Opera On 3

Episodes

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20040410

Live from the Met.

Nabucco (Parts 3 and 4): Stephanie Hughes introduces the conclusion of Verdi's popular opera, featuring the Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera/Carlo Rizzi.

Live from the Met Nabucco Verdi's exhilarating opera tells the story of the Babylonian king who conquered Jerusalem in 586 BC and of the Hebrews' dramatic road from oppression to freedom.

Hailed as a 'clamorous and total success' by the press after its first performance in Milan, its theme led the work to become extremely popular in an Italy occupied by the Austrians, with the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves (Va pensiero) being immediately adopted as a surrogate national anthem.

Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

Verdi: Nabucco (Parts 1 and 2) Abigaille....Andrea Gruber (soprano) Fenena....Marina Domashenko (mezzo-soprano) Ismaele....Gwyn Hughes Jones (tenor) Nabucco....Leo Nucci (baritone) Zaccaria....Samuel Ramey (bass) Anna....Claudia Waite (soprano) Abdallo....Eduardo Valdes (tenor) High Priest of Baal....Morris Robinson (bass) Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera Carlo Rizzi (conductor) Continues at 8.25pm.

In association with the ChevronTexaco-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network and the EBU.

20040417

Live from the Met

Siegfried

Part three of the Ring Cycle concentrates on the son of siblings Siegmund and Sieglinde, Siegfried. He has been raised by Alberich's brother Mime, who wants to use him to regain the ring from giant-turned-dragon, Fafner. Siegfried easily kills Fafner with his father's sword, and takes the ring. The dragon's blood on Siegfried enables him to understand a woodbird, who warns him of Mime's scheming, and then leads him to a maiden asleep on a hilltop, surrounded by fire. Siegfried strides through the fire to claim Brunnhilde as his bride.

Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

Wagner: Siegfried (Act 1)

Brunnhilde....Jane Eaglen (soprano)

Woodbird....Joyce Guyer (soprano)

Erda....Elena Zaremba (mezzo-soprano)

Siegfried....Jon Fredric West (tenor)

Mime....Gerhard Siegel (tenor)

Wanderer....James Morris (bass)

Alberich....Richard Paul Fink (baritone)

Fafner....Matti Salminen (bass)

Chorus and Orchestra of the New York Metropolitan Opera

James Levine (conductor)

Continues after the Interval at 7.00pm.

In association with the ChevronTexaco-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network and the EBU.

Evening

Morning

Afternoon

Live from the Met. Siegfried (Act 3): Conclusion of the third part of Wagner's Ring Cycle, featuring the Chorus and Orchestra of the New York Metropolitan Opera/James Levine.

Live from the Met. Siegfried (Act 2): Continuing the third part of Wagner's epic Ring Cycle. Continues after Twenty Minutes and Opera Snaps, at 9.00pm.

20040424

Act 3: Concluding tonight's performance live from the Met of Götterdämmerung, the climax to Wagner's Ring Cycle.

Act 2: Continuing tonight's performance of Wagner's Götterdämmerung, live from the Met.

James Levine conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera.

Concludes at 9.30pm.

Live from the Met Götterdämmerung Radio 3's season of live broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera House in NEW YORK ends with the final part of Wagner's Ring.

In Twilight of the Gods, the cursed ring is fought over until Siegfried becomes its latest victim.

His lover Brünnhilde takes the ring and leaps on to Siegfried's funeral pyre; now cleansed by fire, it's reclaimed by the Rhinemaidens, while Valhalla, the home of the Gods, goes up in flames.

Presented by Stephanie Hughes Brünnhilde....Jane Eaglen (soprano) Gutrune....Margaret Jane Wray (soprano) Waltraute....Yvonne Naef (mezzo-soprano) Siegfried....Jon Frederic West (tenor) Gunther....Alan Held (baritone) Alberich....Richard Paul Fink (baritone) Hagen....Matti Salminen (bass) 1st Norn....Elena Zaremba (mezzo-soprano) 2nd Norn....Wendy White (mezzo-soprano) 3rd Norn....Christine Goerke (soprano) Woglinde....Lyubov Petrova (soprano) Wellgunde....Maria Zifchak (soprano) Flosshilde....Malin Fritz (contralto) Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera Conducted by James Levine Continues after the Interval at 7.40pm.

In association with the ChevronTexaco-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network and the EBU.

20040515

Der Rosenkavalier

The Marschallin sends her young lover Octavian to deliver a silver rose as a declaration of love on behalf of another. But when he gives it to Sophie, he falls instantly in love with her.

Strauss and his librettist Hofmannsthal's 'comedy for music' contains passion, farce, and some of Strauss's most exquisite music.

John Schlesinger's classic production of Der Rosenkavalier returns to the Royal Opera House with a top line up of soloists, including Felicity Lott, Angelika Kirchschlager and Simone Nold as the trio of female voices.

Stephanie Hughes presents, and talks to the conductor Charles Mackerras about his feelings for the work.

Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier

Octavian....Angelika Kirchschlager (mezzo-soprano)

Marshallin....Felicity Lott (soprano)

Baron Ochs....Kurt Rydl (bass)

Major Domo I (Marshallin)....Andrew Kennedy (tenor)

Major Domo II (Faninal)....Harry Nicoll (tenor)

Notary....Alan Fairs (baritone)

Annina....Kari Hamnoy (mezzo-soprano)

Valzacchi....Adrian Thompson (tenor)

Italian Singer....Piotr Beczala (tenor)

Herr von Faninal....Eike Wilm Schulte (baritone)

Sophie....Simone Nold (soprano)

Duenna (Marianne)....Elizabeth Gale (soprano)

Innkeeper....Alasdair Elliott (tenor)

Police Commissioner....Jeremy White (bass)

Milliner....Ha Young Lee (soprano)

Animal Seller....Alan Duffield (tenor)

Noble Widow....Ann Tudor Williams (soprano)

Orphans....Celeste Gatti (soprano)

Andrea Hazell (mezzo-soprano)

Anna Sollerman (mezzo-soprano)

Royal Opera Chorus

Terry Edwards (director)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

Peter Manning (concert master)

Charles Mackerras (conductor)

20040525

8 Little Greats

Stephanie Hughes presents two more of Opera North's "Eight Little Greats" - from the Grand Theatre in Leeds.

A festival of one act operas put on to celebrate the company's 25th anniversary.

Puccini: Il Tabarro

Regarded by many to be one of Puccini's finest pieces this dark and claustrophobic tragedy depicts love, jealousy and murder aboard a PARIS bound barge.

(Sung in Italian)

Cast:

Giorgetta....Nina Pavlovski (soprano)

La Frugola....Susan Gorton (mezzo-soprano)

Luigi....Leonardo Capalbo (tenor)

Michele....Jonathan Summers (baritone)

Tinca....Nicholas Sharratt (tenor)

Talpa....William Mackie (bass)

Song-seller....Richard Coxon (tenor)

Chorus of Opera North

Martin André (conductor)

David Poutney (director)

Falla: La Vida Breve

The young Manuel de Falla drew on the rich traditions of his native Spanish gypsy culture for the tale of Salud and her thwarted love for Paco, an arrogant young man outside her class.

(Sung in Spanish)

Worker....Richard Coxon (tenor)

Grandmother....Susan Gorton (mezzo-soprano)

Salud....Mary Plazas (soprano)

Paco....Leonardo Capalbo (tenor)

Uncle Sarvaor....Graeme Broadbent (bass)

Carmela....Kim-Marie Woodhouse (mezzo-soprano)

Singer (flamenco)....Adrian Clarke (baritone)

Manuel....Mark Stone (baritone)

Workers....Miranda Bevin (soprano), Rachel Mosley (soprano), Cordelia Fish (mezzo-soprano), Harold Sharples (tenor)

Christopher Alden (director).

20040527

Eight Little Greats Stephanie Hughes presents two more short operas from Opera North's 25th Anniversary Season, Eight Little Greats.

In 1904, for the third and last of his rarely heard one act operas, Rachmaninov turned to the FRANCEsca da Rimini story of doomed love, jealousy and double murder from Dante's Inferno.

Rachmaninov: FRANCEsca da Rimini, Opera in two tableaux, a prologue and epilogue Paolo/Dante....Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (tenor) Malatesta/Ghost of Virgil....Jonathan Summers (bass) FRANCEsca....Nina Pavlovski (soprano) Souls of the Damned....Chorus of Opera North Orchestra of Opera North Martin André (conductor) David Pountney (director) Ruggero's Leoncavallo's 1892 drama of infidelity and,jealousy in a commedia del'arte troupe of actors also ends in a double murder.

However, he composed his popular classic in the reality 'soap-opera' style of the late 19th Century - Verismo.

Director Christopher Alden sets the intrigue within an aging pop band.

Leoncavallo: Pagliacci, Opera in two acts and a prologue.

Canio....Geraint Dodd (tenor) Nedda....Majella Cullagh (soprano) Tonio....Jonathan Summers (bass) Beppe....Iain Paton (tenor) Silvio....Mark Stone (baritone) Audience....Chorus of Opera North Orchestra of Opera North David Parry (conductor) Christopher Alden (director).

20040626

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Stephanie Hughes presents a new production from English National Opera of Benjamin Britten's magical opera, with a libretto specially adapted by him and Peter Pears from Shakespeare's original play.

Britten suffuses the music with nocturnal enchantment as the stories of the human courtiers and rustics are played out against the background of the fairy world, and as the boundaries begin to blur between reality and dreams.

Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Oberon....Robin Blaze (counter-tenor)

Tytania....Sarah Tynan (soprano)

Puck....Emil Wolk (speaking tole)

Hippolyta....Leah-Marian Jones (mezzo-soprano)

Lysander....Alfred Boe (tenor)

Demetrius....Leigh Melrose (baritone)

Hermia....Victoria Simmonds (mezzo-soprano)

Helena....Linda Richardson (soprano)

Theseus....Iain Paterson (bass)

Bottom....Peter Rose (bass)

Quince....Graeme Danby (bass)

Flute....Christopher Gillett (tenor)

Snug....Clive Bayley (bass)

Snout....Robert Burt (tenor)

Starveling....Leslie John Flanagan (baritone)

Chorus and Orchestra of English National Opera

Paul Daniel (conductor).

20040703

Jenufa

On January 21st this year the National Opera in Brno staged Janácek's opera Jenufa - exactly 100 years after they first performed it.

This Radio 3 broadcast of that performance celebrates the 150th anniversary of Janácek's birth, on July 3rd 1854, as a prelude to tomorrow's Janácek Day.

Presented by John Tusa in conversation with Dennis Marks, the opera's performers, and director David Pountney.

Based on real-life events, Janácek's opera tells the devastating story of the young Moravian country girl Jenufa, made pregnant by the miller's good for nothing son Steva.

Her jealous cousin Laca and her formidable stepmother are driven to extremes of emotion and terrible actions - but even in tragedy Janácek finds hope for the human spirit.

Janácek: Jenufa

Jenufa....Helena Kaupova (soprano)

Kostelnicka....Anja Silja (soprano)

Laca, Jenufa's cousin....Peter Straka (tenor)

Steva, his half-brother....Michal Lehotsky (tenor)

Grandmother Buryja....Marta Benackova (mezzo-soprano)

Foreman at Mill....Jiri Sulzenko (bass)

The Mayor....Richard Novak (bass)

His Wife....Jitka Zerhauova (mezzo-soprano)

Karolka, his daughter....Yvetta Tannenbergerova (soprano)

Chorus and Orchestra of the National Theatre, Brno

Jaroslav Kyzlink (conductor).

On January 21st this year the National Opera in Brno staged Janácek's opera Jenufa - exactly 100 years after they first performed it. This Radio 3 broadcast of that performance celebrates the 150th anniversary of Janácek's birth, on July 3rd 1854, as a prelude to tomorrow's Janácek Day.

Based on real-life events, Janácek's opera tells the devastating story of the young Moravian country girl Jenufa, made pregnant by the miller's good for nothing son Steva. Her jealous cousin Laca and her formidable stepmother are driven to extremes of emotion and terrible actions - but even in tragedy Janácek finds hope for the human spirit.

20040917

Christopher Cook presents a concert performance of Carl Maria von Weber's Euryanthe from the 2004 Edinburgh International Festival.

20040918

Leopold Hager conducts an all-star cast of soloists and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in a concert performance of Richard Strauss's last opera.

Described by the composer as a 'conversation piece' on the subject of opera it seeks to establish which is most important, the words or the music? Given in the Usher Hall as part of the Edinburgh International Festival and presented by Christopher Cook in conversation with Michael Kennedy.

Richard Strauss: Capriccio

Countess....Soile Isokoski

Clairon....Anne Sofie von Otter

Flamand....Jonas Kaufmann

Count....Sephan Loges

Olivier....Christopher Maltman

La Roche....Siegfried Vogel

Italian Soprano....Sarah Fox

Italian Tenor....Barry Banks

Monsieur Taupe....John Mitchinson

Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Leopold Hager (conductor).

Leopold Hager conducts an all-star cast of soloists and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in a concert performance of Richard Strauss's last opera. Described by the composer as a 'conversation piece' on the subject of opera it seeks to establish which is most important, the words or the music? Given in the Usher Hall as part of the Edinburgh International Festival and presented by Christopher Cook in conversation with Michael Kennedy.

20041009

Les Paladins

A rare chance to hear Rameau's penultimate opera in an exuberant new production from the Chatelet in PARIS.

Although Rameau wrote Les Paladins in his mid-70s, it is full of youthful ardour and new experiments with old forms - at the time it was seen as a bewildering mix of serious opera, ballet and popular comedy.

The beautiful young Argie is kept imprisoned by her elderly guardian Anselme who plans to marry her.

Then along comes the handsome Atis and his troop of knights (les paladins), determined to claim her for himself.

Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

Rameau: Les Paladins (in 3 Acts)

Atis....Topi Lehtipuu (tenor)

Argie....Stéphanie d'Oustrac (mezzo-soprano)

Nérine....Sandrine Piau (soprano)

La Fée Manto....François Piolino (countertenor), Emiliano Gonzalez-Toro (tenor)

Orcan....Laurent Naouri (baritone)

Anselme....René Schirrer (bass)

Un Paladin....Emiliano Gonzalez-Toro (tenor)

Chorus and Orchestra of Les Arts Florissant

William Christie (conductor).

A rare chance to hear Rameau's penultimate opera in an exuberant new production from the Chatelet in Paris. Although Rameau wrote Les Paladins in his mid-70s, it is full of youthful ardour and new experiments with old forms - at the time it was seen as a bewildering mix of serious opera, ballet and popular comedy.

The beautiful young Argie is kept imprisoned by her elderly guardian Anselme who plans to marry her. Then along comes the handsome Atis and his troop of knights (les paladins), determined to claim her for himself.

20041016

Ariadne auf Naxos

Welsh National Opera's new production of Richard Strauss's tragi-comic opera, from the New Theatre, Cardiff.

The richest man in Vienna decides to engage an opera company and a troupe of comedians to entertain his dinner guests.

Preparations get under way, but chaos ensues when it's announced that the opera and the farce are to be performed simultaneously.

As the tragedy of Ariadne on Naxos unfolds, the comedy troupe appear on her desert island and, improvising wildly, try to cheer her up.

Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

Composer....Alice Coote

Ariadne....Janice Watson

Bacchus....Peter Hoare

Zerbinetta....Katarzyna Dondalska

Music Master....Gerd Grochowski

Major-Domo....Richard Van Allan

Dancing Master....Brian Galliford

Harlequin....D'Arcy Bleiker

Scaramuccio....Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks

Truffaldino....Tim Mirfin

Brighella....Wynne Evans

Naiad....Gail Pearson

Dryad....Arlene Rolph

Echo....Elizabeth Donovan

Orchestra of Welsh National Opera

Carlo Rizzi (conductor).

