Kate Molleson
Recorded September 2020

Leonore....Katherine Broderick (Soprano)
Florestan....Toby Spence (Tenor)
Rocco....Stephen Richardson (Bass)
Don Pizarro....Andrew Foster-Williams (Bass)
Marzelline....Galina Averina (Soprano)
Jaquino....Trystan Llyr Griffiths (Tenor)
Don Fernando....Richard Burkhard (Baritone)
First Prisoner....Richard Pinkstone (Tenor)
Second Prisoner....Thomas D Hopkinson (Bass)
Philharmonia Orchestra
Garsington Opera Chorus
Douglas Boyd (Conductor)

Beethoven's Fidelio from Garsington Opera, conducted by Douglas Boyd.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

The soprano Katherine Broderick takes on the role of Leonore, who bravely disguises herself as a young man Fidelio in order to rescue her unfairly jailed husband Florestan, sung by tenor Toby Spence. Douglas Boyd conducts members of the Philharmonia Orchestra in a version of Beethoven's masterpiece cleverly orchestrated by Francis Griffin.

Leonore, disguised as a man named Fidelio, has secured a post at the prison where she suspects her husband, Florestan, is being
illegally incarcerated. Marzelline, the daughter of chief gaoler, Rocco, has fallen in love with Fidelio, much to the annoyance of fellow employee Jaquino.

Fidelio persuades Rocco to share supervision of the inmates. Upon overhearing plans to kill the prisoner in solitary confinement, Fidelio secures permission to assist in preparing the grave. Deprived of light, air, nourishment and liberty, Florestan considers his hopeless situation, seeing a vision of Leonore leading him to freedom. Upon hearing his voice, Fidelio recognises her husband,
reveals herself as Leonore and threatens the governor, Pizarro, with a gun.

At that very moment, the Minister arrives and announces a pardon
for all prisoners, allowing Leonore finally to release her beloved Florestan.

Beethoven's Fidelio from Garsington Opera conducted by Douglas Boyd

Beethoven's Fidelio From The Met2017040120201219 (R3)From the Metropolitan Opera, New York, Beethoven's only opera, and the composition he is said to have loved the most: Fidelio. A moving story of love and human aspirations, Adrianne Pieczonka leads this strong cast singing the role of Leonore, who, disguised as Fidelio, bravely fights for her husband Florestan's freedom. Tenor Klaus Florian Vogt sings the role of Florestan, with the Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera, New York conducted by Sebastian Weigle.

Leonore.... Adrianne Pieczonka (soprano)
Florestan.... Klaus Florian Vogt (tenor)
Marzelline.... Hanna-Elisabeth Müller (soprano)
Jaquino.... David Portillo (tenor)
Don Pizarro.... Greer Grimsley (baritone)
Rocco.... Falk Struckmann (bass-baritone)
Don Fernando.... Günther Groissböck (bass)

New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Sebastian Weigle (conductor)

First broadcast in 2017

A performance of Beethoven's opera Fidelio, recorded at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Beethoven's Fidelio From The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden20200328The triumph of love, courage and freedom over oppression, tyranny and evil are the eternal themes of Beethoven's only opera, a project close to his heart but which cost him dear in over a decade of revisions and rewrites.

Recorded at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden earlier this month, and the hot ticket of the season, Antonio Pappano conducts a dream team of a cast led by two of the most celebrated singers on today's operatic stage. In a new production by Tobias Kratzer, soprano Lise Davidsen plays Leonore, the devoted wife of Florestan (tenor Jonas Kaufmann), whose love for her wrongly imprisoned husband means she will stop at nothing to ensure his freedom. It causes all sorts of problems, from disguising herself as a man, Fidelio, and having to reject the unwelcome advances of Marzelline, the love-struck jailer's daughter, to courageously risking her life in a touch-and-go mission to free Florestan.

Beethoven's thrilling darkness-to-light journey is presented by Tom Service in conversation with the Rev. Lucy Winkett, including contributions from conductor, cast and director.

Beethoven: Fidelio

Act 1

7.55pm
Interval
Tom Service and Lucy Winkett explore some the themes of Beethoven's Fidelio and the way they've been interpreted in this production, with comments from Lise Davidsen, Antonio Pappano and Tobias Kratzer.

8.15pm
Act 2

Leonore....Lise Davidsen (soprano)
Florestan....Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
Rocco....Georg Zeppenfeld (bass)
Don Pizarro....Michael Kupfer-Radecky (baritone)
Marzelline....Amanda Forsythe (soprano)
Jaquino....Robin Tritschler (tenor)
Don Fernando....Egils Silinš (bass-baritone)
First Prisoner....Filipe Manu (tenor)
Second Prisoner....Timothy Dawkins (bass)
Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Antonio Pappano (conductor)

Antonio Pappano conducts a dream cast including Lise Davidsen and Jonas Kaufmann.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Bellini's Norma20161105From the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, a new production of Bellini's Norma.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Berg's Lulu20170107From the Coliseum in London, an English National Opera performance of Berg's opera Lulu.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Berlioz's Beatrice Et Benedict20161008Berlioz's final opera, Beatrice et Benedict, from the 2016 Glyndebourne Festival.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Berlioz's Les Troyens, From The Opera De Paris20190316Berlioz's masterpiece inspired by Virgil's epic poem The Aeneid: Les Troyens, from the Opéra National de Paris, recorded in January. Ekaterina Semenchuk is Dido, Brandon Javanovich is Enee. Philippe Jordan conducts the opera orchestra and chorus.
Kate Molleson presents.

Cassandre....Stéphanie d'Oustrac (mezzo-soprano)
Ascagne....Michèle Losier (soprano)
Hécube....Véronique Gens (soprano)
Énee....Brandon Javanovich (tenor)
Chorèbe....Stéphane Degout (baritone)
Panthée....Christian Helmer,(bass)
L'ombre d'Hector....Thomas Dear (bass)
Priam....Paata Burchuladze (bass)
A Greek Chieftain....Jean-Luc Ballestra (bass)
Helenus....Jean-François Marras (tenor)
Polyxène....Sophie Claisse (soprano)
Didon....Ekaterina Semenchuk (mezzo-soprano)

Paris National Opera Chorus
José Luís Basso (chorus director)
Paris Opera Orchestra
Philippe Jordan (conductor)

For a full synopsis visit the programme page.
Photo credit: Vincent Pontet.

Berlioz's Les Troyens, from the Opera National de Paris. Philippe Jordan conducts.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Billy Budd By Benjamin Britten20190601Benjamin Britten's opera Billy Budd from the Royal Opera House in London starring Jacques Imbrailo as the handsome sailor, Billy Budd; Brindley Sherratt as his black-hearted nemesis, John Claggart; and Toby Spence as the morally compromised Captain Vere. Ivor Bolton Conducts this new production by Deborah Warner.

Britten wrote the opera to a libretto by the English novelist E. M. Forster and Eric Crozier, based on the short novel Billy Budd by Herman Melville and it was first performed at Covent Garden in 1951. After the ground-breaking success of Peter Grimes and a foray into chamber opera, Billy Budd represents a major development in Britten's operatic work. The story takes place on board a man-of-war ship at a time when the threat of mutiny was an ever-present worry. The plot is an archetypical parable of good (Billy) pitted against evil (Claggart) with Vere as the man who has to decide between them after Billy is provoked into murdering Claggart. This tightly woven fable all takes place on board the claustrophobic, all-male HMS Indomitable. And this sense of tension is brilliantly conjured up in Britten's symphonically dense score which masterfully contrasts dramatic scenes with lighter moments.

Presented by Kate Molleson with guest Heather Weibe.

2000 Interval

2020 Act 2

Billy Budd....Jacques Imbrailo (Baritone)
Captain Edward Vere....Toby Spence (Tenor)
John Claggart....Brindley Sherratt (Bass)
Mr Flint....David Soar (Bass)
Mr Redburn....Thomas Oliemans (Tenor)
Lieutenant Ratcliffe....Peter Kellner (Main Artist)
Dansker....Clive Bayley (Bass)
Bosun....Alan Ewing (Bass)
Donald....Duncan Rock (Baritone)
Maintop....Konu Kim (Tenor)
Novice....Sam Furness (Tenor)
Novice's Friend....Dominic Sedgwick (Baritone)
Squeak....Alasdair Elliott (Tenor)
Red Whiskers....Christopher Gillett (Tenor)
Royal Opera House Chorus
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Ivor Bolton (Director)

For full synopsis visit the programme page

Opera from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Britten wrote the opera to a libretto by the English novelist E. M. Forster and Eric Crozier, based on the short novel Billy Budd by Herman Melville and it was first performed at Covent Garden in 1951. After the ground-breaking success of Peter Grimes and a foray into chamber opera, Billy Budd represents a major development in Britten's operatic work. The story takes place on board a man-of-war ship at a time when the threat of mutiny was an ever-present worry. The plot is an archetypical parable of good (Billy) pitted against evil (Claggart) with Vere as the man who has to decide between them after Billy is provoked into murdering Claggart. This tightly woven fable all takes place on board the claustrophobic, all-male HMS Indomitable. And this sense of tension is brilliantly conjured up in Britten's symphonically dense score which masterfully contrasts dramatic scenes with lighter moments.

Billy Budd....Jacques Imbrailo (Baritone)
Captain Edward Vere....Toby Spence (Tenor)
John Claggart....Brindley Sherratt (Bass)
Mr Flint....David Soar (Bass)
Mr Redburn....Thomas Oliemans (Tenor)
Lieutenant Ratcliffe....Peter Kellner (Main Artist)
Dansker....Clive Bayley (Bass)
Bosun....Alan Ewing (Bass)
Donald....Duncan Rock (Baritone)
Maintop....Konu Kim (Tenor)
Novice....Sam Furness (Tenor)
Novice's Friend....Dominic Sedgwick (Baritone)
Squeak....Alasdair Elliott (Tenor)
Red Whiskers....Christopher Gillett (Tenor)
Royal Opera House Chorus
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Ivor Bolton (Director)

Birtwistle's The Last Supper20170128From City Halls in Glasgow, a performance of Birtwistle's millennial opera The Last Supper

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Bizet's Carmen: Glyndebourne Greats20200530Anne Sofie von Otter stars as the wild gypsy who pays the ultimate price for her freedom.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Carmen shocked its original audience. Possibly it was the rawness of the passion and sexual energy that simmers and boils over in this raw drama about freedom, lust and death. From the moment Don Jose picks up the rose thrown at him by the wild cat who works in the local cigarette factory we know we're in for an evening of trouble. It never goes well when a sensitive mummy's boy from the country gets entangled with a feral, death-obsessed femme fatale.

In the second opera in this short season of great performances from the Glyndebourne Opera Festival, this is an opportunity to hear Bizet's masterpiece in a 2002 production that swept away the cliches of a piece that all too often conjures up the fringed shawls and hooped earrings of picture postcard Spain. David McVicar's claustrophobic staging was many miles from sunny Seville, and Anne Sofie von Otter brought a Lieder singer's sensibility to the role of Carmen

Presented by Martin Handley

Carmen....Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo-soprano)
Don Jose....Marcus Haddock (Tenor)
Escamillo....Laurent Naouri (Baritone)
Micaela....Lisa Milne (Soprano)
Frasquita....Mary Hegarty (Soprano)
Morales....Hans Voschezang (Bass)
Zuniga....Jonathan Best (Bass)
Mercedes....Christine Rice (Mezzo-soprano)
Le Dancaire....Quentin Hayes (Bass)
Lilas Pastia....Anthony Wise (Speaker)
Le Remendado....Colin Judson (Tenor)
Le Guide....Franck Lopez (Speaker)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Philippe Jordan (Conductor)

*1830 Act 1

*1925 Act 2

*2030 Acts 3 and 4

Boito's Mefistofele From The Met20181201Perhaps better known as Verdi's librettist, Arrigo Boito was also a composer, and this evening's Met is a chance to hear his only completed opera, Mefistofele. Based on Goethe's Faust, it tells the tale of his pact with the devil, and was heavily criticised at the premiere for being too Wagnerian.
The Met's performance stars bass-baritone Christian Van Horn as the diabolical title character, tenor Michael Fabiano as Faust, and soprano Angela Meade as Margherita.

Presented from New York by Mary Jo Heath and Ira Siff.

6.30pm
Boito: Mefistofele
Margherita….. Angela Meade (soprano)
Elena….. Jennifer Check (soprano)
Faust….. Michael Fabiano (tenor)
Mefistofele….. Christian Van Horn (bass)
Marta….. Theodora Hanslowe (contralto)
Pantalis….. Samantha Hankey (contralto)
Wagner….. Raúl Melo( tenor)
Nerèo….. Eduardo Valdes (tenor)
Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Joseph Colaneri (conductor )

For full synopsis please visit programme page

Arrigo Boito's take on the Faust legend from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Breaking Free: A Century Of Russian Culture: Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth Of The Mtsensk District20171111Sara Mohr-Pietsch presents Shostakovich's opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Britten Gloriana20180623Gloriana by Benjamin Britten was written for the year long celebrations of Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953. As the nation celebrated the glamorous young queen, promising a new age of peace, Britten produced an opera strangely at odds with the time, but always in tune with his own sensibilities.

Britten takes the stormy personal relationship between a mature Elizabeth I and a young attractive Earl of Essex as related in Lytton Strachey's "Elizabeth and Essex: A Tragic History" , and gives us a complex portrait of an older woman, who as Queen and last surviving child of Henry VIII, knows only too well what it takes to run a country, and ultimately what personal sacrifices to make, despite her own emotions, to protect her authority.

Andrew McGregor and Sarah Lenton make a case for Gloriana as the least regarded of Britten's Operas in this recent performance from the Teatro Real in Madrid.

Anna Caterina Antonacci is Queen Elizabeth and Leonardo Capalbo the Earl of Essex, and Ivor Bolton conducts this performance from an acclaimed new production.

Britten: Gloriana

Anna Caterina Antonacci.... Elizabeth I (soprano)
Leonardo Capalbo.... Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex (tenor)
Paula Murrihy.... Frances, Countess of Essex (mezzo-soprano)
Duncan Rock.... Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy (baritone)
Sophie Bevan.... Penelope (Lady Rich) sister to Essex (soprano)
Leigh Melrose.... Sir Robert Cecil, Secretary of the Council (baritone)
David Soar.... Sir Walter Raleigh, Captain of the Guard (bass)
Benedict Nelson.... Henry Cuffe (baritone)
Elena Copons.... Lady-in-Waiting (soprano)
James Creswell.... Blind ballad-singer (bass)
Scott Wilde.... Recorder of Norwich (bass)
Itxaro Mentxaca.... a Housewife (mezzo-soprano)
Sam Furness.... The Spirit of the Masque (tenor)
Gerardo López.... Master of Ceremonies (tenor)
Àlex Sanmartí.... City Crier (baritone)

Teatro Real Chorus & Orchestra
Ivor Bolton (conductor).

Gloriana by Benjamin Britten. A new production from Madrid. With Andrew McGregor.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream2017062420200620 (R3)Britten's opera A Midsummer Night's Dream recorded at the 2017 Aldeburgh Festival.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Britten's opera A Midsummer Night's Dream from the 2017 Aldeburgh Festival.

Another chance to hear Britten's adaptation of Shakespeare's magical romance A Midsummer Night's Dream which was recorded and first broadcast in 2017 at Snape Maltings Concert Hall as part Aldeburgh Festival. The cast is led by Iestyn Davies and Sophie Bevan, and conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth.
Andrew McGregor presents and is joined by Britten specialist Paul Kildea in the intervals to discuss Britten's enchanting masterpiece.

Oberon.... Iestyn Davies (countertenor)
Tytania.... Sophie Bevan (soprano)
Puck.... Jack Lansbury (actor)
Theseus.... Clive Bayley (bass)
Bottom.... Matthew Rose (bass)
Hippolyta.... Leah-Marian Jones (mezzo)
Lysander.... Nick Pritchard (tenor)
Demetrius.... George Humphreys (baritone)
Hermia.... Clare Presland (mezzo)
Helena.... Eleanor Dennis (soprano)
Quince.... Andrew Shore (bass)
Flute.... Lawrence Wiliford (tenor)
Snug.... Sion Goronwy (bass)
Snout.... Nicholas Sharratt (tenor)
Starveling.... Simon Butteriss (baritone)
Cobweb.... Elliot Harding-smith (treble)
Moth....Noah Lucas (treble)
Mustardseed....Adam Warne (treble)
Peaseblossom.... Angus Hampson/ Ewan Cacace (treble)
Chorus of Fairies.... Willis Christie, Lorenzo Facchini, Angus Foster,
Nicholas Harding-Smith, Kevin Kurian, Charles Maloney-Charlton, Robert Peters, Matthew Wadey

Aldeburgh Festival Orchestra
Ryan Wigglesworth (conductor).

Britten's Billy Budd20161126Britten's Billy Budd in a new production from Opera North at Leeds Grand Theatre.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Britten's Peter Grimes20160528Jonathan Swain presents Britten's Peter Grimes in a performance at Theater an der Wien.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Britten's The Rape Of Lucretia20160924A performance of Britten's chamber opera The Rape of Lucretia given at Glyndebourne.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Carl Maria Von Weber's Der Freischutz2004091320200919 (R3)A rare chance to hear Weber's Der Freischütz, widely considered one of the first masterpieces in German Romantic opera. An immediate success, the opera premiered in Berlin in 1821 and was soon performed regularly throughout Europe and beyond.
The plot revolves around the forester-hero, Max (tenor Jonas Kaufmann), once an excellent marksman but who has seemingly lost his touch. How far will he go to win the hand of his beloved Agathe (soprano Hillevi Martinpelto)?

Sir Charles Mackerras conducts the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Philharmonia Chorus.
First broadcast and recorded in 2004 from the Edinburgh International Festival.

Presented by Christopher Cook.

Agathe.... Hillevi Martinpelto (soprano)
Ännchen.... Ailish Tynan (soprano)
Max.... Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
Kilian.... Ronan Collet (baritone)
Ottakar.... Christopher Maltman (baritone)
Kaspar.... John Relyea (bass-baritone)
Voice of Samiel, Kuno.... Siegfried Vogel (bass)
Hermit.... Matthew Rose (bass)
Bridesmaids.... Carolyn Dobbin, Catriona Holt, Gail Johnson, Madeleine Shaw (mezzo sopranos)
Philharmonia Chorus (Chorus Master Robert Dean)
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Sir Charles Mackerras (conductor)

Weber's Der Freischutz, performed by the SCO conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Carmen From The Met20210320This evening's Opera from the Met is a performance of Bizet's ever-popular and well-loved opera, Carmen. Mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili portrays the femme fatale Carmen, with tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko as her hapless lover Don José, in this tale of seduction and betrayal. Pablo Heras-Casado conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera House, New York.

This performance from 2014 is presented from the Met by Mary-Jo Heath and commentator Ira Siff.

Don Jose..Aleksandrs Antonenko (Tenor)
Carmen..Anita Rachvelishvili (Mezzo-soprano)
Micaela..Anita Hartig (Soprano)
Escamillo..Ildar Abdrazakov (Bass)
Frasquita..Kiri Deonarine (Soprano)
Mercedes..Jennifer Johnson Cano (Mezzo-soprano)
Le Remendado..Eduardo Valdes (Tenor)
Le Dancaire..Malcolm Mackenzie (Baritone)
Zuniga..Keith Miller (Bass)
Morales..John Moore (Baritone)
New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Pablo Heras-Casado (Conductor)

Bizet's Carmen from the Met staring Anita Rachvelishvili in the title role.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Cavalleria Rusticana/pagliacci20180113Tonight's opera from the Met is that most famous of double bills, 'Cav and Pag'. Set in small villages in southern Italy/Sicily, both operas are part of the verismo movement, presenting a slice of real life with all its disappointments and betrayals on the stage. Roberto Alagna plays the lead in both - Turidu and Canio, whose destructive relationships with women caus everyone's downfall.

Presented from New York by Mary Jo Heath and Ira Siff.

Pietro Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana
Santuzza.... Ekaterina Semenchuk (soprano)
Turiddu.... Roberto Alagna (tenor)
Alfio.... George Gagnidze (baritone)

Ruggero Leoncavallo: Pagliacci
Nedda.... Danielle Pastin (soprano)
Canio.... Roberto Alagna (tenor)
Tonio.... George Gagnidze (baritone)
Silvio.... Alexey Lavrov (baritone)

Metropolitan Opera House Chorus
Metropolitan Opera House Orchestra
Nicola Luisotti (Conductor).

Tenor Roberto Alagna stars in the popular double bill from the New York Met: Cav and Pag.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Cavalli: Hipermestra20170923Cavalli's Hipermestra from the Glyndebourne Festival, conducted by William Christie.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Chabrier's L'etoile20160220Chabrier's comic opera L'Etoile, live from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Cherubini's Medea From Wexford Festival Opera20171125Sean Rafferty introduces a performance of Cherubini's Medea from Wexford Festival Opera.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

David Lang's Prisoner Of The State20200111Live from the Barbican Hall, the European premiere of a dark new Beethoven-inspired rescue opera. Ilan Volkov conducts a star quartet of soloists, the BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Orchestra. 215 years after the first performance of Beethoven's Fidelio, American composer David Lang takes a fresh view on the opera's story. Beethoven loved the idea of freedom as portrayed in the original play by Jean-Nicolas Bouilly, but Lang discovers that in the 21st century the issues that it raises about gender and personal identity are more than a match for the ideals of the enlightenment.

Lang's ability to glimpse the emotional heart and soul of a story within his focused, distilled and highly absorbing music has won him a Pulitzer Prize. In this opera, designed for performance with an orchestra on stage, both instrumentalists and audience bear witness to the story of a woman striving to rescue her partner from unjust imprisonment.

Presented by Andrew McGregor

The Assistant.... Julie Mathevet (soprano)
The Prisoner.... Jarrett Ott (baritone)
The Leader.... Alan Oke (tenor)
The Jailer.... Davóne Tines (bass-baritone)
BBC Singers (men's voices)
Singers from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Ilan Volkov (conductor)
Elkanah Pulitzer (director)

SYNOPSIS

There are four roles. The main character is The Jailer's Assistant (soprano). She has disguised herself as a young man and come to work at the prison to search for her husband, The Prisoner (baritone). She is the assistant to The Jailer (bass), whose society is governed by The Governor (tenor). In addition to these roles there is a Male Chorus. The orchestra and chorus are present in every scene, and function both as the prisoners and as a kind of commentary on the story.

After tonight's Opera on 3, more from Beethoven Unleashed.

Beethoven: Fidelio Overture
Vienna Philharmonic
Claudio Abbado (conductor)

Viktor Ullmann: Sonata for Piano no 6, Op. 49
Gregor Weichert (piano)

Britten: Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo
Philip Langridge (tenor)
Steuart Bedford (piano)

Dmitri Shostakovich: The Song of the Forests Op. 81: Movement 7 - Glory
Alexei Tanovitski (tenor)
Konstantin Andreyev (bass)
Nava Boys Choir
Estonian Concert Choir
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Jarvi (conductor)

Live from the Barbican, the European premiere of a dark new Beethoven-inspired opera.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Britten: Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo
Philip Langridge (tenor)
Steuart Bedford (piano)

Death In Venice20191228Britten's final opera in a new production from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Based on a novella by Thomas Mann. The German writer Gustav von Aschenbach travels to Venice in search of creative inspiration, but his thoughts are distracted by a beautiful Polish youth, with whom he becomes obsessed. Mark Padmore sings the troubled writer, and Gerald Finley the seven characters who appear throughout the opera to lead him to his eventual demise. Kate Molleson presents and is joined in the box by Dr Lucy Walker from the Britten-Pears Foundation to discuss Britten's late great opera.

Britten: Death in Venice
Gustav von Ashenbach.... Mark Padmore (tenor)
Traveller/Old Gondolier/Hotel Manager/Elderly Fop/Hotel Barber/Leader of Players/Voice of Dionysus.... Gerald Finley (bass-baritone)
Voice of Apollo.... Randall Scotting (countertenor)
Strawberry Seller.... Rebecca Evans (soprano)
Lace Seller.... Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha (soprano)
Danish Lady.... Elizabeth Weisberg (soprano)
English Lady.... Katy Batho (soprano)
Russian Nanny.... Rosie Aldridge (mezzo-soprano)
German Mother.... Hanna Hipp (mezzo-soprano)
Russian Spinster.... Amanda Baldwin (mezzo-soprano)_
French Mother.... Rebecca Lodge Birkebaek (mezzo-soprano)
Hotel Porter.... Colin Judson (tenor)
Boy Player.... Andrew Tortise (tenor)
Glass Maker.... Sam Furness (tenor)
Steward.... Andrew O'Connor (tenor)
English Clerk.... Dominic Sedgwick (baritone)
German Father.... Michael Mofidian (bass-baritone)
Lido Boatman.... ByeonMin Gil (bass-baritone)
Russian Father.... Dominic Barrand (bass-baritone)
Chorus and Orchestra of Royal Opera House
Richard Farnes (conductor)

Britten's Death in Venice from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Debussy's Paris - Pelleas Et Melisande20180324Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande

Presented by Tom Service as part of "Debussy's Paris" marking the 100th anniversary of the composer's death this weekend. During the intervals Tom speaks with Professor Barbara Kelly, Debussy expert and Director of Research at Royal Northern College of Music.

Golaud.... Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
Mélisande.... Olga Bezsmertna (soprano)
Pelléas.... Adrian Eröd (baritone)
Geneviève.... Bernarda Fink (contralto)
Arkel.... Franz-Josef Selig (bass)
Yniold.... Maria Nazarova (soprano)
The Doctor.... Marcus Pelz (bass)
Pelléas's father.... Andreas Bettinger (baritone)

Vienna State Opera Chorus
Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Alain Altinoglu (conductor).

A performance of Debussy's supreme masterpiece, presented by Tom Service.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Debussy's Pelleas Et Melisande20170325A new Scottish Opera production of Debussy's masterpiece Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Die Frau Ohne Schatten20191116On the 10th October 1919 Richard Strauss's grand opera Die Frau ohne Schatten received its premiere at the Vienna State Opera, and 100 years later a top line-up of soloists including Camilla Nylund, Stephen Gould and Nina Stemme give a performance on the same stage under Christian Thielemann. The 'woman without a shadow' of the title is the half-mortal Empress. If she doesn't acquire a shadow within three days, she will be returned to the spirit world, and her Emperor turned to stone. Will she maintain her integrity, or steal a mortal woman's shadow instead? Modeled on Mozart's Magic Flute, the moral fairy-tale is musically very influenced by Wagner, and is on a grand scale with a huge orchestra including an organ, wind machines and a glass harmonica.

Flora Willson presents, and is joined by William Mival to discuss the history and importance of Strauss's score.

6.30pm
Strauss Die Frau ohne Schatten
The Emperor....Stephen Gould (tenor),
The Empress....Camilla Nylund (soprano)
The Nurse....Evelyn Herlitzius (mezzo-soprano)
The Messenger of Keikobad....Sebastian Holecek (baritone)
The Guardian of the Threshold / Voice of a Falcon....Maria Nazarova (soprano)
Apparition of a Youth....Benjamin Bruns (tenor)
Voice from Above....Monika Bohinec (contralto)
The Dyer....Wolfgang Koch (bass-baritone)
The Dyer's Wife....Nina Stemme (soprano)
The One-eyed Man, Barak's brother....Samuel Hasselhorn (bass)
The One-armed Man, Barak's brother....Ryan Speedo Green (bass)
The Hunchback, Barak's brother....Thomas Ebenstein (tenor)
First Servant of the Empress / First Voice of the Unborn / First Soloist....Ileana Tonca (soprano)
Second Servant of the Empress / Second Voice of the Unborn / Second Soloist....Mariam Battistelli (soprano)
Third Servant of the Empress / Fourth Voice of the Unborn / Fourth Soloist....Szilvia Vörös (mezzo-soprano)
Third Voice of the Unborn / Third Soloist....Virginie Verrez (mezzo-soprano)
Fifth Voice of the Unborn / Fifth Soloist....Bongiwe Nakani (mezzo-soprano)
Sixth Soloist....Zoryana Kushpler,(mezzo-soprano)
Vienna State Opera Chorus
Stage Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera
Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Christian Thielemann (conductor)

Background
While out hunting, the Emperor shoots a gazelle. She is transformed into a young woman; he falls in love with her and marries her. She is the daughter
of the Spirit King Keikobad. However, she must cast a shadow within twelve months or the Emperor will turn to stone and the Empress will have to return to her father. Finally, there are just three days left.

