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“Robbing from the rich and giving to the poor” is the theme of this week’s Opera House as we present Reginald De Koven’s Robin Hood. Set in 12th-century England during the reign of King Richard I, Robin Hood is a heroic outlaw in English folklore in English folklore who, according to legend, was a highly skilled archer and swordsman. Traditionally depicted as being dressed in Lincoln green, he became a popular folk figure in the late-medieval period, and continues to be widely represented in literature, films and television.
De Koven, who was born in Connecticut in 1859, moved with his family to England when he was 11. After graduating from Oxford University in 1879, he studied composition in Europe with such outstanding composers as Franz von Suppé and Léo Delibes. Robin Hood, his best known opera, had its premiere at the Chicago Opera House on June 9, 1890. It was produced in London the following year under the title Maid Marian.
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Merry-making is in progress at the marketplace in Nottingham. Three outlaws—Little John (baritone Oliver Henderson), Will Scarlet (bass Gregory Brookes), and Friar Tuck (bass-baritone James Mismas)—enter and sing of their free life in Sherwood Forest. The handsome, dashing Robin Hood (tenor Timothy Oliver) appears, declaring that he is the Earl of Huntington, and demanding that the Sheriff (baritone Frederick Reeder) acknowledge him as such. The Sheriff refuses, declaring that the young man’s father had disinherited him in favor of Sir Guy of Gisborne (tenor Brian Woods), Robin’s illegitimate half-brother. Sir Guy is engaged to be married to Maid Marian (soprano Dominique McCormick), a ward of the crown. However, the young woman and Robin are deeply in love and exchange vows, to the indignation of Sir Guy.
Marian protests, hoping that she will be released from her engagement to Sir Guy when King Richard returns from a Crusade. Robin is confident that the King will help him prove his claim to be the rightful Earl. Sympathizing with Marian and Robin, the outlaws invite them to join their merry band, promising that he will be their “king.” Eventually, Robin meets King Richard, who provides the necessary documents to prove his claim to the earldom. Marian is thus saved from having to marry Sir Guy, and the opera ends amid general rejoicing at Robin’s victory over the hated Sheriff and his ward.
J. Lynn Thompson conducts the orchestra and chorus of Ohio Light Opera in this 2004 recording.
In this undated recording, Maria Rappold (1872-1957) sings “O Promise Me,” the “hit” song from Robin Hood:
As a bonus, we’ll hear Sir Arthur Sullivan’s incidental music for Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s 1892 play The Foresters, or Robin Hood and Maid Marian.
Next Thursday, September 1, be sure to join me for Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma, with Dame Joan Sutherland as the Druid priestess, John Alexander as Pollione, Marilyn Horne as Adalgisa, and Richard Cross as Oroveso. Richard Bonynge leads the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in this 1965 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 Live online at on our Internet page or you can listen on WCPE's Android or iPhone apps.
— W. Robert Chapman, Host of the WCPE Opera House
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An astute listener caught our esteemed Announcer Dick Storck in a rare error recently, referring to the "Doughnut Button".
As they say, much hilarity ensued.
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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!
WCPE FM, The Classical Station, announces five grants totaling more than $8,000 from its WCPE Education Fund for the 2015–16 season.
The Metropolitan Opera Announces the 2015-16 Season
The Met’s 2015-16 Season Will Feature 26 Operas, Including Three Met Premieres, In Six New Productions and 18 Revivals!
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