Welsh National Opera's new production of Richard Strauss's tragi-comic opera, from the New Theatre, Cardiff. The richest man in Vienna decides to engage an opera company and a troupe of comedians to entertain his dinner guests. Preparations get under way, but chaos ensues when it's announced that the opera and the farce are to be performed simultaneously. As the tragedy of Ariadne on Naxos unfolds, the comedy troupe appear on her desert island and, improvising wildly, try to cheer her up.

20041023

Wexford Festival Opera 2004

La Vestale

Based on the same story as Spontini's opera of the same name, Mercadante's 'La Vestale' was first performed in 1840.

It was a huge public and critical success and was so admired by Verdi that he plagiarized it freely for his 'Aida'! Sean Rafferty presents one of this year's operatic rarities from Wexford Festival.

Mercadante: La Vestale

Emilia....Doriana Milazzo

Giunia....Agata Bienkowska

La Gran Vestala....Danna Glaser

Decio....Dante Alcalá

Publio....Davide Damián

Metello Pio....Andrea Patucelli

Licinio Murena....Ladislav Elgr

Lucio Silano....Mattia Denti

Wexford Festival Opera Chorus

Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra

Paolo Arrivabeni (conductor).

Based on the same story as Spontini's opera of the same name, Mercadante's 'La Vestale' was first performed in 1840. It was a huge public and critical success and was so admired by Verdi that he plagiarized it freely for his 'Aida'! Sean Rafferty presents one of this year's operatic rarities from Wexford Festival.

20041030

Live from the Coliseum, the conclusion of English National Opera's production of Verdi's comic masterpiece Falstaff.

Falstaff

Verdi's comic opera based around Shakespeare's play The Merry Wives of Windsor (and parts of Henry IV), features one of his favourite characters - the amorous, scheming and corpulent knight Sir John Falstaff.

Plot and counter-plot unfold as the men of the opera plan to outwit one another, but in the end they accept that it's the merry wives who've triumphed, and it's Falstaff himself who leads everyone in a reconciliatory burst of laughter.

Sung in English (translation by Amanda Holden) and broadcast live from The Coliseum, home of English National Opera.

Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

Continues at 8.05pm, after Opera Box.

Verdi: Falstaff (Acts 1 and 2)

Sir John Falstaff....Alan Opie (baritone)

Ford....Ashley Holland (baritone)

Alice Ford....Susannah Glanville (soprano)

Mistress Quickly....Rebecca de Pont Davies (soprano)

Nannetta....Gillian Keith (soprano)

Fenton....Colin Lee (tenor)

Bardolph....Alasdair Elliott (tenor)

Meg Page....Jean Rigby (mezzo-soprano)

Pistol....Graeme Danby (bass)

Dr Caius....Andrew Rees (baritone)

Chorus and Orchestra of English National Opera

Mark Wigglesworth (conductor)

Evening

Morning

Afternoon.

Verdi's comic opera based around Shakespeare's play The Merry Wives of Windsor (and parts of Henry IV), features one of his favourite characters - the amorous, scheming and corpulent knight Sir John Falstaff. Plot and counter-plot unfold as the men of the opera plan to outwit one another, but in the end they accept that it's the merry wives who've triumphed, and it's Falstaff himself who leads everyone in a reconciliatory burst of laughter.

20041106

La forza del destino

Leonora's planned elopement with her lover Don Alvaro goes horribly wrong when her father is shot trying to prevent it.

The dying man curses his daughter, and this begins a disastrous sequence of events for everyone.

The Force of Destiny, one of Verdi's most complex and tuneful operas, returns in a production new to the Royal Opera House for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Antonio Pappano conducts, and Salvatore Licitra makes his house debut in one of the most difficult tenor roles in the repertoire.

Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

Continues at 7.45pm.

Verdi: La forza del destino (Acts 1 and 2)

Don Alvaro....Salvatore Licitra (tenor)

Leonora....Violeta Urmana (soprano)

Don Carlo di Vargas....Ambrogio Maestri (baritone)

Padre Guardiano....Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass)

Preziosilla....Marie-Ange Todorovitch (mezzo-soprano)

Fra Melitone....Roberto de Candia (baritone)

Marchese di Calatrava....Brindley Sherratt (bass)

Mastro Trabuco....Peter Bronder (tenor)

Curra....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)

Alcalde....Jonathan May (bass)

Un medico....Thomas Barnard (bass)

Royal Opera Chorus (Chorus Director Renato Balsadonna)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House (Concert Master Vasko Vassilev)

Antonio Pappano (conductor)

Evening

Morning

Afternoon.

Verdi: La Forza del Destino, live from the Royal Opera House.

Salvatore Licitra, Violeta Urmana, Ambrogio Maestri, Ferruccio Furlanetto.

Antonio Pappano conducts Act 3.

Continues at 9.10pm.

Antonio Pappano conducts Act 4.

Verdi: La Forza del Destino, live from the Royal Opera House. Salvatore Licitra, Violeta Urmana, Ambrogio Maestri, Ferruccio Furlanetto. Antonio Pappano conducts Act 4.

Verdi: La Forza del Destino, live from the Royal Opera House. Salvatore Licitra, Violeta Urmana, Ambrogio Maestri, Ferruccio Furlanetto. Antonio Pappano conducts Act 3. Continues at 9.10pm.

Leonora's planned elopement with her lover Don Alvaro goes horribly wrong when her father is shot trying to prevent it. The dying man curses his daughter, and this begins a disastrous sequence of events for everyone.

The Force of Destiny, one of Verdi's most complex and tuneful operas, returns in a production new to the Royal Opera House for the first time in nearly 30 years. Antonio Pappano conducts, and Salvatore Licitra makes his house debut in one of the most difficult tenor roles in the repertoire.

20041113

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Harrison Birtwistle: The Second Mrs Kong

From the festival at the South Bank Centre celebrating Birtwistle's 70th Birthday, the BBC SO is joined by a brilliant cast for the LONDON Premiere of this major 20th century opera.

This moving love-story tells of King Kong's pursuit of Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring in a richly layered theatrical experience.

Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

Kong....John Daszak

Pearl....Rebecca von Lipinski

Anubis/Death of Kong....Stephen Richardson

Vermeer....Roderick Williams

Mirror....Claire Booth

Mirror Echo....Amy Freston

Inanna (Mrs Dollarama)....Susan Bickley

Mr Dollarama....Robert Poulton

Swami Zumzum....Andrew Forbes-Lane

Orpheus....Andrew Watts

Madame Lena....Nuala Willis

Eurydice....Lucy Crowe

The Dead....Apollo Voices

Director: Kenneth Richardson

Sound: Sound Intermedia

Martyn Brabbins (conductor).

From the festival at the South Bank Centre celebrating Birtwistle's 70th Birthday, the BBC SO is joined by a brilliant cast for the London Premiere of this major 20th century opera. This moving love-story tells of King Kong's pursuit of Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring in a richly layered theatrical experience. Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

20041225

Live from the Met

I Vespri Siciliani

The new season of broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera in NEW YORK kicks off with Verdi's tale of 13th century French-occupied Sicily.

The underlying tension between the two nationalities finally erupts in violence when weddings bells are used to signal the start of a massacre.

Margaret Juntwait is the new presenter of the Met in NEW YORK - only the third regular announcer, and the first woman to take the position, since the broadcasts began in 1931.

Elena....Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano)

Arrigo....Francisco Casanova (tenor)

Guido di Monforte....Leo Nucci (baritone)

Giovanni da Procida....Samuel Ramey (bass)

Ninetta....Jane Bunnell (mezzo-soprano)

Tebaldo....Eduardo Valdes (tenor)

Manfredo....Tony Stevenson (tenor)

Danieli....Ronald Naldi (tenor)

Roberto....Sebastian Catana (baritone)

di Bethune....Peter Volpe (bass)

Vaudemont....Andrew Gangestad (bass)

Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera

Marcello Viotti (conductor)

Includes the Met Opera Quiz at 8.20pm.

Steven Blier puts listeners' questions to Ken Benson, Ben Cameron and Suzanne Martinucci.

Tannhäuser

British conductor Mark Elder and an all-star cast perform Wagner's first operatic song-contest (the second being The Mastersingers of Nuremberg).

The minstrel knight Tannhäuser is torn between the orgiastic delights of the Venusberg and the chaste attractions of Elisabeth, niece of Landgrave Herrmann of Thüringia.

Things come to a head at the Wartburg song contest, where the challenge for Tannhäuser and the other competitors is to define the essence of love in song.

Tannhäuser....Peter Seiffert (tenor)

Elisabeth....Deborah Voigt (soprano)

Venus....Michelle deYoung (mezzo-soprano)

Wolfram von Eschinbach....Thomas Hampson (baritone)

Landgraf Herrmann....Kurt Moll (bass)

Walther von der Vogelweide....John Horton Murray (tenor)

Heinrich....Roy Cornelius Smith (tenor)

Biterolf....Charles Taylor (baritone)

Reinmar....Morris Robinson (bass)

Mark Elder (conductor)

Includes the Met Opera Quiz.

Steven Blier puts listeners' questions to Cori Ellison, Terrence McNally and Alan Wagner.

Katya Kabanova

Katya feels she is fading away in the house of her weak husband Tichon and his fearsome mother Kabanicha.

While her husband is away she has a fling with Boris.

But when Tichon returns, she confesses everything out of shame.

Distraught, Katya drowns herself.

Tichon, who tries to go in after her, is stopped by his mother who persists that Katya is not worth it.

Continues at 8.15pm.

Janacek: Katya Kabanova (Acts 1 and 2)

Katya....Karita Mattila (soprano)

Varvara....Magdalena Kozena (mezzo-soprano)

Kabanicha....Judith Frost (mezzo-soprano)

Boris....Jorma Silvasti (tenor)

Tichon....Chris Merritt (tenor)

Vanya Kudrjas....Raymond Very (tenor)

Dikoi....Vladimir Ognovenko (bass)

Glasha....Janet Hopkins (soprano)

Feklusha....Diane Elias (mezzo-soprano)

Kuligin....Sebastian Catana (baritone)

Jiri Belohlavek (conductor).

Live from the NEW YORK Met.

Janacek's Katya Kabanaova (Act 3), starring Karita Mattila, Jorma Silvasti, Chris Merritt, Vladimir Ognovenko.

Jiri Belohlavek conducts.

20050117

Das Rheingold

A world of magic and fantasy erupts on the stage of the Royal Opera House in Keith Warner's new production of Wagner's Rhinegold, launching the epic Ring cycle.

And why not? Tolkien nicked plenty from Wagner, whose own "Lord of the Ring", the Nibelung Alberich, renounces love to make himself ruler of all.

Bryn Terfel stars in his long-awaited debut as Wotan, leader of the Gods, whose own power is compromised by his violence and broken promises.

Has he met his match? Can the world be saved? Find out over the next four operas.

Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

The gods

Wotan....Bryn Terfel (baritone)

Fricka....Rosalind Plowright (soprano)

Freia....Emily Magee (soprano)

Donner....James Rutherford (baritone)

Froh....Will Hartmann (tenor)

Loge....Philip Langridge (tenor)

Erda....Jane Henschel (mezzo-soprano)

The Nibelung dwarves

Alberich....Günter von Kannen (bass)

Mime....Gerhard Siegel (tenor)

The giants

Fasolt....Franz-Josef Selig (bass)

Fafner....Philip Ens (bass)

The Rhinemaidens

Woglinde....Sarah Fox (soprano)

Wellgunde....Heather Shipp (mezzo-soprano)

Flosshilde....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

Antonio Pappano (conductor)

At 7.00pm: How does the UKs leading opera house go about creating a Ring cycle for the 21st century? Stephanie Hughes talks to the conductor - the Royal Operas Music Director Antonio Pappano - the singers, including Bryn Terfel and Rosalind Plowright - and the creative team, led by director Keith Warner.

At 7.10pm: Stephanie Hughes narrates the story of the Rhinegold.

The opera resumes at 7.15pm.

A world of magic and fantasy erupts on the stage of the Royal Opera House in Keith Warner's new production of Wagner's Rhinegold, launching the epic Ring cycle. And why not? Tolkien nicked plenty from Wagner, whose own "Lord of the Ring", the Nibelung Alberich, renounces love to make himself ruler of all.

Bryn Terfel stars in his long-awaited debut as Wotan, leader of the Gods, whose own power is compromised by his violence and broken promises. Has he met his match? Can the world be saved? Find out over the next four operas.

20050122

Le Roi de Lahore

Massenet's exotic opera, set in INDIA and based on a story from the epic book the Mahabharata.

Stephanie Hughes, in conversation with Richard Langham-Smith, presents this performance which was recorded last December at the newly restored opera house of La Fenice in Venice.

Alim, the King of Lahore, is slain in battle and succeeded by ScINDIA, his rival in love for priestess Sita.

But the god Indra takes pity on Alim and allows him to return to earth as a beggar to win back Sita.

She kills herself to avoid the evil ScINDIA, but in doing so, she and Alim are then reunited in heaven.

Massenet: Le Roi de Lahore

Sita....Ana Maria Sanchez (soprano)

ScINDIA....Vladimir Stoyanov (baritone)

Kaled....Maria Jose Montiel (mezzo-soprano)

Alim....Giuseppe Gipali (tenor)

Indra....Deyan Vatchkov (bass)

Timour....Riccardo Zanellato (bass)

La Fenice Chorus and Orchestra

Marcello Viotti (conductor).

Massenet's exotic opera, set in India and based on a story from the epic book the Mahabharata. Stephanie Hughes, in conversation with Richard Langham-Smith, presents this performance which was recorded last December at the newly restored opera house of La Fenice in Venice.

Alim, the King of Lahore, is slain in battle and succeeded by Scindia, his rival in love for priestess Sita. But the god Indra takes pity on Alim and allows him to return to earth as a beggar to win back Sita. She kills herself to avoid the evil Scindia, but in doing so, she and Alim are then reunited in heaven.

20050205

Pelléas et Mélisande

Live from the Met.

'Music in opera is far too predominant!' So said Claude Debussy, and he put his money where his mouth was in this

revolutionary opera.

Anne Sofie von Otter stars as the mysterious Mélisande, loved by the brothers Golaud and Pelléas.

Their tragic tale plays out in as if - as Debussy put it - in dreams: 'No place, no time.

No big scene.

Characters at the mercy of life or destiny...'

Continues at 8.05pm, after Opera News on the AIr.

Mélisande....Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano)

Pelléas....William Burden (tenor)

Golaud....José van Dam (baritone)

Arkel....Roberto Scandiuzzi (bass)

Geneviève....Felicity Palmer (mezzo-soprano)

Doctor....Patrick Carfizzi (baritone)

Shepherd....LeRoy Lehr (bass)

Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera

James Levine (conductor).

Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande (Act 3): Opera on 3 continues with Act 3 of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, live from the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera, conducted by James Levine.

Continues at 9.05pm.

Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande (Acts 4 and 5): Live from the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera with Anne Sofie von Otter, William Burden, Jose van Dam, Felicity Palmer and Roberto Scandiuzzi.

revolutionary opera. Anne Sofie von Otter stars as the mysterious Mélisande, loved by the brothers Golaud and Pelléas. Their tragic tale plays out in as if - as Debussy put it - in dreams: 'No place, no time. No big scene. Characters at the mercy of life or destiny...'

Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande (Act 3): Opera on 3 continues with Act 3 of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, conducted by James Levine. Continues at 9.05pm.

20050226

Nabucco

Live from the Met.

For Hebrews, read Italians.

Verdi's operatic breakthough with Nabucco was as much about nationalism as it was about music.

On the long road to Italian unity, the song that kept them all going was the famous Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, Va pensiero.

Nabucco, King of Babylon....Nikolai Putilin (baritone)

Abigaille, his elder daughter....Maria Guleghina (soprano)

Fenena, his younger daughter....Wendy White (soprano)

Zaccaria, Hebrew High Priest....Paata Burchuladze (bass)

Ismaele, Hebrew lover of Fenena....Gwyn Hughes Jones (tenor)

High Priest of Baal....Julien Robbins (bass)

Abdallo....Eduardo Valdes (tenor)

Anna....Claudia Waite (soprano)

Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera

James Levine (conductor).

Nabucco (Acts 3 and 4): Concluding tonight's live performance of Verdi's breakthrough work by the Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera, conducted by James Levine.

Continues at 8.20pm, after The Met Opera Quiz.

For Hebrews, read Italians. Verdi's operatic breakthough with Nabucco was as much about nationalism as it was about music. On the long road to Italian unity, the song that kept them all going was the famous Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, Va pensiero.

20050228

Wozzeck

From 7.30pm:

The opening night of a new Welsh National Opera production in its new home, the Wales Millennium Centre.

Stephanie Hughes meets the General Director of WNO, Anthony Freud, at the centre in Cardiff Bay to discuss the significance of the company's move there.

Then, before curtain goes up on this historic performance, director Richard Jones, conductor Vladimir Jurowski, and soloists talk about why Berg's modernist classic of 20th century opera, Wozzeck, remains so radical.

First performed in 1925, but banned as degenerate by the Nazis in 1933, it became the first atonal opera to find a niche in the repertoire after World War Two.

From 7.45pm we present Acts 1-3 of the opera with no interval.

Wozzeck, an uncomprehending and neurotic private soldier, is forced to submit to the humiliating demands of his superiors in order to earn enough money to feed his mistress, Marie, and their illegitimate child.

Brutalized and subject to hallucinations, he is driven over the edge when he learns Marie has been unfaithful to him.

Wozzeck....Christopher Purves

Captain....Peter Hoare

Marie....Gun-Brit Barkmin

Drum-Major....Peter Svensson

Doctor....Clive Bayley

Andres....Matthew Beale

Margret....Nicola Morgan

Apprentice 1....Tim Mirfin

Apprentice 2....Howard Kirk

Idiot....Michael Clifton-Thompson

Orderly....Michael Clifton-Thompson

Soldier....Paul Gyton

Orchestra and Chorus of Welsh National Opera

Vladimir Jurowski (conductor).

The opening night of a new Welsh National Opera production in its new home, the Wales Millennium Centre. Stephanie Hughes meets the General Director of WNO, Anthony Freud, at the centre in Cardiff Bay to discuss the significance of the company's move there. Then, before curtain goes up on this historic performance, director Richard Jones, conductor Vladimir Jurowski, and soloists talk about why Berg's modernist classic of 20th century opera, Wozzeck, remains so radical. First performed in 1925, but banned as degenerate by the Nazis in 1933, it became the first atonal opera to find a niche in the repertoire after World War Two.

Wozzeck, an uncomprehending and neurotic private soldier, is forced to submit to the humiliating demands of his superiors in order to earn enough money to feed his mistress, Marie, and their illegitimate child. Brutalized and subject to hallucinations, he is driven over the edge when he learns Marie has been unfaithful to him.

20050302

La Traviata

The second of this week's broadcasts from Welsh National Opera's debut season at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.

Nuccia Focile and Peter Wedd star as the tragic lovers in this modern production of Verdi's timeless tale, conducted by Carlo Rizzi.

Violetta....Nuccia Focile

Alfredo....Peter Wedd

Giorgio Germont....Jonathan Summers

Baron Douphol....Eddie Wade

Flora....Amanda Baldwin

Marquis of Obigny....Gareth Rhys-Davies

Doctor Grenvil....David Soar

Gaston....Philip Lloyd Holtam

Annina....Sian Meinir

Giuseppe....Michael Clifton-Thompson

A Peasant....John King

Flora's Servant....George Newton-Fitzgerald

Orchestra and Chorus of Welsh National Opera

Carlo Rizzi (conductor).

20050402

Der Rosenkavalier

Live from the Met.

The Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera perform Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier.

Some of Richard Strauss? most glorious music is to be found in this romantic comedy set in 18th century Vienna, a tale of passion, farce and tangled emotions between the aristocratic Marschallin, her youthful lover Octavian, `The Knight of the Rose?, and the beautiful young Sophie, the unfortunate fiancée of the Marschallin?s boorish cousin, Baron Ochs.

Marschallin....Angela Denoke (soprano)

Octavian....Susan Graham (mezzo-soprano)

Sophie....Laura Aikin (soprano)

Baron Ochs....Peter Rose (bass)

Faninal....Håkan Hagegård (baritone)

Marianne....Claudia Waite (soprano)

Annina....Wendy White (mezzo-soprano)

Valzacchi....Greg Fedderly (tenor)

Italian Singer....Matthew Polenzani (tenor)

Police Commissar....Paul Plishka (bass)

Innkeeper....Tony Stevenson (tenor)

Notary....James Courtney (bass)

Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera

Donald Runnicles (conductor)

Tonight's Opera on 3 continues live from the Met with Act 2 of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier.

Continues at 9.50pm, after the Met Opera Quiz

Continuing tonight's Opera on 3 live from the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera, Act 3 of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier.

Continues at 8.15pm, after Opera News on the Air.

Tonight's Opera on 3 continues live from the Met with Act 2 of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. [Continues at 9.50pm, after the Met Opera Quiz]

20050416

Die Zauberflöte

Tamino is rescued from a huge serpent by the three attendants of the Queen of the Night.

They persuade him to rescue the Queen's beautiful daughter, Pamina, who is held prisoner by Sarastro.

Tamino sets off on his adventure, protected by a magic flute and glockenspiel, and with Papageno the birdcatcher for company.

Mozart's allegorical singspiel is open to many interpretations, but there's no doubting the quality of the music.

It's performed tonight by a top cast, including Lisa Milne as Pamina and Matthew Polenzani as Tamino, conducted by James Levine.

Presented from NEW YORK by Margaret Juntwait.

Pamina....Lisa Milne (soprano)

Queen of the Night....Erika Miklósa (soprano)

Tamino....Matthew Polenzani (tenor)

Papageno....Matthias Goerne (baritone)

Sprecher....René Pape (bass)

Sarastro....Kurt Moll (bass)

Papagena....Anna Christy (soprano)

1st Lady....Emily Pulley (soprano)

2nd Lady....Jossie Pérez (soprano)

3rd Lady....Wendy White (mezzo-soprano)

Monostatos....Volker Vogel (tenor)

1st Priest....James Courtney (bass)

2nd Priest....Bernard Fitch (tenor)

1st Armed Man....Garrett Sorenson (tenor)

2nd Armed Man....Morris Robinson (bass)

Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera

James Levine (conductor)

The second and concluding act of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, performed live by the Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Met conducted by James Levine.

Continues at 8.15pm, after A Map of Manhattan.

Tamino is rescued from a huge serpent by the three attendants of the Queen of the Night. They persuade him to rescue the Queen's beautiful daughter, Pamina, who is held prisoner by Sarastro. Tamino sets off on his adventure, protected by a magic flute and glockenspiel, and with Papageno the birdcatcher for company.

Mozart's allegorical singspiel is open to many interpretations, but there's no doubting the quality of the music. It's performed tonight by a top cast, including Lisa Milne as Pamina and Matthew Polenzani as Tamino, conducted by James Levine.

20050423

Tonight's Opera on 3 concludes with Act 3 of Wagner's Die Walküre, live from the NEW YORK Met.

Tonight's performance of Wagner's Die Walküre, continues with Act 2, live from the NEW YORK Met.

Continues at 9.15pm, after Opera News on the Air - Singers' Round Table

Live from the NEW YORK Met, Margaret Juntwait presents the Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera, conducted by Valery Gergiev, performing Act 1 of Wagner's Die Walküre.

The cast is led by Plácido Domingo and Katarina Dalayman.

The story concerns the relationship between brother and sister Siegmund and Sieglinde, who discover they are related after they've fallen in love.

Their father, Wotan, the arrogant leader of the gods, is forced to disown them by his nagging wife Fricka, who's horrified by their relationship that breaks all laws.

But then comes the crucial turning-point of the whole Ring Cycle.

Brünnhilde the Valkyrie of the title, who's another of Wotan's army of illegitimate children, is so moved by Siegmund's love for Sieglinde that she decides to defy her father and help the lovers.

Sieglinde....Katarina Dalayman (soprano)

Siegmund....Plácido Domingo (tenor)

Brünnhilde....Olga Sergeeva (soprano)

Wotan....Mikhail Kit (baritone)

Fricka....Larissa Diadkova (mezzo-soprano)

Hunding, Sieglinde's husband....Stephen Milling (bass)

Helmwige....Claudia Waite (soprano)

Gerhilde....Rebecca Copley (soprano)

Ortlinde....Janet Hopkins (soprano)

Siegrune....Jane Bunnell (mezzo-soprano)

Waltraute....Victoria Livengood (mezzo-soprano)

Grimgerde....Jane Gilbert (soprano)

Rossweisse....Malin Fritz (mezzo-soprano)

Schwertleite....Ellen Rabiner (mezzo-soprano)

Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera

Valery Gergiev (conductor)

Evening

Morning

Afternoon.

Continues at 7.05pm, after The Met Opera Quiz.

Tonight's performance of Wagner's Die Walküre, continues with Act 2, live from the New York Met. [Continues at 9.15pm, after Opera News on the Air - Singers' Round Table]

Live from the New York Met, Margaret Juntwait presents the Orchestra of the New York Metropolitan Opera, conducted by Valery Gergiev, performing Act 1 of Wagner's Die Walküre. The cast is led by Plácido Domingo and Katarina Dalayman.

The story concerns the relationship between brother and sister Siegmund and Sieglinde, who discover they are related after they've fallen in love. Their father, Wotan, the arrogant leader of the gods, is forced to disown them by his nagging wife Fricka, who's horrified by their relationship that breaks all laws.

But then comes the crucial turning-point of the whole Ring Cycle. Brünnhilde the Valkyrie of the title, who's another of Wotan's army of illegitimate children, is so moved by Siegmund's love for Sieglinde that she decides to defy her father and help the lovers.

20050507

Act 1.

La Clemenza di Tito.

Live from the Met

The Roman emperor Tito finds his well-known clemency tested to the full, not in the affairs of Rome, but of his own heart.

Bowing to pressure to marry a Roman princess, Tito chooses Servilia, but releases her when he learns she is in love with his friend Annio.

Meanwhile, Vitellia, furious at not being chosen herself, plots Tito's murder.

Mozart's final opera seria was written during the last year of his life, while he was also working on The Magic Flute and the Requiem.

The top cast tonight includes Anne Sofie von Otter and Sarah Connolly.

Presented from NEW YORK by Margaret Juntwait.

Servilia....Heidi Grant Murphy (soprano)

Vitellia....Melanie Diener (soprano)

Sesto....Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano)

Annio....Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)

Tito....Frank Lopardo (tenor)

Publio....Luca Pisaroni (bass)

Chorus and Orchestra of the NEW YORK Metropolitan Opera

James Levine (conductor)

Act 2.

Live from the Met: Margaret Juntwait presents the concluding part of Mozart's opera from NEW YORK.

Cast includes Anne Sofie von Otter and Sarah Connolly.

Continues at 8.05pm after Opera News on the Air

Verb, The".

Act 2. La Clemenza di Tito. Live from the Met: Margaret Juntwait presents the concluding part of Mozart's opera from New York. Cast includes Anne Sofie von Otter and Sarah Connolly.

Act 1. La Clemenza di Tito. Live from the Met

The Roman emperor Tito finds his well-known clemency tested to the full, not in the affairs of Rome, but of his own heart. Bowing to pressure to marry a Roman princess, Tito chooses Servilia, but releases her when he learns she is in love with his friend Annio. Meanwhile, Vitellia, furious at not being chosen herself, plots Tito's murder.

Mozart's final opera seria was written during the last year of his life, while he was also working on The Magic Flute and the Requiem. The top cast tonight includes Anne Sofie von Otter and Sarah Connolly.

20050525

1984.

Act I

The Royal Opera House presents the World Premiere of Lorin Maazel's 1984, based on George Orwell's sinister portrayal of a future under the totalitarian regime of Big Brother.

Simon Keenlyside and Nancy Gustafson create the roles of Winston and Julia, who dare to defy the system and risk everything in order to love each other.

The production is directed by Robert Lepage, and conducted by the composer.

Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

Winston....Simon Keenlyside (baritone)

Julia....Nancy Gustafson (soprano)

O'Brien....Richard Margison (tenor)

Syme....Lawrence Brownlee (tenor)

Parsons....Jeremy White (bass)

Gym Instructress/Drunken Woman....Diana Damrau (soprano)

Charrington....Graeme Danby (bass)

Prole Woman....Mary Lloyd Davies (soprano)

Café Singer....Johnnie Fiori

Pub Quartet....The Demon Barbers

Royal Opera Chorus

Renato Balsadonna (Chorus Director)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

Peter Manning (Concert Master)

Lorin Maazel (conductor)

Act II: Stephanie Hughes presents the concluding part of Lorin Maazel's 1984, based on George Orwell's classic novel, from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Continues at 9.00pm after Opera Box.

20050528

BBC Symphony Orchestra

The French composer Ernest Chausson (1855-1899) was fascinated both by Arthurian legend and the operas of Wagner.

His only opera, set in 6th century ENGLAND, brings to life the tragic tale of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table - with its themes of illicit love, cHIValry and magic.

The superb cast and orchestra are conducted in this new studio recording by Leon Botstein.

Presented by Stephanie Hughes with Roger Nichols.

Chausson: Le Roi Arthus

Genièvre....Susan Bullock (soprano)

Arthus....Andrew Schroeder (baritone)

Lancelot....Simon O'Neill (tenor)

Merlin....François Le Roux (baritone)

Mordred....Daniel Okulitch (baritone)

Lyonnel....Garrett Sorenson (tenor)

Allan....Sir Donald McIntyre (bass-baritone)

Apollo Voices

Leon Botstein (conductor).

The French composer Ernest Chausson (1855-1899) was fascinated both by Arthurian legend and the operas of Wagner. His only opera, set in 6th century England, brings to life the tragic tale of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table - with its themes of illicit love, chivalry and magic.

The superb cast and orchestra are conducted in this new studio recording by Leon Botstein. Presented by Stephanie Hughes with Roger Nichols.

20050604

Bernstein Season.

Candide

Against the backdrop of McCarthy's witch hunts in the 1950s, Leonard Bernstein and playwright Lillian Hellman found inspiration in Voltaire's satirical novella Candide, set in 18th century FRANCE, which seemed to parody their own turbulent times.

This concert performance with a star-studded cast led by Sir Thomas Allen, with Michael Slattery as Candide and Carla Huhtanen as Cunegonde, was recorded earlier this year in the Royal Festival Hall, LONDON.

Presented by Tommy Pearson with Humphrey Burton.

