Godard's 'Dante' from Munich

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Véronique Gens stars as Béatrice in Godard's opera, 'Dante.' Véronique Gens stars as Béatrice in Godard's opera, 'Dante.' (Franck Juery)

This week, World of Opera presents Dante, a 19th-century French opera by Benjamin Godard based on the life of the great Italian poet. Lisa Simeone hosts the performance from Munich's Prince Regent Theater.

A violin prodigy, Godard (1849–1895) had an unremarkable career as a student at the Paris Conservatoire. He enjoyed moderate success by the 1870s and was able to support himself with his compositions. Like many of his works, the opera Dante received mixed reviews at its premiere. Many critics thought that a work encompassing the poet's life as well as his work was too ambitious in scope for Godard.

However, Godard's work, with a libretto by Édouard Blau, does provide a dramatic and at times thrilling account of the literary figure's involvement in politics, as well as his ascent and descent to Heaven and Hell from The Divine Comedy.

World of Opera airs Thursdays at 4 pm, Saturdays at 5 pm and Sundays at 1 pm on the Operavore stream.


Dante Alighieri: Edgaras Montvidas (tenor)
Béatrice: Véronique Gens (soprano)
Bardi: Jean-François Lapointe (baritone)
Gemma: Rachel Frenkel (mezzo-soprano)
Ghost of Virgil: Andrew Foster-Williams (baritone)

Munich Radio Orchestra
Bavarian Radio Chorus
Conductor: Ulf Schirmer

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