SYNOPSIS
The Emperor is unaware of the impending danger and leaves to go hunting again. Accompanied by the Nurse, the Empress secretly sets off for the human world in order to acquire a shadow. They stop at the home of the Dyer, Barak, and his Wife. The couple live in poverty with Barak's brothers; they have no children. The Dyer‘s Wife, dissatisfied with her life and her husband, allows herself to be seduced by the promise of riches and is willing to surrender her shadow to the Empress. But if she does this, the Dyer's Wife will never become a mother. Initially she desires a handsome young man, conjured up by the Nurse, but her conscience prevents her from actually betraying Barak, who loves her more than anything else.

Troubled, she confesses to him what has happened. For Barak, whose sole goal in life is attaining the happiness of a large, close-knit family, his world collapses. He feels a desire to commit murder. At that moment, their world is swallowed up, and the two find themselves separated, in a stone vault. The couple are overcome by remorse, they once again confess their love for each other. For his part, the Emperor believes that the Empress has been unfaithful to him and wishes her dead. However, even in his wrath he cannot kill his wife. The Empress realizes that she can only attain happiness through the misfortune of others – of Barak and his Wife. She decides against her own well-being and does not drink the magic water that will secure her the shadow of the Dyer's Wife and save the Emperor from being turned to stone.

She has passed the trial to become human, as she has now shown empathy and compassion for others and placed her own personal happiness after that of others. In becoming human she has acquired a shadow – and the Emperor, whom she loves, is saved, as are the Dyer and his Wife. The triumphant closing exultation is softly echoed by the voices of the (as yet)

Unborn Children:
Father, nothing threatens you,
See, Mother, the terror
That led you astray
Is already receding.
Was there ever a feast
Where in secret
We were both the guests
And also the Hosts?

Richard Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten from the Vienna State Opera.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Donizetti's Don Pasquale20191123Don Pasquale is an old and wealthy but miserable bachelor who is looking to marry off his nephew Ernesto, who wants to marry the beautiful but penniless widow Norina. Don Pasquale disinherits him, and at the advice of his friend and Doctor Malatesta, decides to take a young wife of his own. The young couple run rings around him, including disguising Norina and a fake wedding, they reveal their trickery but an exhausted Don Pasquale forgives them, happy to remain quietly single.

Bryn Terfel stars as Don Pasquale, and heads a glittery and virtuosic cast with soprano Olga Peretyatko as Norina, and Ioan Hotea as Ernesto in Damiano Michieletto's new production from the Royal Opera House conducted by Evelino Pido.
Sean Rafferty presents this sparkling production and chats to opera commentator, Sarah Lenton.

Don Pasquale....Bryn Terfel (Baritone)
Ernesto....Ioan Hotea (Tenor)
Doctor Malatesta....Markus Werba (Baritone)
Norina....Olga Peretyatko (Soprano)
Notary....Bryan Secombe (Bass)
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Royal Opera House Chorus
Evelino Pido (Conductor)

Donizetti's comic opera Don Pasquale from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Donizetti's L'elisir D'amore20180210From The Met in New York, Donizetti's comic opera L'Elisir d'Amore in which a simple hero, Nemorino (tenor Matthew Polenzani), is about to lose his loved one, Adina (soprano Pretty Yende), before a furtive tear and a love potion, provided by quack doctor Dulcamara (bass Ildebrando D'Arcangelo), come to the rescue. Domingo Hindoyan conducts the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
Presented by Mary Jo Heath and Ira Siff.

Adina.... Pretty Yende (soprano)
Nemorino.... Matthew Polenzani (tenor)
Belcore.... Davide Luciano (baritone)
Dulcamara.... Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (bass)

Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Domingo Hindoyan (Conductor).

From The Met in New York Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore with Matthew Polenzani as Nemorino.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Donizetti's Lucia Di Lammermoor20160514From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Dvorak's Rusalka From The Met2014021020210424 (R3)Another chance to hear soprano Renée Fleming in one of her signature roles as Dvorak's Rusalka at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 2014. The water nymph Rusalka falls in love with a prince when he comes to swim in her lake. The witch Jezibaba agrees to let her become human, but warns her that if she doesn't find love she will be damned and the man she loves will die. (Spoiler alert: this is opera.) Alongside Renée Fleming, Dvorak's lyrical opera stars Piotr Beczala as her doomed Prince.

Presented by Mary-Jo Heath and Ira Siff.

Rusalka.... Renée Fleming (soprano)
Prince.... Piotr Beczala (tenor)
Foreign Princess.... Emily Magee (soprano)
Jezibaba.... Dolora Zajick (mezzo-soprano)
Water Sprite.... John Relyea (bass)
Kitchen-Boy.... Julie Boulianne (mezzo-soprano)
Gamekeeper.... Vladimir Chmelo (baritone)
1st Sprite.... Disella Larusdottir (soprano)
2nd Sprite.... Renee Tatum (mezzo-soprano)
3rd Sprite.... Maya Lahyani (mezzo-soprano)
Huntsman.... Alexey Lavrov (baritone)

New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Yannick Nézét-Séguin (conductor)

Dvorak's Rusalka from the New York Metropolitan Opera, starring Renee Fleming.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Dvorak's Rusalka From The Met20210508Another chance to hear soprano Renée Fleming in one of her signature roles as Dvorak's Rusalka at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 2014. The water nymph Rusalka falls in love with a prince when he comes to swim in her lake. The witch Jezibaba agrees to let her become human, but warns her that if she doesn't find love she will be damned and the man she loves will die. (Spoiler alert: this is opera.) Alongside Renée Fleming, Dvorak's lyrical opera stars Piotr Beczala as her doomed Prince.

Presented by Mary-Jo Heath and Ira Siff.

Rusalka.... Renée Fleming (soprano)
Prince.... Piotr Beczala (tenor)
Foreign Princess.... Emily Magee (soprano)
Jezibaba.... Dolora Zajick (mezzo-soprano)
Water Sprite.... John Relyea (bass)
Kitchen-Boy.... Julie Boulianne (mezzo-soprano)
Gamekeeper.... Vladimir Chmelo (baritone)
1st Sprite.... Disella Larusdottir (soprano)
2nd Sprite.... Renee Tatum (mezzo-soprano)
3rd Sprite.... Maya Lahyani (mezzo-soprano)
Huntsman.... Alexey Lavrov (baritone)

New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Yannick Nézét-Séguin (conductor)

Ren\u00e9e Fleming stars in Dvorak's Rusalka from the Metropolitan Opera in New York

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Enescu's Oedipe20160604Live from the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, a performance of Enescu's Oedipe.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Eno: Nico Muhly's Marnie20171209World premiere of Nico Muhly's Marnie from ENO conducted by Martyn Brabbins.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Eugene Onegin20180616Scottish Opera present one of the greatest of all Russian operas, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin in a new production by Covent Garden director Oliver Mears. This tragic tale of based on Pushkin's verse novel tells the story of an unrequited love by a young passionate girl (Tatyana) for the sophisticated and arrogant young aristocrat Eugene Onegin. When he enrages his best friend Lensky by flirting with Olga, Lensky challenges him to a duel. Tragedy unfolds as Lensky is killed. A few years later, Onegin, a broken man meets Tatyana again, now married to Prince Gremin and realises that he loves her and begs her to run away with him. The tables are turned and Tatyana, though still in love with him, rejects him for the new life she has chosen.

Performed at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow and presented by Donald Macleod with contributions from vocal coach and director Mark Hathaway.

Eugene Onegin.... Samuel Dale Johnson (baritone)
Tatyana.... Natalya Romaniw (soprano)
Lensky.... Peter Auty (tenor)
Olga.... Sioned Gwen Davies (mezzo-soprano)
Madame Larina.... Alison Kettlewell (soprano)
Filipyevna.... Anne-Marie Owens (mezzo-soprano)
Prince Gremin.... Graeme Broadbent (bass)
Monsieur Triquet.... Christopher Gillett (tenor)
Zaretsky.... James Platt (bass)
Captain.... Alexey Gusev

The Orchestra of Scottish Opera
Stuart Stratford (conductor)
The Chorus of Eugene Onegin
Jonathan Swinard (chorus master).

Scottish Opera's new production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin presented by Donald Macleod

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Felicien David's Herculanum20161029Sean Rafferty introduces Felicien David's Herculanum at Wexford Opera Festival 2016.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Frank Martin's Le Vin Herbe20170304A Welsh National Opera performance of Frank Martin's Le Vin herbe.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

From The Met - Philip Glass's Akhnaten20191207From New York, today's Met opera: Philip Glass's Akhnaten, with countertenor Anthony Roth Constanzo as the Egyptian pharaoh who worshipped the Sun, revolutionising his kingdom's ancient religious practices, with tragic consequences for him and his family. Sung in original languages in a text put together by the composer and writers, with a narration in English. It's the third and last of Glass's so-called biographical operas together with Einstein on the Beach, on Einstein, and Satyagraha, on Ghandi. Karen Kamensek, a Glass specialist, conducts the chorus and orchestra of the New York Metropolitan Opera House.

Akhnaten by Philip Glass - opera in 3 acts

Queen Tye....Disella Larusdottir (Soprano)
Nefertiti....J'nai Bridges (Mezzo-soprano)
Akhnaten....Anthony Roth Constanzo (Countertenor)
High Priest....Aaron Blake (Tenor)
Horemhab....Will Liverman (Baritone)
Aye....Richard Bernstein (Bass)
Amenhotep III....Zachary James (Bass)
Bekhataten....Lindsay Ohse (Soprano)
Meretaten....Karen-chia-ling Ho (Soprano)
Maketaten....Chrystal E Williams (Mezzo-soprano)
Ankhesepaaten....Annie Rosen (Mezzo-soprano)
Neferneferuaten....Olivia Vote (Mezzo-soprano)
Sotopenre....Suzanne Hendrix (Mezzo-soprano)

New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Karen Kamensek (Conductor)

With countertenor Anthony Roth Constanzo as the Egyptian pharaoh who worshipped the sun.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

From The Met: Bellini's Norma20171216From the Met: Bellini's Norma with Angela Meade and Joseph Calleja.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

From The Met: Gounod's Faust2011121020210130 (R3)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.

This performance from the Met archive was first broadcast in December 2011, and this evening is presented by Mary-Jo Heath 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

Gounod's Faust with Jonas Kaufmann from the Met. Yannick N\u00e9zet-S\u00e9guin conducts.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

From The Met: Il Trovatore20180203From the Met: Verdi's Il Trovatore
Il Trovatore was one of the great trio of operas Verdi wrote within a couple of years in the 1850s, along with Rigoletto and La Traviata. The melodramatic plot involves a love triangle between Leonora, who loves Manrico, and the Count di Luna, Manrico's sworn enemy and, unbeknown to him, his long-lost brother who also loves Leonora. The story is complicated further by Manrico's mother, Azucena, whose desire for revenge costs the lives of the the lovers Leonora and Manrico. Soprano Maria Agresta stars as the heroine Leonora, Yonghoon Lee as the troubadour Manrico who loves her, Quinn Kelsey as his rival the Count di Luna, and mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili as the Gypsy Azucena. Marco Armiliato conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
Presented by Mary Jo Heath and commentator Ira Siff.

Leonora.... Maria Agresta (soprano)
Azucena.... Anita Rachvelishvili (mezzo-soprano)
Manrico.... Yonghoon Lee (tenor)
Di Luna.... Quinn Kelsey (baritone)
Ferrando.... Štefan Kocán (bass)
Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Marco Armiliato (Conductor).

Il Trovatore from New York, with Maria Agresta as Leonora and Yonghoon Lee as Manrico.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

From The Met: Lucia Di Lammermoor20180407Donizetti's tragic masterpiece Lucia di Lammermoor, with Olga Peretyatko-Mariotti as the innocent Lucia who is forced into an unhappy marriage by her brother Enrico to save the family fortunes, despite the fact that Lucia is desperately in love with Edgardo Ravenswood. Enrico's ruthlessness and deceit devastate his fragile sister Lucia, with tragic consequences.
Olga Peretyatko-Mariotti stars as Lucia, with Massimo Cavalletti as her determined brother Enrico, and Vittorio Grigolo as her doomed lover Edgardo. Gareth Morrell conducts this chilling production by Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman.

Presented by Mary Jo heath and commentator Ira Siff.

Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor
Lucia.... Olga Peretyatko-Mariotti (soprano)
Edgardo.... Vittorio Grigolo (tenor)
Enrico.... Massimo Cavalletti (baritone)
Raimondo.... Vitalij Kowaljow (bass)
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Gareth Morrell (conductor).

From the Met: Gareth Morrell conducts Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

From The Met: Massenet's Thais20180120A performance from the Met of Massenet's Thaïs - an opera based around the inner lives of the two main roles and set in 4th-century Alexandria. Thaïs is an Egyptian courtesan who the monk Athanaël seeks to reform. Ultimately she achieves salvation but he succumbs to his lust for her. Massenet's score contains some beautifully romantic music, including the much-loved Meditation. Ailyn Pérez stars in the title role and Gerald Finley is the monk who tries to resist her powers of seduction. Emmanuel Villaume conducts the Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera House.
Presented by Mary Jo Heath and Ira Siff.

Thaïs.... Ailyn Pérez (soprano)
Nicias.... Jean-Francois Borras (tenor)
Athanaël.... Gerald Finley (baritone)
Palémon.... David Pittsinger (bass-baritone)
Metropolitan Opera House Chorus
Metropolitan Opera House Orchestra
Emmanuel Villaume, conductor.

From the Met: Massenet's Thais with Ailyn Perez and Gerald Finley.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

From The Met: Verdi's Il Trovatore In An Archive Recording20210206From the archives of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, a veritable jewel, recorded in 1961: Verdi's Il trovatore featuring the tenor Franco Corelli as Manrico, the troubadour, and the soprano Leontyne Price as his lover Leonora, in honour of the 60th anniversary of their Met debuts, in this tragic story of revenge, treason, misfortune and mixed identities. The Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra is conducted by Fausto Cleva.

Presented by Mary Jo Heath with Ira Siff.

Manrico, a troubadour and officer in the army - Franco Corelli (tenor)
Leonora, noble lady, in love with Manrico - Leontyne Price (soprano)
Count di Luna, a nobleman in the service of the Prince of Aragon - Mario Sereni (baritone)
Azucena, a Gypsy, supposedly Manrico's mother - Irene Dalis (mezzo-soprano)
Ferrando, di Luna's officer - William Wilderman (bass)
Ines, Leonora's confidante - Helen Vanni (soprano)
Ruiz, Manrico's henchman - Charles Anthony (tenor)
A Messenger - Robert Nagy (tenor)
An Old Gypsy - Carlo Tomanelli (bass)
Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Conductor Fausto Cleva

Verdi's Il trovatore with Franco Corelli and Leontyne Price, recorded in 1961.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

George And Ira Gershwin's Porgy And Bess20181226English National Opera's universally acclaimed production of George Gershwin's 1935 opera was this season's hot ticket. From its opening number "Summertime", through songs including "I Got Plenty of Nothin'", "Bess, You is My Woman Now" and “It Ain't Necessarily So”, Porgy and Bess is stuffed full of hits as it tells a compelling story of love and violence in a poor South Carolina fishing community, played here by the Porgy and Bess Ensemble. This international chorus, specially formed for the run, together with an outstanding cast led by Eric Greene and Nicole Cabel in the title roles and the Orchestra of ENO conducted by John Wilson proved beyond a doubt that Porgy and Bess is one of the great operatic masterpieces of the 20th century.

Recorded in October at the Coliseum and presented by Geoffrey Smith in conversation with anthropologist and critic Dr Kit Davis, and including contributions from director James Robinson, conductor John Wilson and members of the cast.

Acts 1 and 2

8.20pm
Interval

8.40pm
Act 3

Porgy....Eric Greene (tenor)
Bess……Nicole Cabell (soprano)
Crown……Nmon Ford (baritone)
Serena……Latonia Moore (soprano)
Clara……Nadine Benjamin (soprano)
Maria……Tichina Vaughn (mezzo-soprano)
Jake……Donovan Singletary (bass-baritone)
Sporting Life……Frederick Ballentine (tenor)
Mingo……Rheinaldt Tshepo Moagi (tenor)
Robbins/Crab Man……Chaz'men Williams-Ali (tenor)
Peter……Ronald Samm (tenor)
Frazier……Byron Jackson (baritone)
Annie……Sarah-Jane Lewis (mezzo-soprano)
Lily……Pumza Mxinwa (soprano)
Strawberry Woman……Nozuko Teto (mezzo-soprano)
Jim……Njabulo Madlala (baritone)
Undertaker....Whitaker Mills (baritone)
Nelson……Thando Mjandana (tenor)
Detective……Stephen Pallister
Policeman……Christian Hurst
Coroner……Neil Kelly
Porgy and Bess Ensemble (chorus)
Orchestra of English National Opera
John Wilson (conductor)

Photo credit: Tristram Kenton / ENO
For full synopsis visit the programme page

John Wilson conducts the acclaimed English National Opera production at the Coliseum.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Giordano's Andrea Chenier At The Royal Opera House20190629A gigantic verismo opera and Giordano's most accomplished work, recorded earlier this month at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, with the tenor Roberto Alagna in the title role of Andrea Chénier, inspired in the heroic poet who gave his life during the French Revolution. The soprano Sondra Radvanovsky is Maddalena de Coigny, an aristocratic lady and Chénier's love interest in this melodramatic tale of ill-fated romance and tragedy. Daniel Oren conducts the ROH orchestra and chorus.

Presented by James Naughtie.

Andrea Chénier.... Roberto Alagna (tenor)
Maddalena de Coigny.... Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano)
Carlo Gerard.... Dimitri Platanias (baritone)
Bersi.... Christine Rice (mezzo-soprano)
Countess di Coigny.... Rosalind Plowright (soprano)
Master of the Household.... John Cunningham (bass baritone)
Pietro Fleville.... Stephen Gadd (bass)
Abbé.... Aled Hall (tenor)
Mathieu.... Adrian Clarke (baritone)
The Incredible.... Carlo Bosi (tenor)
Roucher.... David Stout (baritone)
Madelon.... Elena Zilio (mezzo-soprano)
Dumas.... German E Alacantara (baritone)
Schmidt.... Jeremy White (bass)

Royal Opera House Chorus
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Daniel Oren (conductor)

Full synopsis available on the programme page
Photo credit: Catherine Ashmore

A verismo opera set during the French Revolution with Roberto Alagna in the title role.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Andrea Chénier....Roberto Alagna (tenor)
Maddalena de Coigny....Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano)
Carlo Gerard....Dimitri Platanias (baritone)
Bersi....Christine Rice (mezzo-soprano)
Countess di Coigny....Rosalind Plowright (soprano)
Master of the Household....John Cunningham (bass baritone)
Pietro Fleville....Stephen Gadd (bass)
Abbé....Aled Hall (tenor)
Mathieu....Adrian Clarke (baritone)
The Incredible....Carlo Bosi (tenor)
Roucher....David Stout (baritone)
Madelon....Elena Zilio (mezzo-soprano)
Dumas....German E Alacantara (baritone)
Schmidt....Jeremy White (bass)

Giulio Cesare In Egitto20200229Martin Handley presents this performance of one of the most popular operas of the Baroque, Handel's 'Giulio Cesare in Egitto' first performed in London in 1724, recorded at the 2019 George Enescu International Festival held biannually in Bucharest. With Christopher Lowry as Cesare and Karina Gauvin as Cleopatra and Les Talens Lyriques conducted by Christophe Rousset.

'Veni, Vidi, Vici', 'Et tu Brute?' and crossing the Rubicon - just three things that come readily to mind when thinking of Julius Caesar - a historical figure with a huge literary legacy.

Since his own time, and his memoirs and contemporary accounts of deeds and misdeeds, to Shakespeare, to the operatic stage, and on to Goscinny and Uderzo's comic creation in Asterix and Obelix, and countless Latin textbooks; Julius Caesar has attracted repeated attention across the ages, and Martin is joined by noted classicist Mary Beard to discuss the legacy of the man who would be King of Rome.

[this is the 1725 performing version omitting the characters Nireno and Curio]

Cleopatra....Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Sesto....Ann Hallenberg (Mezzo-soprano)
Giulio Cesare....Christopher Lowrey (Counter-tenor)
Tolomeo....Kacper Szelazek (Counter-tenor)
Cornelia....Eve-Maud Hubeaux (Mezzo-soprano)
Achilla....Ashley Riches (Baritone)
Les Talens Lyriques Orchestra
Christophe Rousset (Harpsichord)

Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto from the 2019 George Enescu International Festival.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Gluck's Orfeo Ed Euridice From Opera North20210501Laurence Cummings conducts Gluck's seminal 1762 opera Orpheus and Eurydice with Opera North.

Orpheus has been allowed by the gods to visit the underworld to bring his deceased Eurydice back, on condition that he doesn't look at her.

This performance recorded at Leeds Town Hall in March is presented by Hannah French.

Orfeo.... Paula Murrihy (soprano)
Euridice.... Fflur Wyn (soprano)
Amore.... Daisy Brown (soprano)

Opera North Chorus
Opera North Orchestra
Laurence Cummings (conductor)

Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice with Paula Murrihy and Fflur Wyn. Laurence Cummings conducts.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Gluck's Orphee Et Eurydice From The Royal Opera House2015102420200404 (R3)Donald Macleod presents Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice in a new production from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, which literally puts the orchestra centre stage. John Eliot Gardiner conducts the English Baroque Soloists, and Monteverdi Choir in a rare outing for the French 1774 version of Gluck's opera, written for a high tenor, and with extended ballet sequences to suit the Parisian audiences. Orpheus has been allowed by the gods to visit the Underworld to bring his deceased Eurydice back, on condition that he doesn't look at her. Juan Diego Florez makes his role debut as Orpheus, and Lucy Crowe his beloved Eurydice. Plus Donald Macleod talks to John Eliot Gardiner about the opera's historical significance, and directors John Fulljames and Hofesh Shechter discuss their production in which the orchestra and dancers are completely integrated with the soloists and chorus.

First broadcast October 2015.

Gluck: Orphée et Eurydice
Orphée.... Juan Diego Florez (tenor)
Eurydice.... Lucy Crowe (soprano)
Amour.... Amanda Forsythe (soprano)
Monteverdi Choir
English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)

Another chance to hear Gluck's Orphee et Eurydice from the Royal Opera House in 2015.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Gounod - Romeo Et Juliette From The Met20180505The final opera in this year's Met season is Gounod's take on Romeo and Juliet. A success since its premiere in 1859, Gounod's opera follows Shakespeare's story faithfully, and includes some magnificent duets for the star-crossed lovers, sung tonight by Ailyn Pérez and Bryan Hymel. Plácido Domingo conducts.

Presented from New York by Mary Jo Heath and Ira Siff.

Gounod Roméo et Juliette
Juliette.... Ailyn Pérez (Soprano)
Roméo.... Charles Castronovo (Tenor)
Stéphano.... Karine Deshayes (Soprano)
Mercutio.... Joshua Hopkins (Baritone)
Frere Laurent.... Kwangchul Youn (Bass)

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Plácido Domingo (Conductor).

Gounod's Romeo et Juliette from the New York Met, conducted by Placido Domingo.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Halevy's La Juive20160709Halevy's La Juive from Bavarian State Opera conducted by Bertrand de Billy.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Handel's Agrippina20191019Handel's early masterpiece, Agrippina, is a gripping drama of high politics and low deceit set to some of the composer's most ravishing music. Agrippina is the first in a long line of fascinating female characters that Handel portrays with acute psychological depth, portraying both her magnetic charm and steely ambition. In this production by Barrie Kosky from the Roya Opera House, Covent Garden, Joyce DiDonato heads a cast of leading Handelian singers accompanied by The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Maxim Emelyanychev.

Presented by James Naughtie with guest Elin Manahan Thomas

Agrippina....Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo-soprano)
Nerone....Franco Fagioli (Countertenor)
Poppea....Lucy Crowe (Soprano)
Ottone....Iestyn Davies (Countertenor)
Claudio....Gianluca Buratto (Bass)
Pallante....Andrea Mastroni (Bass)
Narciso....Eric Jurenas (Countetenor)
Lesbo....Jose Coca Loza (Bass)
Orchestra of The Age of Enlightenment
Maxim Emelyanychev (Conductor)

Joyce DiDonato stars as Handel's antiheroine at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Handel's Alcina20160102Handel's Alcina, recorded at the Aix Festival in Provence with soprano Patricia Petibon.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Handel's Ariodante20201128Andrew McGregor presents Handel's Ariodante, recorded at the Royal opera House last week.

Continuing its celebration of the operas Handel wrote for Covent Garden, The Royal Opera presents Ariodante in concert. Ariodante was the first opera written by Handel for the first theatre on the current Royal Opera House site in 1735 and has not been performed at Covent Garden since.
Set in medieval Scotland and based on a sixteenth-century epic poem, the same source as Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, Ariodante tells the story of a prince, in love with the daughter of the King, who is driven to despair by a false accusation of his loved one's infidelity and finally reunited with her when the treachery is revealed.
During the interval, Catherine Fletcher, one of Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers, looks at the origins of the opera's plot in the chivalric romances of the Italian Renaissance.

Ariodante.... Paula Murrihy (Mezzo-soprano)
Ginevra.... Chen Reiss (Soprano)
Rè di Scozia.... Gerald Finley (Bass)
Sophie Bevan (Soprano)
Iestyn Davies (Countertenor)
Ed Lyon (Tenor)
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Royal Opera House Chorus
Christian Curnyn (Conductor)

Handel's Ariodante recorded at the Royal Opera House.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Handel's Semele20170701From Garsington Opera, Sara Mohr-Pietsch presents a performance of Handel's Semele.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Hansel And Gretel By Humperdinck: Glyndebourne Greats20200523Robin Ticciati and a cast that includes Alice Coote and Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Glyndebourne Greats: Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck

The first in a short season of great performances recorded at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival in the last couple of decades. Starting with the greatest children's opera of them all, and one that can bring a tear to the eyes of the most hardened adult. Based on the Grimm's fairy tale about two children sent into the dark forest by their scolding mother for knocking over a jar of milk. And there they are seduced by the delicious candies and treats stuck to the gingerbread cottage of an old Witch called Rosina Tastymuzzle. When she finds them nibbling at the sweets on her house she entraps them to fatten them up until they are just juicy and plump enough to eat. Of course, as in all the best fairy tales good triumphs over evil in the end - but not before we've shivered and shuddered at the great Jungian archetype of the devouring mother.

Robin Ticciati leads a cast that includes the mezzo Alice Coote as Hansel and the tenor Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke as a terrifying, gender-bending Witch.

Presented by Martin Handley

Hansel…..Alice Coote (Mezzo-soprano)
Gretel…..Lydia Teuscher (Soprano)
Mother…..Irmgard Vilsmaier (Mezzo-soprano)
Father…..William Dazeley (Bass)
Witch…..Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke (Tenor)
Sandman…..Tara Erraught (Mezzo- soprano)
Dew Fairy.... Ida Falk Winland (Soprano)
Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Robin Ticciati (conductor)

*1830 Acts 1 and 2

*1930 Act 3

SYNOPSIS
Act I
THE BROOM-MAKER'S HOUSE
Hänsel and Gretel are doing chores. Both are bored and hungry, and to cheer themselves up they start to dance. Their games are interrupted by their Mother, who is angry to find them playing instead of working. In her anger she knocks over the milk jug, losing what was to have been supper. She sends them into the forest to gather strawberries instead. Wearied by their precarious existence, she sinks into a chair, only to be woken by the return of her husband. She is irritated to find him tipsy, but calms down when he produces a sack full of food. When he enquires after Hänsel and Gretel, he is alarmed to hear they are in the forest: he warns of the Witch who lives there, and both parents set out to look for the children.
Act II
THE WOOD
Hansel and Gretel happily gather and eat strawberries. When night falls they realize they are lost, and are frightened by the mysterious shapes in the mist. But a Sandman appears and settles them. They say their evening prayers, and go to sleep. The mist around them turns to clouds from which angels appear, who guard the children from harm.
Act III
THE WITCH'S HOUSE
At dawn the Dew Fairy comes to wake Hänsel and Gretel. They are excited to see a house not far away, but when they begin to nibble at it, the Witch emerges and captures them, casting a spell. She puts Hänsel in a cage, telling Gretel that her brother needs fattening. She releases Gretel with a spell, in order that the girl may help her with the oven. But Gretel uses the spell to free Hänsel, and as the Witch demonstrates to Gretel how to check the oven, the children push her into it. As the Witch dies, the fence of people is transformed back into motionless children. Hänsel invokes the formula for breaking the spell, and the children jump up and thank Hänsel and Gretel for saving them. The Mother and Father appear, and the family is reunited.