Narrator/Pangloss/Martin....Thomas Allen

Candide....Michael Slattery

Cunegonde....Carla Huhtanen

The Old Lady....Kim Criswell

Maximilian....Sebastien Lemoine

Captain/Governor/Vanderdendur/Crook....Bonaventura Bottone

Paquette....Anna-Jane Casey

Achmet/Alchemist/Segnor/Grand Inquisitor/Bear-Keeper/Ragotski....Christopher Dee

Charles Edward/Cosmetic Merchant/Inquisitor I/Judge....Andrew Busher

Herman/Junkman/Segnor/Inquisitor II/Croupier/Judge....Mark Meadows

Ivan/Doctor/Inquisitor III/Judge....Bruce Ogston

Maida Vale Singers and members of the Trinity College of Music Choir

BBC Concert Orchestra

Rumon Gamba (conductor).

Bernstein Season. Candide

20050921

Shakespeare in opera is the theme as the aspiring stars of the Royal Opera's Young Artists Programme give their annual concert on the main stage of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Nicolai: The Merry Wives of Windsor - Overture

Rossini: Otello - from Act 2

Desdemona....Victoria Nava (soprano)

Otello....James Edwards (tenor)

Iago....Andrew Kennedy (tenor)

Rodrigo....Robert Murray (tenor)

Ambroise Thomas: Hamlet - from Act 3

Ophélie....Ha Young Lee (soprano)

Gertrude....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)

Hamlet....Jared Holt (baritone)

Le Spectre....Matthew Rose (bass)

Gounod: Roméo et Juliette - from Act 3

Juliette....Katie Van Kooten (soprano)

Roméo....James Edwards (tenor)

Frère Laurent....Matthew Rose (bass)

Verdi: Macbeth - ballet music from Act 3

Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, from Act 2

Titania....Ha Young Lee (soprano)

Bottom....Matthew Rose (bass)

Cobweb....Katie Van Kooten (soprano)

Peaseblossom....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)

Mustardseed....James Edwards (tenor)

Moth....Robert Murray (tenor)

Walton: Troilus and Cressida - from Act 2

Cressida....Victoria Nava (soprano)

Troilus....Robert Murray (tenor)

Pandarus....Andrew Kennedy (tenor)

Diomedes....Jared Holt (baritone)

Evadne....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

Graeme Jenkins, Rory Macdonald (conductor).

20051105

Starting a week of concerts to celebrate the work of The Cleveland Orchestra.

Geoffrey Smith talks to some of the players, Executive Director Gary Hanson, Artistic Administrator Peter Czornyj and the current Music Director Franz Welser-Möst

about their work and the long traditions associated with the orchestra.

Featuring a performance of Verdi's Don Carlo, recorded at Severance Hall in Cleveland.

Philip II, King of Spain....Samuel Ramey (bass)

Don Carlo (Philip's son)....Marcus Haddock (tenor)

Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa....Simon Keenlyside (baritone)

Elisabeth, Philip's queen....Miriam Gauci (soprano)

Princess Eboli....Yvonne Naef (mezzo-soprano)

The Grand Inquisitor....Hao Jiang Tian (bass)

Tebaldo, Elisabeth's page....Rebecca Ringle (mezzo-soprano)

Count of Lerma....Joseph Holmes (tenor)

An old monk....Eric Owens (bass)

Voice from Heaven....Malia Bendi Merad (soprano)

Six Flemish Deputies....Keith Brautigam, Dan Hild, Ray Liddle, Cyrus A McFarlin, Michael Preacely, Robert Thompson (bass baritone)

The Cleveland Orchestra

The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus

Franz Welser-Möst (conductor).

about their work and the long traditions associated with the orchestra. Featuring a performance of Verdi's Don Carlo, recorded at Severance Hall in Cleveland.

20051109

Franz Welser-Möst explains to Geoffrey Smith why The Cleveland Orchestra is ideally suited to playing the music of Richard Strauss and Elektra in particular.

Strauss: Elektra

Elektra....Lisa Gasteen (soprano)

Chrysothemis....Christine Brewer (soprano)

Klytaemnestra....Felicity Palmer (mezzo-soprano)

Orest....Alan Held (baritone)

Aegisth....Volker Vogel (tenor)

The Tutor....Todd Boyce (baritone)

The Confidante....Harriett Jean Lowe (soprano)

The Trainbearer....Marie Masters (soprano)

1st maid....Karen Jesse (mezzo-soprano)

2nd maid....Rebecca Ringle (mezzo-soprano)

3rd maid....Kathryn Leemhuis (mezzo-soprano)

4th maid....Twyla Robinson (soprano)

5th maid....Bengi Mayone (soprano)

Overseer....Denise Knowlton (soprano)

Young servant....Garrett Sorenson (tenor)

Old servant....Ray Liddle (bass)

The Cleveland Orchestra

The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus

Franz Welser-Möst (conductor)

Recorded at Severance Hall, Cleveland.

20051203

A Midsummer Night's Dream.

British Music Focus

Act 1

Forty-five years after its premiere, Benjamin Britten's classic remains one of the supreme translations of Shakespeare into operatic form, his music effortlessly and wittily conjuring the mysteries of the Athenian wood where the confusions of love are tested and resolved.

This new production, especially conceived by director Olivia Fuchs for the Linbury Theatre at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, is conducted by Richard Hickox, and presented by Stephanie Hughes.

Oberon, King of the Fairies....William Towers (counter-tenor)

Titania, Queen of the Fairies....Gillian Keith (soprano)

Puck....Jami Quarrell (actor)

Theseus, Duke of Athens....Mark Beesley (bass)

Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, betrothed to Theseus....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)

The Lovers

Lysander....Robert Murray (tenor)

Demetrius....Grant Doyle (baritone)

Hermia, in love with Lysander....Tove Dahlberg (mezzo-soprano)

Helena, in love with Demetrius....Katie Van Kooten (soprano)

The Rustics

Bottom, a weaver....Darren Jeffery (bass)

Quince, a carpenter....Jonathan Best (bass)

Flute, a bellows-maker....Andrew Kennedy (tenor)

Snug, a joiner....Jeremy White (bass)

Snout, a tinker....Andrew Sritheran (tenor)

Starveling, a tailor....Andrew Mayor (baritone)

The Fairies

Cobweb....James Walsh (treble)

Peaseblossom....Ben Davies (treble)

Mustardseed....Tom Nichols (treble)

Moth....Edmund Jillings (treble)

City of London Sinfonia (leader Nicholas Ward)

Tiffin School Choir (music director Simon Toyne)

Richard Hickox (conductor)

Act 2: Britten's classic performed at The Linbury Theatre with Richard Hickox.

Stephanie Hughes presents.

[Continues at 9.15pm after Twenty Minutes]

Act 3: The concluding part of Britten's classic opera performed at The Linbury Theatre, conducted by Richard Hickox.

A Midsummer Night's Dream. British Music Focus

Forty-five years after its premiere, Benjamin Britten's classic remains one of the supreme translations of Shakespeare into operatic form, his music effortlessly and wittily conjuring the mysteries of the Athenian wood where the confusions of love are tested and resolved. This new production, especially conceived by director Olivia Fuchs for the Linbury Theatre at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, is conducted by Richard Hickox, and presented by Stephanie Hughes.

A Midsummer Night's Dream. British Music Focus. Act 3: The concluding part of Britten's classic opera performed at The Linbury Theatre, conducted by Richard Hickox. Stephanie Hughes presents.

A Midsummer Night's Dream. British Music Focus. Act 2: Britten's classic performed at The Linbury Theatre with Richard Hickox. Stephanie Hughes presents. [Continues at 9.15pm after Twenty Minutes]

20061007

Listen Up

Opera North's new production of Rigoletto (in three Acts), set in contemporary Italy, and marking the reopening of the Grand Theatre in Leeds. Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

Rigoletto is an ugly man in a world of beautiful people, twisted inside by the harsh life he has been forced to lead. The only thing he lives for is his daughter. When bitterness and bravura get the better of him, the consequences for his most precious possession are fatal.

Duke of Mantua....Rafael Rojas (tenor)

Rigoletto....Alan Opie (baritone)

Gilda....Henriette Bonde-Hansen (soprano)

Sparafucile....Brindley Sherratt (bass)

Maddalena....Rebecca de Pont Davies (soprano)

Monterone....Stephen Richardson (bass)

Marullo....Olafur Sigurdarson (bass)

Matteo Borsa....Ben Kerslake (tenor)

Ceprano....A Galloway Bell (bass)

Ceprano's wife....Hazel Croft (mezzo-soprano)

Court Usher....Garrick Forbes (baritone)

Monterone's daughter....Nicola Unwin (mezzo-soprano)

Men of the Opera North Chorus

Anthony Kraus (chorus master)

Orchestra of Opera North

Martin André (conductor)

During one of the intervals, Stephanie Hughes is joined by Richard Mantle, General Director of Opera North, to discuss the recent refurbishment and development of the Grand Theatre in Leeds.

Opera North's new production of Rigoletto (in three Acts), set in contemporary Italy, and marking the reopening of the Grand Theatre in Leeds.

Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

Rigoletto is an ugly man in a world of beautiful people, twisted inside by the harsh life he has been forced to lead.

The only thing he lives for is his daughter.

When bitterness and bravura get the better of him, the consequences for his most precious possession are fatal.

20061118

Stephanie Hughes presents the second of three Mozart operas recorded at this year's Salzburg Festival and talks to its conductor Ivor Bolton.

During the interval, Stephanie continues her conversation with Mozart expert Jane Glover about his colourful life and times. It was while composing Die Entführung that the 25-year-old Mozart fell for Constanze Weber. So how much influence did that have on the music of an opera whose heroine is called Konstanze?

And did Emperor Joseph II really complain that the result had 'too many notes'?

Konstanze....Laura Aikin (soprano)

Belmonte, her lover....Charles Castronovo (tenor)

Blonde....Valentina Farcas (soprano)

Pedrillo, her lover....Dietmar Kerschbaum (tenor)

Osmin....Franz Hawlata (bass)

Vienna State Opera Chorus

Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra

Ivor Bolton (conductor)

During the interval, Stephanie continues her conversation with Mozart expert Jane Glover about his colourful life and times.

It was while composing Die Entführung that the 25-year-old Mozart fell for Constanze Weber.

So how much influence did that have on the music of an opera whose heroine is called Konstanze?

20061216

Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Verdi's Rigoletto (Act 3).

A masterpiece of betrayal, deception, seduction and love, the plot features an embittered and sinister hunchback jester, his beautiful daughter and a lust-crazed duke.

Rigoletto....Carlos Alvarez (baritone)

Duke of Mantua....Joseph Calleja (tenor)

Gilda....Ekaterina Siurina (soprano)

Sparafucile....Robert Lloyd (bass)

Maddalena....Nancy Fabiola Herrera (contralto)

Giovanna....Diane Elias (soprano)

Monterone....James Courtney (bass)

Marullo....Brian Davis (baritone)

Borsa....Eduardo Valdes (tenor)

Count Ceprano....Keith Miller (bass)

Countess Ceprano....Yvonne Gonzales Redman (mezzo)

Guard....Joseph Pariso (bass)

Page....Elaine Young (mezzo)

Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera

Friedrich Haider (conductor)

Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Verdi's Rigoletto (Act 2).

Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Verdi's Rigoletto (Act 1).

20070120

Stephanie Hughes presents a rare performance of Lully's Amadis, recorded live at the 2006 Vendee Festival in France.

The story, chosen by Louis XIV, tells of the love of the medieval hero Amadis for Oriane. She is in love with Amadis but is convinced he is unfaithful. Meanwhile, a sorceress and her brother are hunting down Amadis to avenge the death of their brother.

Prologue

Alquif....Matthieu Heim (baritone)

Urgande....Camille Poul (soprano)

Tragedy

Amadis....François-Nicholas Geslot (countertenor)

Oriane....Guillemette Laurens (soprano)

Florestan....Bertrand Chuberre (baritone)

Corisande....Françoise Masset (soprano)

Arcabonne....Céline Ricci (soprano)

Arcalaus....Florian Westphal (baritone)

Ghost of Ardan Canile....Matthieu Heim (baritone)

Hugo Reyne conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of La Symphonie du Marais.

The story, chosen by Louis XIV, tells of the love of the medieval hero Amadis for Oriane.

She is in love with Amadis but is convinced he is unfaithful.

Meanwhile, a sorceress and her brother are hunting down Amadis to avenge the death of their brother.

20070203

La Boheme

Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents Franco Zeffirelli's production of Puccini's masterpiece.

Mimi....Cristina Gallardo-Domas (soprano)

Musetta....Ainhoa Arteta (soprano)

Rodolfo....Marcello Giordani (tenor)

Marcello....Dwayne Croft (baritone)

Schaunard....Aaron St Clair Nicholson (baritone)

Colline....John Relyea (bass)

Benoit/Alcindoro....Paul Plishka (bass)

Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra

Carlo Rizzi (conductor)

(Acts 1 and 2)

(Act 4)

(Act 3)

20070217

Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Janacek's Jenufa.

In this tale of love, jealousy and fear of social ostracism, Jenufa is loved by two rival half-brothers, but her stepmother isafraid that she will ruin herself by marrying a drunkard. Jenufa's revelation that she is pregnant changes everything and leads to tragic consequences.

Jenufa....Karita Mattila (soprano)

Kostelnicka....Anja Silja (soprano)

Laca Klemen....Kim Begley (tenor)

Steva Buryja....Jay Hunter Morris (tenor)

Grandmother Buryja....Wendy Harmer Bryn (mezzo)

Jano....Yvonne Gonzales Redman (soprano)

Mayor....Paul Pliska (baritone)

Mayor's Wife....Kathryn Day (mezzo)

Karolka....Alyson Cambridge (soprano)

Aunt....Michaela Martens (soprano)

Woman....April Haines (soprano)

Man....Roger Andrews (bass)

Orchestra and Chorus of New York Metropolitan Opera

Jiri Belohlavek (conductor)

(Act 1)

(Act 3)

(Act 2)

In this tale of love, jealousy and fear of social ostracism, Jenufa is loved by two rival half-brothers, but her stepmother is afraid that she will ruin herself by marrying a drunkard.

Jenufa's revelation that she is pregnant changes everything and leads to tragic consequences.

20070303

Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra.

In this tale of political struggle set in 14th-century Genoa, the Doge's battles with his rivals tragically cost him both his wife and his daughter.

Simon....Thomas Hampson (baritone,)

Amelia....Angela Gheorghiu (soprano)

Fiesco....Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass)

Gabriele....Marcello Giordani (tenor)

Paolo....Vassily Gerello (bass)

Fabio Luisi conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera.

(Prologue)

(Acts 2 and 3)

(Act 1)

(Prologue)


Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra.

(Act 1)


Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera, Margaret Juntwait presents a performance of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra.

20070519

Verdi's Stiffelio

Argentinian tenor Jose Cura returns to a role in which he had an early success at the Royal Opera House. Verdi's opera tells of a Protestant pastor's reaction to his wife's infidelity, a subject that was so controversial in Italy at the time that the censors forced Verdi to make drastic cuts. Stiffelio has now re-entered the repertory after the original came to light and this production, which is directed by Elijah Moshinsky and sets the action in a religious community in the American Midwest, has become a resounding success. Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

Jorg, an elderly minister....Alastair Miles (bass)

Stiffelio, a minister....Jose Cura (tenor)

Stankar, Lina's father....Roberto Frontali (bass)

Dorotea, Lina's cousin....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)

Raffaele di Leuthold....Reinaldo Macias (tenor)

Frederico di Frengel, Lina's cousin....Nikola Matisic (tenor)

Lina, Stiffelio's wife....Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano)

Renato Balsadonna (chorus director)

Vasko Vassilev (concert master)

Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

Mark Elder (conductor)

Argentinian tenor Jose Cura returns to a role in which he had an early success at the Royal Opera House.

