opera

As part of its commitment to supporting new American music, Opera Philadelphia next week will premiere Cycles of My Being, a song cycle that delves into the realities and facets of life as a black man in America. Composed by Tyshawn Sorey with lyrics by poet Terrance Hayes, the work will have its world premiere Feb. 20 in a performance by bel canto tenor Lawrence Brownlee, who has been tapped as an artistic advisor to Opera Philadelphia.

The music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is being featured on this week’s Sunday Opera (2/18  3:00 p.m.) through two of his well-known and much loved pieces.  The program begins with the psychological drama “Pique Dame” (“The Queen of Spades”) and a recording from 1991.  Herman has two problems: he’s in love with Liza who is far above his station in life, and he is obsessed with gambling.  He learns that Liza’s grandmother is a countess who is known as The Queen of Spades because she knows a formula that always allows her to win.  

Richard Wagner’s second opera, “Das Liebesverbot,” is the centerpiece of this week’s Sunday Opera (2/4  3:00 p.m.).   Premiering in 1836, “Das Liebesverbot” or “The Ban on Love,” is based on Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” with a libretto by Wagner and has been called “Wagner’s lost comedy” since its premier was a disaster with the leading man forgetting his part and improvising through the performance.  This performance, recorded in 1983, features Hermann Prey, Wolfgang Fassler, and Sabine Haas.  

The Lyric Stage: Jan. 28 - Verdi's Rigoletto

Jan 28, 2018

Three singers in the early prime of their careers, Ettore Bastianini, Renata Scotto and Alfredo Krause sing highlights from Verdi's Rigoletto in this 1960 Studio Recording. 

An American opera based on an American original is this week’s Sunday Opera (1/28  3:00 p.m.) as we take a look at Lori Laitman’s 2016 treatment of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter.”  Hawthorne’s 1850 novel is a moral allegory centering on Hester Prynne’s affair with the Reverend Dimmesdale, the birth of her illegitimate daughter, Pearl, and her strength and determination to make a life for them in the face of hatred and prejudice.  Laura Claycomb is Hester and Dominic Armstrong is Dimmesdale in this recording featuring the Opera Colorado Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Ari Pelto

Raul Zbengheci

Innovation is alive and well in the opera world, particularly at smaller and more creative opera companies and festivals. This week, A Tempo spotlights the sixth annual Prototype Festival in New York City, which runs Jan. 7 - 20. This year's Festival presented seven productions, including several world and U.S. premieres.

Gordon Getty is the featured composer on this week’s Sunday Opera (1/21  3:00 p.m.) in two of his works.  We’ll begin with “Plump Jack,” an adaptation by the composer of “Henry IV” Parts 1 & 2 and “Henry V” of Shakespeare featuring Lester Lynch as Falstaff as he falls from favor with Prince Hal on the death of the prince’s father.  The second opera is based on Oscar Wilde’s first published story, “The Canterville Ghost” about an American family who move into a haunted castle only to drive the poor ghost to despair.  

Elvida is one of Gaetano Donizetti's long neglected operas. (He  wrote seventy or so operas, and if some of them were not neglected, we would hear almost nothing but Donizetti's operas.) Some critics think that his early Elvida has earned its obscurity. According to one, for example, it's often light music does not match the dark plot of the heroine held hostage, thrown into a dungeon, and saved from being murdered at the last minute possible.

This week we feature Russian opera that shows intimate reflections on life to the splendor that helps define grand opera. Prince Igor broods on his captivity and Tatania from Eugene Onegin finds herself madly in love, while Boris Godounov has a coronation and the Polevetsian dances are one of opera's signature grand scenes.

Mikhail Kit, Nikola Putilin, Renee Fleming and Valery Gergiev among many others are the featured artists this Sunday night January 7 at 8PM on the Lyric Stage. 

Fritz Wunderlich sang Mozart as well as anyone has, as does Cecilia Bartoli, and Sunday December 17 at 8PM they sing music from Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro and Cosi fan Tutti. 

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