Verdi Week: At-a-Glance

A weeklong festival celebrating Giuseppe Verdi: October 7-13, 2013

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


With his stirring choruses, popular melodies and ardent political themes, Giuseppe Verdi has given generations of opera-lovers plenty to savor.

To mark the 200th anniversary of his birth WQXR is offering a week of music and commentary on the Italian composer's life and work. The mini-festival includes complete performances of his operas, special programs and commentary from artists and scholars.

During Verdi Week WQXR's online opera stream, Operavore, will be wall-to-wall Verdi. View and download the full schedule, as well as the complete cast list for each performance.

To delve further into Verdi's work, WQXR will highlight tribute albums from Jonas Kaufmann, Placido Domingo and Anna Netrebko, plus a new collection of archival recordings by the legendary soprano Montserrat Caballe.

More Verdi Week program highlights include:

• 8 pm Monday: We present a complete performance of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem.

• 8 pm Tuesday and noon Saturday: Placido Domingo spends an hour with Jeff Spurgeon to discuss his lifetime singing Verdi and his new CD of Verdi arias.

• 8 pm Wednesday: Hear "Clash of the Titans," a one-hour radio documentary that considers the contrasting careers of Verdi and the other giant of 19th century opera, Richard Wagner.

• 10 pm Wednesday and 8 pm Saturday: Metropolitan Opera conductor and composer Matt Aucoin presents an hour of Verdi’s greatest non-hits.

• 8 pm Thursday and 10 pm Sunday: On Reflections from the Keyboard, David Dubal presents Verdi transcriptions for piano.

• 9 pm Thursday: Hear Rigoletto from last season’s production at the Metropolitan Opera.

• 8 pm Friday and 11 pm Sunday: Annie Bergen opens the WQXR Archives to find a back episode of The Vocal Scene with George Jellinek devoted to Verdi.

• 1 pm Saturday: Placido Domingo stars in Nabucco from the Royal Opera House.


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Comments [11]

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

My critique regarding today's, Saturday December 7th, 2013, MET OPRERA radio broadcast live which concluded vat 3:45 PM:
KUDOS to the Rigoletto DMITRI HVOROVSTOVSKY who is a quadruple threat, with a great voice, stunningly virile physique, good musicianship and believable depth in his dramatic concept and execution of his role and to the Sparafucile STEFAN KOCAN whose remarkable protracted low F in his business-like confrontation exhorting his "services" to Rigoletto in Act 1 received a deserved acclamation. The Duke MATTHEW POLENZANI has an appropriately light lyric tenor voice with the acuti, high notes, secure and pleasant sounding. But in this role his singing is not of the exciting caliber of the greats singing the Duke, Caruso, Bjoerling, Del Monaco, Corelli and Pavvarotti. The maestro PABLO HERAS-CASADO most effectively communicated Verdi's score, unlike the what we have seen of the bastardization of the setting and dress as expressed by PIAVE. What if we went to Paris' LOUVRE ART MUSEUM and saw a substitution for the LEONARDO DA VINCI MONA LISA an updated modern version!!! I in my earliest years sang the Duke but I am now a romantischer Wagnerian heldentenor. On St. Valentine's Day, Friday February 14, 2014, my TEN DVD SET of "The 300 Greatest Love Songs of Broadway Musicals, Movies and the Grammys" recorded in ten live concerts will be obtainable. My website is, where one may download, free, at RECORDED SELECTIONS 37 out of the nearly 100 selections that I have sung in 4 three-hour-long solo concerts in CARNEGIE HALL'S ISAAC STERN AUDITORIUM

Dec. 07 2013 05:45 PM

I feel something is missing without a James King Otello.

Oct. 08 2013 10:09 PM
Peter O'Malley from Oakland, New Jersey

"Macbetto", with Maria Callas as Lady "M", just concluded on WKCR as part of their 48 hour Verdi tribute broadcast. While it was nice to hear the "Manzoni Requiem" (one of my favorites) last night, a lot of the on air stuff in this so-called "Verdi Week" has been, as someone else noted, mostly fluff. (and please, kill that spot with Jeff Spurgeon talking about Verdi operas lasting for hours: almost as though you are agreeing). It would be nice to have all the real Verdi going on on the air, not just online.