Verdi's opera tells of a Protestant pastor's reaction to his wife's infidelity, a subject that was so controversial in Italy at the time that the censors forced Verdi to make drastic cuts.

Stiffelio has now re-entered the repertory after the original came to light and this production, which is directed by Elijah Moshinsky and sets the action in a religious community in the American Midwest, has become a resounding success.

Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

20070526

Ravel's L'Heure Espagnole and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi

Stephanie Hughes introduces a double-bill of comedy recorded last month at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Ravel's L'Heure Espagnole features rising star Christine Rice as the clockmaker's wife who discovers that the best way to sneak her lovers into the bedroom is inside the grandfather clocks made by her husband.

Ravel's score is a masterpiece of colour, as is Puccini's for his only comedy, the story of the village wide-boy Gianni Schicchi who comes to the rescue of the greedy Donati family whilst making sure that he looks after himself as well! Bryn Terfel sings the role of Schicchi for the first time at the Royal Opera House and both operas feature superb supporting casts.

Ravel: L'Heure Espagnole

Torquemada, a clockmaker....Bonaventura Bottone (tenor)

Concepcion, clockmaker's wife....Christine Rice (mezzo-soprano)

Gonzalve, a bachelor....Yann Beuron (tenor)

Ramiro, muleteer....Christopher Maltman (baritone)

Don Inigo Gomez, a banker....Andrew Shore (bass)

Puccini: Gianni Schicchi

Gianni Schicchi....Bryn Terfel (baritone)

Lauretta, his daughter....Dina Kuznetsova (soprano)

Zita, cousin of Buoso Donati....Elena Zilio (contralto)

Rinuccio, Zita's nephew....Saimir Pirgu (tenor)

Gherardo, Buoso's nephew....Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (tenor)

Nella, Gherardo's wife....Joan Rodgers (soprano)

Betto di Signa, Buoso's brother-in-law....Jeremy White (bass)

Simone, cousin of Buoso....Gwynne Howell (bass)

Marco, Simone's son....Christopher Purves (baritone)

La Ciesca, Marco's wife....Marie McLaughlin (soprano)

Maestro Spinelloccio, a doctor....Henry Waddington (bass)

Ser Amantio di Nicolao, a notary....Enrico Fissore (bass)

Gerhardino, son of Gherardo

20070630

Benjamin Britten: Death in Venice

Britten's final opera is based on Thomas Mann's novella about the last days of Aschenbach, a famous writer who, in a city plagued by cholera, is profoundly affected by his meeting with a young Polish boy staying at the same hotel. Ian Bostridge, a noted interpreter of Britten, takes the hugely demanding role of Aschenbach for the first time and the cast also includes a highly versatile Peter Coleman-Wright, who tackles seven different character-sketches ranging from an Old Fop to the voice of a Greek God. Deborah Warner's new production for ENO is the first to be conducted by the company's new Music Director Edward Gardner. Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

Gustav von Aschenbach, a novelist....Ian Bostridge (tenor)

The Traveller, Elderly Fop, Old Gondelier, Hotel Manager, Hotel Barber, Leader of the Players and Voice of Dionysus....Peter Coleman-Wright (baritone)

The Voice of Apollo....Iestyn Davies (countertenor)

Hotel Porter....Peter Van Hulle (tenor)

Strawberry-seller....Anna Dennis (soprano)

Guide....Charles Johnston (baritone)

Strolling players....Lee Bisset (soprano) and Dwayne Jones (tenor)

English clerk in a travel bureau....Jonathan Gunthorpe (baritone)

Glass-maker....Richard Edgar-Wilson (tenor)

Lace-seller....Constance Novis (soprano)

Beggar woman....Madeleine Shaw (mezzo-soprano)

Restaurant waiter....William Berger (baritone)

Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera

Edward Gardner (conductor)

Britten's final opera is based on Thomas Mann's novella about the last days of Aschenbach, a famous writer who, in a city plagued by cholera, is profoundly affected by his meeting with a young Polish boy staying at the same hotel.

Ian Bostridge, a noted interpreter of Britten, takes the hugely demanding role of Aschenbach for the first time and the cast also includes a highly versatile Peter Coleman-Wright, who tackles seven different character-sketches ranging from an Old Fop to the voice of a Greek God.

Deborah Warner's new production for ENO is the first to be conducted by the company's new Music Director Edward Gardner.

Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

20070922

Vivaldi's Orlando Furioso

Presented by Donald Macleod. On his triumphant return to Venice in 1727 as a composer and impresario, Vivaldi presented his 'heroico-magical drama', which tells the story of Orlando on the island of the sorceress Alcina, as a model for what opera should be. Corsican conductor Jean-Christophe Spinosi re-assembles many of the stellar cast from his recent recording in this concert performance given at the 2007 Edinburgh International Festival.

Orlando....Sonia Prina (contralto)

Alcina....Jennifer Larmore (mezzo-soprano)

Angelica....Veronica Cangemi (soprano)

Ruggiero....Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor)

Astolfo....Christian Senn (baritone)

Bradamante....Barbara Di Castri (contralto)

Medoro....Daniela Pini (mezzo-soprano)

Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Chorus

Jean-Christophe Spinosi (conductor)

Presented by Donald Macleod.

On his triumphant return to Venice in 1727 as a composer and impresario, Vivaldi presented his 'heroico-magical drama', which tells the story of Orlando on the island of the sorceress Alcina, as a model for what opera should be.

Corsican conductor Jean-Christophe Spinosi re-assembles many of the stellar cast from his recent recording in this concert performance given at the 2007 Edinburgh International Festival.

20071006

Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride

Geoffrey Smith introduces an exciting new production of Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Director Robert Carsen's innovative production and Susan Graham's performance in the title role have already received great acclaim in the USA and, together with tenor Simon Keenlyside and conductor Ivor Bolton, they give their insights into the opera.

Considered by many as the greatest of Gluck's 'reform operas', Iphigenie en Tauride tells the story of tortured princess Iphigenie, exiled to the island of Tauride and forced to commit sacrificial murder by its paranoid King Thoas. When her estranged brother, Orestes, arrives on the island fleeing the Furies and his own guilt, the story takes a complicated turn. In what is a tragedy of terrifying psychological ordeal, Gluck expertly combined music and theatre with great dramatic intensity.

Iphigénie, High Priestess of Diana....Susan Graham (mezzo-soprano)

Oreste, Iphigénie's brother....Simon Keenlyside (baritone)

Pylade, Oreste's friend....Paul Groves (tenor)

Thoas, King of Tauris....Clive Bayley (bass)

First Priestess/A Greek Woman....Gail Pearson (soprano)

Second Priestess....Claire Wild (soprano)

Diane, goddess of hunting....Cécile van de Sant (soprano)

A Scythian....Jacques Imbrailo (baritone)

A Minister....Krzysztof Szumanski (bass-baritone)

Coryphée....Kiera Lyness (soprano), Ann Osborne (soprano), Dervla Ramsay (mezzo-soprano), Kate McCarney (mezzo-soprano)

The Royal Opera Chorus

The Orchestra of The Age of Enlightenment

Ivor Bolton (conductor)

Geoffrey Smith introduces an exciting new production of Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Director Robert Carsen's innovative production and Susan Graham's performance in the title role have already received great acclaim in the USA and, together with tenor Simon Keenlyside and conductor Ivor Bolton, they give their insights into the opera.

Considered by many as the greatest of Gluck's 'reform operas', Iphigenie en Tauride tells the story of tortured princess Iphigenie, exiled to the island of Tauride and forced to commit sacrificial murder by its paranoid King Thoas.

When her estranged brother, Orestes, arrives on the island fleeing the Furies and his own guilt, the story takes a complicated turn.

In what is a tragedy of terrifying psychological ordeal, Gluck expertly combined music and theatre with great dramatic intensity.

20071013

The Sacrifice

By James MacMillan.

Including at 6.30pm:

Christopher Cook is at the Wales Millennium Centre to explore the sound world of James MacMillan's new opera The Sacrifice. Commissioned by Welsh National Opera, The Sacrifice has been ten years in the making.

MacMillan and librettist Michael Symmons Roberts discuss its development and how working collaboratively with director Katie Mitchell and designer Vicki Mortimer has created an opera based on the mythological Welsh stories of the Mabinogion. Soprano Lisa Milne and baritone Christopher Purves describe their experience of singing new roles.

6.40pm The Sacrifice

Anthony Negus conducts the chorus and orchestra of Welsh National Opera and a hand-picked cast in his opera The Sacrifice.

A tribal war between two countries has resulted in bloodshed and destruction. In a bid for peace, The General on one side gives his daughter Sian's hand in marriage to his volatile enemy Mal. Sian sacrifices her lover Evan, The General's personal aide, for the sake of her country, even though she still loves him.

Seven years later, at the investiture of Sian and Mal's son Gwyn, Evan's passionate fury for the sacrifice they have made is unleashed with devastating consequences.

Sian....Lisa Milne (soprano)

Evan....Leigh Melrose (baritone)

General....Christopher Purves (baritone)

Megan....Sarah Tynan (soprano)

Mal....Peter Hoare (tenor)

3 Birds/Dressers....Rosie Hay, Samantha Hay, Amanda Baldwin

Gwyn (non-singing child)....Cameron Jones/Oscar Notley

Elis (non-singing child)....Tomos Hardy/Ben Evans

Chorus and Orchestra of Welsh National Opera

Anthony Negus (conductor)

Christopher Cook is at the Wales Millennium Centre to explore the sound world of James MacMillan's new opera The Sacrifice.

Commissioned by Welsh National Opera, The Sacrifice has been ten years in the making.

MacMillan and librettist Michael Symmons Roberts discuss its development and how working collaboratively with director Katie Mitchell and designer Vicki Mortimer has created an opera based on the mythological Welsh stories of the Mabinogion.

Soprano Lisa Milne and baritone Christopher Purves describe their experience of singing new roles.

A tribal war between two countries has resulted in bloodshed and destruction.

In a bid for peace, The General on one side gives his daughter Sian's hand in marriage to his volatile enemy Mal.

Sian sacrifices her lover Evan, The General's personal aide, for the sake of her country, even though she still loves him.

20071020

Janacek's Katya Kabanova

Katya Kabanova is a free-spirited woman who finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage dominated by an overpowering mother-in-law.

When she falls in love with another man in the village, it can only lead to disaster for her.

In Trevor Nunn's critically acclaimed production from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Janice Watson sings the role of Janacek's doomed heroine, with Felicity Palmer as her fearsome mother-in-law.

Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

Marfa Ignatevna Kabanova (Kabanicha), a merchant's widow....Felicity Palmer (mezzo-soprano)

Tichon Kabanov, her son....Chris Merritt (tenor)

Kateÿrina (Katya), his wife....Janice Watson (soprano)

Varvara, Kabanicha's foster child....Linda Tuvas (mezzo-soprano)

Dikoj, a merchant....Oleg Bryjak (bass-baritone)

Boris, his nephew....Kurt Streit (tenor)

Vana Kudrjás, Dikoj's clerk....Toby Spence (tenor)

Glasa, a servant....Miranda Westcott (mezzo-soprano)

Feklusa, a servant....Anne Mason (mezzo-soprano)

Kuligin, a friend of Kudrjás....Jeremy White (bass)

Zena, a woman in the crowd....Renata Skarelyte (mezzo soprano)

Chodec, a boatman....Neil Gillespie (tenor)

The Royal Opera Chorus

The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

Charles Mackerras (conductor).

20071027

Massenet's Thaïs

Soprano Renée Fleming leads a star-studded cast in Massenet's exotic tale of love and redemption, recorded in concert at the Royal Opera House in June 2007.

Based on a tale found in early Middle Eastern monastic manuscripts, the opera tells the story of the monk Athanael and his ultimately tragic desire for the Alexandrian courtesan Thaïs. Massenet's evocative score (which includes the famous Meditation melody) is given vitality and immediacy by the Royal Opera House orchestra under Andrew Davis.

Thaïs, actress and courtesan....Renée Fleming (soprano)

Athanaël, a coenobite monk....Simone Alberghini (bass-baritone)

Nicias, a young sybarite philosopher....Joseph Calleja (tenor)

Palémon, an old coenobite monk....Robert Lloyd (bass)

Crobyle, a slave....Ana James (soprano)

Myrtale, a slave....Liora Grodnikaite (mezzo-soprano)

Albine, abbess....Clare Shearer (soprano)

La Charmeuse, ballet dancer....Kiera Lyness (soprano)

Servant of Nicias....Nigel Cliffe (baritone)

Royal Opera Chorus

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

Andrew Davis (conductor)

Based on a tale found in early Middle Eastern monastic manuscripts, the opera tells the story of the monk Athanael and his ultimately tragic desire for the Alexandrian courtesan Thaïs.

Massenet's evocative score (which includes the famous Meditation melody) is given vitality and immediacy by the Royal Opera House orchestra under Andrew Davis.

20071103

Petroc Trelawny introduces the controversial new production of Bizet's Carmen from English National Opera. Directed by acclaimed film-maker Sally Potter and sung in a new English translation by Christopher Cowell, it's a radical take on the Carmen story.

Rising British star Alice Coote takes the title role for the first time. The two men who dominate the last days of her life, 'security guard' Don Jose and bullfighter Escamillo, are played by Australian-born tenor Julian Gavin and Welsh baritone David Kempster. ENO's young Music Director Edward Gardner tackles his first 'mainstream' opera since assuming the post.

Bizet: Carmen

Carmen....Alice Coote (mezzo-soprano)

José....Julian Gavin (tenor)

Escamillo....David Kempster (baritone)

Micaëla....Katie van Kooten (soprano)

Moralès....Ronan Collett (baritone)

Zuniga....Graeme Danby (bass)

Merdédès....Fiona Murphy (mezzo-soprano)

Frasquita....Elena Xanthoudakis (soprano)

Dancairo....Andrew Rees (tenor)

Remendado....Scott Davies (tenor)

Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera

Edward Gardner (conductor)

Petroc Trelawny introduces the controversial new production of Bizet's Carmen from English National Opera.

Directed by acclaimed film-maker Sally Potter and sung in a new English translation by Christopher Cowell, it's a radical take on the Carmen story.

Rising British star Alice Coote takes the title role for the first time.

The two men who dominate the last days of her life, 'security guard' Don Jose and bullfighter Escamillo, are played by Australian-born tenor Julian Gavin and Welsh baritone David Kempster.

ENO's young Music Director Edward Gardner tackles his first 'mainstream' opera since assuming the post.

20071110

Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea

Presented by Petroc Trelawny and beginning with a behind-the-scenes feature on the opera and this production.

Following their success at English National Opera with Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, conductor Laurence Cummings and director Chen Shi-Zheng team up at ENO once again for Monteverdi's final opera, which contains some of his most sensual music and features an outstanding British cast.

Poppea is the mistress of the Emperor Nero, who is easily manipulated - she wants the power of the throne, and the only obstacle in her way is Nero's wife Ottavia.

