- 12/04 British Composer Award winners are revealed
- 11/19 da Vinci's extremely rare Viola Organista
- 11/12 British composer John Tavener dies aged 69
- 11/11 Kermit Moore, cellist, conductor and composer, is dead at 84
- 11/08 Triangle Youth Philharmonic to Premiere Work by Terry Mizesko
- 11/04 Malone: "This is my Hitchcock moment"
- 10/28 Pianist Lang Lang Chosen as UN Messenger of Peace
- 10/22 Verdi and the Birth of Modern Italy
- 10/14 Royal Opera House expands Cinema Season
- 10/04 The Return of ‘The Nose’
- 09/24 A Fight for Love, in the Met and Out
- 09/18 NC Symphony Music Director Set to Lead Orchestra Through 2018 Season
- 09/13 Why music is good for the heart
- 09/12 Opinion: Star Tribune shouldn't echo
- 09/09 NYC Opera needs to raise $7M
- 09/03 10 Easy Ways To Optimize Your Music Practice
- 08/26 Britten's 'Paul Bunyan'
- 08/20 In music, the eyes matter
- 08/13 Sir Kenneth Branagh named campaign patron for Hallé St Peter's
- 08/09 Cloaking an Opera in a New Identity
- 07/29 Why young people still care about classical music
- 07/18 Your First Classical Music Crush
- 07/16 Why should we play the music of our time?
- 07/13 Youth Orchestra That's A National First
- 07/09 Jonathan Biss presents free online course on Beethoven
- 06/27 RSNO appoints new assistant conductor
- 06/19 Richard Marlow has died
- 06/17 La Scala presents Wagner's Ring
- 06/14 Pianist Davide Martello Calms Istanbul
- 06/12 Farewell to Mario Bernardi
- 06/10 Concerto Caledonia
- 06/09 Ukraine pianist wins Cliburn piano competition
- 06/09 Stuck on China tarmac
- 06/06 Austrian Piano Virtuoso Buchbinder
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This week’s WCPE Opera features the first Italian opera to be based on a work by Sir Walter Scott: Gioachino Rossini’s La Donna del Lago (The Lady of the Lake). Premiered on October 24, 1819 at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, it was “deeply influential in the development of Italian romantic opera.” La Donna del Lago remained popular until 1860, after which it disappeared for nearly a century. Among the reasons for its neglect was a dearth of sopranos capable of singing the title role—which was composed for the special talents of the Spanish dramatic coloratura soprano Isabella Colbran—and the two fiendishly difficult principal tenor roles.
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For two years, beginning in 1526, Archibald Douglas (bass Giorgio Surjan), the Earl of Angus, imprisoned the young Scottish king, James V, who’s known in the opera first as “Uberto,” and later as Giacomo (tenor Rockwell Blake). As the opera opens, Douglas has returned to Scotland and is living under the protection of Rodrigo (tenor Chris Merritt), who belongs to a faction opposed to the king. In gratitude for sheltering him, Douglas has promised the hand of his daughter Elena (soprano June Anderson) in marriage to Rodrigo. Elena, who’s also known as the Lady of the Lake, is herself in love with Malcolm Groen (contralto Martine Dupuy, in a “trouser” role). But Giacomo, who’s smitten by her beauty, has slipped away from his hunting party. He tells Elena his name is “Uberto” and says he’s lost. She invites him to stay overnight at her house.
Sensing Uberto’s interest, Elena’s two companions, Albina (mezzo-soprano Marilena Laurenza) and Serano (tenor Ernesto Gavazzi), remind their mistress that she’s engaged to Rodrigo, who’s about to arrive at her home. It soon becomes apparent to both Douglas and Rodrigo that her true love interest in Malcolm. The first act ends with Rodrigo, Malcolm and the Highland warriors departing to do battle against the king’s forces.
In the second act, Uberto is now deeply in love with Elena—which he declares much to her discomfort. Nevertheless, he gives her a signet ring that will provide royal protection should she ever need it. Rodrigo, who’s overheard this conversation, decides to challenge Uberto. Later, learning that Rodrigo has been killed, Malcolm resolves to save Elena or face death himself on the battlefield.
