World of Opera

Program Schedule

KPBX 91.1
Wednesday 7pm - 10pm

World of Opera with host Lisa Simeone brings listeners compelling performances from top American and international opera companies. World of Opera encompasses the seminal operas of centuries past as well as today's masterpieces.

About the host:
Simeone hosts WDAV's nationally syndicated World of Opera and Spoleto Chamber Music 2010. She also hosts The Grainger foundation Chicago Symphony Orchestra Radio Broadcast Series and the internationally syndicated documentary series Soundprint. Lisa has more than 25 years experience in radio and television, including stints with All Things Considered, Performance Today, Weekend Edition and The Metropolitan Opera.
Lisa began her career at WBJC in Baltimore and WETA in Washington, D.C. During her ten years at Baltimore's WJHU, she developed a loyal following for her unusual mix of programming — classical, folk and jazz, along with provocative reports, interviews and call-in shows on everything from anthropology and neuroscience to philosophy to media criticism. (But she confesses that her favorite reports were on bocce, The Hon Man of Baltimore and the virtues of a well-fitting bra!).
As a freelancer, Lisa has done voice-overs, narrations and hosting for the Discovery Channel, PBS and commercial enterprises. When she's not doing radio, Lisa writes for Style Magazine and the Urbanite, as well as book reviews and op-eds for The Baltimore Sun.

Program Listings:

August 20, 2014
RICHARD STRAUSS: Die Frau ohne Schatten

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London
Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Semyon Bychkov, conductor
CAST: Johan Botha (The Emperor); Emily Magee (The Empress); Michaela Schuster (Nurse); Johan Reuter (Barak, the Dyer); Elena Pankratova (Dyer's Wife); Jeremy White (One-Armed Man); Hubert Francis (The Hunchback); Ashley Holland (Messenger of Keikobad)
SYNOPSIS: This opera's librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, called it a "magic fairy tale." The highly-symbolic story inhabits both the real world, and a realm of pure spirituality, and while it has often been overshadowed by the composer's more famous dramas, many Strauss aficionados consider The Woman without a Shadow to be his finest opera.

August 27, 2014

Montpellier Festival
Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon National Orchestra
Latvian Radio Chorus
Paolo Carignani, conductor
CAST: Elena Mosuc (Caterina Cornaro); Ivan Magri (Gerardo); Franco Vassallo (Lusignano); Francois Lis (Mocenigo); Julie Knecht (Mathilde); Franck Bard (Knight of the King)
SYNOPSIS: Though it's not one of Donizetti's better known scores, the concise drama and pure, emotional energy of this opera make it one of his most compelling.

September 3, 2014

Bayreuth Festival
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Kirill Petrenko, conductor
CAST: Wolfgang Roch (Wotan); Martin Winkler (Alberich); Claudia Mahnke (Fricka); Elisabet Strid (Freia); Nadine Weissmann (Erda); Norbert Ernst (Loge); Burkhard Ulrich (Mime); Wilhelm Schwinghammer (Fasolt); Sorin Coliban (Fafner); Markus Eiche (Donner); Lothar Odinius (Froh); Mirella Hagen (Woglinde); Julia Rutigliano (Wellgunde); Okka von der Damerau (Flosshilde)
SYNOPSIS: Das Rheingold gets Wagner's monumental Ring cycle off to a rousing start, in a quickly-paced drama introducing a fanciful world of vivid characters and world-shaping passions.

September 10, 2014

Grand Theatre of Geneva
Suisse Romande Orchestra
Grand Theatre Chorus
Evelino Pidò, conductor
CAST: Babara Frittoli (Wally); Gregory Kunde (Giuseppe Hagengach); Balint Szabo (Stromminger); Andrzej Dobber (Vincenzo Gellner); Ivanna Lesyk-Sadivska (Walter); Ahlima Mhamdi (Afra)
SYNOPSIS: As Verdi's career was winding down, and Puccini's was achieving full flight, Catalani tried to take Italian opera in a different direction, combining Italian passion and lyricism with a German Romantic style of drama. La Wally was by far his greatest success.

September 17, 2014

Théâtre antique, Orange, France
Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra
Myung Whun Chun, conductor
CAST: Inva Mula (Desdemona); Roberto Alagna (Otello); Seng-Hyoun Ko (Iago); Sophie Pondjiclis (Emilia); Florian Laconi (Cassio); Enrico Lori (Lodovico); Julian Dran (Roderigo); Jean-Marie Delpas (Montano)
SYNOPSIS: Otello, Iago and Desdemona, three of literature's most complex and compelling characters, come to life in what many consider Verdi's most moving opera. Written when the composer was in his early 70s, Otello takes one of Shakespeare's finest tragedies and, if anything, makes it even more powerful and heartbreaking.

September 24, 2014

Montpellier Festival
Pygmalion Ensemble
Raphaël Pichon, conductor
CAST: Colin Ainsworth (Castor); Florian Sempey (Pollux); Emmanuelle de Negri (Télaïre); Clémentine Margaine (Phébé); Sabine Devieilhe (Cléone); Christian Immler (Jupiter); Virgile Ancely (High Priest)
SYNOPSIS: When Rameau died, a French periodical praised the composer as "the God of Harmony," and in retrospect that's easy to understand. In the era between the seminal dramas of Monteverdi and the revolutionary works of Mozart, few composers wrote more brilliant operas than Rameau. Castor and Pollux is among his finest.

October 1, 2014

Proms Concerts, Royal Albert Hall, London
Orchestra of the German Opera, Berlin
Donald Runnicles, conductor
CAST: Nina Stemme (Salome); Samuel Youn (Jochanaan); Burkhard Ulrich (Herod); Ildiko Komlosi (Herodias); Thomas Blondelle (Narraboth)
SYNOPSIS: The soprano who created the role of Salome declared herself "respectable" -- and thus refused to perform the famously scandalous "Dance of the Seven Veils. (A dancer served as stand-in.) Yet that very sensationalism, along with the raw power of its drama, has made Salome one of Strauss's most familiar and popular operas.  

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