Fortune....Katherine Manley (soprano)

Virtue....Jane Harrington (soprano)

LoveSophie Bevan....(soprano)

Mercury....James Gower (bass)

Poppea....Kate Royal (soprano)

Nerone....Anna Grevelius (mezzo-soprano)

Ottavia....Doreen Curran (mezzo-soprano)

Ottone....Tim Mead (countertenor)

Drusilla....Lucy Crowe (soprano)

Seneca....Robert Lloyd (bass)

Arnalta....Christopher Gillett (tenor)

Nurse/Venus....Diana Montague (mezzo-soprano)

English National Opera Orchestra

Laurence Cummings (conductor/harpsichord)

20071117

Charpentier's Louise

Alexandra Wilson introduces a production of Charpentier's four-act opera given earlier this year at the Opera Bastille in Paris. Late 19th century Paris is the real hero of the opera, home to Louise, her traditional working-class parents and her bohemian artist lover Julien. It's the tension between Louise's responsibility to her parents and her opportunity to break free with Julien that underpins the work, set among the streets and tenements of Montmartre.

The cast is headed by leading French soprano Mireille Delunsch in the title role, American lyric tenor Paul Groves as Julien and the hugely experienced Belgian bass-baritone Jose van Dam as Louise's father.

Louise....Mireille Delunsch (soprano)

Julien....Paul Groves (tenor)

Her Father....José van Dam (bass-baritone)

Her Mother....Jane Henschel (mezzo-soprano)

Irma....Marie-Paule Dotti (soprano)

Camille....Natacha Constantin (soprano)

Gertrude....Anne Salvan (mezzo-soprano)

Noctambulist/King of Fools....Luca Lombardo (tenor)

A Rag Picker....René Schirrer (bass-baritone)

Paris Opera Chorus and Orchestra

Sylvain Cambreling (conductor)

Alexandra Wilson introduces a production of Charpentier's four-act opera given earlier this year at the Opera Bastille in Paris.

Late 19th century Paris is the real hero of the opera, home to Louise, her traditional working-class parents and her bohemian artist lover Julien.

It's the tension between Louise's responsibility to her parents and her opportunity to break free with Julien that underpins the work, set among the streets and tenements of Montmartre.

20071201

Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore

Nemorino is in love with the fickle Adina, who refuses to marry him. When Sergeant Belcore proposes to her too, Nemorino is desperate enough to put his faith in the love potion that worked for Queen Isolde, sold by the dubious Dr Dulcamara. But it takes 24 hours to work, and Adina and Belcore's wedding is the next day. Several plot twists, and many wonderful melodies later, all ends happily ever after.

Laurent Pelly's production for the Royal Opera House stars Aleksandra Kurzak, Stefano Secco and Ludovic Tezier, under the baton of Mikko Franck. Tom Service presents, and is joined in the box by Italian opera expert Professor Roger Parker to guide us through one of Donizetti's most popular works.

Nemorino....Stefano Secco (tenor)

Adina....Aleksandra Kurzak (soprano)

Belcore....Ludovic Tézier (baritone)

Giannetta....Kishani Jayasinghe (soprano)

Dulcamara....Paolo Gavanelli (baritone)

Royal Opera Chorus

The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

Mikko Franck (conductor)

Nemorino is in love with the fickle Adina, who refuses to marry him.

When Sergeant Belcore proposes to her too, Nemorino is desperate enough to put his faith in the love potion that worked for Queen Isolde, sold by the dubious Dr Dulcamara.

But it takes 24 hours to work, and Adina and Belcore's wedding is the next day.

Several plot twists, and many wonderful melodies later, all ends happily ever after.

Laurent Pelly's production for the Royal Opera House stars Aleksandra Kurzak, Stefano Secco and Ludovic Tezier, under the baton of Mikko Franck.

Tom Service presents, and is joined in the box by Italian opera expert Professor Roger Parker to guide us through one of Donizetti's most popular works.

20080209

Verdi's La traviata

Based on a play by Alexandre Dumas, La traviata tells the tragic story of Violetta, the consumptive courtesan whose bid for true love finds her pitilessly rejected by the society that once rejoiced in her debauched parties.

This Royal Opera House production is led by a cast including Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, tenor Jonas Kaufman and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky.

Presented by Sean Rafferty from the Royal Opera House in conversation with writer and opera critic Alexandra Wilson.

Violetta Valery....Anna Netrebko (soprano)

Flora Bervoix....Monika-Evelin Liiv (mezzo-soprano)

Marquis d'Obigny....Kostas Smoriginas (bass-baritone)

Baron Douphol....Eddie Wade (baritone)

Doctor Grenvil....Mark Beesley (bass)

Gastone de Letorieres....Ji-Min Park (tenor)

Alfredo Germont....Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)

Giuseppe....Neil Gillespie (tenor)

Giorgio Germont....Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone)

Messenger....Charbel Mattar (bass)

Servant....Jonathan Coad (bass)

Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

Maurizio Benini (conductor)

20080614

In an ENO production from London's Coliseum, David McVicar directs Strauss's comic opera about age and class, featuring soprano Janice Watson, mezzo Sarah Connolly and bass John Tomlinson, with the company's Music Director Edward Gardner conducting.

The story tells of the love triangle between the noble Marschallin, her young lover Octavian and Sophie, daughter of the 'nouveau riche' Herr von Faninal. The boorish Baron Ochs has his sights set on Sophie and Octavian has to deal with him, as well as his own feelings for the two women in his life.

Presented by Andrew McGregor.

The Feldmarschallin....Janice Watson (soprano)

Octavian....Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)

Baron Ochs....John Tomlinson (bass)

Sophie....Sarah Tynan (soprano)

Herr von Faninal....Andrew Shore (bass)

Annina....Madeleine Shaw (mezzo-soprano)

Valzacchi....Stuart Kale (tenor)

Duenna....Janice Cairns (soprano)

Singer....Barry Banks (tenor)

Police Commissar....Nicholas Folwell (baritone)

Notary....James Gower (bass)

Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera

Edward Gardner (conductor)

The story tells of the love triangle between the noble Marschallin, her young lover Octavian and Sophie, daughter of the 'nouveau riche' Herr von Faninal.

The boorish Baron Ochs has his sights set on Sophie and Octavian has to deal with him, as well as his own feelings for the two women in his life.

20081004

Candide

Martin Handley presents Robert Carsen's controversial production for ENO of Leonard Bernstein's comic operetta, with Voltaire's 18th-century satire updated from Europe to the United States of the 1950s, revealing the dystopian reality of the American dream.

Candide, a young man from Westphalia, is in love with Cunegonde, daughter of the local baron. He is a follower of the teachings of his tutor, Dr Pangloss, who believes that 'everything that is, is planned, is wisely planned, is right and good'.

The youth is confronted with many disasters, including a massacre during which Cunegonde is apparently killed. He then sets off on his travels, visiting Paris, where he meets an old lady, who accompanies him, along with the miraculously saved Cunegonde, to the New World. He eventually goes to Buenos Aires and to the land of Eldorado.

Having survived a shipwreck, he returns to Europe, goes to Venice and finally back to Westphalia. There he realises the folly of his philosophy and resolves to build his own life rather than assuming that everything that happens is for the best.

Voltaire/Pangloss/Martin....Alex Jennings

Candide....Toby Spence (tenor)

Cunegonde....Marnie Breckenridge (soprano)

Old Lady....Beverley Klein (mezzo-soprano)

Grand Inquisitor/Captain/Governor....Bonaventura Bottone (tenor)

Paquette....Mairead Buicke (soprano)

Maximilian....Mark Stone (baritone)

Cacambo....Ferlyn Brass

English National Opera Chorus and Orchestra

Rumon Gamba (conductor)

Act 2 of Robert Carsen's production for ENO of Leonard Bernstein's comic operetta Candide. Rumon Gamba conducts English National Opera Chorus and Orchestra.

Act 2 of Robert Carsen's production for ENO of Leonard Bernstein's comic operetta Candide.

Rumon Gamba conducts English National Opera Chorus and Orchestra.

Candide, a young man from Westphalia, is in love with Cunegonde, daughter of the local baron.

He is a follower of the teachings of his tutor, Dr Pangloss, who believes that 'everything that is, is planned, is wisely planned, is right and good'.

The youth is confronted with many disasters, including a massacre during which Cunegonde is apparently killed.

He then sets off on his travels, visiting Paris, where he meets an old lady, who accompanies him, along with the miraculously saved Cunegonde, to the New World.

He eventually goes to Buenos Aires and to the land of Eldorado.

Having survived a shipwreck, he returns to Europe, goes to Venice and finally back to Westphalia.

There he realises the folly of his philosophy and resolves to build his own life rather than assuming that everything that happens is for the best.

20081018

Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress

Robert Lepage directs a new production of Stravinsky's neo-classical opera, based on the story behind a set of engravings by the British painter and satirist William Hogarth, and featuring a libretto by the poet WH Auden.

The story centres on Tom, a young country man, and his path to ruin because of the malign influence of Nick Shadow, who appears out of nowhere, offering to help him.

Presented by Ivan Hewett.

Tom Rakewell....Charles Castronovo (tenor)

Nick Shadow....John Relyea (bass)

Anne Trulove....Sally Matthews (soprano)

Trulove....Darren Jeffrey (baritone)

Baba the Turk....Patricia Bardon (mezzo-soprano)

Sellem....Peter Hoare (tenor)

Mother Goose....Kathleen Wilkinson (mezzo-soprano)

Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Thomas Ades (conductor)

20081025

Ivor Bolton conducts young soprano Sally Matthews and countertenor Lawrence Zazzo in David Alden's Royal Opera House production of Cavalli's tale of the shenanigans of the Roman gods and the mortals with whose lives they meddle.

A sex comedy based on an Ovid myth, the plot focuses on the complications and confusion that arises as the chief of the Gods, Giove, lusts for the virginal and naive Calisto.

Presented by Catherine Bott.

Nature/Satirino/Second Fury....Dominique Visse (countertenor)

Eternity/Giunone....Veronique Gens (soprano)

Destiny/Diana/First Fury....Monica Bacelli (mezzo-soprano)

Giove....Joao Fernandes (bass)

Mercurio....Markus Werba (baritone)

Calisto....Sally Matthews (soprano)

Endimione....Lawrence Zazzo (countertenor)

Linfea....Guy de Mey (tenor)

Pane....Ed Lyon (tenor)

Silvano....Clive Bayley (bass)

Monterverdi Continuo Ensemble

Members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Ivor Bolton (conductor)

20081101

Mozart's Cosi fan tutte

Riccardo Muti conducts soprano Barbara Frittoli, mezzo Angelika Kirchschlager and bass Ildebrando D'Arcangelo in a performance of Mozart's comic opera, given in February at the Vienna State Opera - in the same city where the work was first performed in 1790.

The plot of what is regarded by many as the composer's greatest opera centres on Guglielmo and Ferrando, two army officers who claim to their colleagues that their wives will always be faithful to them. However, their friend Don Alfonso bets otherwise, devising a plan to test the women's fidelity.

Presented by Suzy Klein.

Fiordiligi....Barbara Frittoli (soprano)

Dorabella....Angelika Kirchschlager (mezzo-soprano)

Guglielmo....Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (bass-baritone)

Ferrando....Francesco Meli (tenor)

Don Alfonso....Natale De Carolis (baritone)

Despina....Laura Tatulescu (soprano)

Vienna State Opera Chorus and Orchestra

Riccardo Muti (conductor)

The plot of what is regarded by many as the composer's greatest opera centres on Guglielmo and Ferrando, two army officers who claim to their colleagues that their wives will always be faithful to them.

However, their friend Don Alfonso bets otherwise, devising a plan to test the women's fidelity.

20081108

Handel's Partenope

Christian Curnyn makes his debut at the Coliseum, conducting a new ENO production of Handel's comic opera, updated by Christopher Alden to the time of the surrealists and starring Rosemary Joshua, Patricia Bardeon and Christian Rice.

Queen Partenope of Naples has four suitors: one, Eurimene, is actually Rosmira disguised as a man and trying to regain the affections of her ex, Arsace, now another Partenope suitor. Another, Emilio, ends up declaring war when she refuses to marry him. After many twists and turns, she ends up with a fourth claimant to her affections, while the ex-lovers are reunited.

Presented by Suzy Klein. The broadcast includes interviews with the director and cast, plus insights from Handel expert Dr Donald Burrows.

Emilio....John Mark Ainsley (tenor)

Partenope....Rosemary Joshua (soprano)

Arsace....Christine Rice (mezzo-soprano)

Armindo....Iestyn Davies (countertenor)

Rosmira (Eurimene)....Patricia Bardon (mezzo-soprano)

Ormonte....James Gower (bass-baritone)

Nicholas Ansdell-Evans, Joseph McHardy (harpsichords)

David Newby (cello continuo)

David Miller (theorbo continuo)

Orchestra of English National Opera

Christian Curnyn (conductor)

Queen Partenope of Naples has four suitors: one, Eurimene, is actually Rosmira disguised as a man and trying to regain the affections of her ex, Arsace, now another Partenope suitor.

Another, Emilio, ends up declaring war when she refuses to marry him.

After many twists and turns, she ends up with a fourth claimant to her affections, while the ex-lovers are reunited.

Presented by Suzy Klein.

The broadcast includes interviews with the director and cast, plus insights from Handel expert Dr Donald Burrows.

20081115

Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov

Live from London's Coliseum, Suzy Klein presents English National Opera's production of Mussorgsky's classic study of guilt and paranoia. Bass Peter Rose takes the role of the Russian Czar in a performance of the original version with a new translation by David Lloyd-Jones.

Boris Godunov....Peter Rose (bass)

Prince Shuisky....John Graham-Hall (tenor)

Andrei Shchelkalov....David Stephenson (baritone)

Pimen....Brindley Sherratt (bass)

Grigory, later Dmitri the Pretender....Gregory Turay (tenor)

Innkeeper....Yvonne Howard (mezzo-soprano)

Varlaam....Jonathan Veira (bass-baritone)

Misail....Anton Rich (tenor)

Xenia....Sophie Bevan (soprano)

Fyodor....Ann Grevelius (mezzo-soprano)

Xenia's Nurse....Deborah Davison (mezzo-soprano)

Nikitch....James Gower (bass-baritone)

Mityukha....Paul Napier-Burrows (baritone)

Border Guard....Charles Johnston (bass)

Boyar-in-attendance....Philip Daggett (tenor)

Simpleton....Robert Murray (tenor)

Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera

Edward Gardner (conductor)

Live from London's Coliseum, Suzy Klein presents English National Opera's production of Mussorgsky's classic study of guilt and paranoia.

Bass Peter Rose takes the role of the Russian Czar in a performance of the original version with a new translation by David Lloyd-Jones.

#operapassion Day20171019

Sara Mohr-Pietsch hosts a complete performance of an opera voted for by Radio 3 listeners.

As part of the BBC's opera season, Sara Mohr-Pietsch hosts the culmination of #OperaPassion Day with a complete performance of an opera voted for by Radio 3 listeners. In the company of opera specialist Sarah Lenton, Sara introduces either Mozart's The Magic Flute, Gounod's Faust, Wagner's The Flying Dutchman or Puccini's Tosca, in a live recording from London's Royal Opera House.

To find out how to cast your vote, go to bbc.co.uk/radio3.

Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht's The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny20080920

HK Gruber conducts soprano Susan Bickley and the Royal National Scottish Orchestra in a performance of Weill and Brecht's anti-capitalist satire, given in August at the Usher Hall in the opening concert of this year's Edinburgh International Festival.

The opera's story centres on three fugitives' setting up of a city in an American desert devoted solely to pleasure and debauchery.

Prostitution and cheap alcohol attract many prospectors, but when Jimmy the barman declares that all restraints are to be removed, there can only be tragic consequences.

Introduced by Donald Macleod, who also talks to the conductor about the context of the work and Weill and Brecht's influence on subsequent operatic developments.