Hvorostovsky's Eugene Onegin2016021320190621 (R3)Dmitri Hvorostovsky's 2015 final performance as Eugene Onegin from the Royal Opera House.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Ahead of tomorrow evening's Final of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2019, tonight we focus on previous winner of that feted title - the Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky. This evening we'll hear his final UK stage performance in the title role of Eugene Onegin, a performance recorded in 2015 from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
The Guardian described his performance as ‘exceptional even by his own high standards'.

Described by tonight's conductor, Semyon Bychkov, as an opera about young people, for young people, Eugene Onegin is based on Alexander Pushkin's verse novel of the same name. The emotions of youth, love and loss are at the core of the story and at the heart of the music in this, one of Tchaikovsky's best-loved operas.

Eugene Onegin.... Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone)
Tatyana.... Nicole Car (soprano)
Olga.... Oksana Volkova (mezzo-soprano)
Lensky.... Michael Fabiano (tenor)
Madame Larina.... Diana Montague (mezzo-soprano)
Filipyevna.... Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo-soprano)
Monsieur Triquet.... Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (tenor)
Prince Gremin.... Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass)
Zaretsky.... James Platt (bass)
A Captain.... David Shipley (bass)

Royal Opera Chorus
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Semyon Bychkov (conductor)

Eugene Onegin....Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone)
Tatyana....Nicole Car (soprano)
Olga....Oksana Volkova (mezzo-soprano)
Lensky....Michael Fabiano (tenor)
Madame Larina....Diana Montague (mezzo-soprano)
Filipyevna....Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo-soprano)
Monsieur Triquet....Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (tenor)
Prince Gremin....Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass)
Zaretsky....James Platt (bass)
A Captain....David Shipley (bass)

Eugene Onegin.... Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone)
Tatyana.... Nicole Car (soprano)
Olga.... Oksana Volkova (mezzo-soprano)
Lensky.... Michael Fabiano (tenor)
Madame Larina.... Diana Montague (mezzo-soprano)
Filipyevna.... Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo-soprano)
Monsieur Triquet.... Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (tenor)
Prince Gremin.... Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass)
Zaretsky.... James Platt (bass)
A Captain.... David Shipley (bass)

Iain Bell's In Parenthesis20160702Iain Bell's new opera In Parenthesis from Welsh National Opera.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Jack The Ripper: The Women Of Whitechapel20190518Iain Bell's Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel, from English National Opera.

In Iain Bell's world premiere for English National Opera, the focus shifts from the famous Victorian serial killer to his victims - the story follows the five women whose identities have always been defined by their gruesome and mysterious deaths. The libretto by Emma Jenkins explores the struggles of these women - portrayed respectively by Natalya Romaniw, Janis Kelly, Marie McLaughlin, Susan Bullock and Lesley Garrett - within a poverty-ridden community in which it is thought that one in four women was engaged in some form of sex work simply to get by.

Martyn Brabbins conducts the English National Opera Chorus and Orchestra in Bell's darkly atmospheric score.

Tom Service presents from the London Coliseum, and is joined in the box by cultural historian Dr Fern Riddell.
Also featuring interviews with the composer, and author Hallie Rubenhold.

Mary Kelly....Natalya Romaniw (soprano)
Maud....Josephine Barstow (soprano)
Polly Nichols....Janis Kelly (soprano)
Annie Chapman....Marie Mclaughlin (mezzo-soprano)
Liz Stride....Susan Bullock (soprano)
Catherine Eddowes....Lesley Garrett (soprano)
Writer....William Morgan (tenor)
Squibby....Alex Otterburn (baritone)
The Pathologist....Alan Opie (baritone)
Police Commissioner....Robert Hayward (bass-baritone)
Sergeant Johnny Strong....Nicky Spence (tenor)
The Photographer....James Cleverton (baritone)
The coroner....Paul Sheehan (baritone)
Man in Crowd....Michael Burke (baritone)
Magpie....Ashirah Foster Notice (mute role)

English National Opera Chorus
English National Opera Orchestra
Martyn Brabbins (conductor)

For full synopsis visit the programme page.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Jake Heggie - Dead Man Walking20180526Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking. Joyce DiDonato (Sister Helen) & Michael Mayes as the condemned prisoner (Joseph), the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Singers. Mark Wigglesworth conducts.

Recorded at the Barbican Hall, London, on 20th February 2018.

Presented by Andrew McGregor.

1830: Act 1

1950: Interval. Andrew McGregor talks with Jake Heggie and members of the cast.

2010: Act 2

Sister Helen Prejean.... Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo-soprano)
Joseph De Rocher.... Michael Mayes (Baritone)
Ms Patrick De Rocher.... Maria Zifchak, (Mezzo-soprano)
Sister Rose.... Measha Brueggergosman (Soprano)
Owen Hart....Toni Marsol (Baritone)
Kitty Hart.... Susan Bullock (Soprano)
Howard Boucher.... Mark le Brocq (Tenor)
Jade Boucher.... Susan Bickley (Mezzo-soprano)
Warden George Benton.... James Cresswell (Baritone)
Father Grenville.... Michael Bracegirdle (Tenor)
Singers from Guildhall School of Music and Drama
BBC Singers
Finchley Children's Music Group
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Mark Wigglesworth (Conductor)

Jake Heggie's opera, written in 2000 to a libretto by Terence McNally, is based on Sister Helen Prejean's best-selling memoir about her work with condemned prisoners on Death Row, and was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Susan Sarandon. The opera centres on the relationship that developed between a convicted murderer awaiting execution, Joseph De Rocher, and the nun who fights for clemency. It's a powerful operatic exploration of the US justice system and capital punishment.

Joyce DiDonato heads a magnificent ensemble of soloists in this emotional and dramatic work, which put Heggie on the map as a major force in modern opera.

Presenter ANDREW MCGREGOR.

Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, set on Death Row, with Joyce DiDonato as Sister Helen.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Janacek's From The House Of The Dead20180630The first staging from the Royal Opera House of Janacek's final and most powerful work, the opera From the House of the Dead. Based on Dostoyevsky's semi-autobiographical novel describing life in a Siberian gulag, it is a very dark and bleak work, dealing with brutal subject matter - men prisoners with very violent pasts - and yet it is a compassionate work, Janacek's score is full of beauty and tenderness, and astonishing colours. The large cast includes Sir Willard White and the baritone Johan Reuter, and is conducted by Mark Wigglesworth.

Donald Macleod presents and is joined by Nigel Simeone.

Luka Kuzmič.... Štefan Margita (tenor)
Nikita (and big prisoner).... Nicky Spence (tenor)
ÄŒekunov (and small prisoner and cook).... Grant Doyle (bass)
Prison governor.... Alexander Vassiliev (baritone)
Alexandr Petrovič Gorjančikov.... Willard W. White (baritone)
Guard.... Andrew O'Connor (tenor)
Antonič (elderly prisoner).... Graham Clark (tenor)
Skuratov.... Ladislav Elgr (tenor)
Aljeja.... Pascal Charbonneau (mezzo-soprano)
Šiškov (and Pope).... Johan Reuter (baritone)
Drunk prisoner.... Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (tenor)
Å apkin.... Peter Hoare (tenor)
Prisoner (Don Juan and Brahmin).... Aleš Jenis (bass)
Prisoner (Kedril).... John Graham-Hall (tenor)
Young prisoner.... Florian Hoffmann (tenor)
Prostitute.... Allison Cook (mezzo-soprano)
Voice.... Konu Kim (tenor)
ÄŒerevin.... Alexander Kravets (tenor)

Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Mark Wigglesworth (conductor).

Janacek's From the House of the Dead, from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Janacek's Katya Kabanova20190427Janacek's tragic opera Katya Kabanova about a lonely wife who longs for love is a devastating portrayal of isolation and guilt, portrayed through some of Janacek's most glorious music. American soprano Amanda Majeski sings the role of Katya who is unhappily married to Tichon Kabanov, and is constantly tormented by his bullying mother, Kabanicha, sung by Susan Bickley. Katya's neighbour Boris, the Czech tenor Pavel Cernoch, also is victimised by his uncle, so when Katya's husband is away on business, Katya and Boris meet and inevitably fall in love. Katya risks everything by their encounter and her insurmountable guilt leads to the opera's devastating end.
Both Amanda Majeski and Pavel Cernoch make their ROH debut in these roles. Edward Gardner conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in this highly acclaimed production and performance.
Flora Willson presents and chats to Janacek expert Nigel Simeone.

Katya....Amanda Majeski (Soprano)
Vana....Andrew Tortise (Tenor)
Boris....Pavel Cernoch (Tenor)
Savel....Clive Bayley (Bass)
Glasa....Sarah Pring (Mezzo-soprano)
Feklusa....Dervla Ramsay (Mezzo-soprano)
Marfa....Susan Bickley (Mezzo-soprano)
Tichon....Andrew Staples (Tenor)
Varvara....Emily Edmonds (Mezzo-soprano)
Kuligin....Dominic Sedgwick (Baritone)
Royal Opera House Chorus
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Edward Gardner (Conductor)

For full synopsis visit the programme page
Photograph 2019 Clive Barda ROH

Janacek's Katya Kabanova from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Jane1\u010dek's Ke1t'a Kabanove1, Recorded At The New York's Met20200509With soprano Karita Mattila in the title role. Czech maestro Jir\u00ed Belohl\u00e1vek conducts.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

With soprano Karita Mattila, in the title role. Czech maestro Ji\u0159\u00ed B\u011blohl\u00e1vek conducts.

An archive recording of Leoš Janáček's Kát'a Kabanová from the New York's Met, in a performance first heard in 2004. The soprano Karita Mattila takes the title role as the wife longing for love, trapped in an unhappy marriage, victim of a domineering mother-in-law and a repressive society, in this tragic story full of psychological insight, based on 'The Storm', a play by Alexander Ostrovsky. The Czech maestro Jirí Belohlávek conducts the Metropolitan Opera House Orchestra and Chorus.

Presented by Mary Jo Heath, with commentator Ira Siff.

Káťa (Katerina), Tichon's wife - Karita Mattila: soprano,
Marfa Ignatěvna Kabanová (Kabanicha), a widow - Judith Forst: contralto
Varvara, a foundling - Magdalena Kožená: mezzo-soprano
Boris Grigorjevič, Dikój's nephew - Jorma Silvasti: tenor
Tichon Ivanyč Kabanov, Marfa's son - Chris Merritt: tenor
Váňa Kudrjaš, a schoolteacher - Raymond Very: tenor
Kuligin, friend of Vána Kudrjaš - Sebastian Catana: baritone
Savël Prokofjevic Dikój, a merchant - Vladimir Ognovenko: bass-baritone
Glaša, a servant - Janet Hopkins: mezzo-soprano
Fekluša, a servant - Diane Elias: mezzo-soprano
Townswoman - Charlotte Philley: contralto
Passer - Dennis Williams: tenor

Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Jirí Belohlávek, conductor

John Adams's Doctor Atomic20170603John Adams conducts Doctor Atomic with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Khovanshchina By Mussorgsky20171104Andrew McGregor presents Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina, performed by Welsh National Opera.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

La Calisto - Chaste, Chased And Changed20190608From a production from the Teatro Real, Madrid, in March. Cavalli's opera of pursuit and transformation of the nymph Calisto.

Chased by Jove, and then pursued by his jealous queen Juno, Calisto can't hide anymore. Added to that, she has broken her vows of chastity to Diana the huntress and is turned into a bear. Add a subplot of a love-struck Endymion (for Diana) and more revenge, this time from Pan (on Diana) and the Classical Gods are certainly not setting humanity a good example. No-one is going to emerge with their dignity intact except maybe Calisto, whose reward is to achieve immortality in the stars as the constellation the 'Great Bear'.

Martin Handley introduces this performance recorded at the Teatro Real in Madrid, and talks to Cavalli expert Jane Glover.

For full synopsis visit the programme page

La Natura / Satirino / Le Furie.... Dominique Visse (countertenor)
L'Eternità / Giunone.... Karina Gauvin (soprano)
Il Destino / Diana / Le Furie.... Monica Bacelli (soprano)
Giove.... Luca Tittoto (bass)
Mercurio.... Nikolay Borchev (baritone)
Calisto.... Louise Alder (soprano)
Endimione.... Tim Mead (countertenor)
Linfea.... Guy de Mey (tenor)
Pane.... Ed Lyon (tenor)
Sylvano.... Andrea Mastroni (bass)
Monteverdi Continuo Ensemble
Seville Baroque Orchestra
Ivor Bolton (conductor)

Photo credit - Teatro Real - Javier del Real

From the Teatro Real, Madrid, in March. Cavalli's opera of pursuit and transformation.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

La Cenerentola By Rossini: (glyndebourne Greats)20200606Glyndebourne Greats: La Cenerentola by Rossini

The last in a short season of great performances, recorded in the last couple of decades, at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival: the tale of Cinderella or Goodness Triumphant as seen, in this mix of comedy and drama, by Gioachino Rossini, inspired by Perrault's fairy tale Cendrillon. The mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose takes on Cinderella, one of the finest roles written by Rossini, as the young girl forced to serve as maid in her own home by her stepfather, the evil Don Magnifico, sung by the baritone Alessandro Corbelli. Not all is lost as redemption comes by way of love, thanks to Don Ramiro, Prince of Salerno, sung by the tenor Maxim Mironov - and the intervention of a fair amount of luck too! Vladimir Jurowski conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Presented by Martin Handley.

Cenerentola....Ruxandra Donose (Mezzo-soprano)
Don Magnifico....Alessandro Corbelli (Baritone)
Don Ramiro....Maxim Mironov (Tenor)
Clorinda....Raquela Sheeran (Soprano)
Tisbe....Lucia Cirillo (Mezzo-soprano)
Alidoro....Umberto Chiummo (Bass Baritone)
Dandini....Pietro Spagnoli (Baritone)
Orchestra of The Age of Enlightenment
Vladimir Jurowski (Conductor)

With mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose in the title role. Vladimir Jurowski conducts the OAE.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

La Clemenza Di Tito20190420From the Metropolitan Opera House, New York

Presented by Mary Jo Heath, in conversation with Ira Siff

La clemenza di Tito

Composed to celebrate the coronation of Austrian Emperor Leopold II as King of Bohemia, Mozart's opera of vengeance and forgiveness, set during the Roman Empire, stars mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato as Sesto, and tenor Matthew Polenzani as Tito. Lothar Koenigs conducts.

Mozart: La clemenza di Tito

Servilla....Ying Fang (Soprano)
Vitellia....Elza van den Heever (Soprano)
Sesto....Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo-soprano)
Annio....Emily D'Angelo (Soprano)
Tito....Matthew Polenzani (Tenor)
Publio....Christian Van Horn (Bass)
New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Lothar Koenigs (Conductor)

Opera on 3 from the Metropolitan Opera House, New York \u2013 Mozart's La clemenza di Tito.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Leoncavallo's Zaze020201121Leoncavallo's Zazà recorded earlier this year at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, with soprano Svetlana Aksenova in the title role. Rarely heard these days but a world-wide success at the turn of the 20th century, this lyric comedy tells the story of Parisian music-hall singer Zazà and her rejected lover Milio, sung here by tenor Nikolai Schukoff, in an atmosphere imbued with the culture and flavours of French café music, which Leoncavallo was acquainted with from his days spent in France. Stefan Soltész conducts singers, the Arnold Schoenberg Chorus and the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra, Vienna.

Presented by Flora Willson.

Zazà, a concert hall singer: Svetlana Aksenova (soprano)
Anaide, Zazà's mother: Enkelejda Shkosa (mezzo-soprano)
Floriana, a singer / Signora Dufresne, Milo's wife: Dorothea Herbert (contralto)
Natalia, Zazà's maid: Juliette Mars (mezzo-soprano)
Milio Dufresne, a wealthy Parisian: Nikolai Schukoff (tenor)
Totó Dufresne, daughter of Milio: Livia Gallenga (spoken role)
Cascart, a concert hall singer: Christopher Maltman (baritone)
Bussy, a journalist: Tobias Greenhalgh (baritone)
Courtois, a theatre director: Paul Schweinester (bass)
Duclou, stage manager: Dumitru Mădăraşăn (baritone)
Marco, the Dufresnes' concierge / Augusto, auxiliary stage manager: Johannes Bamberger (tenor)

Arnold Schoenberg Chorus
ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra, Vienna
Stefan Soltész, conductor

Recorded at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, with Svetlana Aksenova in the title role.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Les Veapres Siciliennes2013111820201017 (R3)Another chance to hear Verdi's Les Vêpres Siciliennes, recorded in 2013 as 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 five-act grand opera, directed by Stefan Herheim in his UK debut.

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

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.

Verdi's Les Vepres Siciliennes from the Royal Opera House.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Lessons In Love And Violence20180602George Benjamin's 2012 Written on Skin was a phenomenal worldwide success, so his latest opera, which once more reunites Benjamin with playwright Martin Crimp and director Katie Mitchell, has been hotly anticipated.

Lessons in Love and Violence explores the corrupting influence of duty, power and realpolitik on love, loyalty and affection as Edward II is forced to choose between the conflicting demands of statesmanship and his lover, Piers Gaveston. As the court looks on appalled by Gaveston's excesses and his hold over Edward, the famine-ridden country descends into civil war. Violence begets yet more violence as the ensuing power struggle intensifies between the king and his disaffected courtier Mortimer, his queen Isabel and his brutalised young son. George Benjamin himself conducts an international cast.

Recorded last month at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and presented by Tom Service in conversation with Fiona Maddocks.

King.... Stéphane Degout (bartione)
Isabel.... Barbara Hannigan (soprano)
Gaveston / Stranger.... Gyula Orendt (baritone)
Mortimer.... Peter Hoare (tenor)
Boy / Young King.... Samuel Boden (tenor)
Witness 1 / Singer 1 / Woman 1.... Jennifer France (soprano)
Witness 2 / Singer 2 / Woman 2.... Krisztina Szabó (mezzo-soprano))
Witness 3 / Madman.... Andri Björn Róbertsson (bass-baritone)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
George Benjamin (conductor).

The premiere of George Benjamin's hotly anticipated new opera Lessons in Love and Violence

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Live From The Met In New York: Wagner's Parsifal20180217Live from the Met in New York, Wagner's Parsifal, telling the story of this hero's quest for the Holy Grail, is a mystical tale of pardon and redemption, full of symbolism and based on a medieval epic legend. The tenor Klaus Florian Vogt takes the title role, with the soprano Evelyn Herlitzius as Kundry and the bass René Pape as Gurnemanz. The Met's Music Director Designate Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
Presented by Mary Jo Heath and Ira Siff.

Parsifal.... Klaus Florian Vogt (tenor)
Kundry.... Evelyn Herlitzius (soprano)
Gurnemanz.... René Pape (bass)
Amfortas.... Peter Mattei (baritone)
Klingsor.... Evgeny Nikitin (bass-baritone)

Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin (Conductor).

Live from the Met in New York: Wagner's Parsifal. Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducts.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Madama Butterfly20180303The young Japanese geisha girl Cio-Cio-San marries a dashing American Lieutenant, Pinkerton, only for him to desert her soon after the wedding. She's sure he'll come back to her one day, and three years later he does - but with a new wife, and wanting to take his and Cio-Cio-San's child away with them. Ermonela Jaho sings the tragic Butterfly, with Roberto Aronica as the man who breaks her heart.

Presented from the Met by Mary Jo Heath and Ira Siff.

Puccini Madama Butterfly
Cio-Cio-San.... Ermonela Jaho (soprano)
Suzuki.... Maria Zifchak (mezzo-soprano)
Pinkerton.... Roberto Aronica (tenor)
Sharpless.... Roberto Frontali (baritone)
Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Marco Armiliato (conductor).

Puccini's Madama Butterfly from the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Maria Callas At The Met: Lucia Di Lammermoor20210213This evening's opera from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York is a historic performance of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor from December 8th 1956, with soprano Maria Callas. It was Callas' only Met radio broadcast.
Donizetti's tragic masterpiece tells of the innocent Lucia who is forced into a marriage with Arturo Bucklaw by her brother Enrico to save the family fortunes, although Lucia is desperately in love with Edgardo Ravenswood. Enrico's ruthlessness and deceit devastate his fragile sister Lucia, with tragic consequences.
The Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera House is conducted by Italian-born American operatic conductor, Fausto Cleva.

This remarkable performance from the Met's archives is presented by Mary Jo Heath with commentator Ira Siff and promises to be an unforgettable evening. During the second interval, at 7.55pm, there's a chance to hear rare archive footage from the Met of Maria Callas talking about her relationship with the Met and her preparation for the role of Lucia in tonight;s opera.

Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor
Lucia....Maria Callas (soprano)
Sir Edgardo di Ravenswood....Giuseppe Campora (tenor)
Lord Enrico Ashton....Enzo Sordello (baritone)
Raimondo Bidebent....Nicola Moscona (bass)
Normanno....James Mccracken (tenor)
Alisa....Thelma Votipka (mezzo-soprano)
Lord Arturo Bucklaw....Paul Franke (tenor)
New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Fausto Cleva (conductor)

Synopsis
ACT I
Scotland, mid-19th century. An intruder has been spotted at night on the grounds of Lammermoor Castle, home of Enrico Ashton. Normanno, the captain of the guard, sends Enrico's men off in search of the stranger. Enrico arrives, troubled. His family's fortunes are in danger, and only the arranged marriage of his sister, Lucia, with Lord Arturo can save them. The chaplain Raimondo, Lucia's tutor, reminds Enrico that the girl is still mourning the death of her mother. But Normanno reveals that Lucia is concealing a great love for Edgardo di Ravenswood, leader of the Ashtons' political enemies. Enrico is furious and swears vengeance.

Just before dawn at a fountain in the woods nearby, Lucia and her companion Alisa are waiting for Edgardo. Lucia relates that, at the fountain, she has seen the ghost of a girl who was stabbed by her jealous lover. Alisa urges her to leave Edgardo, but Lucia insists that her love for Edgardo brings her great joy and may overcome all. Edgardo arrives and explains that he must go to France on a political mission. Before he leaves he wants to make peace with Enrico. Lucia, however, asks Edgardo to keep their love a secret. Edgardo agrees, and they exchange rings and vows of devotion.

ACT II
It is some months later, on the day that Lucia is to marry Arturo. Normanno assures Enrico that he has successfully intercepted all correspondence between the lovers and has in addition procured a forged letter, supposedly from Edgardo, that indicates he is involved with another woman. As the captain goes off to welcome the groom, Lucia enters, continuing to defy her brother. Enrico shows her the forged letter. Lucia is heartbroken, but Enrico insists that she marry Arturo to save the family. He leaves, and Raimondo, convinced no hope remains for Lucia's love, reminds her of her late mother and she finally agrees.

As the wedding guests arrive in the Great Hall, Enrico explains to Arturo that Lucia is still in a state of melancholy because of her mother's death. The girl enters and reluctantly signs the marriage contract. Suddenly Edgardo bursts in, claiming his bride. The entire company is overcome by shock. Arturo and Enrico order Edgardo to leave, but he insists that he and Lucia are engaged. When Raimondo shows him the contract with Lucia's signature, Edgardo curses her and tears his ring from her finger before finally leaving in despair and rage.

ACT III
Enrico visits Edgardo at his dilapidated home and taunts him with the news that Lucia and Arturo have just been married. The two men agree to meet at dawn for a duel. Back at Lammermoor, Raimondo interrupts the wedding festivities with the news that Lucia has gone mad and killed Arturo. Lucia enters, covered in blood. She recalls her meetings with Edgardo and imagines she is with him on their wedding night. She vows she will never be happy in heaven without her lover and that she will see him there. When Enrico returns, he is enraged at Lucia's behaviour but soon realizes that she has lost her senses. After a confused and violent exchange with her brother, Lucia collapses.

In the graveyard, Edgardo laments that he has to live without Lucia and awaits his duel with Enrico, which he hopes will end his own life. Guests coming from Lammermoor Castle tell him that the dying Lucia has called his name. As he is about to rush to her, Raimondo announces that she has died. Determined to join Lucia in heaven, Edgardo stabs himself.

Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor from the Met starring Maria Callas

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Mark-anthony Turnage: Coraline20180421Kate Molleson presents the world premiere production of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Coraline - an operatic version of the dark fantasy tale by Neil Gaiman, directed by Aletta Collins with libretto by Rory Mullarkey. Soprano Mary Bevan sings the title-role with a cast including mezzo-soprano Kitty Whately and baritone Alexander Robin Baker who are making their Royal Opera debuts. Sian Edwards conducts the Britten Sinfonia.

During the interval, Kate is joined by guest Fiona Maddocks with contributions from Mark-Anthony Turnage and Mary Bevan.

Neil Gaiman has transformed the landscape of children's literature with his highly inventive, atmospheric and otherworldly narratives. His prize-winning novella, Coraline is packed with astonishing imagery - a much-loved story about a girl who discovers a door in her parents' house, leading to an entirely different place and family. For Mark-Anthony Turnage "the fundamental message beneath the story is that we shouldn't be afraid to do what we believe is right. Coraline is brave, not because she doesn't cry or get scared, but because despite these things she still tries her best and doesn't give up. That's why I wanted to write Coraline, because here's a message well worth telling; through opera or in any other way."

Coraline.... Mary Bevan (soprano)
Mother/Other Mother.... Kitty Whately (mezzo-soprano)
Father/Other Father.... Alexander Robin Baker (baritone)
Miss Spink/Ghost Child 1.... Gillian Keith (soprano)
Miss Forcible....Frances McCafferty (mezzo-soprano)
Mr Bobo/Ghost Child 2.... Harry Nicoll (tenor)
Ghost Child 3.... Dominic Sedgwick (baritone)
Britten Sinfonia
Sian Edwards (conductor)

6.30 pm Act 1
7.30 pm Interval
7.45 pm Act 2.

Coraline by Mark-Anthony Turnage, based on Neil Gaiman's fantasy novella.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana And Leoncavallo's Pagliacci20160206From the Royal Opera House, Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Massenet's Cendrillon From The New York Metropolitan Opera2018042820210227 (R3)The New York Metropolitan Opera presents Massenet's take on the Cinderella story. First performed at the Opera Comique in Paris in 1899, Massenet wrote his Wagner-influenced opera at the height of his fame, and it was an immediate success. In this production, as when it was first staged at the Royal Opera House, Joyce DiDonato sings Cendrillon, with Alice Coote as her Prince Charming.

Cendrillon.... Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo-Soprano)
La Fée.... Kathleen Kim (Soprano)
Le Prince Charmant.... Alice Coote (Mezzo-Soprano)
Madame de la Haltiere.... Stephanie Blythe (Mezzo-Soprano)
Pandolfe.... Laurent Naouri (Baritone)

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Bertrand de Billy (Conductor).

Massenet's Cendrillon from the Met starring Joyce DiDonato and Alice Coote.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

The New York Metropolitan Opera presents Massenet's take on the Cinderella story. First performed at the Opera Comique in Paris in 1899, Massenet wrote his Wagner-influenced opera at the height of his fame, and it was an immediate success. In this production, as when it was first staged at the Royal Opera House, Joyce DiDonato sings Cendrillon, with Alice Coote as her Prince Charming.

Cendrillon.... Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo-Soprano)
La Fée.... Kathleen Kim (Soprano)
Le Prince Charmant.... Alice Coote (Mezzo-Soprano)
Madame de la Haltiere.... Stephanie Blythe (Mezzo-Soprano)
Pandolfe.... Laurent Naouri (Baritone)

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Bertrand de Billy (Conductor).

Massenet's Cendrillon from the Met starring Joyce DiDonato and Alice Coote.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Massenet's Don Quichotte20191130From Wexford Festival Opera, Jules Massenet's last true masterpiece, Don Quichotte, with the bass Goderdzi Janelidze in the title role as the half-crazy, ageing, self-proclaimed knight-errant dreamer, and the raising star mezzo-soprano Aigul Akhmetshina as his love interest, the young and fair Dulcinee. It's based on the Cervantes evergreen novel, a sardonic look at the old-fashioned chivalry romances of yesteryear. Massenet turned it into a delicious comédie-héroïque portraying this unique world in a witty and at the same time sad, and ultimately deeply humane caricature.
Presented by Sean Rafferty with commentary by the 19th-Century opera expert Flora Willson.

