- 02/19 A Mogul With Muscle Takes Over Carnegie Hall
- 02/18 The Met’s 2015-16 Season Will Feature 227 Performances of 25 Operas, Including Six New Productions
- 02/13 Interview with conductor Charles Dutoit
- 02/12 Edo de Waart to step down after 2016-'17 season
- 02/09 Guitarist Jason Vieaux Wins Grammy
- 02/08 The woman who runs the L.A. Philharmonic
- 02/08 Simon Rattle at 60
- 02/04 Joyce DiDonato Takes A Stand At Stonewall
- 02/02 Viewing a Composer in a New Light
- Special Note: Music Garden in Wake Forest is all about learning and fun
- 01/25 Distilling Japanese Sound From a Varied Catalog
- 01/19 Sir Simon Rattle at 60: 10 of his best performances
- 01/11 Reweaving a Tapestry From Charpentier’s Threads
- 01/07 National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA) China Tour Details Announced
- 01/06 Getting Off To A Good Start: A New Year's Puzzler
- Special Note: The Biggest Classical Music Stories of 2014
- 12/19 School Finds Music Is the Food of Learning
- 12/12 Lydia Mordkovitch has died
- 12/10 Harmonic Ripples in a Watery World
- Special Note: Elim Chan wins 2014 Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition
- 12/08 ISO takes its show on the road
- 12/08 Heroic Onstage and Off
- 12/03 WCPE makes UK Telegraph's The Best Internet Radio Stations List
- 12/02 Grant Llewellyn awarded national music prize
- 11/27 Beethoven, ‘Cyrano’ and Samplings From Film Scores
- 11/19 How one Australian symphony orchestra protects players' ears
- 11/18 Graphing Gender in America’s Top Orchestras
- 11/18 Despite Offstage Worries, Onstage It’s All Artistry
- 11/11 Nonclassical, a London New-Music Franchise, Expanding to New York
- Special Note: A Major Mozart Discovery
- 10/31 WAO lose senior artistic staff
- 10/31 The Search for Mrs. Bach
- Special Note: Infograph: BSO 2014-15 By the Numbers
- 10/28 KC Symphony for Game 6, Joyce DiDonato for Game 7
- 10/27 John Barry’s Widow Establishes a Scholarship for Film Music
- 10/25 Did Bach’s wife write his finest works controversy
- 10/08 Australia Opera cancels Carmen over fears it promotes smoking
- 10/07 Read about the new documentary, "Maestro"
- 10/05 How to Make Music With a Whale
- 10/04 Handel & Haydn’s Bernard celebrates society’s success
- 09/30 Winners Chosen in Program to Aid Female Composers
- 09/28 Andris Nelsons Begins Tenure Leading BSO
- 09/24 Christopher Hogwood has died
- Special Note: Backstage at New York’s Metropolitan Opera! (Video)
- 09/16 2nd conductor resigns from Vienna State Opera
- 09/09 The Sixteen to tour with Monteverdi’s Vespers
- 09/02 Music Lessons Enhance Brain Function in Disadvantaged Kids
- 08/25 Frans Brüggen, Pioneer in Early Music
- 08/25 Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Belohlávek-Weilerstein review
- 08/22 Metropolitan Opera Reaches Settlement With Last Unions
- 08/19 Addicts Symphony
- 08/18 Metropolitan Opera and Two Unions Reach a Tentative Deal
- 08/14 Conductor Gerard Schwarz to record Season 2 of PBS series
- 08/13 Conductor Frans Brüggen has died
- 08/07 Louisville Orchestra in the black
- 08/05 Christiane Karg carries on performance with dislocated knee
- 08/04 Saito Kinen Festival to be renamed after maestro Ozawa
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On this week's Opera House I'm presenting Mark Adamo's adaptation of a nineteenth-century American literary classic, Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. Commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera, it was first performed by their Opera Studio on March 13, 1998. An expanded version was premiered two years later on HGO's main stage, and PBS telecast it on August 28, 2001 on Great Performances.
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Set in Massachusetts during the Civil War, the opera opens with a prologue set in the dark attic of the March family house. Jo March (mezzo-soprano Stephanie Novacek), distraught, greets her friend Theodore Lawrence, a.k.a. "Laurie" (tenor Chad Shelton). He's just married Jo's younger sister Amy March (soprano Margaret Lloyd); but has he married Amy only to stay near Jo? Worse: Laurie adores Amy — nothing is as it was — and the opera spirals back in time to show why Jo tried to keep it so. Act I opens two years earlier, in the same attic. Jo and her sisters Meg March (mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato), Beth March (soprano Stacey Tappan), and Amy make games of their chores. Laurie tauntingly tells Jo that his tutor, John Brooke (baritone Daniel Belcher), keeps Meg's glove because he loves her. Jo, alone, sketching a story, fearfully denies that Meg might love him too. Two weeks later, Brooke courts Meg. Jo urges the family to reject him. Cecilia March (mezzo-soprano Katherine Ciesinski), the girls' aunt, also scorns Brooke: but Meg, resolved, accepts him. Her family celebrates; but Jo accuses Meg of abandoning her. The following summer, Meg and Brooke adapt their parents wedding vows. A feverish Laurie pleads for Jo's love. She spurns him; stung, he flees. Beth, secretly ill, collapses as Meg cries for help.
