World of Opera

Program Schedule

KPBX 91.1
Wednesday 7pm - 10pm

World of Opera with host Lisa Simeone brings listeners compelling performances from top American and international opera companies. World of Opera encompasses the seminal operas of centuries past as well as today's masterpieces.

About the host:
Simeone hosts WDAV's nationally syndicated World of Opera and Spoleto Chamber Music 2010. She also hosts The Grainger foundation Chicago Symphony Orchestra Radio Broadcast Series and the internationally syndicated documentary series Soundprint. Lisa has more than 25 years experience in radio and television, including stints with All Things Considered, Performance Today, Weekend Edition and The Metropolitan Opera.
Lisa began her career at WBJC in Baltimore and WETA in Washington, D.C. During her ten years at Baltimore's WJHU, she developed a loyal following for her unusual mix of programming — classical, folk and jazz, along with provocative reports, interviews and call-in shows on everything from anthropology and neuroscience to philosophy to media criticism. (But she confesses that her favorite reports were on bocce, The Hon Man of Baltimore and the virtues of a well-fitting bra!).
As a freelancer, Lisa has done voice-overs, narrations and hosting for the Discovery Channel, PBS and commercial enterprises. When she's not doing radio, Lisa writes for Style Magazine and the Urbanite, as well as book reviews and op-eds for The Baltimore Sun.

Program Listings:

April 16, 2014

La Fenice, Venice
La Fenice Orchestra and Chorus
Emmanuel Villaume, conductor
CAST: Veronica Simeoni (Sélika); Gregory Kunde (Vasco da Gama); Jessica Pratt (Inès); Angelo Veccia (Nélusko); Luca dall'Amico (Don Pédro); Davide Ruberti (Don Diégo); Anna Bordignon (Anna); Mattia Denti (Grand Inquisitor); Ruben Amoretti (High Priest of Brahma)
SYNOPSIS: The debut of this opera, in 1865, was one of the most extravagant productions in the history of the Paris Opéra, and the drama can strain the capacity of even today's high tech theaters. This production comes to us from one of the world's most glamorous operatic destinations.

April 23, 2014

Malmö Opera, Sweden
Malmö Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Leif Segerstam, conductor
CAST: Georgia Jarman (Manon); Joachim Bäckström (Chevalier des Grieux); Alec Aedissian (Lescaut); Danle Hällström (Le Comte des Grieux); Jonas Duran (Guillot); Kosma Ranuer (Brétigny); Sofie Asplund (Pousette); Kamila Benhamza (Javotte); Kristina Wahlin (Rosette)
SYNOPSIS: The vitality of opera in the 21st-century is evident in the sheer number of high quality of opera productions heard throughout the world, as demonstrated by this top-notch presentation from Sweden's Malmö opera, making its World of Opera debut with a production featuring the brilliant American soprano Georgia Jarman in the title role.

April 30, 2014
W. A. MOZART: Don Giovanni

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London
Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Nicola Luisotti, conductor
CAST: Mariusz Kwiecien (Don Giovanni); Alex Esposito (Leporello); Malin Byström (Donna Anna); Véronique Gens (Donna Elvira); Antonio Poli (Don Ottavio); David Kimberg (Masetto); Elizabeth Watts (Zerlina); Alexander Tsymbalyuk (Commendatore)
SYNOPSIS: If ever a story fell right into a composer's wheelhouse, this would be the one. It's hard to imagine a more complex weave of antic comedy, shocking violence and emotional betrayals than librettist Lorenzo da Ponte's incisive adaptation of the Don Juan legend -- or a composer better equipped to handle it than Mozart.

May 7, 2014

La Scala, Milan
Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
CAST: Anatoly Kotscherga (Sobakin); Olga Peretyatko (Marfa); Johannes Martin Kränzle (Gryaznoy); Tobias Schabel (Skuratov); Pavel Cernoch (Lykov); Marina Prudenskaya (Lybasha); Stephan Rügamer (Bornelius)
SYNOPSIS: This often spectacular score comes complete with palace intrigues, a deadly poisoning, and misplaced vengeance that leads to insanity and murder. It's also home to some of Rimsky's most dazzling music.

May 14, 2014

Royal Theater, Turin
Teatro Regio Orchestra and Chorus
Renato Palumbo, conductor
CAST: Anna Pirozzi (Tosca); Marto Berti (Cavaradossi); Marco Vratogna (Scarpia); Gabriele Sagona (Angelotti); Marco Camastra (Sacristan)
SYNOPSIS: While careening from passion-driven corruption to torture, murder and suicide, Puccini's popular thriller proves that sensational entertainment can also make an artistic statement that's both enduring, and profoundly beautiful.

May 21, 2014
RICHARD WAGNER: Das Liebesverbot

Leipzig Gewandhaus
MDR Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Kristjan Järvi, conductor
CAST: Melanie Diener (Isabella); Morten Frank Larsen (Friedrich); Sonja Freitag (Dorella); Anna Gabler (Mariana); Bernhard Berchtold (Luzio); Benjamin Bruns (Claudio); Maximilian Argmann (Antonio); Julian Prégardien (Pontio)
SYNOPSIS: This early and rarely-heard comedy by Wagner comes to us from one of music's truly legendary venues, the third incarnation of Leipzig's historic Gewandhaus.