Don Quichotte by Jules Masenet - comédie-héroïque in 5 acts
La belle Dulcinee....Aigul Akhmetshina (Mezzo-soprano)
Don Quichotte....Goderdzi Janelidze (Bass)
Sancho....Olafur Sigurdarson (Bass)
Juan....Gavan Ring (Baritone)
Pedro....Gabrielle Dundon (Soprano)
Garcias....Elly Hunter Smith (Soprano)
Rodriguez....Dominick Felix (Tenor)
Footman I....Thomas Chenhall (Baritone)
Footman 2....Rene Bloice-sanders (Baritone)

Wexford Festival Opera Chorus
Wexford Opera House Orchestra
Timothy Myers (Conductor)

Bass Goderdzi Janelidze sings the title role and mezzo Aigul Akhmetshina sings Dulcinee.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Massenet's Werther20161015Vittorio Grigolo and Joyce DiDonato star in Massenet's drama of doomed love.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Massenet's Werther From The Royal Opera House20191026From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Massenet's Werther, recorded earlier this month. The superstar tenor Juan Diego Flórez takes the title role as the doomed, iconic romantic hero, with the mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard as his love interest Charlotte, in a tragic drama by Jules Massenet, inspired in Goethe's ground-breaking masterpiece 'The Sorrows of Young Werther'. The Royal Opera House orchestra is conducted by Edward Gardner.
Presented by Flora Willson.

Werther....Juan Diego Flórez (Tenor)
Albert....Jacques Imbrailo (Baritone)
Charlotte....Isabel Leonard (Mezzo-soprano)
Sophie....Heather Engebretson (Soprano)
The Bailli....Alastair Miles (Bass)
Schmidt....Vincent Ordonneau (Tenor)
Johann....Michael Mofidian (Bass Baritone)
Kathchen....Stephanie Wake-edwards (Mezzo-soprano)
Bruhlmann....Byeongmin Gil (Bass Baritone)

Royal Opera House Orchestra
Edward Gardner (Conductor)

With superstar tenor Juan Diego Florez in the title role, conducted by Edward Gardner.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Meyerbeer Les Huguenots20191012'Fairground farce' : Robert Schumann

Martin Handley presents this performance from the Opera Bastille in Paris - home of Grand Opera - with expert Sarah Hibberd. Robert Schumann's criticism came from Meyerbeer's use of the Lutheran chorale 'Eine feste burg' to associate with the Huguenot characters in the opera, but it certainly didn't put Paris audiences off, racking up 1,000 performances by the end of the century.

Les Huguenots was a no expenses spared high octane sequel to 'Robert le Diable' Meyerbeer's huge success from five years before in 1831. Indeed this was a return of the dream team - Robert le Diable had made the reputations not only of Meyerbeer, but Librettist Eugene Scribe and Louis-Désiré Véron, the director of the Paris Opera.

This time the top team were back after five years of preparation and 'Les Huguenots' promised an epic Melodrama set against the historical backdrop of the St.Bartholemew's Day Massacre, in which French Protestants were murdered in huge numbers by their Catholic countrymen. Five Acts, good tunes, a huge cast and lavish settings it had all the signs of success before the curtain even opened for Act One.

Meyerbeer
Les Huguenots

Marguerite de Valois.... Lisette Oropesa (soprano)
Raoul de Nangis, a Huguenot gentleman.... Yosep Kang (tenor)
Valentine, daughter of the Count of Saint-Bris.... Ermonela Jaho (soprano)
Urbain, Marguerite's page.... Karine Deshayes (soprano)
Count of Saint-Bris.... Paul Gay (bass)
Marcel, Raoul's servant.... Nicolas Testé (bass)
Maid of honour.... Julie Robard-Gendre (soprano)
Cossé / Catholic student.... François Rougier (tenor)
Count of Nevers.... Florian Sempey (baritone)
Tavannes / First Monk.... Cyrille Dubois (tenor)
Méru / Second Monk.... Michal Partyka (baritone)
Thoré / Maurevert.... Patrick Bolleire (bass)
de Retz / Third Monk.... Tomislav Lavoie (baritone)
Coryphée / Young Catholic woman / Bohemian.... Élodie Hache (soprano)
Bois-Rosé / Servant.... Philippe Do (tenor)
Archer of the watch.... Olivier Ayault (bass)
First Noble.... John Bernard (tenor)
Second Noble.... Cyrille Lovighi (tenor)
Third Noble.... Bernard Arrieta (bass)
Fourth Noble.... Fabio Bellenghi (bass)

Paris National Opera Chorus
Paris Opera Orchestra

Michele Mariotti, conductor

The Opera Bastille perform Meyerbeer's 'Les Huguenots', a sequel to 'Robert le Diable'.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Monteverdi - L'orfeo20200711The Royal Danish Opera perform Monterverdi's L'Orfeo, conducted by Lars Ulrik Mortensen.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Tonight's Opera on 3 is a work crucial to the development of opera as we know it today - Monteverdi's L'Orfeo. Based on the Greek legend of Orpheus, the opera tells of his descent to Hades and his fruitless attempt to bring his dead bride Eurydice back to the living world. Monteverdi brings the story to live with new techniques - harmonic twists and structural devices that bind the narrative together. Danish conductor and baroque expert Lars Ulrik Mortensen teams up with Concerto Copenhagen for Royal Danish Opera's sparklingly vivid interpretation of Monteverdi's unique and immortal music.

Martin Handley presents, with contributions from Dr Flora Willson, music lecturer at King's College London.

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) - L'Orfeo, favola in musica in five acts, SV 318
Orfeo....Marc Mauillon (baritone)
Euridice....Sofie Lund-Tonnesen (soprano)
La Musica/Speranza....Ellen Larsson (soprano)
Ninfa/Proserpina....Philippa Cold (soprano)
Messagiera....Mia Bergström (mezzo-soprano)
Pastore....Thomas Lichtenecker (countertenor)
Pastore/Eco....Gerald Geerink (tenor)
Apollo....Mark Milhofer (tenor)
Caronte....Kyungil Ko (bass)
Plutone....Nicolai Elsberg (bass)
Spirito....Joel Kyhle (bass)
Concerto Copenhagen
Lars Ulrik Mortensen (conductor)

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) - L'Orfeo, favola in musica in five acts, SV 318
Orfeo.... Marc Mauillon (baritone)
Euridice.... Sofie Lund-Tonnesen (soprano)
La Musica/Speranza.... Ellen Larsson (soprano)
Ninfa/Proserpina.... Philippa Cold (soprano)
Messagiera.... Mia Bergström (mezzo-soprano)
Pastore.... Thomas Lichtenecker (countertenor)
Pastore/Eco.... Gerald Geerink (tenor)
Apollo.... Mark Milhofer (tenor)
Caronte.... Kyungil Ko (bass)
Plutone.... Nicolai Elsberg (bass)
Spirito.... Joel Kyhle (bass)
Concerto Copenhagen
Lars Ulrik Mortensen (conductor)

Royal Danish Opera's sparklingly vivid production of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo.

Monteverdi 450: L'incoronazione Di Poppea20170513A performance of Monteverdi's final opera, L'incoronazione di Poppea.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Monteverdi's L'incoronazione Di Poppea20170930Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea performed by La Venexiana conducted by Davide Pozzi

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Monteverdi's The Return Of Ulysses20180224The Royal Opera House's production of Monteverdi's The Return of Ulysses from the Roundhouse in Camden, directed by John Fulljames. Christian Curnyn conducts the Early Opera Company.

Based on Homer's Odyssey, Ulysses is returning home to Ithaca after twenty years away at the Trojan War. Penelope is his faithful and patient wife, but her suitors grow in number. She declares that anyone who can draw Ulysses' bow will have won her hand and kingdom; the suitors all fail but a disguised Ulysses asks for his turn - and of course is victorious. After so long away, Penelope initially refuses to believe it is him, but they are happily reunited when he convinces her of his identity and love. Roderick Williams stars in the role of Ulysses, and Caitlin Hulcup as Penelope. One of only three surviving operas by Monteverdi, the score is full of pathos and drama.

The chorus for The Return of Ulysses is made up of 40 singers from the Roundhouse community choir and the Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus.

Sean Rafferty presents and his guest is the soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, whose academic research before the stage was in the world of Celtic mythology.

Ulysses / Human Frailty.... Roderick Williams (Baritone)
Antinous / Time.... David Shipley (Bass)
Minerva / Fortune.... Catherine Carby (Mezzo-soprano)
Melantho / Love.... Francesca Chiejina (Soprano)
Penelope.... Caitlin Hulcup (Mezzo-soprano)
Telemachus.... Samuel Boden (Tenor)
Eurycleia.... Susan Bickley (Mezzo-soprano
Eumaeus.... Mark Milhofer (Tenor)
Irus.... Stuart Jackson (Tenor)
Amphinomus.... Nick Pritchard (Tenor)
Peisander.... Tai Oney (Counter-tenor)
Eurymachus.... Andrew Tortise (Tenor)

The Return of Ulysses Community Ensemble
Early Opera Company Orchestra
Christian Curnyn (Conductor).

Monteverdi's The Return of Ulysses from the Roundhouse in Camden.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Mozart - The Marriage Of Figaro20171223Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro from the Met, with a cast including Christiane Karg.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Mozart: Don Giovanni2014030320201003 (R3)Tonight's Opera on 3 is another chance to hear a production of Mozart's ever-popular Don Giovanni recorded in 2014 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)

From the Royal Opera House: Don Giovanni, starring Mariusz Kwiecien.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Mozart: Idomeneo20190706Tonight's Opera on 3 is Mozart's Idomeneo from Vienna State Opera. Idomeneo, the King of Crete is sailing home from war in stormy waters which will only abate when he swears he'll offer as a sacrifice the first person he sees on landing. This person happens to be his son, Idamante. When he tries to go back on his promise, Crete is afflicted by destruction, and he realises he must choose between his son, and his people.

Musicologist Dr Flora Willson presents, and is joined by Professor Timothy Jones to discuss Mozart's first mature opera and its context.

6.30pm
Mozart: Idomeneo
Idomeneo....Bernard Richter (Tenor)
Idamante....Rachel Frenkel (mezzo-soprano)
Elettra....Irina Lungu (Soprano)
Ilia....Valentina Nafornita (Soprano)
Arbace....Pavel Kolgatin (Tenor)
High Priest of Neptune....Carlos Osuna (Tenor)
Voice of Oracle of Neptune....Peter Kellner (Bass)
Vienna State Opera Chorus
Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Tomas Netopil (Conductor)

The Trojan war is over. Idomeneo, king of Crete and victorious general of the Greek forces, is sailing home. However, a storm prevents him from arriving safely. The raging seas only abate when he swears that if saved from death he will sacrifice the first human whom he encounters on land. However, this first human turns out to be his son, Idamante. Idamante is in love the Trojan king‘s daughter, Ilia, who is living on Crete as a prisoner of war; and she is in love with him. However, Elettra, who fled from Argos after murdering her mother and has sought refuge in Crete, is also in love with Idamante and believes that she will win him for her own. To save his son from being sacrificed, Idomeneo plans to send him and Elettra to Argos, where they will rule as the new royal couple. His plan fails, and Crete is afflicted by destruction and chaos.

Idomeneo vacillates between sacrificing his son and saving his people. When he decides in favour of his people and against this son, Ilia stops the sacrifice, offering herself in his place. However, this does not occur. Idamante breaks free of his overpowering father and together with Ilia takes over the rule of Crete. Idomeneo and Elettra succumb to the demons of their past.

Mozart's Idomeneo from the Vienna State Opera.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte20161112From the Royal Opera House, a new production of Mozart's comic opera Cosi fan tutte.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte From The Met In New York20180331Direct from the Met in New York, Mozart's Cosi fan tutte with David Robertson conducting the Metropolitan Opera House orchestra and chorus. The tenor Ben Bliss and the bass-baritone Adam Plachetka take on the roles of Ferrando and Guglielmo, the two young officers in the Neapolitan army who enter a bet to see if their girlfriends Fiordiligi and Dorabella, sung by the soprano Amanda Majeski and the mezzo-soprano Serena Malfi, will be faithful, with intriguing results. This spicy tale of love and treason was the last collaboration between Mozart and librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte. Mary Jo Heath presents with commentator Ira Siff.

Fiordiligi.... Amanda Majeski (soprano)
Dorabella.... Serena Malfi (soprano)
Despina.... Kelli O'Hara (soprano)
Ferrando.... Ben Bliss (tenor)
Guglielmo.... Adam Plachetka (bass)
Don Alfonso.... Christopher Maltman (bass)

New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
David Robertson (conductor).

Mozart's Cosi fan tutte direct from the Met in New York, with David Robertson conducting.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Mozart's Don Giovanni20191102Mozart's Don Giovanni, with its compelling story and characterisation, coupled with some of his greatest and most memorable music, has been a hit with audiences ever since its 1787 Prague premiere. It tells the tale of the man who stops at nothing to get what he wants - and he wants one thing only (yes, that). As his long-suffering sidekick Leporello puts it in the famous 'Catalogue' aria, 'It doesn't matter if she's rich, ugly or beautiful; if she wears a skirt, you know what he does.' And he's done it with 2065 of them, leaving a trail of broken promises and wrecked lives throughout Europe. But in the 24 hours portrayed here he at last comes up against something he can't evade, dupe or kill...

Erwin Schrott, internationally celebrated in the title role, leads a starry cast including Roberto Tagliavini as Leporello and Malin Bystrom, Myrto Papatanasiu and Louise Alder as the trio of women bent on revenge.

Presented by Tom Service in conversation with Berta Joncus.

Mozart: Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni....Erwin Schrott (Bass)
Leporello....Roberto Tagliavini (Bass)
Donna Anna....Malin Bystrom (Soprano)
Don Ottavio....Daniel Behle (Tenor)
Donna Elvira....Myrto Papatanasiu (Soprano)
Zerlina....Louise Alder (Soprano)
Masetto....Leon Kosavic (Baritone)
The Commendatore....Petros Magoulas (Bass)
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Royal Opera House Chorus
Hartmut Haenchen (Conductor)

Act I
Don Giovanni, a Spanish nobleman, is renowned throughout Europe as a seducer of women; Leporello, his servant, reluctantly aids him by keeping watch. Giovanni attempts to leave the house of Donna Anna, his most recent conquest; he kills Anna's father the Commendatore when the Commendatore tries to stop him. Anna tells her fiance, Don Ottavio, that she was raped by an unknown man and they vow revenge on the murderer. Leporello's attempts to persuade his master to reform are interrupted by Donna Elvira, a former mistress of Giovanni's, who is travelling to look for him. Giovanni leaves it to Leporello to explain the extent of his master's womanizing.

Masetto and his bride Zerlina are to be married at a peasant wedding, but Giovanni sets himself to seduce Zerlina. Elvira interrupts and foils Giovanni's attempt. Ottavio and Anna appeal to Giovanni for help in their pursuit of the murderer of Anna's father. Elvira again interrupts and warns Ottavio and Anna about Giovanni's true nature; Anna tells Ottavio that Giovanni is the man who murdered her father. Leporello discusses with Giovanni the plans for the masque ball his master is hosting that evening. Zerlina assures Masetto that Giovanni has not touched her. Elvira joins forces with Ottavio and Anna; they are going to the ball and intend to exact vengeance on Giovanni. While everyone is dancing at the ball Giovanni attempts to ensnare Zerlina, but she rallies all behind her to try to entrap Giovanni. All accuse him, but he and
Leporello elude them once more.

Act II
Hoping for success with Elvira's maid, Giovanni exchanges clothes with Leporello, who is instructed to lure Elvira away. Giovanni is interrupted by Masetto, who is intent on killing him, but his disguise is successful and he beats Masetto up and escapes. Returning with Elvira, Leporello is mistaken for Giovanni by Anna, Ottavio, Zerlina and Masetto. Removing his disguise, Leporello convinces them that he is not the guilty one. Ottavio swears vengeance on Giovanni whom, in spite of everything, Elvira continues to love.

Giovanni hears the voice of the Commendatore, whom he killed, warning Giovanni of impending retribution. Giovanni orders Leporello to invite the ghost to supper. The ghost of the Commendatore accepts Don Giovanni's invitation and arrives to send him to hell.

Erwin Schrott in the title role leads a starry cast at the Royal Opera House.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Mozart's Don Giovanni From The Met2012031020210417 (R3)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.

This performance from the Met in 2012 is presented by Mary-Jo Heath 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

First broadcast live, 10th March 2012

Mozart's Don Giovanni with Gerald Finley and Bryn Terfel. Andrew Davis conducts. From 2012

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Mozart's La Clemenza Di Tito2017012920170204 (R3)Mozart's La clemenza di Tito in a performance given at the Teatro Real in Madrid.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Mozart's Marriage Of Figaro20190928Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro
Mozart's great comic opera of intrigue, misunderstanding and forgiveness, packed full of wonderful, and some of Mozart's most celebrated, arias. Christian Gerhaher sings the role of Figaro, who plans to marry Susanna, the soprano Joelle Harvey, but their master Count Almaviva, performed by Simon Keenlyside, has designs on Susanna. Meanwhile the young Cherubino, portrayed by countertenor Kangmin Justin Kim, explores his passion for the ladies and Countess Almaviva, performed by Julia Kleiter fights to regain her husband's love. Kangmin Justin Kim not only makes his debut at the Royal Opera House, but also makes history as the first male to portray Cherubino on the Covent Garden stage.
John Eliot Gardiner conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in this classic production. Kate Molleson presents and is joined by Tim Jones.

Figaro....Christian Gerhaher (Baritone)
Susanna....Joelle Harvey (Soprano)
Count Almaviva....Simon Keenlyside (Baritone)
Countess Almaviva....Julia Kleiter (Soprano)
Cherubino....Kangmin Justin Kim (Counter-tenor)
Bartolo....Maurizio Muraro (Bass)
Marcellina....Diana Montague (Mezzo-soprano)
Don Basilio....Jean-Paul Fouchecourt (Tenor)
Antonio....Jeremy White (Bass)
Don Curzio....Alasdair Elliott (Tenor)
Barbarina....Yaritza Veliz (Soprano)
First Bridesmaid....Rebecca Hardwick (Soprano)
Second Bridesmaid....Angharad Rowlands (Mezzo-soprano)
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Royal Opera House Chorus
William Spaulding (Chorus Master)
John Eliot Gardiner (Conductor)

Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro from the Royal Opera conducted by John Eliot Gardiner.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Mozart's Marriage Of Figaro From The Metropolitan Opera20210327Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro from the Metropolitan Opera starring Ildar Abdrazakov, Nadine Sierra and Marisuz Kwiecien. The story tells how the crafty servants Figaro and Susanna succeed in getting married, despite the best efforts of their philandering employer Count Almaviva to have a romantic assignation with Susanna before her marriage. But not before a series of comic misunderstandings are resolved.

This performance from 2018 from the Met in New York is presented by Mary-Jo Heath and commentator Ira Siff.

Figaro..Ildar Abdrazakov (Bass)
Susanna..Nadine Sierra (Soprano)
Count Almaviva..Marisuz Kwiecien (Baritone)
Countess Almaviva..Ailyn Perez (Soprano)
Cherubino..Isabel Leonard (Mezzo-soprano)
Marcellina..Katarina Leoson (Soprano)
Doctor Bartolo..Maurizio Muraro (Singer)
Don Basilio..Greg Fedderly (Tenor)
Antonio..Paul Corona (Bass)
Barbarina..Ashley Emerson (Soprano)
Don Curzio..Scott Scully (Tenor)
Linda Burman-Hall (Harpsichord)
David Heiss (Cello)
New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Harry Bicket (Conductor)

Mozart's Marriage of Figaro from the Metropolitan Opera

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Mozart's Mitridate, Re Di Ponto20170708From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Mozart's opera Mitridate, Re di Ponto.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Mozart's The Abduction From The Seraglio20210109Recorded Autumn 2020 in Vienna, this is the opera that famously has "too many notes" according to the emperor in the film Amadeus, and yet the Abduction was an immediate success. The eastern influence of Turkey was the fashion of the time, and the opera was hugely popular. A humorous tale, the love story centres around Belmonte, a Spanish aristocrat and Konstanza, his betrothed who is captured by pirates and sold into the harem of Bassa Selim, a Turkish pasha. A rescue mission ensues and although Belmonte finds Konstanze, getting out the Seraglio proves an almost impossible task.

Lisette Oropesa is the virtuosic Konstanze, Daniel Behle is Belmonte and Antonello Manacorda conducts the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

Presented by Kate Molleson with guest Timothy Jones

Christian Nickel, [spoken role], Pasha Selim
Belmonte….. Daniel Behle (tenor)
Belmonte (actor) …..Christian Natter
Konstanze….. Lisette Oropesa (soprano)
Konstanze (actor) …..Emanuela von Frankenberg,
Blondchen….. Regula Mühlemann (soprano)
Blondchen (actor) …..Stella Roberts
Osmin, overseer for the Pasha…..Goran Jurić (tenor)
Osmin (actor) …..Andreas Grötzinger
Pedrillo, Belmonte's servant…..Michael Laurenz (tenor)
Pedrillo (actor) ….. Ludwig Blochberger
member of soloist quartet…..Svenja Kallweit (soprano)
member of soloist quartet…..Mari Nakayama (mezzo-soprano)
member of soloist quartet…..Tamas Katona (tenor)
member of soloist quartet…..Peter Dolinšek (bass)
Vienna State Opera Chorus
Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Antonello Manacorda (conductor)

Part One

The Spanish nobleman Belmonte arrives at the estate of Bassa Selim searching for his lost fiancée Konstanze. She was kidnapped by sea pirates together with her servant, the English maid Blonde and his own servant Pedrillo. He meets Osmin the supervisor of the estate who hostilely refuses him any helpful information. Only after reuniting with his servant Pedrillo does Belmonte learn that Konstanze, as well as the pair Blonde and Pedrillo, were bought as slaves by Bassa Selim. The Bassa loves Konstanze but she has never answered his requests. As a European converted to Islam, he »still has enough sensitivity, that none of his wives were ever forced into love«. Belmonte is shortly convinced of this as he secretly watches the Bassa and his entourage with Konstanze's appear. The Bassa again succumbs to Konstanze's wish to postpone her decision. Pedrillo is able to present Belmonte to Bassa Selim as an architect and builder, whereby making it able for him to gain entrance to the palace, against the resistance and opposition of Osmin.

Although given as a slave to Osmin as a gift, Blonde is very self-assured and knows exactly how to defend herself from the romantic approaches of the infatuated Turk. Again, Bassa Selim tries to gain Konstanze's favour although she feels obligated to Belmonte. She would rather suffer the offended the Bassa's tortures than be unfaithful to Belmonte.

Part Two

The desired reunion is fast approaching and Belmonte is waiting for his beloved. As the two European couples finally face each other, their joy becomes severely troubled: Belmonte and Pedrillo suddenly doubt the faithfulness of their women. Konstanze and Blonde are deeply hurt.

The planned midnight abduction of the women fails, because Osmin wakes up from his drunken stupor arranged by Pedrillo too soon. Osmin realizes his hour of revenge has come at last. As Belmonte begs for mercy, the Bassa recognises him as the son of his archrival, the man who once stole his beloved from him and forced him to flee his homeland.

Both couples await their deaths. However, the Bassa gives them their freedom: 'If one cannot gain your favour even by good deeds, then one should get rid of you.' Everyone joins in a song of praise of Bassa's generosity, except Osmin who does not portray correctly, boiling in an impotent, helpless rage.

The Bassa is left alone.

Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio from Vienna State Opera.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Offenbach's Les Contes D'hoffmann20161224Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann performed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Opera North Double Bill: Osud And Trouble In Tahiti20171230Tom Redmond with a double bill of Janacek and Bernstein from Opera North.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Opera On 3: Bizet's Carmen20180310Bizet's Carmen is one of the most popular and frequently performed of all operas. With famous hit numbers such as the "Habanera" and the "Toreador Song" it has proved to be a powerful work of music drama open to many different interpretations. The new production from Barrie Kosky shines a new light on the opera as well as reintroducing parts of the score which are not normally heard in performance. With an exciting cast featuring the mezzo Anna Goryachova, the performance is conducted by Jakub Hrůša.
Introduced by Martin Handley with guest Sarah Hibberd.

Carmen.... Anna Goryachova (mezzo-soprano)
Don José.... Francesco Meli (tenor)
Escamillo.... Kostas Smoriginas (bass-baritone)
Micaëla.... Kristina Mkhitaryan (soprano)
Zuniga.... David Soar (bass)
Frasquita.... Jacquelyn Stucker (soprano)
Mercédès.... Aigul Akhmetshina (mezzo-soprano)
Le Dancaïre.... Pierre Doyen (baritone)
Le Remendado.... Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (tenor)
Moralès.... Gyula Nagy (baritone)
Royal Opera Chorus
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Jakub Hrůša (conductor)

6.30pm Acts 1 and 2
8.25pm Interval
8.35pm Act 3.

Jakub Hrusa conducts Bizet's Carmen in a new production from Barrie Kosky.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Peter Eotvos - Three Sisters20160625From Vienna State Opera, a performance of Peter Eotvos's opera Three Sisters.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Peter Maxwell Davies: Taverner20160409Peter Maxwell Davies's opera Taverner, in performance given in 2009 at City Halls, Glasgow

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Philip Glass's Akhnaten20160326From the Coliseum in London, an ENO production of Philip Glass's opera Akhnaten.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Poulenc - Dialogues Des Carmelites From The Met20190511Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites is a story of faith put to the ultimate test. The opera is about a group of Carmelite nuns who, during the French Revolution, were guillotined in Paris for refusing to renounce their vocation. It is in three acts and was completed in 1956.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts this powerful score. Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard sings the innocent novice Blanche and soprano Karita Mattila takes on the dramatic role of the Prioress.

Presented from the Met by Mary Jo Heath and Ira Siff.

Blanche....Isabel Leonard (Mezzo-soprano)
Madame Lidoine....Adrianne Pieczonka (Soprano)
Sister Constance....Erin Morley (Soprano)
Mother Marle....Karen Cargill (Mezzo-soprano)
Madame de Croissy....Karita Mattila (Soprano)
Chevalier....David Portillo (Tenor)
Marquis de la Force....Dwayne Croft (Baritone)
Sister Mathilde....Emily D'angelo (Mezzo-soprano)
Mother Jeanne....Tichina Vaughn (Contralto)
Chaplain....Tony Stevenson (Tenor)
Thierry....Eduardo Valdes (Baritone)
Monsieur Javelinot....Paul Corona (Bass)
First Commissioner....Scott Scully (Tenor)
Second Commissioner....Richard Bernstein (Bass)
Jailer....Patrick Carfizzi (Baritone)
off-stage voice....Jean Braham (Soprano)
New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Yannick Nezet-Seguin (Conductor)

Opera on 3 from the Metropolitan Opera House, New York

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Presented from the Met by Loren Toolajian and Ira Siff.

Prokofiev's War And Peace20181013Welsh National Opera presents Prokofiev's epic realisation of the world's most celebrated novel, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. His drama follows the intertwined stories of carefree Natasha, duty-bound Andrei, idealistic Pierre, dissolute Anatole and their many friends, family and comrades - as they search for love, happiness and meaning in their lives. All this, while Russia herself fights for survival against the relentless march of Napoleon and his Army. When Moscow burns, it becomes clear that nothing will ever be the same again.

Prokofiev vividly immerses us among the complex passions and predicaments of these many interconnected lives. His music is brilliantly scored – by turns, lyrical, violent, playful, ironic and unashamedly patriotic. In the end, he shows us that it is the spirit and resolve of the Russian people that transcends all else.

David Pountney's production for Welsh National Opera is sung in English and features a huge cast, and expanded chorus. It features a new critical edition of Prokofiev's original version of War and Peace, edited by Katya Ermolaeva and Rita McAllister, with some additional material from the composer's later revisions. Recorded on 29th September at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Presented by Donald Macleod.

Jonathan McGovern …. Andrei (baritone)
Lauren Michelle …. Natasha (soprano)
Mark Le Brocq …. Pierre (tenor)
Leah-Marian Jones …. Marie (mezzo-soprano)
Jurgita Adamonytė.... Helene (mezzo-soprano)
Adrian Dwyer …. Anatole (tenor)
James Platt …. Count Rostov (bass)
Jonathan May …. Old Prince Bolkonsky (bass-baritone)
Donald Thomson …. Jacquot (bass-baritone)
David Stout …. Dolokhov (baritone)
Simon Bailey …. Kutuzov (bass-baritone)
Samantha Price.... Sonya (mezzo soprano)
Julian Boyce …. Servant / Dr Metivier
Carolyn Jackson …. Housemaid / Vasilisa
Sarah Pope …. Matriosha / Trishka
Laurence Cole …. Valet / Gavrila / Matveyev
George Newton-Fitzgerald …. Joseph
Joe Roche …. Abbe / De Beausset / 1st Lunatic
Gareth Dafydd Morris …. Konovitsyn / Karatayev
Paula Greenwood …. Shopkeeper
Colm Seery …. Dancer
María Comes …. Dancer
Rhodri Prys Jones …. Fyodor
Owen Webb …. Orderly

Welsh National Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Tomáš Hanus (Conductor)

SYNOPSIS

PEACE
Epigraph: The Russian people prepare to defend themselves.

