World of Opera

Airs Thursdays at 4 pm, Saturdays at 5 pm and Sundays at 1 pm on the Operavore stream.

World of Opera with host Lisa Simeone brings listeners the world of tragedy and triumph, passion and seduction, intrigue and disaster, jealousies and dreams — the world of opera — every week on WQXR's Operavore stream.

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Handel's Semele from Toronto

Thursday, December 27, 2012

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Described by George Frideric Handel as an opera "in the manner of an oratorio," Semele has something for everyone. It's written and sung in English, befitting its original Covent Garden billing as an "English oratorio," yet it shares the Italian opera style that made Handel one of the most popular composers of his time.

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Delius' A Village Romeo and Juliet from Ireland

Thursday, December 20, 2012

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Born in England, Frederick Delius wrote music inspired by his wide-ranging life and locales ranging from the sunshine of Florida to the fiords of Norway. In this opera, A Village Romeo and Juliet, he takes the traditional story of star-crossed lovers and transplants it to a quiet hamlet in Switzerland.

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Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov from Madrid

Thursday, December 13, 2012

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Deeply rooted in his country's colorful history, Modest Mussorgsky's epic Boris Godunov may be the most famous of all Russian operas. Austrian bass Günther Groissböck sings the tormented title character in a lush production from the historic Teatro Real, or Royal Theater, in Madrid.

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Verdi’s Rigoletto from Italy's Royal Theater

Thursday, December 06, 2012

In Verdi's sensational drama Rigoletto, he reveals his lifelong affinity for touching, father-daughter relationships, yet does so in a story that also serves up over-the-top passion and appalling violence — all conveyed in music that careens vividly through its characters' wildly contrasting emotions.

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Tchaikovsky’s The Enchantress from Moscow

Thursday, November 29, 2012

In Tchaikovsky’s drama The Enchantress, the title character is a brazen seductress who eventually finds redemption in true love, but in the process brings tragedy to an entire family.

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Rameau's Les Indes Galantes from Boston

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Jean-Philippe Rameau's spectacular, globetrotting drama Les Indes Galantes features extravagant scenes in locales ranging from a Turkish island in the Indian Ocean, to the Inca Empire of Peru, to a Persian festival of flowers and the "savage" forests of North America.

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Bellini’s Zaira from the Valle d'Itria Festival

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bellini's fifth opera, Zaira, was the first of his scores to get a somewhat cool reception at its premiere. Still, its tragic, cross-cultural story has particular resonance in today's world.

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Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin from Riga Opera Festival

Thursday, November 08, 2012

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A brooding masterpiece, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's dark drama Eugene Onegin deals with a caddish aristocrat whose indifference towards others turns full circle, and comes back to destroy him.

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Verdi’s Macbeth from Geneva

Thursday, November 01, 2012

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Truly successful operas based on Shakespeare are astonishingly rare — a generous estimate would put the count at about half-a-dozen. Even more remarkable is that Giuseppe Verdi alone accounted for three of them. His Macbeth may not be heard quite so often as Otello and Falstaff, but it's still among his finest scores.

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Wagner’s Rienzi from Madrid

Thursday, October 25, 2012

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Richard Wagner's Rienzi is an early, grand opera, written before he launched his revolutionary journey into the world of "music drama" that we now think of as uniquely Wagnerian. The story is a deadly blend of piety and politics, set in 14th century Rome.

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Philip Glass’s Kepler from the Spoleto Festival

Thursday, October 18, 2012

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From this past year’s Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C., this week’s World Of Opera performance is the American premiere production and English language world premiere of Kepler, Philip Glass's dynamic new drama, rooted in the life and inspirational ideas of the 17-century mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler.

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Verdi’s Il Trovatore from North Carolina

Thursday, October 11, 2012

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Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore has a raft of over-the-top characters populating a story so complex and unlikely, it could be fairly described either as incomprehensible or implausible, if not both. That hardlyt seems like a recipe for success. But the perplexingly beautiful drama also boats so many of Verdi's finest tunes that it's hard to keep track of them all.

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Glinka's A Life for the Tsar from the Montpellier Festival

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Today at 4 pm on Operavore, Glinka's story of a humble peasant who sacrificed himself to save the Russian tsar early in the 1600s.

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Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro from The Proms

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Today on the Operavore stream: this production was staged in the round at London's Royal Albert Hall, and recorded at the 2012 BBC Proms. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment backs a mostly young cast. 

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Britten’s Peter Grimes from The Proms

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Today on the Operavore stream, a performance of Britten's Peter Grimes from London's Royal Albert Hall, recorded at the 2012 BBC Proms Concerts.

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Purcell's The Fairy Queen from Amsterdam

Thursday, September 13, 2012

From the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Purcell's The Fairy Queen, based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, but altered to make room for self-contained musical scenes.

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Rossini’s Matilde di Shabra from Pesaro, Italy

Thursday, September 06, 2012

This week’s production is from the Rossini Festival in Pesaro, Italy. Hear Matilde di Shabran on Thursday at 4 pm, repeated Saturday at 5 pm and Sunday at 1 pm on the Operavore stream.

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Weinberger’s Schwanda the Bagpiper from Dresden

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Though Jaromir Weinberger died in Florida and composed a number of works with American themes, he was born in Prague, and this charming folk opera remains his most famous work.

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Verdi’s A Masked Ball from Turin

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The original version of A Masked Ball so offended Italian censors that Verdi eventually picked up the whole story and moved it all the way to Boston. No matter where it takes place, the drama is bolstered by one of Verdi's most heartfelt scores, and an illicit love affair as passionate as you'll find in any of his operas.

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Debussy’s Pelléas and Mélisande from the Proms

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Can an opera be passionate without shrieking mad scenes, rousing marches and crashing cadences? The answer is yes, and this emotional marvel by Debussy proves it.

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