- 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
WCPE Home Page
On this week's expanded edition of the WCPE Opera House, we'll celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of German composer Richard Wagner with a 1966 Bayreuth Festival performance of his Tristan und Isolde. Composed between 1857 and 1859, it had its premiere in Munich on June 10, 1865, and was conducted by Hans von Bülow--with whose wife Cosima the composer was having an extramarital affair. The story of Tristan and Isolde is a quintessential romance of the Middle Ages. Several versions exist, the earliest dating to the middle of the twelfth century. Wagner was particularly drawn to Gottfried von Strassburg's (died c. 1210) courtly romance, and based his own libretto largely on it.
Read More »
While he and his wife Minna were living in a cottage on the grounds of silk merchant Otto Wesendonck's Zurich villa, Wagner became romantically involved with his host's wife, Mathilde. Two of the five resultant Wesendonck Lieder — "Im Treibhaus" and "Träume" — are inscribed as "studies for Tristan und Isolde." One evening, the shameless Wagner read the finished poem to an audience that included not only Minna and Matilde but also his future mistress (and later wife) Cosima von Bülow!
Tristan (tenor Wolfgang Windgassen), nephew to King Marke of Cornwall (bass Martti Talvela), has been sent to fetch the Irish princess Isolde (soprano Birgit Nilsson) and bring her back as a wife for the King. Tristan and Isolde had met previously, when he killed her then-fiancé, and she had tended his wounds. Each fell in love with the other, but both kept silent, believing their feelings to be unrequited. Now, aboard the ship from Ireland, they resolve to end their separate sufferings by taking poison. Knowing of this, Isolde's faithful companion, Brangäne (mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig), substitutes a love potion, and the couple are overtaken by uncontrollable passion.
Once in Cornwall, the lovers can meet only under cover of darkness — where, betrayed by the knight Melot (baritone Claude Heater), they are soon discovered together by King Marke. Tristan is wounded by Melot and taken home to his own kingdom by his loyal squire, Kurwenal (baritone Eberhard Wächter). Isolde follows, arriving in time to join Tristan in a mutual embrace of death. Learning the truth about the love potion, Marke forgives the tragic young couple. Transfigured at last by death, Isolde is reunited with Tristan.
Karl Böhm conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Bayreuth Festival in this 1966 recording. From a 1962 Vienna Philharmonic concert, conducted by Hans Knappertsbusch, Birgit Nilsson sings Isolde's ecstatic "Liebestod" (Love-Death):
On Wagner's actual birthday, Wednesday, May 22, WCPE will play orchestral selections from his operas throughout the day, and at 9:00 p.m. EDT we'll present Act III, scene 3 of Siegfried featuring Deborah Voigt and Plácido Domingo.
Please join me next Thursday evening, May 30, for Gaetano Donizetti's La Favorita, another ill-fated love affair involving a king. In this love triangle, Gabriel Bacquier is King Alfonso of Castille, Fiorena Cossotto is his mistress Leonora, and Luciano Pavarotti is the young monk-turned-warrior Fernando who is blissfully unaware of Leonora's true identity — until it's too late.
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
Follow WCPE Opera House on Facebook | Twitter
« Read Less
May WCPE CD of the Month at Quail Ridge Books & MusicRachel Barton Pine: Violin Lullabies
“My first exposure to music was not at a concert. It was not on the radio. It was the sound of my mother’s voice as she sang a lullaby to me, just as her mother had sung to her, and her mother before her.” — Rachel Barton Pine
Read More »
While Pine has built a reputation on performing the more exciting, blood-pumping, foot- stomping parts of the classical repertoire, this new mother appears to have made a seamless transition from rocking a violin to cradling a newborn. Taking quiet moments to research the genre, Pine found no extant catalogue of the many lullabies composers worldwide had written for her instrument. She collected more than one hundred and fifty works and chose the selections for the album on “musical merit” alone. Violin Lullabies, which is dedicated to Pine’s daughter, includes several world premieres along with many traditional favorites to soothe the spirit.
Brahms Lullaby: Rachel Barton Pine
Be sure to sign up for WCPE's 'Crescendo', our Monthly Newsletter!
Thank you for supporting WCPE 89.7 FM!
Born This Week
- 21 Tuesday
Maurice André 1933
(80th anniversary of birth)
Heinz Holliger 1939
- 22 Wednesday
Richard Wagner 1813
(200th anniversary of birth)
- 23 Thursday
Alicia de Larrocha 1923
(90th anniversary of birth)
John Browning 1933
(80th anniverary of birth)
- 24 Friday
Paul Paray 1886
Hans-Martin Linde 1930
- 26 Sunday
Vlado Perlemuter 1904
- 27 Monday Memorial Day observed
Jacques Halévy 1799
Joachim Raff 1822
"What was that beautiful piece of music??" Find out now by browsing through a week's worth of playlists!
|Meet the Announcer|
Ever wonder what your favorite voice looks like? See photos and read brief biographies of WCPE's announcers!
| "Quarter Notes"|
WCPE's Member Magazine
Published quarterly, this magazine and listener guide offers featured works and program highlights for the WCPE season to come, plus station news, reviews, interviews and other articles designed to enhance your classical music journey.
Quarter Notes is sent to WCPE members in print version, and members may also choose to view this website's "green" online version. To become a WCPE member (your gift is tax-deductible!) and receive a year's subscription to Quarter Notes, click here.
|Donate your car to WCPE!|
If your automobile (truck, boat, motorcycle, RV, or aircraft) is no longer of use to you, it can still go a long way as a donation in support of the Great Classical Music you rely on from WCPE. Learn how!
|Tell us how you feel about WCPE!|
Record your message on the WCPE Listener Comment Line. Please phone (919) 570-0204 and tell us what WCPE means to you.
Find out more about a fun way to support your home for Great Classical Music.
Live Metropolitan Opera Saturday radio broadcasts can be heard on this website. To see the Metropolitan Opera schedule click here.