Prince Andrei Bolkonsky pays a visit to Count Rostov's estate and meets his daughter, Natasha.

At a ball, Andrei and Natasha's relationship deepens. Natasha and her father are coldly received by Prince Bolkonsky, Andrei's father, opposes her match with his son and sends him abroad.

Pierre Bezukhov has inherited his father's title and fortune, but struggles to understand his responsibilities. His wife Hélène and her brother, Anatole, enjoy seducing others into her loose ways. Natasha falls victim to Anatole's advances, and rashly agrees to elope with him.

Anatole and Natasha's elopement is forestalled, but Natasha is disgraced. Pierre comforts her, though he is disturbed to realise that he also has strong feelings for her.

Pierre confronts Anatole, and forces him to go abroad to avoid a scandal engulfing Natasha. Suddenly the news arrives that Napoleon has crossed the Russian border. It is War.

WAR
Volunteers and partisans prepare to defend Moscow. Andrei, now a serving officer, reflects on his loss of Natasha. Pierre sees the war as the moment to find his true self. The two men meet among the chaos of impending conflict.

Russian general Kutuzov reviews his troops. Andrei chooses to fight with his soldiers. The battle for Moscow has begun.

Napoleon observes the progress of the battle. It is clear the battle will yield no clear victory.

In the battle's aftermath, Kutuzov concludes that he must abandon Moscow, and lure the enemy into the trap of the Russian winter.

The citizens of Moscow prefer to burn their city rather than allow it to give protection and nourishment to the enemy.

Pierre plans to assassinate Napoleon. He learns Prince Andrei has been wounded and is being cared for by Natasha in the country. Pierre is arrested and accused of arson. He is ordered to be executed, but instead becomes a prisoner.

Witnessing terrible hunger and violence, he starts to understand his own identity and purpose.

Andrei is delirious and dying. Natasha nurses him. In death they find understanding and reconciliation.

The French retreat through the snow. Pierre is dragged along as a prisoner of war. His friend dies at his side, but the partisans rescue him in the nick of time.

The French have gone and for the Russians the ordeal is over. Pierre has survived, and wonders if Natasha will, after all, form part of his future. General Kutuzov, as always modest and self-deprecating, ends it all with a smile and a joke.

Producer: Chris Taylor, BBC Wales

[Photo: Natasha and Andrei played by Lauren Michelle and Jonathan McGovern. Credit Clive Barda. Synopsis credit: WNO]

Welsh National Opera presents Prokofiev's realisation of Tolstoy's celebrated novel

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Prokofiev's War And Peace20201205Prokofiev's colossal opera 'War and Peace', based on Leo Tolstoy's novel, one of the classics of world literature, in an archive recording from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. The opera chronicles the French invasion to Russia and the impact of the Napoleonic Wars in Russian society. It features the soprano Anna Netrebko as Natasha Rostova, the mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk as Sonya, the tenor Gegam Grigorian as Count Bezukhov and the baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Prince Bolkonsky. The Metropolitan Opera orchestra and chorus is conducted by Valery Gergiev.
This archive performance from 2002 is presented by Mary-Jo Heath with Ira Siff

Natasha Rostova.... Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Sonya.... Ekaterina Semenchuk (Mezzo-soprano)
Maria Akhrosimova.... Elena Obraztsova (Main Artist)
Count Bezukhov.... Gegam Grigorian (Tenor)
Prince Bolkonsky.... Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Baritone)
Prince Kutuzov.... Samuel Ramey (Bass)
Napoleon Bonaparte.... Vasily Gerello (Baritone)
Platon Karataev.... Nikolai Gassiev (Tenor)

New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Valery Gergiev (Conductor)

A recording from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, featuring Anna Netrebko.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Puccini - Tosca2011100120201031 (R3)Another chance to hear Puccini's Tosca recorded in 2011 - Jealousy, torture, murder and suicide: the path of true love certainly produces a bumpy ride.. 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. Three of the great operatic performers of our time are united: 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)
Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Conductor, Antonio Pappano

Puccini's Tosca with Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Puccini's La Boheme20171007La Boheme from the Royal Opera House, conducted by Antonio Pappano.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Puccini's La Rondine From The Met2009011020210306 (R3)Puccini's opera La Rondine - the Swallow - was commissioned to be an operetta but instead he delivered a comic opera. Initially it was well received but soon denounced and the 'gem', as Puccini called it, has always seemed the poor relation to his other great operas.

The score is full of dance rhythms, such as the tango, foxtrot and the waltz, denoting various characters, all woven into Puccini's luscious and melodious score.
The story has parallels to La Traviata - a doomed love story between a courtesan, Magda, and an innocent man, Ruggero - who is devastated when Magda reveals her past and explains they cannot be together and, like a swallow, flies off.

This archive performance from January 10, 2009 is presented by Mary Jo Heath with commentator Ira Siff

Magda.... Angela Gheorghiu (soparno)
Lisette.... Lisette Oropesa (soprano)
Ruggero.... Roberto Alagna (tenor)
Prunier.... Marius Brenciu (tenor)
Rambaldo.... Samuel Ramey (bass)

Marco Armiliato, conductor

Puccini's La Rondine in a performance from 2009 at the Met.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Puccini's Turandot20170916Puccini's great final work Turandot from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Puccini's Turandot Recorded At The New York's Met20200502With Nina Stemme in the title role and Marco Berti as Cal\u00e0f. Paolo Carignani conducts.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

An archive recording of Giacomo Puccini's Turandot made at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York and first heard in 2016, in the sumptuous production by Franco Zeffirelli. Puccini's final masterpiece is both modern and romantic; reflecting eastern harmonies and coupled with his imaginative use of the orchestra at his disposal, he created a classic of 20th-century opera. Nina Stemme performs the title role of the proud princess of ancient China, whose riddles doom every suitor who seeks her hand. She appears opposite Marco Berti, who as Calàf the brave prince, sings “Nessun dorma” and wins her love. Anita Hartig sings the role of Liù, the faithful slave girl. Paolo Carignani conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera House.

Presented by Mary Jo Heath, with commentator Ira Siff.

Puccini: Turandot

Turandot.... Nina Stemme (soprano)
Liú.... Anita Hartig (soprano)
Calàf.... Marco Berti (tenor)
Timur.... Alexander Tsymbalyuk (bass-baritone)
Emperor Altoum.... Ronald Naldi (tenor)
Ping.... Dwayne Croft (baritone)
Pang.... Tony Stevenson (tenor)
Pong.... Eduardo Valdes (tenor)
Mandarin.... David Crawford (baritone)
Executioner.... Arthur Lazalde (silent role)
Prince of Persia.... Sasha Semin (tenor)
Handmaiden.... Anne Nonnemacher (soprano)
Handmaiden.... Mary Hughes (mezzo-soprano)

The Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera, New York
The Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera, New York
Paolo Carignani (conductor)

Richard Strauss: Ariadne Auf Naxos2014071620200425 (R3)Karita Mattila in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, recorded at the Royal Opera House.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Tonight's Opera on 3 was originally scheduled to feature the soprano Karita Mattila in the planned ROH production in April of Janacek's Jenufa. That production was cancelled with the current closure of the Opera House but this repeat broadcast is an opportunity to hear Karita Mattila in another opera, Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos.

Karita Mattila stars as the prima donna who appears later as Ariadne and Roberto Sacca is the tenor, later Bacchus, in this often funny work which once again sets a libretto by Strauss's greatest collaborator, the librettist Hugo von Hoffmansthal. The work was originally intended as a short divertissement to be performed after Hoffmansthal's version of Moliere's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme which itself had incidental music by Strauss. However, it soon became clear that in this version the work wouldn't be performed often due to the expense. So it was revised as an opera in a prologue and one act, albeit with a small orchestra and with another of Strauss's great soprano roles.
Presented by Ivan Hewitt, and was first broadcast in July 2014 as part of the Richard Strauss 150 celebration

Ariadne / The Prima Donna.... Karita Mattila (Soprano)
Bacchus / The Tenor.... Roberto Sacca (Tenor)
Zerbinetta.... Jane Archibald (Soprano)
The Composer.... Ruxandra Donose (Mezzo-soprano)
Harlequin.... Markus Werba (Baritone)
Music Master.... Thomas Allen (Baritone)
Dancing Master.... Ed Lyon (Tenor)
Wig Maker.... Ashley Riches (Baritone)
Lackey.... Jihoon Kim (Bass Baritone)
Scaramuccio.... Wynne Evans (Tenor)
Brighella.... Paul Schweinester (Tenor)
Truffaldino.... Jeremy White (Bass)
Officer.... David Butt Philip (Baritone)
Naiad.... Sofia Fomina (Soprano)
Dryad.... Karen Cargill (Mezzo-soprano)
Echo.... Kiandra Howarth (Soprano)
Major Domo.... Christopher Quest (Speaker)
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Antonio Pappano (Conductor)

Presented by Ivan Hewitt, and was first broadcast in July 2014 as part of the Richard Strauss 150 celebration.

Richard Strauss: Elektra2014010620200704 (R3)Elektra by Richard Strauss, from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Elektra by Richard Strauss, from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducted by Andris Nelsons. Christine Goerke sings the title role.

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.

Presented by Louise Fryer.

Elektra....Christine Goerke (Soprano)
Chrysothemis....Adrianne Pieczonka (Soprano)
Klytemnestra....Michaela Schuster (Soprano)
Confidante....Louise Armit (Mezzo-soprano)
Trainbearer....Marianne Cotterill (Soprano)
Overseer....Elaine Mckrill (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....Anna Burford (Mezzo-soprano)
Second Maid....Catherine Carby (Mezzo-soprano)
Third Maid....Elizabeth Sikora (Mezzo-soprano)
Fourth Maid....Elizabeth Woollett (Soprano)
Fifth Maid....Jennifer Check (soprano)
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Royal Opera House Chorus
Andris Nelsons (Conductor)

Rossini's Le Comte Ory From The Met2013020220210403 (R3)Rossini's comic opera Le Comte Ory in a performance first broadcast in February 2013 from the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
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 stars tenor Juan Diego Florez as the count, Pretty Yende as Adele and Karine Deshayes in the trouser role of Isolier.

Presented by Mary-Jo Heath with commentator Ira Siff.

Countess Adele.... Pretty Yende (soprano)
Isolier.... Karine Deshayes (mezzo-soprano)
Ragonde.... Susanne Resmark (mezzo-soprano)
Count Ory.... Juan Diego Florez (tenor)
Raimbaud.... Nathan Gunn (baritone)
The Tutor.... Nicola Ulivieri (baritone)
Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera, New York
Maurizio Benini, conductor

Rossini's comic opera Le Comte Ory from the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 2013.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Rossini's Semiramide At The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden20180106Presented by Donald Macleod, a Rossini masterpiece not seen at the Royal Opera House for more than 120 years: Semiramide, the dramatic story of the Queen of Assyria, who conspired with her then lover Assur, an army commander, to poison her husband, King Nino, whose corpse comes back from the underworld to claim justice. As if things weren't complicated enough, Semiramide now loves a younger warrior, Arsace, and wants him to be king, but unbeknown to her, he's her long-lost son - and discovering it triggers an ending of tragic proportions. Superstar mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato takes the title role, with mezzo-soprano Daniela Barcellona as Arsace and the bass Michele Pertusi as Assur. Sir Antonio Pappano conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in a production by David Alden.

Semiramide.... Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano)
Assur.... Michele Pertusi (bass)
Arsace.... Daniela Barcellona (mezzo-soprano)
Idreno.... Lawrence Brownlee (tenor)
Azema.... Jacquelyn Stucker (soprano)
Oroe.... Bálint Szabó (bass)
Mitrane.... Konu Kim (tenor)
Nino's Ghost.... Simon Shibambu (bass)

Royal Opera Chorus
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Sir Antonio Pappano (Conductor).

Rossini's Semiramide, recorded at the Royal Opera House. Joyce DiDonato in the title role.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Rossini's Tancredi20201114This evening's opera is Rossini's rarely heard Tancredi, based on Voltaire's tragedy Tancrede. This performance, which received superb reviews, was recorded at the 2017 Beaune Festival with Accademia Bizantina conducted by Ottavio Dantone.
Rossini is perhaps best known now for his comedies but he wrote many more tragedies and was highly regarded for them in his day. This is the first of them, a spirited and lyrical work that was an instant success. It's set in Syracuse at the start of the 11th century, and in a similar way to the Montagues and Capulets in Romeo and Juliet, the families of Argirio and Orbazzano are constantly fighting. The tragedy is based around the doomed lovers, Amenaide and Tancredi, sung by Sylvia Schwartz and mezzo Teresa Iervolino.

Presented by Martin Handley who talks to his guest Flora Willson about Rossini's opera which was to become a watershed moment for the young composer.

Tancredi.... Teresa Iervolino, mezzo-soprano
Amenaide.... Sylvia Schwartz, soprano,
Argirio.... Matthew Newlin, tenor
Orbazzano.... Luigi De Donato, bass
Roggiero.... Alix Le Saux, mezzo-soprano
Isaura.... Anthea Pichanick, contralto,
Namur Chamber Choir
Accademia Bizantina
Ottavio Dantone, conductor

Photo Credit Giulia Pappetti

SYNOPSIS
Argirio and Orbazzano, two warring nobles, celebrate a truce. Argirio names Orbazzano the leader against the Moors but warns him of the threat of the banished Tancredi. His daughter Amenaide is in love with Tancredi and she is worried about his absence. Argirio offers Amenaide to Orbazzano in marriage. She pleads with him to postpone the marriage ceremony for another day.

Tancredi arrives on the seashore and is determined to seek out his beloved and defend his city from invaders. He dispatches Roggiero with a message for Amenaide and has his followers spread a message throughout the city of an unknown knight coming to save the city.

Tancredi spots his beloved and her father in the garden. Amenaide continues pleading with him, but he informs her that Solamir, the enemy has asked for her hand in marriage after surrounding the city. Orbazzano pledges to fight the enemy.

Tancredi and Amenaide share a moment and she tells him that he must escape. She rejects his vows of love.

At the wedding ceremony, Tancredi offers his services to Argirio, the latter not knowing the titular character's identity. Amenaide refuses the marriage and Orbazzano denounces her publicly. He produces a letter that he feels was intended for Solamir and claims that she has betrayed her people. This letter had been intended for Tancredi but never arrived. Amenaide, despite swearing that she is innocent, is denounced by her father and even Tancredi.

Arigirio signs a death warrant for his daughter. Orbazzano and his followers prepare to see the execution carried out. He asks if anyone wants to defend her and Tancredi steps forward. He challenges Orbazzano to a duel. He defeats Orbazzano and the people rejoice at his victory. He sets out to leave Sicily, still believing that Amenaide has been unfaithful to him.

Alone in the Saracens camp, Tancredi reflects on his sad fate. Amenaide and Argirio go searching for him and reveal that there will be peace if she agrees to marry Solamir. He goes off to battle and learns that Solamir has testified to Amenaide's innocence. Tancredi is mortally wounded and learns of Amenaide's innocence as he dies in her arms. He is still able to be married to her in this version before dying.

Rossini's opera Tancredi from the Beaune Festival.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Rossini's The Barber Of Seville20160917Live from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Rossini's The Barber of Seville.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Rossini's The Barber Of Seville20210116Rossini's evergreen comedy, in an archive performance from the Met first broadcast in April 26, 2007, with Joyce DiDonato as Rosina and Lawrence Brownlee as Count Almaviva.

Presented by Mary Jo Heath and commentator Ira Siff.

Rosina.... Joyce DiDonato
Berta.... Claudia Waite
Count Almaviva.... Lawrence Brownlee
Figaro.... Russell Braun
Dr. Bartolo.... John Del Carlo
Don Basilio.... Samuel Ramey
Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera House, New York
Maurizio Benini, conductor

A group of musicians, including the wealthy (and disguised) Count Almaviva, has gathered outside Dr Bartolo's house to serenade a beautiful young maiden kept hidden away inside. She's Rosina, Dr Bartolo's ward, and the deluded old gentleman hopes to marry her himself. Figaro suggests that Almaviva disguise himself as a poor drunken soldier, with orders to be billeted with Dr Bartolo, in order to gain access to the girl. Thus the scene is set for one of the most delightful works in the operatic repertory.

Rossini's tale of love and disguise, in an archive performance from the Met.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Ryan Wigglesworth's The Winter's Tale20170520An English National Opera production of Ryan Wigglesworth's new work The Winter's Tale.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk2018051920201010 (R3)Shostakovich's opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk is one of the twentieth century's masterpieces, acclaimed at its premiere in 1934 but then banned two years later by Stalin. It tells a tragic tale of adultery and murder as the bored and lonely heroine Katerina, sung by soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek, falls in love with one of her husband's workers, the manipulative Sergey, tenor Brandon Jovanovich. Their treachery leads to a gruesome series of murders - and ultimately to her own devastating end.
Eva-Maria Westbroek leads a starry cast, joined by Brandon Jovanovich and Sir John Tomlinson who is celebrating 40 years of singing at Covent Garden.
Jim Naughtie presents and is joined by Russian cultural historian Rosamund Bartlett.

Katerina Ismailova.... Eva-Maria Westbroek (Soprano)
Sergey.... Brandon Jovanovich (Tenor)
Boris Ismailov.... John Tomlinson (Bass)
Zinovy Ismailov.... John Daszak (Tenor)
Sonyetka.... Aigul Akhmetshina (Mezzo-Soprano)
Aksinya.... Rosie Aldridge (Soprano)
Shabby Peasant.... Peter Bronder (Baritone)
Priest.... Wojtek Gierlach (Bass)
Police Inspector.... Mikhail Svetlov (Bass)
Teacher.... Thomas Atkins (Tenor)
Old Convict.... Paata Burchuladze (Bass)
Female Convict.... Miranda Keys (Soprano)
Steward/Sentry.... Simon Shibambu (Bass)
Coachman/Second Workman.... Hubert Francis (Tenor)
Porter.... Jonathan Fisher (Bass)

Royal Opera House Chorus & Orchestra
Antonio Pappano (Conductor).

Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Royal Opera House Chorus & Orchestra
Antonio Pappano (Conductor).

Shostakovich's The Nose20161231From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, a performance of Shostakovich's opera The Nose.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Simon Boccanegra2019012620200418 (R3)Verdi's Simon Boccanegra from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Verdi: Simon Boccanegra

Verdi's dark drama of political intrigue is a story of simmering, long-held resentment that finally resolves into forgiveness and reconciliation. Set in 14th Century Genoa, it tells of a great sea-going hero who reluctantly accepts high office; and who late in life discovers the long-lost daughter who had disappeared years ago. It is one of Verdi's great portrayals of the father-daughter relationship, and the score often glitters with Italian light to offset the dark colours of revenge. Verdi revisited the work in the years of his maturity and transformed the white-hot melodrama into an opera full of subtlety and wisdom that foreshadows his late masterpieces. Carlos Alvarez stars in this production from the Royal Opera House, London.

Presented by Martin Handley with guest Nicholas Baragwanath

Simon Boccanegra....Carlos Alvarez (Baritone)
Jacopo Fiesco....Ferruccio Furlanetto (Bass)
Amelia Grimaldi....Hirachuhi Bassenz (Soprano)
Gabriele Adorno....Francesco Meli (Tenor)
Paolo Albiani....Mark Rucker (Baritone)
Pietro....Simon Shibambu (Bass)
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Royal Opera House Chorus
Henrik Nanasi (Conductor

6.30pm Prologue and Act 1
8.00pm Interval
8.25pm Acts 2 and 3

Strauss Der Rosenkavalier From The Met20210313The elegant Marschallin is devoted to her younger lover, the impetous Octavian, but knows that one day his head will be turned by a younger woman and she'll have to let him go. When Octavian is appointed to deliver a silver rose to the beautiful young heiress Sophie, the inevitable happens. In this performance from 2017 Renée Fleming sings her signature role of the Marschallin for the final time, with Elīna Garanča and Erin Morley completing the love triangle, and Günther Groissböck as the larger-than-life Baron Ochs. Sebastian Weigle conducts Strauss's intricate score which combines the Viennese waltz with comedy and some of the most sumptuous writing for the female voice.

Presented from New York by Mary Jo Heath and Ira Siff.

Marschallin....Renée Fleming (soprano),
Octavian....Elīna Garanča (mezzo-soprano),
Sophie....Erin Morley (soprano),
Annina....Helene Schneiderman (mezzo-soprano)
A Singer....Matthew Polenzani (tenor),
Valzacchi....Alan Oke (tenor),
Faninal....Markus Brück (baritone),
Baron Ochs....Günther Groissböck (bass)
New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Sebastian Weigle (conductor)

Ren\u00e9e Fleming sings her signature role of the Marschallin for the final time.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Strauss: Ariadne Auf Naxos20181124A performance of Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, from this year's Aix-en-Provence music festival directed by Katie Mitchell.

Lise Davidsen stars in one of Strauss's most celebrated soprano roles as the mythological Greek heroine in this opera-within-an-opera. Eric Cutler is the Tenor, later Bacchus who leads the mournful Ariadne away to a new life and Sabine Devieilhe delivers the coloratura fireworks of Zerbinetta.

A collision of grand passion and comedy, the opera sets a libretto by Strauss's long-term collaborator, the librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal. The opera began as part of an arrangement by Hofmannsthal of Molière's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme in 1912 but Strauss rewrote the work as we now know it for a 1916 premiere.
Presented by Kate Molleson with Sarah Lenton.

Prima Donna /Ariadne…..Lise Davidsen (soprano)
The Tenor /Bacchus…..Eric Cutler (tenor)
Zerbinetta….. Sabine Devieilhe (soprano)
The Composer….. Angela Brower (mezzo-soprano)
Harlequin….. Huw Montague Rendall (baritone)
Brighella….. Jonathan Abernethy (tenor)
Scaramuccio…..Emilio Pons (tenor)
Truffaldino….. David Shipley (bass)
Naiad….. Beate Mordal (soprano)
Dryad….. Andrea Hill (contralto)
Echo….. Elena Galitskya (soprano)
Music Master….. Josef Wagner (baritone)
Dancing Master….. Rupert Charlesworth (tenor)
An Officer….. Petter Moen (tenor)
A Wigmaker….. Jean-Gabriel Saint-Martin (baritone)
The Major-Domo….. Maik Solbach (spoken role)
A Lackey….. Sava Vémic (bass)
Paris Opera Orchestra
Marc Albrecht (conductor)

SYNOPSIS
The Prologue
At a sumptuous home, two theatre troupes are preparing for their performances: a commedia dell'arte group, led by the comedienne Zerbinetta, and an opera company presenting a serious opera, Ariadne auf Naxos. The Major-domo announces that, to save time, both entertainments must be performed simultaneously.

The idealistic young Composer is loath to permit any changes to his opera. But when his teacher, the Music Master, points out that his pay depends on accepting the situation, and when Zerbinetta turns her charms upon him, he complies. When he fully realises to what he has agreed, he storms out.

The Opera
Ariadne, who has been abandoned by Theseus, laments her lost love and yearns for death. Zerbinetta and her four companions from the commedia dell'arte troupe attempt to cheer Ariadne by singing and dancing, but without success. Zerbinetta insists that the best way to cure a broken heart is to find another love. Each of the four commedia men pursues Zerbinetta.

Naiad, Dryad and Echo announce the arrival of a stranger. Ariadne assumes it is the messenger of death, but in fact it is Bacchus, who falls instantly in love with Ariadne. As Ariadne and Bacchus celebrate their love, Zerbinetta claims that she was right all along.

A performance of Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos from Aix-en-Provence.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier2017011420201107 (R3)Richard Strauss's bittersweet comic opera Der Rosenkavalier marked the start of one of the great artistic partnerships between the composer and the playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal. In this new production by Robert Carsen, soprano Renée Fleming stars as the Marschallin and mezzo Alice Coote her young lover Octavian. Knowing their love will end, they plot together to save Sophie von Faninal (soprano Sophie Bevan) from a loveless marriage to the philandering Baron Ochs, sung tonight by the bass Matthew Rose. The Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House are conducted by Andris Nelsons, and Donald Macleod presents and chats with his guest, writer and Viennese specialist Gavin Plumley.

First broadcast live in January 2017.

Marschallin.... Renée Fleming (Soprano)
Octavian.... Alice Coote (Mezzo-soprano)
Sophie von Faninal.... Sophie Bevan (Soprano)
Baron Ochs.... Matthew Rose (Bass)
Faninal.... Jochen Schmeckenbecher (Baritone)
Valzacchi.... Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke (Bass)
Annina.... Angela Simkin (Mezzo-soprano)
Italian Singer.... Giorgio Berrugi (Tenor)
Marschallin's Major Domo.... Samuel Sakker (Tenor)
Faninal's Major Domo.... Thomas Atkins (Tenor)
Marianne.... Miranda Keys (Soprano)
Innkeeper.... Alasdair Elliott (Tenor)
Police Inspector.... Scott Conner (Baritone)
Notary....Jeremy White (Bass)
Lackey / Waiter.... Dominic Barrand (Bass Baritone)
Royal Opera House Chorus
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Andris Nelsons (Conductor)

Ren\u00e9e Fleming stars in a Royal Opera House production of Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Live from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier.

Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier From The Met20210313The elegant Marschallin is devoted to her younger lover, the impetous Octavian, but knows that one day his head will be turned by a younger woman and she'll have to let him go. When Octavian is appointed to deliver a silver rose to the beautiful young heiress Sophie, the inevitable happens. In this performance from 2017 Renée Fleming sings her signature role of the Marschallin for the final time, with Elīna Garanča and Erin Morley completing the love triangle, and Günther Groissböck as the larger-than-life Baron Ochs. Sebastian Weigle conducts Strauss's intricate score which combines the Viennese waltz with comedy and some of the most sumptuous writing for the female voice.

Presented from New York by Mary Jo Heath and Ira Siff.

Marschallin.. Renée Fleming (soprano),
Octavian.. Elīna Garanča (mezzo-soprano),
Sophie.. Erin Morley (soprano),
Annina.. Helene Schneiderman (mezzo-soprano)
A Singer.. Matthew Polenzani (tenor),
Valzacchi.. Alan Oke (tenor),
Faninal.. Markus Brück (baritone),
Baron Ochs.. Günther Groissböck (bass)
New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Sebastian Weigle (conductor)

Ren\u00e9e Fleming sings her signature role of the Marschallin for the final time.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Strauss's Die Frau Ohne Schatten From The Met20210515Vladimir Jurowski conducts Richard Strauss's epic fairy-tale opera at the Met in New York, starring Anne Schwanewilms, Christine Goerke, Ildikó Komlósi, Johan Reuter & Torsten Kerl

Die Frau ohne Schatten - The Woman without a Shadow - is an opera that grapples with the essence of being human. Like Mozart's The Magic Flute, it explores the nature of love and human psychology through a drama of two contrasting couples - and mesmerising music. This 2013 production from the New York Metropolitan Opera, never previously heard in the UK, established American soprano Christine Goerke as a leading dramatic soprano - alongside German soprano Anne Schwanewilms in the title role as the Empress who must decide whether to sacrifice someone else's happiness to achieve her own.

Presented by Mary Jo Heath and Ira Siff.

Empress.... Anne Schwanewilms (soprano)
Emperor.... Torsten Kerl (tenor)
Empress's Nurse.... Ildikó Komlósi (mezzo-soprano)
Barak, a Dyer.... Johan Reuter (bass-baritone)
Barak's wife.... Christine Goerke (soprano)
Barak's One-Eyed brother.... Daniel Sutin (baritone)
Barak's Hunchback brother.... Allan Glassman (tenor)
Barak's One-Armed brother.... Nathan Stark (bass)
Falcon.... Jennifer Check (soprano)
Voice of a Young Man.... Anthony Kalil (tenor)
Voice from Above.... Maria Zifchak (mezzo-soprano)
Messenger of Keikobad.... Richard Paul Fink (baritone)
Guardian of the Threshold.... Andrey Nemzer (countertenor)
Servants.... Haeran Hong, Dísella Làrusdóttir (sopranos), Edyta Kulczak (mezzo-soprano)
Voices of the Unborn Children.... Anne-Carolyn Bird, Ashley Emerson, Danielle Talamantes, Monica Yunus (sopranos), Megan Marino, Renée Tatum (mezzo-sopranos)
Watchmen.... David Won (baritone), Jeongcheol Cha, Brandon Cedel (bass-baritones)
Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Conductor Vladimir Jurowski

Vladimir Jurowski conducts Richard Strauss's epic fairy-tale opera at the Met in New York.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Strauss's Elektra From The New York Met20180317Today's opera from the Met is Richard Strauss's mighty take on the Greek legend of Elektra. Daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Klytämnestra, Elektra is in mourning for her father, killed by her mother and her lover. Elektra is obsessed with the revenge she intends to take, enlisting her siblings for help. In this startlingly modern sounding work, Christine Goerke sings Elektra, driven mad by her desire for revenge, Michaela Schuster her fearsome mother, and Mikhail Petrenko and Elza van den Heever her brother and sister.

