Friday, August 01, 2008

Renaissance Research "Conservatory Project" Assignment On Western & World Opera Composition: Choose Three Operas For Reading, Listening, And Viewing

Over the next six weeks read, listen to, view, and study the scores to at least three Western operas: an earlier Western opera from the 17th or 18th century; a nineteenth century Western opera; and a Western opera from the 20th or 21st century. The operas are to be of your own choosing.

Here are three suggestions from works to be broadcast on Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital, on Saturday afternoons at 1 PM:

August 2, 2008
Opera Garnier, Paris
Christoph Willibald Gluck: Iphigenie en Tauride
Ivor Bolton, conductor

CAST: Mireille Delunsch (Iphigenie); Stephane Degout (Orestes); Yann Beuron (Pylades); Franck Ferrari (Thoas); Salome Haller (Diana)

'Gluck's 18th-century "reform operas" were an entirely new breed of musical drama -- compact and straightforward, with every note intended to precisely express the intense emotions of the characters. Premiered in Paris, in 1779, Iphigenie en Tauride is one of his finest.'


August 9, 2008
Welsh National Opera
Giuseppe Verdi: Falstaff
Carlo Rizzi, conductor

CAST: Bryn Terfel (Falstaff); Janice Watson (Alice Ford); Imelda Drumm (Meg Page); Anne-Marie Owens (Mistress Quickly); Anthony Mee (Dr. Caius); Neil Jenkins (Bardolph); Claire Ormshaw (Nanetta); Rhys Merion (Fenton); Christopher Purves (Ford)

'Adapting Shakespeare successfully for the opera house proved an impossible task for countless composers. But it didn't phase Verdi. He wrote three, hit Shakespeare operas: Macbeth, Otello, and this week's opera, Falstaff, which ranks among the most brilliant of all Verdi's masterpieces. Shakespeare's outwardly comic play tells reams about the human condition, and Verdi took the deceptively profound tale and made it still richer, and more rewarding.'


September 6, 2008
Glimmerglass Opera
Benjamin Britten: Death in Venice
Stewart Robertson, conductor

CAST: William Burden (Aschenbach); David Pittsinger (The Traveller/Fop/Manager/Barber/Leader of the Players/Dionysus); Bruce Reed (Hotel Porter); Craig Phillips (Clerk); John Gaston (Apollo); Nicola Bowie (Lady of the Pearls)

'Few if any 20th-century composers mastered opera as thoroughly as Benjamin Britten, and this Glimmerglass production brings us one of his finest efforts -- a bleak, beautiful and extraordinarily moving work based on the short novel by Thomas Mann.'

Source: Classical WETA-FM Opera House

Heidi Melton (left) portrays Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of President Abraham Lincoln, and Kendall Gladen plays Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave, in the world premiere of Philip Glass's opera Appomattox, staged at the San Francisco Opera in October 2007. Despite its promise to the United States Congress to produce one American opera each and every season, the Washington National Opera has yet to announce the American opera it plans to produce in its 2008-09 season.

In its 2008-09 season, the San Francisco Opera will be producing two American operas (both world premieres).


Photo credit: (c) Heidi Schumann - The New York Times/Redux. 2007. All rights reserved. With thanks.


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