Leokadja Begbick....Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano)

Fatty....Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (tenor)

Trinity Moses....Alan Opie (baritone)

Jenny....Giselle Allen (soprano)

Jimmy Mahoney....Anthony Dean Griffey (tenor)

Jack Smith, Toby Higgins....Peter Hoare (tenor)

Bill....Stephan Loges (baritone)

Joe....Brindley Sherratt (bass)

Hannah Gordon (narrator)

Ladies of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama

Edinburgh Festival Chorus

Christopher Bell (chorus master)

Royal Scottish National Orchestra

HK Gruber (conductor)

Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht's The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny

HK Gruber conducts soprano Susan Bickley and the Royal National Scottish Orchestra in a performance of Weill and Brecht's anti-capitalist satire, given in August at the Usher Hall in the opening concert of this year's Edinburgh International Festival.

The opera's story centres on three fugitives' setting up of a city in an American desert devoted solely to pleasure and debauchery. Prostitution and cheap alcohol attract many prospectors, but when Jimmy the barman declares that all restraints are to be removed, there can only be tragic consequences.

Introduced by Donald Macleod, who also talks to the conductor about the context of the work and Weill and Brecht's influence on subsequent operatic developments.

Leokadja Begbick....Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano)

Fatty....Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (tenor)

Trinity Moses....Alan Opie (baritone)

Jenny....Giselle Allen (soprano)

Jimmy Mahoney....Anthony Dean Griffey (tenor)

Jack Smith, Toby Higgins....Peter Hoare (tenor)

Bill....Stephan Loges (baritone)

Joe....Brindley Sherratt (bass)

Hannah Gordon (narrator)

Ladies of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama

Edinburgh Festival Chorus

Christopher Bell (chorus master)

Royal Scottish National Orchestra

HK Gruber (conductor)

A Mozart Celebration20060114

Margaret Juntwait presents 60 years of starry Mozart performances from the New York Met's treasure trove of archive recordings.

Great singers featured include Renee Fleming, Nicolai Gedda, Ezio Pinza, Leontyne Price, Frederica von Stade and Richard Tucker.

Conductors range from Karl Böhm to Bruno Walter, plus the Met's current Music Director James Levine, who offers his own insights throughout the evening into Mozart's genius, in conversation with Ara Guzelimian.

Including:

Idomeneo

Die Entführung aus dem Serail

Le nozze di Figaro (The marriage of Figaro)

Don Giovanni

Così fan tutte

La clemenza di Tito

Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute).

A Mozart Celebration

Margaret Juntwait presents 60 years of starry Mozart performances from the New York Met's treasure trove of archive recordings. Great singers featured include Renee Fleming, Nicolai Gedda, Ezio Pinza, Leontyne Price, Frederica von Stade and Richard Tucker.

Conductors range from Karl Böhm to Bruno Walter, plus the Met's current Music Director James Levine, who offers his own insights throughout the evening into Mozart's genius, in conversation with Ara Guzelimian. Including:

Aida20060218

Live from the Met

Aida, Act I

The Ethiopian slave Aida is in love with the Egyptian warrior Radames.

He loves her too, which angers the Egyptian princess Amneris who wants him for herself.

Aida is hiding the fact that she is the King of Ethiopia's daughter, so when her father is taken prisoner by the Egyptians she has to make a choice of loyalty to him or Radames.

Aida is on the surface one of Verdi's grandest operas, but is also an intimate drama of love versus duty.

Andrea Gruber and Johan Botha play the doomed lovers, with James Conlon conducting.

Presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.

Aida....Andrea Gruber (soprano)

Amneris....Olga Borodina (mezzo-soprano)

Radamès....Johan Botha (tenor)

Amonasro....Juan Pons (baritone)

Ramfis....Kwangchul Youn (bass)

The King....Hao Jiang Tian (bass)

Priestess....Jennifer Check (soprano)

Messenger....Ronald Naldi (tenor)

Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera

James Conlon (conductor)

Aida, Act II: Margaret Juntwait presents Verdi's grand opera with Andrea Gruber and Johan Botha, and James Conlon conducting.

[Continues at 8.20pm after The Met Opera Quiz]

Aida, Act III: Margaret Juntwait presents Verdi's grand opera with Andrea Gruber and Johan Botha, and James Conlon conducting.

[Continues at 9.45pm after Twenty Minutes]

Aida, Act IV: Margaret Juntwait presents Verdi's grand opera with soprano Andrea Gruber and tenor Johan Botha, and James Conlon conducting.

The Ethiopian slave Aida is in love with the Egyptian warrior Radames. He loves her too, which angers the Egyptian princess Amneris who wants him for herself. Aida is hiding the fact that she is the King of Ethiopia's daughter, so when her father is taken prisoner by the Egyptians she has to make a choice of loyalty to him or Radames.

Aida is on the surface one of Verdi's grandest operas, but is also an intimate drama of love versus duty. Andrea Gruber and Johan Botha play the doomed lovers, with James Conlon conducting.

Live from the Met. Aida, Act IV: Margaret Juntwait presents Verdi's grand opera with soprano Andrea Gruber and tenor Johan Botha, and James Conlon conducting.

Live from the Met. Aida, Act III: Margaret Juntwait presents Verdi's grand opera with Andrea Gruber and Johan Botha, and James Conlon conducting. [Continues at 9.45pm after Twenty Minutes]

Live from the Met. Aida, Act II: Margaret Juntwait presents Verdi's grand opera with Andrea Gruber and Johan Botha, and James Conlon conducting. [Continues at 8.20pm after The Met Opera Quiz]

An American Tragedy20051230

The world premiere broadcast of American composer Tobias Picker's fourth opera, portraying the dark side of the American dream where an ordinary man's desire for wealth and status overwhelms his moral sense.

The story is based on the controversial 1925 novel by Theodore Dreiser, which drew its inspiration from the real-life trial and execution of Chester Gillette for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend in 1906.

Presented from New York by Margaret Juntwait.

Clyde Griffiths....Nathan Gunn (baritone)

Roberta Alden, Clyde's fiancée....Patricia Racette (soprano)

Sondra Finchley....Susan Graham (mezzo-soprano)

Elvira Griffiths, Clyde's mother....Dolora Zajick (mezzo-soprano)

Samuel Griffiths, Clyde's uncle....Kim Begley (tenor)

Elizabeth Griffiths, Samuel's wife....Jennifer Larmore (mezzo-soprano)

Gilbert Griffiths, Clyde's cousin....William Burden (tenor)

Bella Griffiths, Clyde's cousin....Jennifer Aylmer (soprano)

Orville Mason, District Attorney....Richard Bernstein (bass)

Hortense....Anna Christy (soprano)

Grace Marr....Clare Gormley (soprano)

Reverend McMillan....Mark Schowalter (tenor)

Orchestra and Chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera

James Conlon (conductor).

From the Met: An American Tragedy

Arabella20040605

Live from Covent Garden, Stephanie Hughes presents Strauss' most romantic opera.

Arabella, the daughter of an impoverished family, spurns her sophisticated Viennese suitors when she falls in love at first sight with an honest man from the provinces.

This simple story inspired Strauss to write some of his warmest and most charming music.

Arabella, Act 1

Count Theodor Waldner....Arthur Korn (bass)

Adelaide....Cornelia Kallisch (mezzo-soprano)

Arabella....Karita Mattila (soprano)

Zdenka....Barbara Bonney (soprano)

Mandryka....Thomas Hampson (baritone)

Matteo....Raymond Very (tenor)

Fiakermilli....Diana Damrau (soprano)

Count Elemer....John Daszak (tenor)

Count Dominik....Quentin Hayes (bass)

Count Lamoral....Iain Paterson (bass)

Fortune Teller....Mary Lloyd Davies (mezzo-soprano)

Welko....Christopher Lackner (baritone)

Floor Waiter....Neil Gillespie (tenor)

Royal Opera Chorus

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

Christoph von Dohnányi (conductor)

Acts 2 and 3 follow Opera Box.

Arabella, Acts 2 and 3: Concluding tonight's live performance from Covent Garden of Strauss' most romantic opera.

Presented by Stephanie Hughes

Arabella

Arabella, the daughter of an impoverished family, spurns her sophisticated Viennese suitors when she falls in love at first sight with an honest man from the provinces. This simple story inspired Strauss to write some of his warmest and most charming music.

Arabella, Acts 2 and 3: Concluding tonight's live performance from Covent Garden of Strauss' most romantic opera. Presented by Stephanie Hughes.

Ariodante20060624

Christopher Cook presents a production from English National Opera of Handel's Ariodante.

British mezzo-soprano Alice Coote takes the title role.

Prince Ariodante is tricked into believing his wife-to-be, Princess Ginevra, has cheated on him.

Much unhappiness ensues, but will the misunderstanding be resolved before tragedy overtakes?

The King of Scotland....Peter Rose (bass)

Ginevra, his daughter....Rebecca Evans (soprano)

Ariodante, a Vassal Prince....Alice Coote (mezzo-soprano)

Lurcanio, his brother....Paul Nilon (tenor)

Polinesso, Duke of Albany....Patricia Bardon (mezzo-soprano)

Dalinda, lady-in-waiting to Ginevra....Sarah Tynan (soprano)

Odoardo, favourite of the King....Nicholas Watts (tenor)

Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera

Christopher Moulds (conductor)

Martin Merry (chorus master).

Beethoven's Fidelio20110625

Presented by Martin Handley

The opera that cost Beethoven so much time and energy tells the story of a woman's determination to rescue her husband from imprisonment at the hands of an evil governor.

Leonora disguises herself as a man - Fidelio - and takes a job as a guard at the prison where she believes her husband, Florestan, is interred.

She manages to charm the prison warden and his family (to the extent that his daughter falls in love with her) before taking on the governor and achieving her aim.

The Swedish soprano Nina Stemme tackles the demanding title-role for the first tme on stage and is supported by a highly experienced cast and conductor.

Leonore - Nina Stemme (soprano)

Florestan - Endrik Wottrich (tenor)

Jaquino - Steven Ebel (tenor)

Marzelline - Elizabeth Watts (soprano)

Don Pizarro - John Wegner (bass)

Don Fernando - Willard White (bass)

Rocco - Kurt Rydl (bass)

Prisoner - Dawid Kimberg (baritone)

Royal Opera Chorus (Chorus Director Renato Balsadonna)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

Conductor - Mark Elder.

Martin Handley presents a performance of Beethoven's opera Fidelio, starring Nina Stemme.

Beethoven's Fidelio

The opera that cost Beethoven so much time and energy tells the story of a woman's determination to rescue her husband from imprisonment at the hands of an evil governor. Leonora disguises herself as a man - Fidelio - and takes a job as a guard at the prison where she believes her husband, Florestan, is interred. She manages to charm the prison warden and his family (to the extent that his daughter falls in love with her) before taking on the governor and achieving her aim. The Swedish soprano Nina Stemme tackles the demanding title-role for the first tme on stage and is supported by a highly experienced cast and conductor.

Beethoven's Fidelio20131111

Ivan Hewett introduces Beethoven's Fidelio in a new production by Calixto Bieito, recorded last month at the English National Opera in London. The soprano Emma Bell takes on the title role as the brave Leonora who, disguised as young man Fidelio, rescues her unfairly jailed husband Florestan, sung by the tenor Stuart Skelton. The stage at the Coliseum is transformed in this contemporary setting into a big prison of metal and plastic, a truly claustrophobic labyrinth in which all characters are prisoners, one way or another. The orchestra and chorus of the ENO are conducted by Music Director Edward Gardner. And there's a dramatic cameo by the Heath String Quartet too.

Leonora - Emma Bell (Soprano)

Florestan - Stuart Skelton (Tenor)

Rocco - James Creswell (Bass

Marzelline - Sarah Tynan (Soprano)

Jaquino - Adrian Dwyer (Bass)

Don Pizarro - Philip Horst (Bass)

Don Fernando - Roland Wood (Baritone)

First prisoner....Anton Rich (Tenor)

Second prisoner - Ronald Nairne (Bass)

English National Opera Orchestra

English National Opera Chorus

Edward Gardner, conductor

The Heath String Quartet - Oliver Heath and Cerys Jones, violins; Gary Pomeroy, viola; and Christopher Murray, cello.

Beethoven's Fidelio20151114

For today's Opera on 3 Jonathan Swain presents a performance of Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio, given at this summer's Salzburg Festival with the Vienna State Opera Chorus and Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Franz Welser-Most. Florestan is a Spanish nobleman unjustly imprisoned by his political enemy Don Pizarro. His wife Leonore dertermines to rescue him by disguising herself as a man, Fidelio, and tricking her way into his dungeon. Adrianne Pieczonka sings the resourceful Leonore, and Jonas Kaufmann the husband she is desperate to save.

Beethoven Fidelio

Leonore....Adrianna Pieczonka (soprano)

Florestan....Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)

Pizarro....Tomasz Konieczny (bass)

Rocco....Hans-Peter König (bass)

Marzelline....Olga Bezsmertna (soprano)

Jacquino....Norbert Ernst (tenor)

Don Fernando....Sebastian Holecek (bass-baritone)

Vienna State Opera Chorus

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Franz Welser-Möst (conductor).

Bellini's La Sonnambula20111119

Tonight's Opera on 3 is Bellini's La Sonnambula recorded at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Amina is about to marry Elvino, but her plans are disrupted when a stranger, Count Rodolfo arrives and provokes Elvino's jealousy.

Later that night when Amina sleepwalks towards Rodolfo, Elvino assumes she's been unfaithful to him.

In Bellini's tuneful opera, Eglise Gutierrez sings the unfortunate sleepwalking Amina and Celso Albelo her doubting lover.

Ivan Hewett presents, and is joined in the box by translator and writer on music, Kenneth Chalmers.

Lisa - Elena Xanthoudakis (Soprano),

Amina - Eglise Gutierrez (Soprano),

Teresa - Elizabeth Sikora (Mezzo-soprano),

Elvino - Celso Albelo (Tenor),

Count Rodolfo - Michele Pertusi (Baritone),

Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus,

Daniel Oren (conductor).

Ivan Hewett presents a performance of Bellini's opera about a sleepwalker, La Sonnambula.

Tonight's Opera on 3 is Bellini's La Sonnambula recorded at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Amina is about to marry Elvino, but her plans are disrupted when a stranger, Count Rodolfo arrives and provokes Elvino's jealousy. Later that night when Amina sleepwalks towards Rodolfo, Elvino assumes she's been unfaithful to him. In Bellini's tuneful opera, Eglise Gutierrez sings the unfortunate sleepwalking Amina and Celso Albelo her doubting lover. Ivan Hewett presents, and is joined in the box by translator and writer on music, Kenneth Chalmers.

Bellini's Norma20161105

Ivan Hewett presents a new production of Bellini's Norma from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden's first for almost 30 years. The Druid priestess Norma is in love with the leader of the occupying Roman forces, Pollione, and has secretly borne two children by him. When she discovers that he has transferred his affections to another priestess, Adalgisa, it begins a downward spiral leading to her self-sacrifice. Bellini's grand setting contains a very personal story of a woman struggling to combine her own desires with society's expectations, and shows the power of religion as a force for good, and for destruction. In La Fura dels Baus's production, directed by Alex Olle and recorded last month, Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva leads a stellar cast, with Joseph Calleja as the unfaithful Pollione. Ivan Hewett is joined in the box by Italian opera expert Roger Parker to discuss the history and significance of Bellini's work, and also talks to Associate Director Valentina Carrasco, conductor Antonio Pappano and members of the cast.