Elektra.... Christine Goerke (soprano)
Chrysothemis.... Elza van den Heever (soprano)
Klytämnestra.... Michaela Schuster (mezzo-soprano)
Aegisth.... Jay Hunter Morris (tenor)
Orest.... Mikhail Petrenko (bass)

New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Richard Strauss's Elektra from the Met with Christine Goerke in the title role.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Stravinsky 50 - The Rake's Progress2021041020210424 (R3)When Igor Stravinsky, inspired by the 18th-century prints of William Hogarth's The Rake's Progress, approached poet W.H. Auden for a libretto, one of the greatest opera collaborations came into being. Joined by Auden's partner, Chester Kallman, the two men of words created a quirky parable in rhyme that Stravinsky fired up into some of his most striking, theatrical, and often tender music.

Tom Rakewell, egotistical and spendthrift, is lured away from the countryside and his faithful sweetheart Anne Truelove to London. He has been tricked by Nick Shadow, a Mephistophelean man, who introduces him to a new life of brothels, money-making scams, and debauchery. Where will it lead? Stravinsky's last Neo-Classical work weaves Classical pastoral, the Faust legend, fairy tale, circus, and the Bible, with hints of Mozart, Handel and Monteverdi. The Rake's Progress is Stravinsky at the height of his powers and is the perfect introduction to his genius.

This acclaimed semi-staged performance was recorded on 22rd March 1997 at the Royal Festival Hall, London.

Presented by Kate Molleson in conversation with Professor Jonathan Cross of the University of Oxford.

Anne Trulove.... Joan Rodgers (soprano)
Tom Rakewell.... Barry Banks (tenor)
Father Trulove….. Philip Ens (bass)
Nick Shadow….. William Shimell (baritone)
Mother Goose…..Susan Bickley (mezzo)
Baba the Turk…..Jane Henschel (contralto)
Sellem the Auctioneer: Robin Leggate (tenor)
Keeper of the Madhouse: Henry Waddington (bass)
BBC Singers
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Sir Andrew Davis (conductor)

SYNOPSIS

In the idyllic countryside, Anne Trulove and Tom Rakewell celebrate their love. Anne's father has found a job for Tom in the city, but Tom longs for an easier path to money. Nick Shadow appears with news that Tom has inherited a fortune from an unknown uncle. They must leave for London and Tom need only pay Shadow for his services after a year and a day. In the wicked city, Shadow introduces Tom to Mother Goose's brothel. Back in the country, Anne fears the worst and decides that she must rescue Tom.

Meanwhile, Tom, in his new London house, is already bored with ordinary pleasures, so Shadow suggests visiting the amazing bearded woman, Baba the Turk. When Anne arrives at Tom's house, she is horrified to find him married to the hideous Baba. When Tom tires of Baba as well, Shadow appears with one last new idea… a machine that turns stones into bread. Anne again appears to save Tom, but this time his house is for sale and his property for auction. The bankrupt Tom has disappeared with Shadow. Baba urges Anne to follow him.

A year and a day from their first meeting, Shadow brings Tom to a graveyard at night. A terrified Tom discovers he must pay not with money but with his soul. But, as Shadow is about to take hold of him, Tom hears Anne's voice in the distance and his past love is reawakened. Shadow, defeated, disappears into the ground. Tom survives, but he is now mad and is shut up in Bedlam. Anne comes there to comfort him, but there is little to be done. Her father arrives and persuades her to leave Tom to his fate.

© Boosey & Hawkes/Gerard McBurney.

Sir Andrew Davis conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers and outstanding cast.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

When Igor Stravinsky, inspired by the 18th-century paintings of William Hogarth's The Rake's Progress, approached poet W.H. Auden for a libretto, one of the greatest opera collaborations came into being. Joined by Auden's partner, Chester Kallman, the two men of words created a quirky parable in rhyme that Stravinsky fired up into some of his most striking, theatrical, and often tender music.

This acclaimed semi-staged performance was recorded on 22nd March 1997 at the Royal Festival Hall, London.

Anne Truelove.... Joan Rodgers (soprano)
Tom Rakewell.... Barry Banks (tenor)
Father Trulove….. Philip Ens (bass)
Nick Shadow….. William Shimell (baritone)
Mother Goose…..Susan Bickley (mezzo)
Baba the Turk…..Jane Henschel (contralto)
Sellem the Auctioneer: Robin Leggate (tenor)
Keeper of the Madhouse: Henry Waddington (bass)
BBC Singers
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Sir Andrew Davis (conductor)

Sir Andrew Davis conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers and an outstanding cast.

Street Scene By Kurt Weill20200411Petroc Trelawny presents a performance of Opera North's highly acclaimed new production of Kurt Weill's 1946 operatic materpiece Street Scene recorded at the Leeds Grand Theatre. Petroc is joined by Kara McKechnie, professor of dramaturgy at Leeds University. During the interval we hear from Kim Kowalke, President of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music and rare recordings of Kurt Weill himself both singing, and also speaking on American radio in the 1940's.

American Opera in two acts

Music by Kurt Weill

Book by Elmer Rice, based on his play of the same name

Lyrics by Langston Hughes and Elmer Rice.

Anna Maurrant …..Giselle Allen
Frank Maurrant …..Robert Hayward
Rose Maurrant…..Gillene Butterfield
Sam Kaplan …..Alex Banfield
Greta Fiorentino…..Miranda Bevin
Lippo Fiorentino…..Christopher Turner
Emma Jones…..Claire Pascoe
George Jones…..Richard Mosley-Evans
Mae Jones…..Michelle Andrews
Dick Mcgann…..Rodney Vubya
Olga Olsen…..Amy J Payne
Carl Olsen…..John Savournin
Henry Davis….Byron Jackson
Harry Easter…..Quirijn De Lang
Daniel Buchanan…..Stuart Laing
Abraham Kaplan…..Dean Robinson
Jennie Hildebrand…..Laura Kelly-McInroy
Chorus and Orchestra of Opera North
James Holmes, conductor

Opera North's new production of Kurt Weill's 1946 operatic masterpiece Street Scene.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Szymanowski: Krol Roger2015051620200613 (R3)Szymanowski's King Roger, from the Royal Opera House, conducted by Antonio Pappano.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Tonight's Opera on 3 is another chance to hear Szymanowski's rarely performed masterpiece, Król Roger (King Roger), from the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden which was recorded live in May 2015. It stars Mariusz Kwiecien in the title role, conducted by Antonio Pappano in the production by Kasper Holten.

Szymanowski's great opera, which had its premiere in 1926, grew out of his passion for Mediterranean culture as an amalgam of different peoples and religions. It also treats some of the themes that first appeared in his lost homoerotic novel Efebos. Set in 12th-century Sicily, the opera traces the journey to enlightenment of the Christian King Roger II through his encounter with a mysterious pagan Shepherd. While Roger's court call for the Shepherd to be put to death, Roger's queen Roxana urges her husband to accept the Shepherd's creed. Roger gradually realizes that he can only maintain his integrity by neither merely upholding the law of the church, or by yielding to the wild freedom (symbolised in abandoned dances) of the Shepherd and his followers. In his final ecstatic soliloquy, Roger attains self-realization.

Andrew McGregor introduces the performance that was originally heard live in May 2015.

King Roger II of Sicily....Mariusz Kwiecien (Baritone)
Shepherd....Saimir Pirgu (Tenor)
Roxana....Georgia Jarman (Soprano)
Edrisi....Kim Begley (Tenor)
Archbishop....Alan Ewing (Bass)
Deaconess....Agnes Zwierko (Mezzo-soprano)
The Royal Opera Chorus
The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Antonio Pappano (Conductor)

Tchaikovsky's The Maid Of Orleans20171118Martin Handley introduces a performance of Tchaikovsky's the Maid of Orleans.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Tchaikovsky's The Queen Of Spades20190413Tchaikovsky's dark opera about obsession and greed, The Queen of Spades tells of the young impoverished officer Gherman as he attempts to end his run of bad luck by trying to discover the old Countess's secret of winning at cards. At the same time he becomes obsessed with the Countess's granddaughter, Lisa, and desperately tries to win her hand in marriage. Willing to risk everything, Gherman ends up gambling with love and life and losing at both.
The cast is led by the tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko as Gherman with soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek as the granddaughter Lisa. Renowned mezzo-soprano Dame Felicity Palmer captivates in the role of the Countess who seals Gherman's fate. Antonio Pappano conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in Tchaikovsky's richly sonorous and dramatic score.
Sean Rafferty presents and in the interval chats to Russian literature specialist Rosamund Bartlett.

Gherman....Aleksandrs Antonenko (Tenor)
Lisa....Eva-Maria Westbroek (Soprano)
Prince Yeletsky....Vladimir Stoyanov (Baritone)
Countess....Felicity Palmer (Mezzo-soprano)
Count Tomsky....John Lundgren (Baritone)
Pauline....Anna Goryachova (Mezzo-soprano)
Chekalinsky....Alexandre Kravets (Tenor)
Surin....Tigran Martirossian (Baritone)
Governess....Louise Winter (Mezzo-soprano)
Master of Ceremonies....Harry Nicoll (Tenor)
Prilepa....Jacquelyn Stucker (Soprano)
Chaplitsky....Konu Kim (Tenor)
Narumov....Michael Mofidian (Bass)
Royal Opera House Chorus
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Antonio Pappano (Conductor)

Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

The Greek Passion20191109Flora Willson and Nigel Simeone are at the Leeds Grand Theatre to introduce Opera North's production of Martinu's opera The Greek Passion given in its rarely heard original version. It is a tale of prejudice and moral conviction set in a small Greek village as the villagers prepare to present their annual staging of Christ's Passion. The impact that the passion play has on the performers leads them to question attitudes to a group of refugees who have sought asylum in the neighbourhood, which in turn brings the village in conflict with its church elders.

Martinu composed the opera at the end of his life for London, but perhaps for political reasons the opera was never presented. He later recreated another version for Vienna, but Opera North, in a co-production with Den Norske Opera, have returned to the original and created a startling and topical telling, directed by Christopher Alden, which has garnered enthusiastic reviews. Sung in English, this is an chance to hear a vibrant and colourful work, full of folk inspired elements and impassioned drama.

CAST

MANOLIOS.... Nicky Spence (tenor)
KATERINA....Magdalena Molendowska (soprano)
YANNAKOS....Paul Nilon (tenor)
PANAIT....Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (tenor)
PRIEST GRIGORIS....Stephen Gadd (baritone)
PRIEST FOTIS....John Savournin (bass-baritone)
KOSTANDIS....Richard Mosley-Evans (baritone)
LENIO....Lorna James (soprano)
CAPTAIN....Steven Page (baritone)
ARCHON....Jonathan Best (bass-baritone)
MICHELIS....Alexander Robin Baker (tenor)
NIKOLIO....Alex Banfield (tenor)
SCHOOLMASTER....Ivan Sharpe (tenor)
FATHER LADAS....Jeremy Peaker (baritone)

Opera North Chorus
Opera North Orchestra conducted by Garry Walker.

Opera North's production of Martinu's late opera

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

The Magic Flute Presented By Donald Macleod20190330Opera North's acclaimed new production of Mozart's magical masterpiece performed at the Grand Theatre in Leeds. This late Mozartean adventure into the worlds of fantasy and magic is much more than its wonderful, crowd-pleasing tunes.

Pamina....Vuvu Mpofu (Soprano)
Tamino....Kang Wang (Tenor)
Queen of the Night....Samantha Hay (Soprano)
Sarastro....John Savournin (Bass)
Papageno....Gavan Ring (Baritone)
Papagena....Amy Freston (Soprano)
First Lady....Lorna James (Soprano)
Second lady....Helen Evora (Mezzo-soprano)
Third Lady....Amy J Payne (Mezzo-soprano)
Monostatos....John Findon (Tenor)
Speaker....Dean Robinson (Bass)
First Armed Man....Stuart Laing (Tenor)
Second Armed Man....Richard Mosley-Evans (Baritone)
First Priest....Ivan Sharpe (Tenor)
Second Priest....Paul Gibson (Baritone)
Three Boys... Lucy Sherman, Ben Hayes, Matilda Hazell

Opera North Orchestra
Opera North Chorus
Robert Howarth (Conductor)

In the interval Donald Macleod talks to Professor Cliff Eisen of King's College London, one of the world's leading Mozart experts.

Mozart's magical masterpiece sung in English at Leeds Grand Theatre by Opera North.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

The Royal Opera House Christmas Concert20201226From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in London, a Christmas Concert recorded earlier this week with highlights from Rossini's Cenerentola, Puccini's La Boheme, Mozart's The Magic Flute and Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, plus Vaughan Williams's Fantasia on Christmas.Mark Wigglesworth conducts a starry cast of soloists including the soprano Jennifer Davis, the mezzo-soprano Hanna Hipp, baritones Roderick Williams, Ross Ramgobin, Gyula Nagy, Germán E. Alcántara and Dominic Sedgwick, as well as the bass Jeremy White, all accompanied by the orchestra and chorus of the Royal Opera House.

Presented by Kate Molleson.

Rossini: La Cenerentola, Overture
Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel, Act 2
Puccini: La Boheme, Act 2 (from Musetta's entrance)
Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Christmas
Mozart: The Magic Flute (Excerpts)

Jennifer Davis, soprano
Hanna Hipp, mezzo-soprano
Roderick Williams, baritone
Ross Ramgobin, baritone
Gyula Nagy, baritone
Germán E. Alcántara, baritone
Dominic Sedgwick, baritone
Jeremy White, bass

Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Mark Wigglesworth, conductor

Highlights from operas by Rossini, Puccini, Mozart, Humperdinck and other seasonal music.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in London, a Christmas Concert recorded earlier this week with highlights from Rossini's Cenerentola, Puccini's La Boheme, Mozart's The Magic Flute and Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, plus Vaughan Williams's Fantasia on Christmas. Mark Wigglesworth conducts a starry cast of soloists including the soprano Jennifer Davis, the mezzo-soprano Hanna Hipp, baritones Roderick Williams, Ross Ramgobin, Gyula Nagy, Germán E. Alcántara and Dominic Sedgwick, as well as the bass Jeremy White, all accompanied by the orchestra and chorus of the Royal Opera House.

Presented by Kate Molleson.

Rossini: La Cenerentola, Overture
Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel, Act 2
Puccini: La Boheme, Act 2 (from Musetta's entrance)
Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Christmas
Mozart: The Magic Flute (Excerpts)

Jennifer Davis, soprano
Hanna Hipp, mezzo-soprano
Roderick Williams, baritone
Ross Ramgobin, baritone
Gyula Nagy, baritone
Germán E. Alcántara, baritone
Dominic Sedgwick, baritone
Jeremy White, bass

Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Mark Wigglesworth, conductor

Highlights from operas by Rossini, Puccini, Mozart, Humperdinck and other seasonal music.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

The Silver Tassie20181110Live from the Barbican Hall, the BBC Symphony Orchestra presents Mark-Anthony Turnage's The Silver Tassie. Ryan Wigglesworth conducts an all-star British cast and the BBC Singers.

Presented by Andrew McGregor
Live from the Barbican Hall, London

Mark-Anthony Turnage: The Silver Tassie (Libretto by Amanda Holden after the play by Sean O'Casey)

Act I
Act II

8.05 Interval

8.25
Act III
Act IV

Harry.... Ashley Riches (baritone)
Susie.... Sally Matthews (soprano)
Croucher.... Brindley Sherratt (bass)
Mrs Foran.... Claire Booth (soprano)
Teddy.... Marcus Farnsworth (baritone)
Barney.... Alexander Robin Baker (baritone)
Jessie.... Louise Alder (soprano)
Mrs Heegan....Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano)
Sylvester.... Mark Le Brocq (tenor)
Dr Maxwell/Staff Officer.... Anthony Gregory (tenor)
Corporal.... Benedict Nelson (baritone)
BBC Singers
Finchley Children's Music Group
Kenneth Richardson (Director)
Ryan Wigglesworth (Conductor)

Sean O'Casey's provocative 1928 play The Silver Tassie pries open the wound of the First World War and peers unblinkingly into its horrifying depths. The futility of war and its painful human cost is conveyed with even greater intensity in Mark-Anthony Turnage's beautifully crafted operatic adaptation, which explores what happens when young, football-mad Harry comes back from the war in a wheelchair.

An all-star British cast has been assembled including Susan Bickley, Sally Matthews and Louise Alder, with rising young baritone Ashley Riches as Harry, for this long-overdue revival of the opera, premiered in 2000 at ENO.

SYNOPSIS
The Silver Tassie, Turnage's second acknowledged opera, is on a much larger scale than his first, Greek. Based on the play by Sean O'Casey written in 1927, it is set at the time of the Great War (World War I) and its title, referring to a footballing trophy, comes from a Scottish song text by Robert Burns ‘Go fetch to me a pint o' wine, an' fill it in a silver tassie; that I may drink before I go, a service to my bonnie lassie'.
Harry Heegan (23) is a local hero - a soldier on leave from the Great War, and a renowned footballer. An only child, he lives with his parents (both in their 60s), having grown up close to the girl next door, Susie. In the flat above is a volatile young couple, Mrs Foran and her husband Teddy. The other main roles are Harry's glamorous girlfriend, Jessie, and his best friend, Barney. Triumphant after a footballing success and winning the cup (‘The Silver Tassie') for his team, he leaves for the front. The second act, a darkly expressionist vision of war, is cast for male voices (boys and men) only. In the second half of the opera, Harry is in a wheelchair, Teddy is blind and Jessie has deserted Harry for Barney. The final act, in which dance music plays almost continuously, brings the tragi-comedy to a poignant and moving conclusion, as Harry and Teddy set off to face the future.

Live from the Barbican Hall, the BBC SO presents Mark-Anthony Turnage's The Silver Tassie.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

The Skating Rink20181006Tonight's Opera on 3 is the world premiere of David Sawer's The Skating Rink, recorded over the summer at Garsington Opera. Based on a novel by the Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño, the opera is set in a fictional Spanish seaside town. At the centre of the action is a beautiful ice skater, Nuria, the two men for fall for her, and the ice rink secretly built for her to train in. Part love story, part murder mystery, the opera is told by a trio of narrators, and includes real ice skating. Garry Walker conducts Lauren Zolezzi as Nuria, and Grant Doyle, Sam Furness and Ben Edquist as the men who get tangled up in a relationship which ends with a death on the ice. Andrew McGregor talks to David Sawer about the process of composition, and is joined in the box by music critic Fiona Maddocks.

Enric.... Grant Doyle (baritone)
Gaspar.... Sam Furness (tenor)
Remo.... Ben Edquist (baritone)
Carmen.... Susan Bickley (mezzo)
Caridad.... Claire Wild (soprano)
Nuria.... Lauren Zolezzi (soprano)
Rookie.... Alan Oke (tenor)
Pilar.... Louise Winter (mezzo)
Karaoke singer.... Steven Beard (actor-singer)

Garsington Opera Orchestra
Garry Walker (conductor)

SYNOPSIS RORY MULLARKEY
Place: A small seaside town on the Costa Brava, Spain
Time: Towards the end of the summer, early 1990s

ACT ONE: Gaspar
Gaspar, a young Mexican aspiring poet, works as a night watchman. His boss, Remo Moran, a successful Chilean businessman, orders him to evict two female vagrants, Caridad and Carmen, who have been staying there for free. Gaspar is reluctant, he is attached to Caridad, but he obeys Remo in order to keep his job. As time passes Gaspar continues to think about Caridad. He goes to look for her and finds Carmen, whom he follows through a dreamlike fiesta, until he spots her arguing with a presumed lover – Rookie. He then notices Caridad in the crowd, and follows her to the Palacio Benvingut,. Inside the mansion he discovers a secret ice rink, where a beautiful young figure skater, Nuria, is skating, watched by an older man, Enric. Gaspar sees Caridad in the shadows, holding a knife.

ACT TWO: Remo
A jump back in time, to follow events from Remo's point of view.
Remo is tasked by Enric, with removing all vagrants from his campsite. He ignores the order and devotes his energy instead to Nuria, the skater, who has recently become his girlfriend. Nuria's funding has been cut and she has nowhere to train. The couple take a romantic swim but run into Enric on the beach. Remo sees that Enric is jealous of his relationship with Nuria. Carmen and Caridad are evicted from the campsite. Nuria begins to spend less and less time with Remo. Unable to find her, he turns to drink. In a seafront bar one evening, he meets Carmen and Rookie. Carmen entertains the patrons with her singing, and hints that she has information with which she might blackmail Enric. Gaspar arrives at Remo's room and tells him he's found Nuria, at the Palacio Benvingut. Remo rushes there, discovers the skating rink, and makes a gruesome discovery: the body of Carmen, stabbed to death on the ice.

ACT THREE: Enric
From the beginning but from Enric's perspective: Pilar, the town's socialist mayor, tasks Enric with ridding the area of vagrants. Enric is obsessed with Nuria. After finding out about the loss of her funding, he has embezzled a large amount of public money and built her a secret ice rink in the Palacio Benvingut. He hopes that this grand gesture will make her fall in love with him. He goes with her to the ice rink every afternoon and watches her train. He dreams that he himself can figure skate. When Enric runs into Remo and Nuria together on the beach, his hopes of romance are dashed. Carmen and Caridad are evicted from the campsite. Nuria falls over while training. She senses Enric's jealousy and assures him her relationship with Remo is just about sex. Enric goes out onto the ice and attempts to dance for her but is startled by a noise in the shadows.

Carmen visits Enric in his office. She and Caridad stumbled upon the secret ice rink while searching for a new place to stay and Carmen now hopes to blackmail Enric in return for her silence. Enric gives Carmen some money and she goes, warning Enric she wants more. Nuria accidentally reveals the existence of the ice rink to Pilar. Enric attempts to maintain his composure by dancing with Nuria but is obliged to admit that he has embezzled funds when Pilar confronts him. Remo arrives with the police, who arrest Enric for Carmen's murder. Enric protests his innocence as he is escorted away.

CODA
Gaspar finds Caridad on the ice, clutching a bloody knife. Caridad swears she didn't murder Carmen. The pair make plans to flee to Mexico. Nuria visits Enric in prison. He has been convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to two years. Nuria promises to wait for him. Remo meets Rookie on the beach. The identity of the murderer is revealed.

The world premiere of David Sawer's The Skating Rink from Garsington Opera.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Thomas Ades's The Exterminating Angel20170527From the Royal Opera House, Thomas Ades conducts his opera The Exterminating Angel.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Tosca From The Met20180127Tonight's opera from the Met is Puccini's verismo opera Tosca, which tells the tale of the love between Tosca and Cavaradossi pitted against the plotting of the evil chief of police, Baron Scarpia. A top cast includes Sonya Yoncheva as Tosca and Vittorio Grigolo as her doomed lover Cavaradossi. Emmanuel Villaume conducts.

Tosca.... Sonya Yoncheva (soprano)
Cavaradossi.... Vittorio Grigolo (tenor)
Scarpia.... Željko Lučić (baritone)
Sacristan.... Patrick Carfizzi (bass-baritone)
Angelotti.... Christian Zaremba (bass)
Spoletta.... Brenton Ryan (tenor)
Sciarrone.... Christopher Job (bass-baritone)
A Jailer.... Richard Bernstein (bass)
A Shepherd Boy.... Davida Dayle (soprano)
Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Emmanuel Villaume (conductor).

Tonight's opera from the Met is Puccini's Tosca with Sonya Yoncheva and Vittorio Grigolo.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Tosca From The Met20190406Tonight's opera from the Met is Puccini's verismo opera Tosca, which tells the tale of the love between Tosca and Cavaradossi pitted against the plotting of the evil chief of police, Baron Scarpia. A top cast includes Jennifer Rowley as Tosca and Joseph Calleja as her doomed lover Cavaradossi. Carlo Rizzi conducts.

Presented by Mary Jo Heath, in conversation with Ira Siff.

Tosca....Jennifer Rowley (Soprano)
Cavaradossi....Joseph Calleja (Tenor)
Scarpia....Wolfgang Koch (Baritone)
Sacristan....Philip Cokorinos (Tenor)
Spoletta....Tony Stevenson (Tenor)
Sciarrone....Bradley Garvin (Bass)
Cesare Angelotti....Oren Gradus (Bass)
Jailer....Paul Corona (Bass)
Shepherd Boy....Davida Dayle (Soprano)
New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Carlo Rizzi (Conductor)

Tosca, from the Metropolitan Opera House, New York.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Un Ballo In Maschera20180512Donald Macleod presents a broadcast from Leeds Grand Theatre of Verdi's 3-act masterpiece "Un Ballo in Maschera" (A Masked Ball) in Tim Albery's new production for Opera North. He's joined by the expert in 19th century opera Dr Flora Willson, Lecturer in Music at King's College London.

The opera is based, somewhat loosely, on the real life assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden in 1792. To beat the censors Verdi had to agree to transposing the action from Stockholm to Boston. This production, however, follows the modern trend to bring Un Ballo in Maschera back to Europe once again. King Gustavo is in love with the wife of his friend and advisor, Count Anckarstrom. Ulrica, the fortune-teller, informs the King that the next person to shake hands with him will be the person who will betray and kill him. When subsequently Anckarstrom walks in and shakes his hand King Gustav pours scorn on the prophesy since he knows his friend would not murder him. So he thinks.

The cast is led by the brilliant Mexican tenor Rafael Rojas.

King Gustavus.... Rafael Rojas (tenor)
Count Anckarstroem.... Phillip Rhodes (baritone)
Amelia.... Adrienn Miksch (soprano)
Ulrika Arvidson.... Patricia Bardon (mezzo-soprano)
Oscar.... Tereza Gevorgyan (soprano)
Count Ribbing.... Dean Robinson (bass)
Count Horn.... John Savournin (bass)
Christian.... Richard Mosley-Evans (bass)

Opera North Orchestra & Chorus
Richard Farnes (Conductor).

Opera North's new production of Verdi's A Masked Ball from Leeds Grand Theatre.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Verdi - Aida From The Met20190504Verdi's tale of love and betrayal set in Ancient Egypt. Radames is in love with Aida, the slave of Princess Amneris, and believes that victory in war will enable him to free and marry her. But he hasn't counted on Amneris's feelings for him...

In this production from the Met, Anna Netrebko sings her first Aida with the company, with Anita Rachvelishvili as Amneris, and Aleksandrs Antonenko as Radames. Nicola Luisotti conducts.

Presented from the Met by Mary Jo Heath and Ira Siff.

Aida....Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Amneris....Anita Rachvelishvili (Mezzo-soprano)
Radames....Aleksandrs Antonenko (Tenor)
Amonasro....Quinn Kelsey (Baritone)
Ramfis....Dmitry Belosselskiy (Bass)
The King of Egypt....Ryan Speedo Green (Bass)
New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus
New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Nicola Luisotti (Conductor)

Opera on 3 from the Metropolitan Opera House, New York.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Verdi's tale of love and betrayal set in ancient Egypt. Radames is in love with Aida, the slave of Princess Amneris, and believes that victory in war will enable him to free and marry her. But he hasn't counted on Amneris's feelings for him...

In this production from the Met, Anna Netrebko sings her first Aida, with Anita Rachvelishvili as Amneris, and Aleksandrs Antonenko as Radames. Nicola Luisotti conducts.

Verdi's Aida From La Scala In Milan20210102An exclusive chance to hear a new version of Verdi's famous opera, Aida. Buried deep in a locked trunk at Verdi's family villa, this new version of the third act was discovered and made public in 2019 and performed for the first time at the Teatro alla Scala in October 2020.

Soprano Saioa Hernández stars as the Ethiopian slave Aida, with mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili as her rival, the Princess Amneris. Tenor Francesco Meli is Radamès, the military commander and Riccardo Chailly conducts the La Scala Orchestra and Chorus. A dramatic and emotional tale of love, betrayal and war this is not to be missed.

