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- 07/12 Rising-star cellist Bryan Cheng receives Michael Measures Prize
- 07/04 Putting ‘Don Giovanni’ on a Truck, and Returning Opera to Its Roots
- 06/27 A Life of Toscanini, Maestro With Passion and Principles
- 06/19 Thomas Allen: ‘I fly the flag for opera as a great art form'
- 06/12 Yekwon Sunwoo wins the Cliburn Piano Competition
- 06/01 Jiri Belohlavek, Czech Conductor, Dies at 71
- 05/26 A Fast-Rising Czech Conductor Leads the Philharmonic
- 05/19 Royal Albert Hall invites the public to share memories
- 05/12 A Valiant Return to the Met Opera: This Week’s 8 Best Classical Music Moments
- 04/27 Composer Max Richter’s top five lesser-known classical music picks
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Hint: Not at their hands.
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- 03/17 where have classical music’s uppercase letters gone?
- 03/15 A New York Philharmonic Coup: Deborah Borda Is Named the New Leader
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- 01/15 Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Petrenko
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- 01/03 Karel Husa, a renown Czech-born composer, spent his last years in Apex
- 12/26 Pianist Martha Argerich on remarkable career
- 12/25 Singers in Russian Military Choir Among 92 Feared Dead After Plane Crashes Into Black Sea
- 12/20 Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Gatti, Barbican
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- 12/05 BBC Radio 3 to record music by ‘lost’ female composers
- 11/29 Academic denies irresponsibility in Sotheby's Beethoven manuscript row
- 11/16 Music aficionados are reviewing this incorrect Beethoven t-shirt and it’s hilarious
- 11/06 Zoltán Kocsis, pianist and 'giant of music', dies aged 64
- 11/01 BBC Proms announces Dubai dates
- 10/16 10 Questions for Conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner
- 10/09 RIP Peter Allen, a Voice on the Radio for the Met Opera
- 10/03 Sir Neville Marriner on studying violin during the Blitz
- 09/28 Simon Keenlyside in ‘Don Giovanni’ [ Video ]
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In Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot, heard this week on the WCPE Opera House, a cruel Chinese princess promises to marry the first man to come along who can correctly answer her three riddles, but most contenders lose their heads trying. The composer’s final opera, left unfinished when he died in 1924, was completed by Franco Alfano and first performed on April 25, 1926, at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala. At the premiere, “in the middle of act 3, two measures after the words ‘Liù, poesia!,’ the orchestra rested. [Conductor Arturo] Toscanini stopped and laid down his baton. He turned to the audience and announced: ‘Qui finisce l’opera, perché a questo punto il maestro è morto’ (‘Here the opera ends, because at this point the maestro died’). The curtain was lowered slowly.” In subsequent performances, however, Toscanini conducted Alfano’s less-than-satisfactory ending—and it is that version we’ll hear tonight.
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As the opera opens, we learn that in ancient China, Turandot (soprano Joan Sutherland) — the cruel princess of Peking (Beijing) — has agreed to marry the first man who can correctly answer her three riddles; anyone who fails will be summarily executed. The unknown prince, Calaf (tenor Luciano Pavarotti), accompanied by his father Timur (bass Nicolai Ghiaurov) and the slave girl Liù (soprano Montserrat Caballé), who loves him, arrives and accepts the challenge. Calaf easily solves the riddles, but when Turandot decides to renege on her offer to marry, he gives her a night to discover his name. If she can do so, Calaf says he’ll gladly forsake his own life. Turandot threatens to torture the name out of Liù, but the slave stabs herself to death rather than betray Calaf. Finally, Calaf overcomes Turandot’s resistance with a kiss—and then tells her his name. The kiss does the trick! Now accepting the unknown prince unconditionally, Turandot tells Calaf that his name is “Love.”
In this encore broadcast, Zubin Mehta conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the John Alldis Choir in a 1973 Decca/London recording, the late Al Ruocchio (1937–2007) hosts.
In the Act I aria “Signore Ascolta,” Renata Tebaldi, as Liù, pleads with Calaf not to risk his life for the icy Princess Turandot:
Next Thursday, September 28, we’ll honor the Jewish High Holidays with a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco, which “follows the plight of the Jews as they are assaulted, conquered and ,subsequently exiled from their homeland by the Babylonian King [Nebuchadnezzar II (‘Nabucco’ in Italian)]. The historical events are used as background for a romantic and political plot.” Tito Gobbi sings the title role and Dora Carral is his daughter Fenena.
1 Wikipedia, s.v. Turandot, last modified September 1, 2017. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turandot
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 Live online at on our Internet page or you can listen on WCPE's Android or iPhone apps.
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When your contribution is at least $50.00, you may, in lieu of choosing a gift, designate that 10% of your donation go toward the WCPE Education Fund. Please check the appropriate box in the Secure Pledge Form!
The Metropolitan Opera Announces the 2017-18 Season
The Metropolitan Opera’s 2017-18 season will feature 220 performances of 26 works, including two Met premieres, one co-commissioned by the company and one an older masterpiece having its first Met performances; a variety of repertory favorites, three in new productions; and performances of Verdi’s towering concert work for soloists, orchestra, and chorus, the Requiem.
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