Norma - Sonya Yoncheva (Soprano)

Pollione - Joseph Calleja (Tenor)

Adalgisa - Sonia Ganassi (Contralto)

Oroveso - Brindley Sherratt (Bass)

Flavio - David Junghoon Kim (Tenor)

Clotilde - Vlada Borovko (Soprano)

Royal Opera House Chorus

Royal Opera House Orchestra

Antonio Pappano (Conductor).

Berg: Wozzeck20110416

Berg's Wozzeck

Live from the New York Metropolitan Opera.

Here we go: jealousy, humiliation, murder and suicide.

It sounds as if it could be any night at the opera.

But Alban Berg's Wozzeck is one of the 20th century's greatest dramatic works, the story of a man at the bottom of the heap who goes to pieces under unrelenting pressure.

It's an opera of extraordinary power which combines traditional musical forms with a plot of crushing despair, leaving no hint of hope or redemption.

Berg's masterpiece calls for great singer-actors on stage and a virtuoso orchestra and conductor in the pit.

Things are set fair with baritone Alan Held in the title role, mezzo Waltraud Meier as his common law wife, and an equally impressive supporting cast including Australian tenor-of-the-moment Stuart Skelton.

James Levine conducts: over the past four decades, he has been the driving force behind the Met Orchestra's rise to the premiere league of US ensembles.

Presented by Margaret Juntwait with guest commentator Ira Siff.

Wozzeck - Alan Held (Baritone)

Marie - Waltraud Meier (Mezzo-soprano)

Drum Major - Stuart Skelton (Tenor)

Captain - Gerhard Siegel (Tenor)

Doctor - Walter Fink (Bass)

Andres - Russell Thomas (tenor)

Margret - Wendy White (contralto)

First Apprentice - Richard Bernstein (bass)

Second Apprentice - Mark Schowalter (baritone)

Madman - Philippe Castagner (tenor)

A Soldier - Daniel Clark Smith (tenor)

New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Conductor - James Levine.

Berg's Wozzeck, with Alan Held and Waltraud Meier.

James Levine conducts.

Berg's Lulu20130525

Alban Berg's "Lulu"

Presented by Louise Fryer.

The first of two visits this weekend to Welsh National Opera, for a recording of David Pountney's brilliant new production of Alban Berg's operatic swansong, "Lulu". Unfinished on Berg's death in 1935, tonight's performance includes the British broadcast premiere of Eberhard Kloke's recent completion of the final act. Soprano Marie Arnet debuts in the title role, with baritone Ashley Holland as the darkly complex Dr. Schön. Lothar Köenigs conducts.

Animal Tamer/Schigolch... Richard Angas (bass)

Alwa... Peter Hoare (tenor)

Dr. Schön... Ashley Holland (baritone)

Lulu... Marie Arnet (soprano)

Artist/Negro... Mark Le Brocq (tenor)

Professor of Medicine... Michael Clifton-Thompson (tenor)

Prince/Manservant/Marquis...Alan Oke (tenor)

Wardrobe Mistress/Groom/Schoolboy... Patricia Orr (mezzo soprano)

Theatre Manager/Banker... Nicholas Folwell (baritone)

Countess Geschwitz... Natascha Petrinsky (mezzo soprano)

Acrobat... Julian Close (bass)

Journalist... Alastair Moore (baritone)

Servant... Julian Boyce (tenor)

Designer... Louise Ratcliffe (mezzo soprano)

Mother... Jessica Handley Greaves (mezzo soprano)

15-year old girl... Anitra Blaxhall (soprano)

Police Commissioner... Simon Crosby Buttle

Clown... Jasey Hall

Stagehand...George Newton-Fitzgerald

Onstage musicians... Heather Badke-Hohmann (violin), David Doidge (piano), Mario Conway (accordion)

Chorus and Orchestra of Welsh National Opera

Lothar Koenigs (conductor)

Berg's sumptuous score breathes life into one of opera's most fascinating characters. "Lulu" is a woman with a troubled past and a fatally irresistible appeal to men. Set in the 1920s, infused with elements of burlesque, surrealism and jazz, Berg's adaptation of Wedekind's plays is a mixture of tragedy and farce. Lulu is a seductress and a murderess who uses sex with a succession of men to attain social advancement. Ultimately downfall follows her ascent up the social ladder. Reduced to prostitution, this twentieth century free-spirit meets a brutal death at the hands of Jack the Ripper.

Berg's Lulu20170107

From the English National Opera, Berg's dramatic twelve-tone opera Lulu. Brenda Rae sings Berg's complex heroine who sexually and emotionally dominates every character she comes into contact with. Working her way through three husbands and numerous lovers, including a Painter, a Prince and a Countess, Lulu eventually becomes a prostitute and is murdered by one of her clients, Jack the Ripper. Brenda Rae lead a top cast including Sarah Connolly, James Morris and Nicky Spence, conducted by Mark Wigglesworth.

Lulu....Brenda Rae (Soprano)

Countess Geschwitz....Sarah Connolly (Mezzo-soprano)

Painter....Michael Colvin (Tenor)

Dr Schon / Jack the Ripper....James Morris (Bass)

Alwa....Nicky Spence (Tenor)

Schigolch....Willard White (Bass)

Animal Tamer / Athlete....David Soar (Bass)

Prince / Manservant....Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (Tenor)

English National Opera Chorus

English National Opera Orchestra

Mark Wigglesworth (Conductor).

Berg's Wozzeck20080712

A new production from the Opera Bastille in Paris of Berg's dark and disturbing modernist opera, directed by Christoph Marthaler and conducted by Sylvain Cambreling, a noted interpreter of 20th-century scores.

Baritone Simon Keenlyside sings the title role for the first time, with leading German soprano Angela Denoke as Wozzeck's common-law wife Marie.

Wozzeck, an impoverished soldier stationed in Germany, agrees to undergo medical experimentation in order to gain some extra money for his family.

As his mind begins to disintegrate, he experiences dark visions and paranoia until, when confronting his wife about an 'infidelity', he wreaks brutal revenge.

Presented by Andrew Mcgregor.

Wozzeck....Simon Keenlyside (baritone)

Marie....Angela Denoke (soprano)

Captain....Gerhard Siegel (tenor)

Doctor....Roland Bracht (bass)

Drum Major....Jon Villars (tenor)

Andres....David Keubler (tenor)

Margret....Ursula Hesse von den Steinen (mezzo-soprano)

First Apprentice....Patrick Schramm (bass)

Second Apprentice....Igor Gnidii (baritone)

Madman....John Graham-Hall (tenor)

Maitrise des hauts de Seine/Choeur d'enfants de l'Opera national de Paris

Orchestra and Chorus of the Opera National de Paris

Sylvain Cambreling (conductor).

Berg's Wozzeck

A new production from the Opera Bastille in Paris of Berg's dark and disturbing modernist opera, directed by Christoph Marthaler and conducted by Sylvain Cambreling, a noted interpreter of 20th-century scores. Baritone Simon Keenlyside sings the title role for the first time, with leading German soprano Angela Denoke as Wozzeck's common-law wife Marie.

Wozzeck, an impoverished soldier stationed in Germany, agrees to undergo medical experimentation in order to gain some extra money for his family. As his mind begins to disintegrate, he experiences dark visions and paranoia until, when confronting his wife about an 'infidelity', he wreaks brutal revenge.

Berg's Wozzeck20131202

Tonight's Opera on 3 recorded at the Royal Opera House is Berg's examination of the complexities of the human soul - his opera Wozzeck in a revival of a production by Keith Warner.

The poor soldier Wozzeck is kept grounded by his girlfriend Marie and their child, despite suffering hallucinations and being tormented by the Captain and the Doctor. When Marie has an affair with the dashing Drum Major, it's too much for Wozzeck, who gradually begins to lose his grip on sanity. Berg's setting of Buchner's play has vivid characterisation and powerful music, and is sung by a very strong cast including Simon Keenlyside in the title role, Karita Mattila as Marie and John Tomlinson as the Doctor.

Presented by Andrew McGregor

Wozzeck....Simon Keenlyside (Baritone)

Marie....Karita Mattila (Soprano)

Captain....Gerhard Siegel (Tenor)

Doctor....John Tomlinson (Bass)

Drum Major....Endrik Wottrich (Tenor)

Andres....John Easterlin (Tenor)

Margret....Allison Cook (Mezzo-soprano)

First Apprentice....Jeremy White (Bass)

Second Apprentice/Soldier....Grant Doyle (Baritone)

Idiot....Robin Tritschler (Tenor)

Royal Opera House Orchestra

Royal Opera House Chorus

Mark Elder (Conductor).

A performance of Berg's opera Wozzeck, given at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Berlioz's Beatrice Et Benedict20161008

Berlioz had been a life-long Shakespeare enthusiast and for his final opéra comique, Béatrice et Bénédict, he wrote his own libretto based on Shakespeare's comedy Much Ado about Nothing. The opera was completed in 1858, soon after Berlioz had finished The Trojans, and he received an overwhelming response at its premiere in Baden-Baden. However, the opera has not become part of the staple repertoire (although the Overture is often played independently), but it contains some delightful music, particularly for the female characters. This performance was recorded earlier this summer at the Glyndebourne Festival, with conductor Antonello Manacorda making his Glyndebourne debut in director Laurent Pelly's new production. The title roles are taken by mezzo-soprano Stéphanie d'Oustrac and tenor Paul Appleby, the sparring couple trying to hide their true feelings.

Presented by Andrew McGregor and Sarah Lenton.

Béatrice....Stéphanie d'Oustrac (mezzo-soprano)

Bénédict....Paul Appleby (tenor)

Héro....Anne-Catherine Gillet (soprano)

Claudio....Philippe Sly (bass baritone)

Somarone....Lionel Lhote (baritone)

Don Pedro....Frédéric Caton (bass)

Ursule....Katarina Bradic (mezzo soprano)

London Philharmonic Orchestra

The Glyndebourne Chorus

Antonello Manacorda (conductor).

Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini20140630

Andrew McGregor introduces a performance of the new production by Terry Gilliam at English National Opera of Berlioz's rarely-performed opera Benvenuto Cellini. It recounts the colourful and sometimes outrageous memoirs of Cellini, the 16th century artist, goldsmith and sculptor, sung by the tenor Michael Spyres. The tale focuses on Cellini's love for Teresa, sung by soprano Corinne Winters, and how Cellini successfully confounded his rival Fieramosca, baritone Nicholas Pallesen, by finishing the commission to cast a bronze statue of Perseus. Andrew McGregor presents the performance and talks to Dr Sarah Hibberd from Nottingham University about some of the remarkable musical elements of Berlioz's thrilling and beautiful score, conducted by ENO Musical Director Edward Gardner.

Benvenuto Cellini....Michael Spyres (Tenor)

Teresa....Corinne Winters (Soprano)

Balducci....Pavlo Hunka (Bass)

Fieramosca....Nicholas Pallesen (Baritone)

Pop Clement VII....Willard White (Bass)

Ascanio....Paula Murrihy (Mezzo-soprano)

Francesco....Nicky Spence (Tenor)

Bernardino....David Soar (Bass)

Pompeo....Morgan Pearse (Bass Baritone)

English National Opera Chorus

English National Opera Orchestra

Edward Gardner (Conductor).

Betrothal In A Monastery20061104

Stephanie Hughes presents the Goya-inspired production of Prokofiev's Betrothal in a Monastery from Glyndebourne Festival Opera conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.

'Like champagne' is how Prokofiev described the play by Sheridan on which he based this sparkling opera.

A colourful mélange of English Restoration comedy, sung in Russian and set in Seville, the plot centres on the beautiful Luisa whose father is determined to marry her off to a rich but ugly fish merchant - Mendoza.

Luisa and her nanny concoct a plot in which they swap identities, with hilarious results.

Don Jerome (a nobleman of Seville)....Viacheslav Voynarovskiy (tenor)

Mendoza (a rich fish merchant)....Sergei Alexashkin (bass)

Ferdinand (Don Jerome?s son)....Andrey Breus (baritone)

Don Antonio (in love with Louisa)....Vsevolod Grivnov (tenor)

Louisa (Don Jerome?s daughter)....Lyubov Petrova (soprano)

The Duenna....Alexandra Durseneva (mezzo-soprano)

Don Carlos....Alan Opie (baritone)

Clara (friend of Louisa)....Nino Surguladze (mezzo-soprano)

Father Augustine....Jonathan Veira (bass-baritone)

London Philharmonic Orchestra

The Glyndebourne Chorus

Vladimir Jurowsky (conductor).

'Like champagne' is how Prokofiev described the play by Sheridan on which he based this sparkling opera. A colourful mélange of English Restoration comedy, sung in Russian and set in Seville, the plot centres on the beautiful Luisa whose father is determined to marry her off to a rich but ugly fish merchant - Mendoza. Luisa and her nanny concoct a plot in which they swap identities, with hilarious results.

Billy Budd20051210

One of Britten's most richly worked operatic scores is performed live from English National Opera, with Simon Keenlyside in the title role, and John Tomlinson as Claggart.

Presented by Martin Handley.

Popular able seaman Billy Budd is accused by the master-at-arms John Claggart of plotting mutiny.

When confronted by Captain Vere, Billy's stutter prevents him from defending himself any other way than by striking Claggart, who dies from the blow.

Vere as an old man looks back at this incident on HMS Indomitable, and wonders if he had any other option than to sentence Billy to death.

Billy Budd....Simon Keenlyside (baritone)

Captain Vere....Timothy Robinson (tenor)

Claggart....John Tomlinson (bass)

Mr Redburn....Ashley Holland (baritone)

Mr Flint....Pavlo Hunka (baritone)

Lieutenant Ratcliffe....Brindley Sherratt (bass)

Red Whiskers....Adrian Thompson (tenor)

Donald....Toby Stafford-Allen (baritone)

Dansker....Gwynne Howell (bass)

Novice....James Edwards (tenor)

Squeak....Richard Coxon (tenor)

Bosun....Nicholas Folwell (bass-baritone)

Maintop....Andrew Rees (tenor)

The novice's friend....William Berger (baritone)

Orchestra and Chorus of English National Opera

Andrew Litton (conductor)

The second Act of Britten's opera Billy Budd, live from English National Opera.

Billy Budd

One of Britten's most richly worked operatic scores is performed live from English National Opera, with Simon Keenlyside in the title role, and John Tomlinson as Claggart. Presented by Martin Handley.

Popular able seaman Billy Budd is accused by the master-at-arms John Claggart of plotting mutiny. When confronted by Captain Vere, Billy's stutter prevents him from defending himself any other way than by striking Claggart, who dies from the blow. Vere as an old man looks back at this incident on HMS Indomitable, and wonders if he had any other option than to sentence Billy to death.

Birtwistle's Punch And Judy20080621

In an ENO production from London's Young Vic Theatre, Edward Gardner conducts a performance of Harrison Birtwistle's controversial modernist opera, featuring bass Andrew Shore and mezzo-soprano Lucy Schaufer in the title roles.

The composer's first work for the stage, Punch and Judy takes its inspiration from the traditional seaside puppet shows and follows Mr Punch as he murders a succession of characters, including his own baby, while pursuing his dream girl, Pretty Polly.

Presented by Ivan Hewett.

Punch....Andrew Shore (baritone)

Judy/Fortune Teller....Lucy Schaufer (mezzo-soprano)

Pretty Polly/Witch....Gillian Keith (soprano)

Choregos/Jack Ketch....Ashley Holland (baritone)

Lawyer....Graham Clark (tenor)

Doctor....Graeme Broadbent (bass)

Orchestra of English National Opera

Edward Gardner (conductor).

Birtwistle's Punch and Judy

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