Presented by Martin Handley, with guest Flora Willson

The King of Egypt....Roberto Tagliavini (Bass)
Amneris....Anita Rachvelishvili (Mezzo-soprano)
Aida....Saioa Hernández (Soprano)
Radamès....Francesco Meli (Tenor)
Ramfis....Jongmin Park (Bass)
Amonasro....Amartuvshin Enkhbat (Baritone)
a Messenger....Francesco Pittari (Tenor horn)
the High Priestess....Chiara Isotton (Soprano)
La Scala Chorus
La Scala Orchestra
Riccardo Chailly (Conductor)

Verdi's Aida from La Scala in Milan, with Saioa Hern\u00e1ndez in the title role.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Verdi's Aida From Salzburg Festival 201720171202Riccardo Muti conducts Verdi's Aida from 2017's Salzburg Festival with Anna Netrebko.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Verdi's Don Carlo20170617From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, a performance of Verdi's Don Carlo.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Verdi's Falstaff2018092220201212 (R3)Verdi's final opera, Falstaff, in a performance from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, starring Bryn Terfel.

After a string of successful operatic tragedies and melodramas, Verdi took his final leave of the stage with a quicksilver comedy that casts a wise but wry glance at the foibles of human nature. Falstaff, the fat knight, is full of vanity and self-deceit; but his attempts to seduce the merry wives of Windsor are carried out with such self-aggrandising swagger, confidence and sheer verve that he sweeps all before him. In ripe old age, Verdi achieved an Indian summer in which the flow of melody and novel orchestration complemented every twist and turn of Shakespeare's riotous plot.

Presented by Sean Rafferty in conversation with Verdi expert Dr Flora Willson.

Sir John Falstaff....Bryn Terfel (bass-baritone)
Alice Ford.... Ana María Martinez (soprano)
Ford.... Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
Nannetta.... Anna Prohaska (soprano)
Fenton.... Frédéric Antoun (tenor)
Mistress Quickly.... Marie-Nicole Lemieux (contralto)
Meg Page.... Marie McLaughlin (mezzo-soprano)
Dr Caius.... Peter Hoare (tenor)
Bardolph.... Michael Colvin (tenor)
Pistol.... Craig Colclough (bass-baritone)
Royal Opera Chorus
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Nicola Luisotti (conductor)

* 7.10 pm Act 2
* 7.55 pm Interval
* 8.15 pm Act3

SYNOPSIS
Act I
Dr Caius bursts into Sir John Falstaff's room in the Garter Inn, accusing him of unseemly behaviour the previous night. He further accuses Falstaff's two henchmen, Bardolph and Pistol, of having robbed him while he was drunk. Unable to obtain reparations, Dr Caius leaves in a fury.

Falstaff informs Bardolph and Pistol that in order to repair his finances he plans to seduce Alice Ford and Meg Page, both wives of prosperous Windsor citizens.

Alice Ford and Meg Page laugh over the identical love letters they have received from Sir John Falstaff.

Ford arrives and learns of Falstaff's plan to seduce his wife. He immediately becomes jealous. While Alice and Meg plan how to take revenge on their importunate suitor, Ford decides to disguise himself in order to pay a visit to Falstaff.

Act II
Feigning penitence, Bardolph and Pistol rejoin Falstaff's service. They show in Mistress Quickly, who informs Falstaff that both Alice and Meg are madly in love with him.

Bardolph now announces that a ‘Mister Brook' (Ford in disguise) wishes to speak to Falstaff. ‘Brook' offers him wine and money if he will seduce Alice Ford, Falstaff agrees to the plan, telling his surprised new friend that he already has a rendezvous with Alice that very afternoon.

As Falstaff leaves to prepare himself, Ford gives way to jealous rage.
Mistress Quickly, Alice and Meg are preparing for Falstaff's visit. Falstaff arrives and begins his seduction of Alice, nostalgically boasting of his aristocratic youth as page to the Duke of Norfolk. But just at that point Mistress Quickly suddenly returns in a panic to inform Alice that Ford really is on his way, and in a jealous temper.

The terrified Falstaff seeks a hiding place, eventually ending up in a large laundry basket. Fenton and Nannetta also hide. Hearing the sound of kissing, Ford is convinced that he has found his wife and her lover Falstaff together, but is furious to discover Nannetta and Fenton instead. To general hilarity, Falstaff is thrown into the River Thames.

Act III
A wet and bruised Falstaff laments the wickedness of the world, Mistress Quickly persuades him that Alice was innocent of the unfortunate incident at Ford's house. In a letter, which Quickly gives to Falstaff, Alice asks the knight to appear at midnight, disguised as the Black Huntsman.

Ford, Nannetta, Meg and Alice prepare the second part of their plot: Ford secretly promises Caius that he will marry Nannetta that evening. Mistress Quickly overhears them…

As Fenton and Nannetta are reunited, Alice explains her plan to trick Ford into marrying them. On the stroke of midnight, Alice appears. She declares her love for Falstaff, but suddenly runs away, saying that she hears spirits approaching.

Nannetta, disguised as the Queen of the Fairies, summons her followers who attack the terrified Falstaff, pinching and poking him until he promises to give up his dissolute ways. In the midst of the assault Falstaff suddenly recognises Bardolph, and realizes that he has been tricked. Falstaff accepts that he has been made a figure of fun.

Dr Caius now comes forward with a figure in white. When the brides remove their veils, it is revealed that Ford has just married Fenton to Nannetta, and Dr Caius to Bardolph! With everyone now laughing at his expense, Ford has no choice but to forgive the lovers, and bless their marriage. Before sitting down to a wedding supper with Sir John Falstaff, the entire company agrees that the whole world may be nothing but a jest filled with jesters, but he who laughs last, laughs best!

Robert Carsen

Verdi's opera Falstaff from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, starring Bryn Terfel.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Verdi's final opera, Falstaff, in a performance from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden starring Bryn Terfel.

After a string of successful operatic tragedies and melodramas, Verdi took his final leave of the stage with a quicksilver comedy that casts a wise but wry glance at the foibles of human nature. Falstaff, the fat knight, is full of vanity and self-deceit; but his attempts to seduce the merry wives of Windsor are carried out with such self-aggrandising swagger, confidence and sheer verve that he sweeps all before him. In ripe old age Verdi achieved an Indian summer in which the flow of melody and novel orchestration complemented every twist and turn of Shakespeare's riotous plot.

SYNOPSIS
Act I
Dr Caius bursts into Sir John Falstaff's room in the Garter Inn, accusing him of unseemly behaviour the previous night. He further accuses Falstaff's two henchmen, Bardolph and Pistol, of having robbed him while he was drunk. Unable to obtain reparations, Dr Caius leaves in a fury.
Falstaff informs Bardolph and Pistol that in order to repair his finances he plans to seduce Alice Ford and Meg Page, both wives of prosperous Windsor citizens.

Alice Ford and Meg Page laugh over the identical love letters they have received from Sir John Falstaff.
Ford arrives and learns of Falstaff's plan to seduce his wife. He immediately becomes jealous. While Alice and Meg plan how to take revenge on their importunate suitor, Ford decides to disguise himself in order to pay a visit to Falstaff.

Act II
Feigning penitence, Bardolph and Pistol rejoin Falstaff's service. They show in Mistress Quickly, who informs Falstaff that both Alice and Meg are madly in love with him.
Bardolph now announces that a ‘Mister Brook' (Ford in disguise) wishes to speak to Falstaff. ‘Brook' offers him wine and money if he will seduce Alice Ford, Falstaff agrees to the plan, telling his surprised new friend that he already has a rendezvous with Alice that very afternoon.
As Falstaff leaves to prepare himself, Ford gives way to jealous rage.
Mistress Quickly, Alice and Meg are preparing for Falstaff's visit. Falstaff arrives and begins his seduction of Alice, nostalgically boasting of his aristocratic youth as page to the Duke of Norfolk. But just at that point Mistress Quickly suddenly returns in a panic to inform Alice that Ford really is on his way, and in a jealous temper.
The terrified Falstaff seeks a hiding place, eventually ending up in a large laundry basket. Fenton and Nannetta also hide. Hearing the sound of kissing, Ford is convinced that he has found his wife and her lover Falstaff together, but is furious to discover Nannetta and Fenton instead. To general hilarity, Falstaff is thrown into the River Thames.

Act III
A wet and bruised Falstaff laments the wickedness of the world, Mistress Quickly persuades him that Alice was innocent of the unfortunate incident at Ford's house. In a letter which Quickly gives to Falstaff, Alice asks the knight to appear at midnight, disguised as the Black Huntsman.
Ford, Nannetta, Meg and Alice prepare the second part of their plot: Ford secretly promises Caius that he will marry Nannetta that evening. Mistress Quickly overhears them…

As Fenton and Nannetta are reunited, Alice explains her plan to trick Ford into marrying them. On the stroke of midnight, Alice appears. She declares her love for Falstaff, but suddenly runs away, saying that she hears spirits approaching.
Nannetta, disguised as the Queen of the Fairies, summons her followers who attack the terrified Falstaff, pinching and poking him until he promises to give up his dissolute ways. In the midst of the assault Falstaff suddenly recognizes Bardolph, and realizes that he has been tricked. Falstaff accepts that he has been made a figure of fun.
Dr Caius now comes forward with a figure in white. When the brides remove their veils it is revealed that Ford has just married Fenton to Nannetta, and Dr Caius to Bardolph! With everyone now laughing at his expense, Ford has no choice but to forgive the lovers, and bless their marriage. Before sitting down to a wedding supper with Sir John Falstaff, the entire company agrees that the whole world may be nothing but a jest filled with jesters, but he who laughs last, laughs best!

Verdi's opera Falstaff from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden starring Bryn Terfel.

Verdi's I Due Foscari20160611A performance of Verdi's I due Foscari from the Royal Opera House. With Placido Domingo.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Verdi's Il Trovatore20161022From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Gianandrea Noseda conducts Verdi's Il Trovatore

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Verdi's La Forza Del Destino20190525Antonio Pappano conducts La forza del destino at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The star-studded cast includes Anna Netrebko as Leonora, Jonas Kaufman as Don Alvaro, and Ludovic Tézier as Don Carlo di Vargas.

Verdi and his librettist and friend Francesco Maria Piave based La forza del destino (The Force of Destiny) on Ángel de Saavedra's highly dramatic play Don Alvaro, o la fuerza del sino. The story tells how the intended elopement of Leonora and Don Alvaro goes wrong when Alvaro accidentally kills Leonora's father. Both lovers escape, but only to lead separate lives as wanderers, with the father's dying curse ringing in their ears and Leonora's brother in vengeful pursuit. When the three are finally reunited, the conclusion can only be a dramatic one.

Verdi's brilliant score covers a wide range of settings and emotions, from tense confrontations to rowdy song-and-scenes in a tavern and an army camp. It also boasts some of the composer's very best tunes.

Martin Handley presents and during the interval chats to Flora Willson.

Leonora....Anna Netrebko (soprano)
Don Alvaro....Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
Don Carlo di Vargas....Ludovic Tézier (baritone)
Padre Guardiano....Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass)
Fra Melitone....Alessandro Corbelli (tenor)
Preziosilla....Veronica Simeoni (soprano)
Marquis of Calatrava....Robert Lloyd (bass)
Curra....Roberta Alexander (soprano)
Alcalde....Michael Mofidian (bass-baritone)
Maestro Trabuco....Carlo Bosi (tenor)

Antonio Pappano conducts the Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus

For a full synopsis visit the programme page.

Verdi's La forza del destino at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Verdi's Luisa Miller20180414Placido Domingo stars in Verdi's rarely performed opera, Luisa Miller, from the Metropolitan Opera House, New York. It's a heart-wrenching story of fatherly love, based on the bond between Miller - sung by Domingo - and his daughter, performed tonight by Sonya Yoncheva. Verdi wrote this at a midway point in his career, so the score is full of youthful energy but mixed too with his characteristic passionate melodic writing.
Sonya Yoncheva sings the title role opposite Piotr Beczała in the first Met performances of the opera in more than ten years, and the Met Chorus and Orchestra are conducted by Bertrand de Billy.

Presented by Mary Jo Heath and commentator Ira Siff.

Luisa.... Sonya Yoncheva (Soprano)
Federica.... Olesya Petrova (Mezzo-Soprano)
Rodolfo.... Piotr Beczala (Tenor)
Miller.... Plácido Domingo (Baritone)
Walter.... Alexander Vinogradov (Bass)
Wurm.... Dmitry Belosselskiy (Bass)

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Bertrand de Billy (Conductor).

Verdi's Luisa Miller from the Met, New York.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Verdi's Macbeth20180609Verdi began his life-long relationship with Shakespeare's works with Macbeth - considered by him to be 'one of the greatest creations of man'. The star cast is led by soprano Anna Netrebko, as Lady Macbeth, who is driven by her formidable ambition for her husband Macbeth, sung by baritone Željko Lučić, to become King. Verdi's score bursts with energy and drive, full of eerie silences and atmosphere, and expansive melodies. Recorded earlier this Spring, Antonio Pappano conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera, Covent Garden in the revival of Phyllida Lloyd's 2002 production.
James Naughtie presents and is joined by Verdi scholar, Flora Willson.

Macbeth.... Željko Lučić (baritone)
Banquo.... Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (bass)
Lady Macbeth.... Anna Netrebko (soprano)
Lady-in-waiting.... Francesca Chiejina (mezzo-soprano
Servant to Macbeth.... Jonathan Fisher (bass)
Duncan.... John O'Toole (actor)
Malcolm.... Konu Kim (tenor
Macduff.... Yusif Eyvazov (tenor)
Fleance.... Matteo Lorenzo (actor)
Assassin.... Olle Zetterström (bass)
First apparition.... John Morrissey (bass)
Second apparition.... Gaius Davey Bartlett (treble)
Third apparition.... Edward Hyde (treble)
Herald.... Jonathan Coad (bass)
Doctor.... Simon Shibambu (bass)

Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Antonio Pappano (Conductor).

Verdi's Macbeth from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, with star soprano Anna Netrebko

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Verdi's Otello: Kaufmann At 502017102120190713 (R3)Verdi's Otello from the Royal Opera House with Jonas Kaufmann in the title role

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

In celebration of Jonas Kaufmann's 50th, another chance to hear him sing the title role of Verdi's Otello from the Royal Opera House, recorded in 2017

Verdi's great Shakespearean tragedy of revenge, this gripping drama about the human psyche pushed to the limits by jealousy stars Jonas Kaufmann as the great general brought low by the evil schemes of his ensign Iago, sung by Marco Vratogna. Maria Agresta is Otellos's innocent and falsely accused wife, Desdemona, in Keith Warner's new production which emphasises the claustrophobia of this all-too-human tragedy. The Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden are conducted by Antonio Pappano. James Naughtie presents this performance, recorded in July 2017 and his guest in the box is Flora Willson.

Otello.... Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
Desdemona.... Maria Agresta (soprano)
Iago.... Marco Vratogna (baritone)
Cassio.... Frédéric Antoun (tenor)
Roderigo.... Thomas Atkins (tenor)
Emilia.... Kai Rüütel (mezzo-soprano)
Montano.... Simon Shibambu (bass)
Lodovico.... In Sung Sim (bass)
Herald.... Thomas Barnard (bass-baritone)
Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra
Antonio Pappano (conductor).

Verdi's great Shakespearean tragedy of revenge, this gripping drama about the human psyche pushed to the limits by jealousy stars Jonas Kaufmann as the great general brought low by the evil schemes of his ensign Iago, sung by Marco Vratogna. Maria Agresta is Otellos's innocent and falsely accused wife, Desdemona, in Keith Warner's new production which emphasises the claustrophobia of this all-too-human tragedy. The Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden are conducted by Antonio Pappano.James Naughtie presents this performance, recorded in July 2017 and his guest in the box is Flora Willson.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Verdi's Un Ballo In Maschera20190615It's murder on the dance floor in Verdi's darkly comic tale of love, betrayal and revenge, recorded last February at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Loosely based on a fictional account of the death, at a masked ball of the King of Sweden in 1792, Welsh National Opera's Artistic Director David Pountney's new production playfully references the King's theatrical links with its blacks and reds and Gothic references.
Centring around a love triangle, Verdi's music portrays a very human drama. Making his role debut as Riccardo, tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones is secretly in love with his best friend's wife, Amelia, sung by soprano Mary Elizabeth Williams. When they're discovered at what appears to be a secret tryst, a prophecy is set in motion with tragic consequences.

Presented by Andrew McGregor with opera expert Sarah Lenton.

Riccardo.... Gwyn Hughes Jones (tenor)
Amelia.... Mary Elizabeth Williams (soprano)
Renato.... Roland Wood (baritone)
Oscar.... Julie Martin du Theil (soprano)
Ulrica.... Sara Fulgoni (contralto)
Judge.... Gareth Dafydd Morris (tenor)
Silvano.... Jason Howard (baritone)
Servant of Amelia.... Andrew Irwin (tenor)
Samuel.... Jihoon Kim (bass)
Tom.... Tristan Hambleton (bass baritone)
Politicians, conspirators, guests at the ball.... Chorus of Welsh National Opera

Orchestra of Welsh National Opera
Carlo Rizzi (conductor)

Image (c) WNO 2019. Photographer: Bill Cooper

Welsh National Opera's new production of Verdi's Un ballo in maschera.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Wagner - Gf6tterde4mmerung From The Edinburgh International Festival20190921Destiny unfolds towards the conclusion of Wagner's epic four-opera tale of power, corruption and the ultimate destruction of the Valhalla and the Gods. Sir Andrew Davis conducts the RSNO in the epic finale of the Ring Cycle, Götterdammerung in a special production from the Usher Hall during this summer's Edinburgh International Festival. Presented by Jim Naughtie

Brünnhilde....Christine Goerke (soprano)
Siegfried....Burkhard Fritz (tenor)
Gunther....Josef Wagner (bass-baritone)
Gutrune....Amber Wagner (soprano)
Hagen....Ain Anger (bass)
Alberich....Samuel Youn (bass-baritone)
Second Norn, Waltraute....Karen Cargill (mezzo-soprano)
First Norn....Ronnita Miller (mezzo-soprano)
Third Norn....Erin Wall (soprano)
Woglinde....Danae Kontora (soprano)
Wellgunde....Catriona Morison (mezzo-soprano)
Flosshilde....Claudia Huckle (contralto)
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
RCS Voices
Sir Andrew Davis (conductor)
Timothy Dean (chorus director)
Eric Weimer, (assistant conductor)

Presenter: Jim Naughtie
Producer: Lindsay Pell

Sir Andrew Davis conducts the RSNO's epic finale of the Ring Cycle from the EIF

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Destiny unfolds towards the conclusion of Wagner's epic four opera tale of power, corruption and the ultimate destruction of the Valhalla and the Gods. Sir Andrew Davies conducts the RSNO in the epic finale of the Ring Cycle, Götterdammerung in a special production from the EIF. Presented by Jim Naughtie

Sir Andrew Davies conducts the RSNO in the epic finale of the Ring Cycle at the EIF.

Wagner: Tristan Und Isolde At The Royal Opera House2014122920200627 (R3)Wagner's Tristan and Isolde from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

"The most audacious and original work of my life" Wagner said of his epic opera Tristan and Isolde. The opera is based on the Celtic legend of Tristan and Iseult, an ill-fated love triangle. The eponymous couple meet onboard Tristan's ship as he brings Isolde from Ireland to Cornwall to marry his uncle, King Marke, sung by bass John Tomlinson. Isolde offers Tristan a deathly potion unaware that Isolde's maid Brangane, mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly, has switched this to a love potion and the two fall fatefully for each other. They continue to meet even after Isolde's marriage to King Marke, who is too broken-hearted to show his anger at Tristan's betrayal. Knowing their love cannot survive in this world, Tristan allows himself to be wounded by one of Marke's courtiers, and dies in Isolde's arms. In her liebestod, Isolde sings of the love that can only be fulfilled in death with Tristan.
The star cast is led by soprano Nina Stemme as Isolde, and tenor Stephen Gould as Tristan. Antonio Pappano conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Tonight's Opera on 3 is another chance to hear this stunning performance which was recorded and first broadcast in 2014. It's presented by Christopher Cook who's joined by Wagner specialist Sarah Lenton.

Tristan....Stephen Gould (Tenor)
Isolde....Nina Stemme (Soprano)
King Marke....John Tomlinson (Bass)
Kurwenal....Iain Paterson (Bass)
Brangane....Sarah Connolly (Mezzo-soprano)
Melot....Neal Cooper (Tenor)
Sailor....Ed Lyon (Tenor )
Shepherd....Graham Clark (Tenor)
Steersman....Yuriy Yurchuk (Bass-baritone)
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Royal Opera House Chorus
Antonio Pappano (Conductor)

Wagner's Das Liebesverbot20160618Wagner's early comic opera Das Liebesverbot from the Teatro Real in Madrid.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Wagner's Die Meistersinger Von Nfcrnberg20170610Wagner's epic comedy Die Meistersinger von N\u00fcrnberg, from Covent Garden.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Wagner's Die Walkfcre, As Part Of The Ring Of The Nibelung, From The Roh20181103Wagner's opera Die Walküre, the second opera in the The Ring of the Nibelung cycle, recorded last month at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Time has passed since the gods moved to the their new home Vallhalla, and their leader Wotan is still in search of the gold that will grant him unlimited power. He wants to use the twins Siegmund and Sieglinde, born to him out of wedlock, to retrieve it. But Fricka, as guardian of marriage, insists that Siegmund pays for his husband transgressions and wants him killed. Wotan reluctantly agrees and forces the Valkyrie Brunnhilde, his warrior daughter, also raised out of wedlock, not to protect Siegmund in a fight. But the walkyrie falls in love with Siegmund and disobeys Wotan, and as a result she is stripped of her divinity and left on a fire-encircled rock. Brunnhilde's efforts are useless as Siegmund pays with his life in this doomed saga that moves from the realm of the gods to the human sphere.

Sir Antonio Pappano conducts a cast with Stuart Skelton as Siegmund, Nina Stemme as Brünnhilde, John Lundgren as Wotan and Sarah Connolly as Fricka.

Tom Service presents.

Siegmund….. Stuart Skelton (tenor)

Sieglinde….. Emily Magee (soprano)

Hunding….. Ain Anger (bass)

Wotan….. John Lundgren (baritone)

Brünnhilde….. Nina Stemme (soprano)

Fricka….. Sarah Connolly (soprano)

Valkyries

Gerhilde….. Alwyn Mellor (soprano)

Ortlinde….. Lise Davidsen (soprano)

Waltraute….. Kai Rüütel (soprano)

Schwertleite….. Claudia Huckle (contralto)

Helmwige….. Maida Hundeling (soprano)

Siegrune….. Catherine Carby (mezzo-soprano)

Grimgerde….. Monika-Evelin Liiv (mezzo-soprano)

Rossweisse….. Emma Carrington (mezzo-soprano)

Royal Opera House Orchestra

Sir Antonio Pappano (conductor)

SYNOPSIS
Wotan has been prey to anxiety ever since he stole the ring from Alberich and used it to pay the giants rather than returning it to the Rhinedaughters. Desperate to protect himself should Alberich regain the ring, he has sought out Erda, who bore him the warrior-maiden Brünnhilde. Wotan, in the meantime, has also fathered Siegmund and Sieglinde, the Wälsung twins, with a mortal woman. With Siegmund, Wotan hopes to create a free being who will recover the ring, for he fears the curse Alberich placed on him when he violated his own rule of law.
Act I
A storm is raging. A man takes shelter. Sieglinde offers him first water, then mead, which he asks her to share. Hunding returns and offers the stranger grudging hospitality. He notices a resemblance between his wife and the stranger. The stranger tells his tale. Plagued by misfortune, the fugitive recalls the sword his father once promised he would find in his hour of greatest need. Sieglinde returns, having drugged Hunding. She recounts how, at her enforced wedding to Hunding, a stranger appeared and thrust a sword into the tree trunk. No one has been able to pull it out. She is convinced he is her twin; she names him Siegmund and urges him to remove the sword from the tree. He draws it out and claims Sieglinde as both bride and sister.

Act II
Wotan instructs Brünnhilde, his favourite Valkyrie daughter, to ensure that Siegmund wins the fight with Hunding. Fricka demands to know how Wotan can both sanction incest and uphold the supremacy of the gods so Wotan tells Brünnhilde that she must not protect Siegmund and threatens the direst consequences if she disobeys.
Brünnhilde appears to Siegmund and announces that he will die in battle and join the other heroes in Valhalla. There he will meet his father. When Siegmund learns that he cannot take Sieglinde he refuses the afterlife. He threatens to kill both Sieglinde and their unborn child, announced by the Valkyrie, rather than be separated from her. Moved by compassion, Brünnhilde promises to safeguard Siegmund. Hunding's horn is heard. Brünnhilde tries to protect Siegmund but Wotan shatters Siegmund's sword with his spear. Siegmund is struck dead. Brünnhilde gathers the pieces of broken sword and flees with Sieglinde.

Act III
The Valkyries gather dead warriors for Valhalla. Brünnhilde arrives and the Valkyries are shocked to see that she is accompanied by a mortal woman. Sieglinde wants to die, but when Brünnhilde tells her that she is carrying Siegmund's son, who will be the noblest hero in the world, she begs protection. Wotan arrives and the Valkyries try to hide Brünnhilde from his wrath, he denounces her disobedience and banishes her from Valhalla. She will be left to sleep until a mortal man wakes her and she will be turned into a ‘domestic' wife. Wotan remains unforgiving, even when she tells him that a Wälsung hero will be born to Sieglinde. Finally, Brünnhilde asks to be surrounded by fire so that only an outstanding hero will find her. Wotan agrees to this solution and bids her farewell. He calls on Loge, the fire god, to encircle her with flames.

Wagner's Die Walk\u00fcre part of The Ring of the Nibelung at the ROH. Antonio Pappano conducts

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Wagner's Lohengrin At The Royal Opera House20180707Wagner's Lohengrin, recorded earlier this month at the Royal Opera House in London, with a stellar cast lead by tenor Klaus Florian Vogt in the title role and the soprano Jennifer Davis as Elsa von Brabant. Based on a German medieval romance, the noble and pure knight Lohengrin is sent to defend and protect Elsa, and as the couple fall madly in love, a dark conspiracy based on treason and jealousy threatens to undermine them, with tragic consequences. Wagner named Lohengrin a 'Romantic opera', and significantly he developed on it his first attempts to write a through-composed music drama, innovating the genre and changing it for ever. Latvian maestro Andris Nelsons conducts the Royal Opera House orchestra and chorus.
Presented by Martin Handley with contributions from Dr Barbara Eichner, Senior Lecturer of Music at Oxford Brookes University.

Lohengrin.... Klaus Florian Vogt (tenor)
Elsa von Brabant.... Jennifer Davis (soprano)
Ortrud.... Christine Goerke (soprano)
Friedrich von Telramund.... Thomas J. Mayer (baritone)
Heinrich I.... Georg Zeppenfeld (bass)
Herald.... Kostas Smoriginas (bass-baritone)
First Noble of Brabant.... Konu Kim (tenor)
Second Noble of Brabant.... Thomas Atkins (tenor)
Third Noble of Brabant.... Gyula Nagy (baritone)
Fourth Noble of Brabant.... Simon Shibambu (bass)

Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra
Andris Nelsons (conductor).

Wagner's Lohengrin, conducted by Andris Nelsons, at the Royal Opera House in London.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Wagner's Parsifal20161119A performance given at the 2016 Bayreuth Festival of Wagner's final opera, Parsifal.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Wagner's Ring Cycle: Das Rheingold2018102720210217 (R3)Over the next four evenings, another chance to hear the remarkable performances of Wagner's Ring cycle, recorded and first broadcast in 2018, starting this evening with Das Rheingold.

It's a world of mythical giants and castles, magic potions and scheming dwarves, and the central toxic influence of the all-powerful ring, guarded by the Rhinemaidens. A lecherous Nibelung dwarf called Alberich renounces love and steals the gold from the Rhinemaidens, and heads to Nibelheim where he builds an empire based on fear and slave labour. We also meet Wotan the chief god in his castle Valhalla, which he had built by the giants, and who when he hears of the all-powerful ring, decides he wants it for himself, and in turn steals it from Alberich.
A stellar cast led by John Lundgren as Wotan is conducted by Antonio Pappano, and the cycle is presented by Tom Service.