Oct. 08 2013 06:33 PM
Cgharles from Brick, NJ

Verdi week. Hooray! But I get NO SOUND from Operavore or WQXR or any of the other items. What's up??

Oct. 08 2013 11:28 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

Hi lol,
I checked out the WKCR website and I see what you mean. It looks interesting - maybe I'll listen to some of the programming on Tuesday and Wednesday, but I have to admit I'm still a loyal WQXR listener (most of the time!)

Oct. 07 2013 08:29 PM
George from UWS

I have to agree with Bernie. Look at the playlist for today. 3/4 of it is fluff. Barely a single full-length symphony. Hardly any 20th century music. It's a lot of popular overtures, ballet music, easy-listening 18th century divertimentos and other lite trifles. I don't get it frankly. Is it the shortened attention spans as Carol suggests? Isn't New York supposed to be a city where the arts are more sophisticated and cutting-edge? Most small-town classical stations are more substantial and meaty than WQXR.

Oct. 07 2013 08:20 PM
To Carol

Hi Carol. WQXR announced theirs at least 5 or 6 days after WKCR announced the Verdi Fest they're starting at midnight tonight (I think they start with the 1962 Trovatore). WKCR really has been doing total justice to both Verdi and Wagner this year, whether it was listening to the full Vepres Siciliennes in February or their 2-day Wagner Fest on his bicentennial where they played his operas from Rienzi on. All I know is that WKCR has proven that they're willing to devote themselves fully to these works, so I'm going to keep listening to them all Tuesday and Wednesday.

Oct. 07 2013 07:50 PM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

To lol: In all fairness to WQXR, I don't think they are copying what WKCR did last week - after all, Verdi's birthday is on Thursday, so it is appropriate to celebrate Verdi Week this week. At least they are not doing what they did to Wagner on his 200th birthday - they ignored it because of their pledge drive, and then two months later decided to do a Wagner Week, supposedly to mark the opening of the Bayreuth Festival. Nevertheless, I enjoyed Wagner Week, and I think Verdi Week will be good also.
Having said that, I agree with Bernie that unfortunately, WQXR does seem to be turning into a "Lite Classic" station, playing mostly short pieces (notice how there are very few selections that are over 20 minutes). And what's with all the movie music lately?
WQXR, please recognize that your listeners have longer attention spans than you seem to give us credit for - give us some meat and potatoes in our classical diets, not just fluff!

Oct. 07 2013 07:15 PM
Bernie from UWS

@Lol - It's now 12:30 pm I'm still waiting to hear a SINGLE VERDI ARIA on WQXR. They've played a track of ballet music and an overture but that's it. How can they realistically call this "Verdi Week" when it's mostly more of the same - light classics, film music cues and other short classical bonbons? This is all a bunch of spin. That's WQXR for you...

Oct. 07 2013 12:40 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

There is no way to overestimate the cultural and entertainment values of the iconic GIUSEPPE VERDI.
As all opera singers, whether they become ultimately Mozartean, Puccinian, Verdian or Wagnerian singers, they ween their tyro days studying and singing Verdi's oeuvre. The man was as all geniuses a complex man, but to his credit, he also was concerned with his countrymen's present and future. He was an idealist, whose ideal eventuated. We are all deeply indebted to him and celebrate this great man. I am a wagnerian heldentenor whose career has been nurtured on primarily Verdi but also the other inspirational opera composers and composers like Schubert, Brahms, Schumann and Hugo Wolf. They all have given hope, joy and zealous motivation for a meaningful life.; and

Oct. 07 2013 08:46 AM

love how wqxr copies WKCR the week after they do anything:—-oct-8th-oct-9th-0

As always, WKCR gets my vote.

Oct. 06 2013 12:11 AM

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