May 28, 2014
CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI: Orfeo (Cracow) & CHRISTOPH WILLIBALD GLUCK: Orfeo ed Euridice (Göteborg)

Szymanowski Philharmonic Hall, Cracow
Göteborg Opera
La Venexiana Orchestra; Claudio Cavina, conductor
Göteborg Opera Orchestra; Laurence Cummings, conductor
CAST (Monteverdi): Anicio Zorzi (Orfeo); Roberta Memeli (Euridice/La Musica); Marina de Liso (La Messigiera/Speranza); Gioria Milanesi (Proserpina/Ninfa); Ugo Guagliardo (Plutone/Apollo); Salvo Vitale (Caronte)
CAST (Gluck): Katerina Kaméus (Orfeo); Kerstin Avemo (Euridice); Mia Karlsson (Amore)
SYNOPSIS: In this fascinating double bill of "Orfeo operas," we hear two sides of one coin. When Gluck started his operatic "reform" movement he was looking back to opera's early days, when the genre was simpler and more directly expressive -- as in the time of Monteverdi. So it's ironic that of these two versions of the Orpheus legend, Monteverdi's seminal opera may actually be the more elaborate score.

June 4, 2014
NICOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh

Grand Liceu Theater, Barcelona
Grand Liceu Theater Orchestra and Chorus
Josep Pons, conductor
CAST: Eric Halfvarson (Prince Yuriy); Maksim Aksenov (Prince Vsevolod); Svetlana Ignatovitx (Fevroniya); Dmitry Golovnin (Grishka Kuterma); Dimitris Tiliakos (Fyodor Poyarok)
SYNOPSIS: This fanciful concoction by Rimsky-Korsakov has all the orchestral brilliance of the composer's familiar concert works, to complement a charming story blending Christian mysticism with age-old folk beliefs.

June 11, 2014

Royal Theatre, Turin
Teatro Regio Orchestra and Chorus
Gianandrea Noseda, conductor
CAST: Carlos Alvarez (William Tell); John Osborn (Arnold Melcthal); Anna Maria Chiuri (Hedwige); Erika Grimaldi (Jemmy); Angela Meade (Mathilde); Giacomo Prestia (Melcthal); Luca Tittolo (Gessler); Mirco Palazzi (Walter Furst); Mikeldi Atxalandabaso (Ruodi)
SYNOPSIS: If William Tell, the complete opera, was as familiar as its ubiquitous overture, it might just be the most famous opera ever composed! Still, as this production from Turin demonstrates, Rossini's final opera is far more than just the original home to "the theme from the Lone Ranger."

June 18, 2014

National Moravian-Silesian Theatre, Ostrava
National Moravian-Silesian Theatre Orchestra
Marko Ivanovic, conductor
CAST: Katerina Kneziková (Mirandolina); Eva Drizgová-Jirusová (Ortensia); Anna Nitrová (Dejanina); Josef Moravec (Count d'Albafliorita); Jan Willem Bajlet (Cavaliere di Ripafratta); Martin Gurbal (Marchese di Forlimpopoli); Ales Briscein (Fabrizio)
SYNOPSIS: Like his more famous countrymen Dvorak, Smetana and Janacek, Martinu displays a musical style that's both intrinsically Czech, and uniquely his own. In this charming comedy, a seductive noblewoman surprises three aristocratic suitors by falling for one of her own servants, instead.

June 25, 2014
W. A. MOZART: La Clemenza di Tito

La Fenice, Venice
La Fenice Orchestra and Chorus
Ottavio Dantone, conductor
CAST: Carlo Allemano (Tito); Carmela Remigio (Vitellia); Monica Bacelli (Sesto); Raffaella Milanesi (Annio); Juli Mathevet (Servilia); Luca Dall'Amico (Publio)
SYNOPSIS: The characters in Mozart's final opera discover that even when it seems things could hardly go more horribly, disastrously wrong, everything can eventually turn out just fine -- thanks to this drama's generous, and almost surreally tolerant title character. The production comes to us from one of opera's most glamorous destinations.

July 2, 2014

Lausanne Opera
Lausanne Opera Chamber Orchestra and Chorus
CAST: Alexia Voulgaridou (Luisa Miller); Luca Salsi (Miller); Giovanni Furlanetto (Walter); Giuseppe Gipali (Rodolfo); Marie Karall (Duchess Federica); Daniel Golossov (Wurm); Céline Mellon (Laura)
SYNOPSIS:  Always drawn to the greatest and most challenging literature, Verdi based this compelling drama on a play by Friederich Schiller. Often neglected today, the opera was a success at its Naples premiere and features some top-notch music, even by Verdi's standards, including a series of evocative choruses and one of his finest overtures. 

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