Wotan.... John Lundgren (baritone)
Alberich.... Johannes-Martin Kranzle (baritone)
Loge.... Alan Oke (tenor)
Erda.... Wiebke Lehmkuhl (contralto)
Fricka....Sarah Connolly (mezzo)
Freia.... Lise Davidsen (soprano)
Donner.... Markus Eiche (baritone)
Froh.... Andrew Staples (tenor)
Mime.... Gerhard Siegel (tenor)
Fasolt.... Gunther Groissbock (bass)
Fafner.... Brindley Sherratt (bass)
Woglinde.... Lauren Fagan (soprano)
Wellgunde.... Christina Bock (mezzo)
Flosshilde.... Angela Simkin (mezzo)
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Antonio Pappano (conductor)

SYNOPSIS
The branches of the World Ash Tree held together the universe:; Riesenheim, home of the giants; the earth, with the Rhine and his daughters; and Nibelheim, inhabited by the Nibelungs. The god Wotan drank from the spring of eternal knowledge beneath the World Ash Tree, sacrificing an eye in return for wisdom..

Scene 1
The three Rhinedaughters – Woglinde, Wellgunde and Flosshilde – are playing. Alberich, a Nibelung, watches them, utterly enchanted. Sunlight falls on the gold. Alberich asks about the treasure. They tell him that it is the Rhinegold, which if made into a ring would give its owner infinite power over the world; it can be forged, however, only by someone who renounces love. Alberich seizes the gold.

Scene 2
Fricka sees the fortress built for the gods by the giants Fafner and Fasolt. Wotan is overjoyed at the sight of it. Fricka reminds him that as payment he promised to give the giants her sister, Freia. She reproaches Wotan for his willingness to trade love for power, but he replies that he is depending on Loge's ingenuity to solve the problem.

Freia arrives, terrified, followed by Fafner and Fasolt. Wotan tells the giants to choose another form of payment. Fasolt points to the laws carved on Wotan's spear and reminds him that they are binding. Loge says he has travelled the world looking for an acceptable substitute for Freia, but has learnt that nothing is of greater value than a woman's love. He found only one person who would sacrifice love:

Alberich, who stole the Rhinegold. Loge tells Wotan that the Rhinedaughters want his help to get it back. Fasolt and Fafner ask about the gold and Loge explains that a ring forged from it gives absolute power. Gods and giants alike are greedy for it. The giants say they will exchange Freia for Alberich's treasure. As the giants leave with Freia, the gods rapidly age: without her apples they are helpless. Wotan resolves to get the gold and descends with Loge to Nibelheim.

Scene 3
Alberich torments his brother Mime, who has made a magic helmet, the Tarnhelm. Mime tells Loge his tale of woe and recounts how the Nibelungs, once contented craftsmen, are enslaved by Alberich. Alberich returns, brandishing his ring and driving his terrified slaves back. Alberich turns himself into a giant figure, whereupon Loge and Wotan pretend to be frightened. When Loge asks if he can become very small, Alberich transforms himself into a toad. Wotan and Loge pounce on him, grab the Tarnhelm and drag him out of Nibelheim.

Scene 4
Loge and Wotan mock Alberich and tell him that the cost of his freedom is his gold. Wotan now insists Alberich give him the ring too, Alberich's sin was against himself alone; Wotan's will be against all existence if he takes the ring. Wotan tears it away from Alberich, who puts a curse on it: it will bring anguish and death to those who possess it while everyone else will be consumed by envy.

Freia returns with the giants, restoring the gods' strength. Fasolt does not want to give Freia back, and orders that the gold be piled up to hide her from his sight. Erda, the earth goddess, appears. She reminds Wotan of the curse on the ring and says a dark day is dawning for the gods: he must surrender the ring. Erda disappears and Wotan agrees to hand over the ring. Freia is freed. When Fasolt seizes the ring, Fafner kills him. A rainbow bridge leads the gods to their new fortress, which Wotan names Valhalla (hall of the slain).

Das Rheingold, the first of the four operas comprising Wagner's Ring cycle, from the ROH.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

In Das Rheingold, the first opera in the Ring cycle, Wagner lays out the theme of love versus power which will resound through the four operas in the Ring cycle.

It's a world of mythical giants and castles, magic potions and scheming dwarves, and the central toxic influence of the all-powerful ring, guarded by the Rhinemaidens. A lecherous Nibelung dwarf called Alberich renounces love and steals the gold from the Rhinemaidens, and heads to Nibelheim where he builds an empire based on fear and slave labour. We also meet Wotan the chief god in his castle Valhalla, which he had built by the giants, and who when he hears of the all-powerful ring, decides he wants it for himself, and in turn steals it from Alberich.

The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and a stellar cast led by John Lundgren as Wotan is conducted by Antonio Pappano, and the cycle is presented by Tom Service.

Wotan....John Lundgren (Baritone)
Alberich....Johannes-Martin Kranzle (Baritone)
Loge....Alan Oke (Tenor)
Erda....Wiebke Lehmkuhl (Contralto)
Fricka....Sarah Connolly (Mezzo-soprano)
Freia....Lise Davidsen (Soprano)
Donner....Markus Eiche (Baritone)
Froh....Andrew Staples (Tenor)
Mime....Gerhard Siegel (Tenor)
Fasolt....Gunther Groissbock (Bass)
Fafner....Brindley Sherratt (Bass)
Woglinde....Lauren Fagan (Soprano)
Wellgunde....Christina Bock (Mezzo-soprano)
Flosshilde....Angela Simkin (Mezzo-soprano)
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Antonio Pappano (Conductor)

SYNOPSIS
The branches of the World Ash Tree held together the universe:; Riesenheim, home of the giants; the earth, with the Rhine and his daughters; and Nibelheim, inhabited by the Nibelungs. The god Wotan drank from the spring of eternal knowledge beneath the World Ash Tree, sacrificing an eye in return for wisdom..

Scene 1
The three Rhinedaughters – Woglinde, Wellgunde and Flosshilde – are playing. Alberich, a Nibelung, watches them, utterly enchanted. Sunlight falls on the gold. Alberich asks about the treasure. They tell him that it is the Rhinegold, which if made into a ring would give its owner infinite power over the world; it can be forged, however, only by someone who renounces love. Alberich seizes the gold.

Scene 2
Fricka sees the fortress built for the gods by the giants Fafner and Fasolt. Wotan is overjoyed at the sight of it. Fricka reminds him that as payment he promised to give the giants her sister, Freia. She reproaches Wotan for his willingness to trade love for power, but he replies that he is depending on Loge's ingenuity to solve the problem.

Freia arrives, terrified, followed by Fafner and Fasolt. Wotan tells the giants to choose another form of payment. Fasolt points to the laws carved on Wotan's spear and reminds him that they are binding. Loge says he has travelled the world looking for an acceptable substitute for Freia, but has learnt that nothing is of greater value than a woman's love. He found only one person who would sacrifice love:

Alberich, who stole the Rhinegold. Loge tells Wotan that the Rhinedaughters want his help to get it back. Fasolt and Fafner ask about the gold and Loge explains that a ring forged from it gives absolute power. Gods and giants alike are greedy for it. The giants say they will exchange Freia for Alberich's treasure. As the giants leave with Freia, the gods rapidly age: without her apples they are helpless. Wotan resolves to get the gold and descends with Loge to Nibelheim.

Scene 3
Alberich torments his brother Mime, who has made a magic helmet, the Tarnhelm. Mime tells Loge his tale of woe and recounts how the Nibelungs, once contented craftsmen, are enslaved by Alberich. Alberich returns, brandishing his ring and driving his terrified slaves back. Alberich turns himself into a giant figure, whereupon Loge and Wotan pretend to be frightened. When Loge asks if he can become very small, Alberich transforms himself into a toad. Wotan and Loge pounce on him, grab the Tarnhelm and drag him out of Nibelheim.

Scene 4
Loge and Wotan mock Alberich and tell him that the cost of his freedom is his gold. Wotan now insists Alberich give him the ring too, Alberich's sin was against himself alone; Wotan's will be against all existence if he takes the ring. Wotan tears it away from Alberich, who puts a curse on it: it will bring anguish and death to those who possess it while everyone else will be consumed by envy.

Freia returns with the giants, restoring the gods' strength. Fasolt does not want to give Freia back, and orders that the gold be piled up to hide her from his sight. Erda, the earth goddess, appears. She reminds Wotan of the curse on the ring and says a dark day is dawning for the gods: he must surrender the ring. Erda disappears and Wotan agrees to hand over the ring. Freia is freed. When Fasolt seizes the ring, Fafner kills him. A rainbow bridge leads the gods to their new fortress, which Wotan names Valhalla (hall of the slain).

Das Rheingold, the first of the four operas comprising Wagner's Ring cycle

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Wagner's Ring Cycle: Die Walkfcre2018110320210218 (R3)Continuing Wagner's Ring cycle, recorded at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and first broadcast in 2018.

This evening, Wagner's opera Die Walküre, the second opera in the The Ring of the Nibelung cycle.
Time has passed since the gods moved to their new home Vallhalla, and their leader Wotan is still in search of the gold that will grant him unlimited power. He wants to use the twins Siegmund and Sieglinde, born to him out of wedlock, to retrieve it. But Fricka, as guardian of marriage, insists that Siegmund pays for his husband transgressions and wants him killed. Wotan reluctantly agrees and forces the Valkyrie Brunnhilde, his warrior daughter, also raised out of wedlock, not to protect Siegmund in a fight. The Walkyrie falls in love with Siegmund and disobeys Wotan, and as a result she is stripped of her divinity and left on a fire-encircled rock. Brunnhilde's efforts are useless as Siegmund pays with his life in this doomed saga that moves from the realm of the gods to the human sphere.

Sir Antonio Pappano conducts a cast with Stuart Skelton as Siegmund, Nina Stemme as Brünnhilde, John Lundgren as Wotan and Sarah Connolly as Fricka.

Tom Service presents.

Siegmund ….. Stuart Skelton (tenor)
Sieglinde ….. Emily Magee (soprano)
Hunding ….. Ain Anger (bass)
Wotan ….. John Lundgren (baritone)
Brünnhilde ….. Nina Stemme (soprano)
Fricka ….. Sarah Connolly (mezzo)

Valkyries
Gerhilde ….. Alwyn Mellor (soprano)
Ortlinde ….. Lise Davidsen (soprano)
Waltraute ….. Kai Rüütel (soprano)
Schwertleite ….. Claudia Huckle (contralto)
Helmwige ….. Maida Hundeling (soprano)
Siegrune ….. Catherine Carby (mezzo)
Grimgerde ….. Monika-Evelin Liiv (mezzo)
Rossweisse ….. Emma Carrington (mezzo)

Royal Opera House Orchestra
Sir Antonio Pappano (conductor)

SYNOPSIS
Wotan has been prey to anxiety ever since he stole the ring from Alberich and used it to pay the giants rather than returning it to the Rhinedaughters. Desperate to protect himself should Alberich regain the ring, he has sought out Erda, who bore him the warrior-maiden Brünnhilde. Wotan, in the meantime, has also fathered Siegmund and Sieglinde, the Wälsung twins, with a mortal woman. With Siegmund, Wotan hopes to create a free being who will recover the ring, for he fears the curse Alberich placed on him when he violated his own rule of law.
Act I
A storm is raging. A man takes shelter. Sieglinde offers him first water, then mead, which he asks her to share. Hunding returns and offers the stranger grudging hospitality. He notices a resemblance between his wife and the stranger. The stranger tells his tale. Plagued by misfortune, the fugitive recalls the sword his father once promised he would find in his hour of greatest need. Sieglinde returns, having drugged Hunding. She recounts how, at her enforced wedding to Hunding, a stranger appeared and thrust a sword into the tree trunk. No one has been able to pull it out. She is convinced he is her twin; she names him Siegmund and urges him to remove the sword from the tree. He draws it out and claims Sieglinde as both bride and sister.

Act II
Wotan instructs Brünnhilde, his favourite Valkyrie daughter, to ensure that Siegmund wins the fight with Hunding. Fricka demands to know how Wotan can both sanction incest and uphold the supremacy of the gods so Wotan tells Brünnhilde that she must not protect Siegmund and threatens the direst consequences if she disobeys.
Brünnhilde appears to Siegmund and announces that he will die in battle and join the other heroes in Valhalla. There he will meet his father. When Siegmund learns that he cannot take Sieglinde he refuses the afterlife. He threatens to kill both Sieglinde and their unborn child, announced by the Valkyrie, rather than be separated from her. Moved by compassion, Brünnhilde promises to safeguard Siegmund. Hunding's horn is heard. Brünnhilde tries to protect Siegmund but Wotan shatters Siegmund's sword with his spear. Siegmund is struck dead. Brünnhilde gathers the pieces of broken sword and flees with Sieglinde.

Act III
The Valkyries gather dead warriors for Valhalla. Brünnhilde arrives and the Valkyries are shocked to see that she is accompanied by a mortal woman. Sieglinde wants to die, but when Brünnhilde tells her that she is carrying Siegmund's son, who will be the noblest hero in the world, she begs protection. Wotan arrives and the Valkyries try to hide Brünnhilde from his wrath, he denounces her disobedience and banishes her from Valhalla. She will be left to sleep until a mortal man wakes her and she will be turned into a ‘domestic' wife. Wotan remains unforgiving, even when she tells him that a Wälsung hero will be born to Sieglinde. Finally, Brünnhilde asks to be surrounded by fire so that only an outstanding hero will find her. Wotan agrees to this solution and bids her farewell. He calls on Loge, the fire god, to encircle her with flames.

Wagner's Die Walkure, part of the Ring cycle at the ROH. Antonio Pappano conducts.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Wagner's Ring Cycle: Gf6tterdammerung2018122920210220 (R3)This evening sees the conclusion of Wagner's Ring cycle, recorded and first broadcast in 2018.

As Wagner's epic drama reaches its conclusion in the fourth and final opera, the love between Siegfried and Brünnhilde is torn apart by the malignant machinations and lust for the Ring of the black-hearted Hagen. Brünnhilde's revenge brings Siegfried's death, and ultimately the fiery destruction of the gods and Valhalla itself.

The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and a stellar cast led by Nina Stemme as Brünnhilde and Stefan Vinke as Siegfried is conducted by Antonio Pappano in Keith Warner's acclaimed production. Presented by Tom Service, who is joined in the box by the Rev. Lucy Winkett.

Wagner: Götterdammerung

5.00pm: Act 1

7.05pm: Interval

7.15pm: Act 2

8.20pm: Interval

8.40pm: Act 3

Brünnhilde.... Nina Stemme (soprano)
Siegfried.... Stefan Vinke (tenor)
Alberich.... Johannes Martin Kränzle (baritone)
Gunther.... Markus Butter (baritone)
Gutrune.... Emily Magee (soprano)
Hagen.... Stephen Milling (bass)
Waltraute.... Karen Cargill (mezzo)
First Norn.... Claudia Huckle (contralto)
Second Norn.... Irmgard Vilsmaier (soprano)
Third Norn.... Lise Davidsen (soprano)
Woglinde.... Lauren Fagan (soprano)
Weilgunde.... Rachael Lloyd (mezzo)
Flosshilde.... Angela Simkin (mezzo)
Royal Opera House Orchestra & Chorus
Antonio Pappano (conductor)

For full synopsis please visit programme page
Photo credit: Bill Cooper/ ROH 2018

Gotterdammerung, the last of the four operas of Wagner's Ring cycle.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Wagner's Ring Cycle: Gotterdammerung20181229As Wagner's epic drama reaches its conclusion in the fourth and final opera, the love between Siegfried and Brünnhilde is torn apart by the malignant machinations and lust for the Ring of the blackhearted Hagen. Brünnhilde's revenge brings Siegfried's death, and ultimately the fiery destruction of the gods and Valhalla itself.

The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and a stellar cast led by Nina Stemme as Brünnhilde and Stefan Vinke as Siegfried is conducted by Antonio Pappano in Keith Warner's acclaimed production. Presented by Tom Service, who is joined in the box by the Rev. Lucy Winkett.

5.00pm
Act 1

7.05pm
Interval

7.15pm
Act 2

8.20pm
Interval

8.40pm
Act 3

Brünnhilde....Nina Stemme (soprano)
Siegfried....Stefan Vinke (tenor)
Alberich....Johannes Martin Kränzle (baritone)
Gunther....Markus Butter (baritone)
Gutrune....Emily Magee (soprano)
Hagen....Stephen Milling (bass)
Waltraute....Karen Cargill (mezzo-soprano)
First Norn....Claudia Huckle (contralto)
Second Norn....Irmgard Vilsmaier (soprano)
Third Norn....Lise Davidsen (soprano)
Woglinde....Lauren Fagan (soprano)
Weilgunde....Rachael Lloyd (mezzo-soprano)
Flosshilde....Angela Simkin (mezzo-soprano)

Royal Opera House Orchestra & Chorus
Antonio Pappano (conductor)

For full synopsis please visit programme page
Photo credit: Bill Cooper/ ROH 2018

Gotterdammerung, the last of the four operas of Wagner's Ring cycle.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Wagner's Ring Cycle: Siegfried2018111720210219 (R3)Continuing the broadcasts of Wagner's Ring cycle from 2018 from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, this evening: Siegfried.
As Wagner's epic drama reaches its third part, an embittered dwarf covets a ring guarded by a dragon killed by the heroic Siegfried who encounters a woman (his aunt, Brünnhilde) and for the first time is afraid and then in love.

The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and a stellar cast led by Stefan Vinke in the title role is conducted by Antonio Pappano in Keith Warner's acclaimed production. Presented by Tom Service.

5.00pm
Antonio Pappano gives a brief illustrated listening guide to Siegfried.
Act 1

6.25pm
Interval
Dread, hydration, sweat, good digestion and an incredible feeling of elation: Stefan Vinke, veteran of over 100 performances of Siegfried, on the challenges and rewards of singing one of the most demanding tenor roles of the repertoire.

6.35pm
Act 2

7.50pm
Interval
ROH Orchestra principal horn Roger Montgomery explains the workings and role of the Wagner tuba in The Ring. And Michael Portillo reflects on The Ring, its place in his life and its depiction of power and love.

8.10pm
Act 3

Siegfried.... Stefan Vinke (tenor)
Brünnhilde.... Nina Stemme (soprano)
Mime.... Gerhard Siegel (tenor)
Wanderer.... John Lundgren (baritone)
Alberich.... Johannes Martin Kränzle (baritone)
Fafner.... Brindley Sherratt (bass)
Erda.... Wiebke Lehmkuhl (contralto)
Woodbird.... Heather Engebretson (soprano)
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Antonio Pappano (Conductor)

Siegfried, the third of the four operas of Wagner's epic Ring cycle.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

As Wagner's epic drama reaches its third part, an embittered dwarf covets a ring guarded by a dragon killed by the heroic Siegfried who encounters a woman (his aunt, Brünnhilde) and for the first time is afraid and then in love.

The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and a stellar cast led by Stefan Vinke in the title role is conducted by Antonio Pappano in Keith Warner's acclaimed production. Presented by Tom Service.

5.00pm
Antonio Pappano gives a brief illustrated listening guide to Siegfried.
Act 1

6.25pm
Interval
Dread, hydration, sweat, good digestion and an incredible feeling of elation: Stefan Vinke, veteran of over 100 performances of Siegfried, on the challenges and rewards of singing one of the most demanding tenor roles of the repertoire.

6.35pm
Act 2

7.50pm
Interval
ROH Orchestra principal horn Roger Montgomery explains the workings and role of the Wagner tuba in The Ring. And Michael Portillo reflects on The Ring, its place in his life and its depiction of power and love.

8.10pm
Act 3

Siegfried....Stefan Vinke (Tenor)
Brünnhilde....Nina Stemme (Soprano)
Mime....Gerhard Siegel (Tenor)
Wanderer....John Lundgren (Baritone)
Alberich....Johannes Martin Kränzle (Baritone)
Fafner....Brindley Sherratt (Bass)
Erda....Wiebke Lehmkuhl (Contralto)
Woodbird....Heather Engebretson (Soprano)

Royal Opera House Orchestra
Antonio Pappano (Conductor)

Siegfried, the third of the four operas in Wagner's epic Ring cycle.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Wagner's Tannhauser2016052120171028 (R3)
20201024 (R3)
Wagner's Tannhäuser recorded at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and first broadcast in 2016, in Tim Albery's acclaimed production. One of today's leading Wagnerian tenors, Peter Seiffert takes on the title role of the young troubadour knight who is torn between spiritual love and carnal desire. Wagner's opulent score melds together the worlds of the sacred and profane. Tannhauser, having been charmed by love goddess Venus, comes to his senses and returns to his mortal love, the chaste heroine Elisabeth. However, he sings of passionate rather than courtly love, which shocks her and her community. He promises to seek atonement and redemption, but the illicit attraction of Venus continues to beckon. Harmut Haenchen conducts the soloists, orchestra and chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Presented by Donald Macleod, in conversation with Barbara Eichner.

Wagner: Tannhäuser

Tannhäuser.... Peter Seiffert (tenor)
Wolfram von Eschenbach.... Christian Gerhaher (baritone)
Hermann, Landgrave of Thuringia.... Stephen Milling (bass)
Elisabeth, the Landgrave's niece.... Emma Bell (soprano)
Venus.... Sophie Koch (mezzo-soprano)
Walther von der Vogelweide.... Ed Lyon (tenor)
Heinrich der Schreiber.... Samuel Sakker (tenor)
Biterolf.... Michael Kraus (bass)
Reinmar von Zweter.... Jeremy White (bass)
Shepherd boy.... Duncan Tarboton (treble)
Elisabeth's attendents.... Kiera Lyness, Deborah Peake-Jones (sopranos); Louise Armit, Kate McCarney (mezzo-sopranos)

Royal Opera Chorus
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Hartmut Haenchen (conductor).

From the Royal Opera House, with tenor Peter Seiffert, conducted by Hartmut Haenchen.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Wagner's Tannhauser conducted by Hartmut Haenchen, with Peter Seiffert and Emma Bell.

Wagner's Tristan And Isolde20161001Wagner's Tristan and Isolde from English National Opera, conducted by Edward Gardner.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

William Alwyn's Miss Julie20191005Sakari Oramo conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra and cast in Alwyn's setting of Strindberg's naturalistic play. There's love, lust, despair and tragedy.

Recorded at the Barbican Hall, London on Thursday 3rd October
Presented by Andrew McGregor

William Alwyn: Miss Julie:

Act 1

Interval 19.40
Andrew McGregor discusses Miss Julie with Alwyn specialist, Andrew Palmer, Sakari Oramo, and members of the cast.

Act 2

Miss Julie.... Anna Patalong (Soprano)
Jean.... Benedict Nelson (Bass-baritone)
Ulrik.... Samuel Sakker (Tenor)
Kristin.... Rosie Aldridge (Mezzo-soprano)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Sakari Oramo (Conductor)

In the chilling intensity of August Strindberg's play Miss Julie, the composer William Alwyn found all he needed to write one of the most red-blooded operatic tragedies Britain has ever produced. Alwyn learned lessons from the movies and from Puccini in creating a tense and dramatic opera, known for its signature aria of sexual frenzy ‘Midsummer Night'. The neglected composer's operatic tale of infatuation and class tension returns to the BBC for the first time since its premiere in 1977.

The BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo are joined by an international cast for a landmark concert staging.

SYNOPSIS

The opera is set in the kitchen of a widowed Count's country house in Sweden at the end of the 19th century; the action takes place on Midsummer Night.

ACT 1 Scene 1
The Count's staff are celebrating at a dance in a nearby barn. He himself is spending the night at his sister's – having been driven there by his valet, Jean – and has left his daughter, Miss Julie, in charge of the house. Kristin, the cook, is romantically involved with Jean and is waiting for him to take her to the dance.
Meanwhile Kristin stirs the contents of a saucepan on the stove: a potion for Miss Julie's lapdog that will keep other dogs away. When Jean enters, he has already been to the barn and has danced with Miss Julie – whom he found in the arms of Ulrik, the gamekeeper. Jean and Kristin agree that Miss Julie has become ‘crazy, utterly crazy' since her mother took her own life. Jean brazenly opens a bottle of the Count's special wine that he has stolen, then starts to make love to Kristin. Miss Julie enters, ostensibly to enquire about the potion but with the intention of enticing Jean back to the barn. She tells Kristin to go and change for the dance, then sings seductively to Jean about Midsummer Night and persuades him not to wait for Kristin.

Scene 2
It is after midnight when Jean and Miss Julie return from the barn. She taunts him about his peasant background and provokes him sexually. When he eventually kisses her, she slaps his face. His pride dented, he starts to polish the Count's boots sulkily. Miss Julie refuses to leave, and they eventually fall into each other's arms.
They are interrupted by the drunken Ulrik, singing an innuendo-laden song about them. Jean has just enough time to hide Miss Julie in his bedroom before Ulrik lurches in, demanding to have his own fun with her. He reveals that everyone knows she has fallen for Jean, and they are ‘laughing their heads off'. When he has left, Miss Julie emerges angry, ashamed, and terrified of the Count's reaction. She has no option but to run away, and Jean sees an opportunity to put a long-cherished plan into action: they will go together, and open a hotel in Lugano. They must leave before daybreak, and meanwhile she can spend the night with him.

ACT 2
It is dawn, and Jean is triumphant. Miss Julie already regrets what has happened but feels that she must go along with Jean's plan – which, she now learns, is dependent on her stealing the Count's money. She eventually obeys and goes upstairs. Kristin enters and notices two glasses on the table. Disbelieving Jean's explanation that he was drinking with Ulrik, she announces that she will avoid the scandal by handing in her notice, after which she and Jean will get married. ‘I've got more ambition than that!' he sneers.

Ulrik comes to apologise for his earlier behaviour but begins to fight with Jean. Miss Julie returns, dressed for travel and with a suitcase in one hand. Under her other arm is her dog, which Jean grabs and hands to Ulrik to dispose of outside. A gunshot is heard and Miss Julie collapses, distraught, while Jean and Kristin quarrel. The sudden, ominous ringing of a bell indicates that the Count has returned and Miss Julie watches helplessly as Jean begins to put on his uniform. ‘That bell rules my life,' he apologises. As for their hotel in Lugano, it was simply a dream on Midsummer Night.
Half-crazed, she asks him what she should do. He suggests that there is a way out: the way that her mother took – suicide. The bell rings again, and Jean pushes her aside before climbing the stairs. She picks up Kristin's potion then walks slowly and steadily out into the park …

Sakari Oramo conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a setting of Strindberg's tragic play.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances

Miss Julie.... Anna Patalong (Soprano)
Jean.... Duncan Rock (Bass-baritone)
Ulrik.... Samuel Sakker (Tenor)
Kristin.... Rosie Aldridge (Mezzo-soprano)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Sakari Oramo (Conductor)

William Bolcom's Dinner At Eight20190309Sean Rafferty presents "Dinner at Eight" from Ireland's National Opera House at the 2018 Wexford Festival Opera.

It's Manhattan in the 1930s and society hostess, Millicent Jordan is immersed in the crucial social trivialities of arranging "Dinner at Eight." William Bolcom's opera is a tragicomedy based on the 1932 Broadway hit by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber.

Millicent's planning is deft, skilled, obsessed and oblivious. While the lives of her family and guests are in crisis (husband, Oliver is suffering from a fatal heart disorder and her daughter's love life is fast approaching tragedy) all that matters is that cook's pièce de résistance, a lobster in aspic, has come crashing to the kitchen floor!

This is a new work that weds American musical comedy and opera with a brilliant, fast-paced score and witty libretto by the Pulitzer-Prize and Grammy Award-winning composer, William Bolcom and the Pulitzer-Prize winning librettist, Mark Campbell.

Dinner at Eight... Cocktails with Sean Rafferty and his guests William Bolcom and Mark Campbell from 6.30!

Millicent Jordan....Mary Dunleavy (soprano)
Oliver Jordan....Stephen Powell (baritone)
Paula Jordan....Gemma Summerfield (soprano)
Carlotta Vance....Brenda Harris (soprano)
Dan Packard....Craig Irvin (baritone)
Kitty Packard....Susannah Biller (soprano)
Lucy Talbot....Sharon Carty (mezzo-soprano)
Dr Joseph Talbot....Brett Polegato (baritone)
Larry Renault....Richard Cox (tenor)
Max Kane....Ashley Mercer (bass-baritone)
Gustave....Sheldon Baxter (baritone)
Miss Copland....Maria Hughes (soprano)
Tina....Laura Margaret Smith (mezzo-soprano)
Miss Alden....Claire Egan (soprano)
Eddie....Ranald McCusker (tenor)
Mr Hatfield....Henry Grant Kerswell (bass)
Wexford Festival Chorus
Wexford Festival Orchestra
David Agler (conductor)

Sean Rafferty presents Dinner at Eight by William Bolcom from Wexford Festival Opera.

Programme presenting rare and fascinating operatic performances