KRVS

NPR World of Opera on KRVS

Monday 7:00-10:30 PM
  • Hosted by Lisa Simeone

World of Opera with host Lisa Simeone brings listeners compelling performances from top American and international opera companies. For three and a half hours each week, World of Opera encompasses the seminal operas of the 17th century; the political and social satires of the 18th century; the "bel canto" masterpieces of Donizetti and Bellini; the revolutionary 19th-century works of Verdi and Wagner; and, of course, operas in the "true-to-life" verismo style of Puccini and Mascagni.

Storms And Salvation: 'The Flying Dutchman'

Nov 8, 2011

Love him or hate him, Richard Wagner has a reputation as the composer of immense, four-hour-plus dramas rooted in confusing stories and drawn from obscure mythology. For legions of Wagner enthusiasts, that makes no difference. Countless music lovers have found themselves drawn — raptly — into the vast musical worlds Wagner created, and eager to return time after time. But there are others who find his sprawling, dramatic canvases — the ones he called "music dramas" rather than operas — to be...

When William Bolcom 's opera A View from the Bridge premiered in Chicago in 1999, one critic described it as "Brooklyn verismo ," invoking the emotive style popularized by Italian composers such as Puccini . And that pretty much hits the nail on the head. Bolcom's distinctively American opera is set among immigrants in New York, and its story easily lives up to Puccini's description of his own dramatic style, as one that puts "great sorrows in little souls." The little souls of A View from...

When we think of opera's biggest stars and greatest hits, we tend to think of solo arias. But that overlooks another operatic goldmine: duets. Over the years, there have been plenty of classic duet collaborations, resulting in legendary recordings and performances. Mirella Freni and Luciano Pavarotti come to mind, singing the "Cherry Duet" from Mascagni's L'Amico Fritz . Going back a little further, there's Jussi Bjorling and Robert Merrill with "Au fond du temple saint," the famous duet from...

The Bloodiest Opera Ever? Maybe Strauss' 'Elektra'

Oct 28, 2011

It's a story that would seem excessive for even the most lurid of "real life" dramas, or blood-soaked slasher movies. But it's always been right at home in the opera house — Richard Strauss' intense, one-act opera, Elektra . The tale dates back to classic Greek tragedies, and it revolves around what may be the most dysfunctional family in all of literature. The head of this disturbing household is King Agamemnon, who gets the emotional ruckus started by sacrificing one of his daughters,...

An All-Consuming Parental Love: Verdi's 'Rigoletto'

Oct 21, 2011

It's easy to wonder whether actual events in the lives of great composers are directly reflected in their music. Sometimes people even argue about it. But in the case of personal tragedies early in Giuseppe Verdi 's life, the case seems like a slam dunk. Verdi wrote his first opera ( Oberto ) while in his late 20s for Milan's historic opera house, La Scala. The successful 1839 premiere led the company to offer him a contract for three more dramas. It seemed Verdi was on his way to a solid...