- 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
- 06/05 The "Organ Heard 'Round The World"
- 06/05 The "Organ Heard 'Round The World"
- 06/04 Mariinsky Theatre broadcasts first live ballet in 3D
- 05/26 Channeling the Masters
- 05/23 ACO Names Bermel Artistic Director
- 05/21 BSO names Andris Nelsons Music Director
- 05/21 How to Entice People to the Symphony
- 05/19 Young, Yes; Youthful, Sometimes
- 05/19 Levine Commands Carnegie Hall
- 05/14 Take me out to the … opera?
- 05/13 BBC Proms reports record opening day ticket sales
- 05/07 N'Dour, Saariaho share Polar Music Prize
- 04/26 World Premiere of major new opera Dulce Rosa
- 04/26 EMI Classics and Virgin labels to disappear
- 04/19 Conrad Tao signs exclusively to EMI
- 04/18 Conductor Becomes First Woman to Lead Britain's Proms Finale
- 04/15 Still Searching for the Promised Land
- 04/15 Sir Colin Davis remembered
- 04/14 Sir Colin Davis dies
- 04/13 Stradivarius trees
- 04/13 Stravinsky puts a Spring in your step
- 04/10 SPCO deal brings relief, smiles
- 04/05 Have Some Fun
- 04/04 Montreal without Nagano?
- 04/03 It Takes Brass
- 04/03 Composer, educator Robert Ward dies
- 04/01 Vienna opera director collapses during performance
- 03/26 A foghorn, brass bands and 50 ships
- 03/26 Wigmore Hall, London: Viktoria Mullova, Paolo Giacometti
- 03/21 Rise Stevens, Mezzo-Soprano Star of ‘Carmen,’ Dies at 99
- 03/19 No Secret Formula to Music
- 03/15 Titanic bandmaster's violin found
- 03/13 Vivaldi Boosts Mental Vitality
- 03/11 Beginner's Etiquette Guide: Ballet & Opera
- 03/10 Written on Skin – review
- 03/03 Marie-Claire Alain, Master of the Organ
- 03/03 Barber of Seville; Emerson Quartet
- 02/27 Van Cliburn Dies
- 02/24 Mahan Esfahani – review
- 02/24 Wolfgang Sawallisch, 1923-2013
- 02/15 Britten’s War Requiem
- 02/11 Classical Grammy Awards
- 02/08 Oregon Symphony's James DePreist Dies
- 02/07 Warner Music Group Buys EMI
- 02/04 Work performed for the first time in 400 years
- 01/30 S.F.S.: The Rule of Spain and Britain
- 01/25 BBC Radio 3 - 'The Choir'
- 01/25 Quatuor Diotima – review
- 01/18 Royal Opera House- The Minotaur – review
- 01/14 Carolina Ballet: Lynn Taylor-Corbett
- 01/14 NC H.I.P.* Music Festival
- 01/11 WCPE Announcers: Top CD Picks of 2012
- 01/03 Royal Opera Live
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Is it love of God or just an old-fashioned male libido that truly inspires a monk to deliver a beautiful courtesan to a convent in this week's WCPE Opera House? Set in fourth-century Egypt, Jules Massenet's Thaïs was based on the novel by Anatole France. The "Meditation" for violin and orchestra, which is used as an intermezzo in the opera, is often performed as a separate concert piece (it's the theme music for WCPE's Music in the Night program). Thaïs was premiered at the Paris Opéra on March 16, 1894.
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Athanael (baritone Thomas Hampson) returns to his fellow Cenobite monks and reports on the sinfulness of the Egyptian city of Alexandria. The monks sleep, but Athanael is awakened by a vision of the Venus-worshiping courtesan Thaïs (soprano Renée Fleming). Ignoring Palemon's (bass Stefano Palatchi) advice, Athanael returns to Alexandria to save Thaïs's soul. He goes to his former friend Nicias (tenor Giuseppe Sabbatini), with whom Thaïs has recently been having an affair. She's dining with Nicias that evening and Athanael allows Nicias's beautiful slaves to dress him. Intrigued by the monk who's taken such an interest in her, Thaïs warns Nicias that she means to leave him.
Thaïs is bored with life and fearful of old age. Athanael's divine vision touches her: she agrees to destroy all her possessions and accompany him to the Convent of Albine in the Egyptian desert. But when Athanael tries to take Thaïs away, an angry mob gathers; only Nicias's gold prevents them from stoning the holy man. After leaving her at the convent, Athanael realizes that he will never again see Thaïs, so he determines to forget her. But he unexpectedly has a vision of the novice nun on her deathbed. Rushing to the convent, Athanael confesses his love to the dying Thaïs, but by now she has eyes only for Heaven.
Yves Abel conducts the Boardeaux Aquitaine National Orchestra and the Bordeaux Grand-Theatre Chorus in this 2000 Decca recording, CD 466766. In this gorgeous duet, Athanael vigorously tries to persuade Thaïs to leave her courtesan lifestyle. Renée Fleming is Thaïs and Thomas Hampson is Athanael in the Confrontation Scene:
This week's WCPE Opera House is an encore performance, hosted by the late Al Ruocchio (1937-2007).
Please join me next Thursday, June 27th, for the 1966 New York City Opera production that turned Beverly Sills into a household name: Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Julius Caesar in Egypt). In a role originally composed in 1724 for the castrato Senesino, Sills brings to life the multi-faceted Queen Cleopatra. She's joined by Norman Treigle (Caesar), Maureen Forrester (Cornelia), Beverly Wolff (Sextus), Dominic Cossa (Achillas), Michael Devlin (Nirenus), and Spiro Malas (Ptolemy). Julius Rudel conducts.
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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WCPE CD of the Month for June at Quail Ridge Books & Music
Alessio Bax Plays Mozart
The last few months have been exciting ones for young Italian pianist Alessio Bax. He's earned the "Critics Choice" award from Gramophone Magazine for his recent Brahms CD, as well as Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award for emerging artists, and the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award.
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With his latest disc, "Alessio Bax plays Mozart", he captures the playful spirit of an optimistic and creative young composer. Bax displays his effortless virtuosity on Mozart's piano concertos nos. 24 and 27, plus the Variations, K. 460. Simon Over conducts the Southbank Sinfonia in this recording.
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Born This Week
- 15 Saturday
Edvard Grieg 1843
- 16 Sunday
David Popper 1843
Willi Boskovsky 1909
Sergiu Commissiona 1928 (85th anniversary of birth)
- 17 Monday
Charles Gounod 1818
Igor Stravinsky 1882
- 20 Thursday
Jacques Offenbach 1819
Ingrid Haebler 1929
Andre Watts 1946
- 21 Friday Summer begins
J.C.F. Bach 1732
Khatia Buniatishvili 1987
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