Elena arrives at the royal palace, where Douglas begs the king’s forgiveness—but to no avail. Thanks to the royal ring, Elena is admitted to the palace, where she hears the voice of Uberto. She’s determined to save the lives of her father, Malcolm, and Rodrigo—whom she believes to be still alive. To her astonishment, Uberto is revealed to be none other than James V (Giacomo), King of Scotland. Accepting that Elena is in love with Malcolm, the king forgives both her lover and her father—and permits the pair to marry.
Riccardo Muti conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala of Milan in this 1994 Philips recording, CD number 438211. From a June 2010 performance by the Orchestra of Paris, conducted by Roberto Abbado, here’s the Act II trio “Qual pena in me già desta,” sung by Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Flórez, and Colin Lee:
Celebrating the birthdays of a pair of tenors named José, we’ll also hear arias from Puccini’s Tosca and Turandot, sung by—respectively—José Carreras (b. 1946) and José Cura (b. 1962).
Please join me next Thursday, December 12, for a 1950 recording of Leonore, the original 1805 version of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio (1814). Soprano Paula Baumann sings the title role and tenor Julius Patzak is her imprisoned husband Florestan. In other principal roles we’ll hear bass Georg Wieter as Rocco, soprano Lore Wissmann as Marzelline, bass-baritone Gerhard Misske as Don Pizarro, tenor Richard Holm as Jacquino, and baritone Georg Hann as Don Fernando. Hans Altmann conducts the Bavarian Radio Orchestra and Chorus.
The WCPE Opera House is heard every Thursday evening at 7 o’clock in the Eastern time zone on 89.7 FM in central North Carolina, and we’re streamed online at http://www.theclassicalstation.org.
— W. Robert Chapman, Host of the WCPE Opera House
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Please join us this weekend for a fun, family-friendly event with North Carolina Symphony French horn player Rachel Niketopoulos. Rachel will perform and read us the humorous Carnival of the Animals story.
Children are invited to try out a few instruments in the Symphony's Instrument Zoo. You can even come dressed as your favorite creature in Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals.
One lucky music enthusiast in attendance will win a family 4-pack of tickets to see the North Carolina Symphony's Carnival of the Animals featuring Triangle Youth Ballet under the director of William Henry Curry on Saturday, January 4th at Meymandi Concert Hall! Find out more about events in the North Carolina Symphony's Kids Series.
This free event is presented in partnership with the North Carolina Symphony and Quail Ridge Books & Music.
My Life in Music:
Cello, North Carolina Symphony
Monday, December 2, at 7:30 p.m.
Nathaniel Yaffe is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate in Cello Performance as well as a new cellist with the North Carolina Symphony. Nathaniel completed a double major in Performance and Audio Recording at the Cleveland Institute. He’s also taught recording technique seminars for musical performers, and even produced an award winning CD. On the next edition of My Life in Music, we’ll sample some of the music and recordings Nathaniel values most highly. The playlist includes selections from Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 and Brahms’ Double Concerto. Join WCPE’s Tara Lynn and cellist Nathaniel Yaffe for My Life in Music on 89.7 FM and TheClassicalStation.org.
This program will be rebroadcasted at the following times:
Tuesday, December 3, at 3:00 a.m.
Sunday, December 8, at 5:00 p.m.
Click here to listen to excerpts from the latest show!Follow WCPE on Facebook | Twitter
Be sure to sign up for WCPE's 'Crescendo', our Monthly Newsletter!
Born This Week
- 2 Monday
John Barbirolli 1899
Maria Callas 1923 (90th anniversary of birth)
- 3 Tuesday
José Serebrier 1938 (75th birthday)
- 4 Wednesday
Hamilton Harty 1879
- 5 Thursday
Francesco Geminiani 1687
Vítezslav Novák 1870
José Carreras 1946
Krystian Zimerman 1956
- 6 Friday
Nikolaus Harnoncourt 1929
Henryk Górecki 1933 (80th birthday)
- 7 Saturday Pearl Harbor Remembrance
Pietro Mascagni 1863 (150th anniversary of birth) Daniel Chorzempa 1944
- 8 Sunday
Jean Sibelius 1865
Manuel Ponce 1882
James Galway 1939
"What was that beautiful piece of music??" Find out now by browsing through a week's worth of playlists!
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