- 04/13 New discussion group talks about classical music
- 04/05 Soprano debuts in 2 Met Opera roles within day
- 03/30 Winners Named in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions
- 03/17 The Pianist Teaches, Too
- 03/07 Art of Variations, Beethoven to Berio
- 03/02 Robin Ticciati: 'When I conduct it feels like sorcery'
- 02/25 Symphony guide: Saint-Saëns's Third
- 02/18 Violinist Vanessa-Mae Completes Giant Slalom
- 02/14 Andris Nelsons to Conduct Lucerne Concerts
- 02/14 No Rest for a Tenor
- 02/06 NC Symphony appoints Will Robin as its first Scholar-in-Residence
- 02/06 Stradivarius Is Recovered Unharmed After Theft
- 02/05 NY Philharmonic’s Archives Going Online
- 01/30 Violinist’s Triumph Is Ruined by Thieves
- 01/29 Homage to Alfred Schnittke at Juilliard
- 01/21 Renee Fleming to sing national anthem at Super Bowl XLVIII
- 01/20 Claudio Abbado, Influential Italian Conductor, Dies at 80
- 01/10 Wojciech Kilar, Composer for Movies and Symphony Halls, Dies at 81
- 01/08 Sneaky Judges Find Their Pianist
- 01/04 Lifting The Curse of the Ninth
- 12/31 Maestro at Work: Hold That Cough
- 12/26 That’s Vintage Verdi, That ’61 ‘Otello’
- 12/23 A Late Bloomer, 250 Years on
- 12/15 Beethoven hunter knows the score
- 12/13 Taylor Swift donates $100,000 to Nashville Symphony
- 12/10 What's the value of sacred music in a secular age?
- 12/10 La Scala Confirms Chailly Will Be Principal Conductor and Music Director
- 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’
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Richard Wagner’s final opera, Parsifal, is featured on this Maundy Thursday's expanded edition of the WCPE Opera House. The vessel that was used to serve the wine at Jesus Christ’s Last Supper has been one of the supposed subjects of Holy Grail literature in Christian mythology. The quest for the Holy Grail makes up an important segment of the Arthurian cycle, combining Christian lore with a Celtic myth of a cauldron endowed with special powers. The early Grail romances centered on Percival, who—in the hands of Wagner—evolved into Parsifal. Parsifal was described by Wagner as a Bühnenweihfestspiel (stage consecration festival play).
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Many years earlier, the vessel of the Holy Grail was given into the keeping of Titurel (bass Victor von Halem) and his Christian knights, as was the Sacred Spear that pierced the side of Jesus during His crucifixion. These relics have been guarded in a fortified castle at Montsalvat, a beacon of Christianity in Islamic Spain. Nearby lives the evil sorcerer Klingsor (bass Siegmund Nimsgern) and the beautiful enchantress Kundry (mezzo-soprano Dunja Vejzovic), enemies of the knights. When Titurel grew old, he handed over the Kingdom of the Grail to his son Amfortas (bass-baritone José van Dam), who—determined to kill Klingsor—entered his enemy’s magic garden. There, he fell prey to Kundry’s charms and lost the Sacred Spear to Klingsor. Badly wounded by the spear, Amfortas continues to suffer: only the touch of the Sacred Spear will close the gash it made.
A prophecy from the sanctuary of the Grail has told Amfortas that only a “holy fool,” unaware of sin, will be able to resist Kundry and regain the Sacred Spear. The plot of the opera deals with the fulfilment of this prophecy as a guileless youth, Parsifal (tenor Peter Hofmann), is brought to the venerable knight Gurnemanz (bass Kurt Moll), charged with killing a holy swan. When it becomes clear that the boy is innocent of the crime, and entirely ignorant of the world, he is selected to rescue the Sacred Spear. He triumphs, heals Amfortas, and is anointed King of the Grail by Gurnemanz. As Amfortas and the knights kneel to Parsifal, he baptizes Kundry, who finds at last the redemption of peaceful death.
Herbert von Karajan conducts the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the chorus of the German State Opera of Berlin in this 1980 Deutsche Grammophon recording. This encore performance will be introduced by the late Al Ruocchio (1937-2007).
From the Act III finale, here's Peter Hofmann as Parsifal singing "Nur eine Waffe taugt':
Soprano Malin Byström sings the title role in Richard Strauss's Arabella this Saturday, April 19, starting at noon (ET), on the Metropolitan Opera’s live broadcast. Other principal performers include Genia Kühmeier (Zdenka), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Adelaide), Roberto Saccà (Matteo), Michael Volle (Mandryka), and Martin Winkler (Count Waldner). Philippe Auguin conducts.
Please join me next Thursday, April 24, for Peter Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades), which was first heard in St. Petersburg, Russia, on December 19, 1890. In principal roles we'll hear Gegam Grigorian (Gherman), Maria Gulegina (Lisa), Vladimir Chernov (Prince Yeletsky), Irina Arkhipova (Countess), and Nikolai Putilin (Count Tomsky). Valery Gergiev conducts the Kirov Opera Orchestra and Chorus in this 1993 recording.
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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My Life in Music:
Jess Isaiah Levin
Violin I, North Carolina Symphony
North Carolina Symphony violinist Jess Isaiah Levin co-hosts this month’s edition of My Life in Music, sharing historic Jasha Heifetz recordings, symphonies by Prokofiev and Brahms, and even music he, himself, has written. In addition to his other talents, he is an accomplished photographer.
To listen to excerpts from Tara Lynn's My Life in Music interview with Jess Isaiah Levin please click here!
Sony Classical 2013
Born in Russia, raised in Germany, Igor Levit is the youngest artist to compete in the Artur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, where he won four awards in 2005. But he waited until the relatively mature age of 26 to release his first recording. And for this debut he chose music demanding even greater maturity: the late piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven.
Listen to our Preview! interview with Igor Levit here!
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There was never any question that he would record this body of music first: "It simply has every possible emotion," he has said "The experience is not to be compared with anything else." These are intensely personal sonatas, and Levit's playing fathoms all their conflicted emotions, along with some rather daunting technical demands.
So where does Igor Levit go from here? Let's hope we don't have to wait too long to hear the answer.
— William Woltz, WCPE Music Director
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CD #1 - Bizet: Symphony in C -
Martin West leads the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra in this masterpiece symphony written by Bizet at age 17, plus Children's Games and Chromatic Variations. A great performance and a superb recording.
The Metropolitan Opera Announces the 2014-15 Season
The Met’s 2014-15 Season Will Feature 26 Operas, Including Three Met Premieres, In Six New Productions and 18 Revivals!
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