The second act begins in the offices of the Daily Volcano, a New York City fiction tabloid. A triumphant Jo sells a story; back at her boarding house, she writes her increasingly atomized family. A new acquaintance, Friedrich Bhaer (baritone Chen-Ye Yuan), invites her to the opera. Meanwhile, at Jo's boarding house, Jo and Bhaer engage in flirtatious debate while, in Oxford, Amy tests Laurie's feelings for Jo. Beth rages at the piano. Bhaer ardently recites Goethe to Jo: then Alma's desperate telegram interrupts them. Jo flees to Concord. Three sleepless nights later, Beth dozes as her family keeps vigil. Jo bursts in; Beth bids her family leave. Beth urges Jo to accept her impending death. The following spring Cecilia baits Jo with Amy's letter about loving Laurie. Jo wearily admits Bhaer may have abandoned her. Cecilia urges Jo to choose solitude; refusing, Jo retreats to the attic. Back in the attic, as in the beginning, Jo is distraught. Laurie, appearing, again reminisces; but now Jo rejects the past. Her sisters materialize as memories: Jo, in emotional exorcism, celebrates and releases them. Bhaer — her future — appears: Jo extends her hand to him.
Patrick Summers conducts the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra in this 2001 Ondine recording.
From the 2001 Houston Grand Opera production aired on PBS, Meg (Joyce DiDonato) sings "Things change, Jo" to her sister Jo (Stephanie Novacek):
To celebrate Gioachino Rossini's birthday (since he was born in a Leap Year we're celebrating either the 223rd anniversary of his nativity, or this will be the third consecutive celebration of his 55th birthday), we'll hear highlights from the 1992 Rossini Bicentennial Concert at New York City's Avery Fisher Hall, featuring Samuel Ramey, Marilyn Horne, Chris Merritt, and a host of other Rossini specialists.
This Saturday at 1:00 p.m. be sure to tune in to The Classical Station for the Metropolitan Opera's matinee performance of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), with Pretty Yende (Pamina), Toby Spence (Tamino), Markus Werba (Papageno), Ana Durlovski (Queen of the Night), René Pape (Sarastro). Adam Fischer conducts.
Please join me next Thursday, March 5th, for Antonín Dvořák's Jakobín (The Jacobin). This 1994 recording features Karel Průša (Count Vilém), Václav Zítek (Bohuš), René Tuček (Adolf), Marcela Machotková (Julie), Karel Berman (Filip), Vilém Přibyl (Jiří), Beno Blachut (Benda), Daniela Šounová (Terinka), and Ivana Mixová (Lotinka). Jiří Pinkas conducts the Brno State Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kühn Mixed Chorus, and the Kantiléna Children’s Chorus.
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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We spoke with violinist Ara Gregorian, who is founder and artistic director of the Greenville- based Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival which is now in its 15th season. ECU's Next Generation Chamber Orchestra, acclaimed guest artists, and ECU faculty members present a concert of the complete Four Seasons concerti of Vivaldi and Piazzolla on Saturday, February 28 in Smedes-Emory Parlor at Raleigh's Saint Mary's School.
WCPE is sad to share news today of the passing of North Carolina Symphony violinist Jess Levin. We offer our condolences to Jess's wife, Pam Halverson, who is assistant librarian of the North Carolina Symphony, and the entire Symphony family. Jess Levin's edition of My Life in Music, which originally aired on April 7, 2014, is available for streaming, at this link.
February 15, 1951 – February 16, 2015
A member of the North Carolina Symphony since 1974, Jess Levin held the J. Felix Arnold Chair in the First Violin section.
From an early age, Jess had designs on a career in science. He began serious study of physics while in elementary school, and went on to major in that subject at the Bronx High School of Science. However, as the son of one of New York’s premier violinists, it was not surprising that the music bug would bite him eventually. Jess began studying violin while in junior high school, and studied composition with Juilliard resident composer Hall Overton beginning at the age of 14.
During his teen years, the photography bug also took up permanent residence next to music and Jess pursued both creative areas from then on. His explorations of visual arts can be seen at www.ClassicalPhotography.com. An undergraduate degree in violin performance (with unofficial minor in composition) and a graduate school major in composition (with unofficial minor in violin) helped prepare Jess for his place in the First Violin section of the North Carolina Symphony.
Highlights of his career with the North Carolina Symphony included four performances of his own violin concerto (premiered in 1976), performances of Mozart’s Concerto No. 5, and the orchestra’s performances of two of his compositions – TAKI 183 for string orchestra, and Tessellation for full orchestra. His chamber works have been performed in Raleigh, Albuquerque, and several Wisconsin venues.
A continued fascination with physics and the other sciences provided just one area among the many that occupied Jess’s voracious appetite for reading that also included music and the visual arts. His wife, Pam Halverson who is also part of the North Carolina Symphony family, serves as Assistant Librarian.
WCPE offers its congratulations to guitarist Jason Vieaux on winning his first Grammy Award in the category Best Classical Instrumental Solo with his album, "Play," released on Azica Records. In case you missed it, here’s our Preview interview with Jason Vieaux about the album which includes Vieaux’s own arrangement of “In a Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington, which he created for a 2007 performance with North Carolina’s Charlotte Symphony.
Listen to WCPE's interview with Jason Vieaux.
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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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