The Bard Goes to the Opera: Celebrating Shakespeare

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Maria Luigia Borsi as Desdemona and Antonello as Palombi, in Otello at Cincinnati Opera Maria Luigia Borsi as Desdemona and Antonello as Palombi, in Otello at Cincinnati Opera (© Cincinnati Opera/Philip Groshong 2010)

In case you haven't noticed, we're celebrating William Shakespeare this week. Wednesday marked the 450th anniversary of his birth. This Saturday at 12:30 pm host Naomi Lewin will explore adaptations of Shakespearean works for the opera stage.

Nearly 300 operatic works have been based on Shakespeare's plays. On this episode, Garry Wills, author of Verdi’s Shakespeare - Two Men of the Theater, discusses the Bard's influence on Giuseppe Verdi.

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Giuseppe Verdi Macbeth “Ah, la paterna mano”
Victor Orchestra; Walter B. Rogers, conductor; Enrico Caruso, tenor
Victor 88558 | Recorded February 23, 1916

Giuseppe Verdi Macbeth “Tutto è finito!
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; Erich Leinsdorf, conductor
Leonie Rysanek, soprano; Leonard Warren, baritone
Sony 721202 | Live recording from 1959

Giuseppe Verdi Otello “Esultate”
Beniamino Gigli, tenor
Hallmark Recordings B0055A3HG4 | From the 1941 film Mamma directed by Guido Brignone

Giuseppe Verdi Otello “Vanne…Credo in un Dio crudel”
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; Ettore Panizza, conductor; Lawrence Tibbett, baritone
Sony 721202 | Live recording from 1940

Giuseppe Verdi Otello “Ave Maria”
Bourdon double string quartet; Rosario Bourdon, conductor; Rosa Ponselle, soprano
Victor 6474B | Recorded January 23, 1924



Hosted by:

Naomi Lewin

Comments [3]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Chicago Lyric's OTELLO broadcast on Saturday May 24th requires in the title role and in the role of Iago full-bodied stentorian voices with stamina and easy trumpet like high notes. Neither JOHAN BOTHA as Otello nor FRALK STRUCKMANN as Iago had much quality in their individual vocal timbres, were often not focussed tonally, lacked ping and ringing tones and were underpowered, thin-voiced and strained on their unfocussed high notes. Only ANA MARIA MARTINEZ as Desdemona was impressive in voice quality and had the heft required. Both gentlemen should improve their vocal techniques which are rough and crude. Maestro BERTRAND DE BILLY knows the score and manages to coordinate and balance all the singers and orchestra masterfully. I have composed two Shakespeare operas, "Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare."

May. 25 2014 01:30 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Thanks for Caruso and La Paterno Mano.

Apr. 26 2014 12:38 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

What a combination. Perfect together.

Apr. 26 2014 08:07 AM

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