Thursday Opera Matinee

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Afternoon On 320120503

Katie Derham presents a memorable performance of Elgar's oratorio "The Apostles," recorded at King's College Cambridge at Easter. David Wilson-Johnson is Judas, as Elgar would have it: "An apostle misunderstood."

Elgar: The Apostles

Ailish Tynan (Blessed Virgin / Angel Gabriel)

Susan Bickley (Mary Magdalene)

Timothy Robinson (St John / Narrator)

Mark Stone (St Peter)

Roderick Williams (Jesus)

David Wilson-Johnson (Judas)

Ben Sau Lau (organ)

Philharmonia Chorus

BBC Concert Orchestra

Stephen Cleobury (conductor).

Afternoon On 320120510

Louise Fryer continues a week of performances from Berlin with Acts 1 and 2 of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg in a highl acclaimed production form the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Marek Janowski. Act 3 will be broadcast in tomorrow's Afternoon on 3.


Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, Acts 1 and 2

Hans Sachs....Albert Dohmen (baritone)

Veit Pogner....Georg Zeppenfeld (bass)

Kunz Vogelgesang....Clemens Bieber (tenor)

Konrad Nachtigall....Sebastian Noack (bass)

Sixtus Beckmesser....Dietrich Henschel (bass)

Fritz Kothner....Detlef Roth (bass)

Balthasar Zorn....Timothy Fallon (tenor)

Ulrich Eisslinger....Tobias Ebenstein (tenor)

Augustin Moser....Thorsten Scharnke (tenor)

Hermann Ortel....Tobias Berndt (bass)

Hans Schwarz....Greg Ryerson (bass)

Hans Foltz....Kouta Rasanen (bass)

Walther von Stolzing....Robert Dean Smith (tenor)

David....Christoph Strehl (tenor)

Eva....Edith Haller (soprano)

Magdalena....Michelle Breedt (soprano)

Nightwatchman....Matti Salminen (bass).

Berlin Radio Chorus

Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra

Marek Janowski (conductor).

AO3Bizet - The Pearl Fishers20121108

The Pearl Fishers given at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in September with the Netherlands Radio Chorus and Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Michel Plasson. Charles Castronovo and Jean-François Lapointe sing the fishermen whose vow of eternal friendship is threatened when they fall in love with the same woman, Leila, sung by Annick Massis. And the Dutch ensemble theme continues with a performance of Haydn's Keyboard Concerto no.4 with Denis Kozukhin joining the Amsterdam Sinfonietta.

Presented by Louise Fryer.


Bizet: The Pearl Fishers

Leila, priest of Brahma - Annick Massis (soprano),

Nadir, a fisherman - Charles Castronovo (tenor),

Zurga, leader of the fishermen - Jean-François Lapointe (baritone),

Nourabad, high priest of Brahma - Nicolas Testé (bass),

Netherlands Radio Chorus

Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra

Michel Plasson (conductor)


Haydn: Keyboard Concerto no.4 in G, H.XVIII:4

Denis Kozukhin (piano)

Amsterdam Sinfonietta

Candida Thompson (director).

AO3Debussy - Teseo20120531

Louise Fryer presents Thursday Opera Matinee, this week featuring Handel's Teseo, a story about the fate of the ancient Greek hero Theseus, who has returned in disguise to the city of Athens, ruled by his capricious father Aegeus. Both men are in love - or lust - with the same woman, Agilea. And so the drama unfolds as Aegeus tries to break his earlier promise to marry the sorceress Medea...

Nicholas McGegan conducts a stellar cast at the Gottingen International Handel Festival 2011.

After the first three acts of the opera today (you can hear Acts 4 and 5 tomorrow) there's more from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra: songs by Debussy orchestrated by John Adams.

Handel: Teseo, Acts 1-3

Teseo - Susanne Ryden (soprano)

Agilea - Amy Freston (soprano)

Medea - Dominique Labelle (soprano)

Clizia - Celine Ricci (soprano)

Arcane - Robin Blaze (altus)

Minerva - Johanna Ness (soprano)

Egeo - Drew Minter (counter-tenor)

New York Baroque Dance Company

Gottingen Festival Orchestra

Nicholas McGegan (conductor).

Debussy (arr. Adams): Le Livre de Baudelaire

Ruby Hughes (Soprano)

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Andrew Gourlay (conductor).

AO3Delius - A Village Romeo And Juliet20121220

In the 150th anniversary year of the birth of Delius, a rare opportunity to hear one of his most highly rated stage works in a recent production from the 2012 Wexford Festival. A Village Romeo and Juliet contains some of Delius's finest music, including The Walk to the Paradise Garden, and reinterprets a dark novella by the Swiss nineteenth-century novelist Gottfried Keller. Farmers Manz and Marti row over a patch of unclaimed land between their farms, whilst all is harmony between their grown-up children Sali and Vreli who fall fatally in love. Plus, at just before 4pm, another great setting of English words.

Presented by Louise Fryer

Delius: A Village Romeo and Juliet

Manz - Quentin Hayes (baritone),

Marti - Andrew Greenan (baritone),

Sali, Manz's son - John Bellemer (tenor),

Vreli, Marti's daughter - Jessica Muirhead (soprano),

The Dark Fiddler - David Stout (baritone),

First Peasant - Jamie Rock (baritone),

Second Peasant - Cozmin Sime (baritone),

First Peasant Woman - Eleanor Lyons (soprano),

Second Peasant Woman - Angharad Morgan (soprano),

Third Peasant Woman - Catia Moreso (soprano),

Gingerbread Girl - Iria Perestrelo (soprano),

Wheel of Fortune Woman - Maria Miro (soprano),

Cheap Jewellery Woman - Mae Heydorn (mezzo-soprano),

Merry-go-round Man - Owen Webb (baritone),

Slim Girl - Hannah Sawle (soprano),

Wild Girl - Kate Symonds Joy (mezzo-soprano),

Poor Horn Player - Daniel Joy (tenor),

Hunchbacked Bass Player - Simon Robinson (bass),

Showman - Leonel Pinheiro,

Shooting Gallery Man - Thomas Faulkner,

Second Bargee - Adam Gilbert,

Third Bargee - Patrick Hyland,

Wexford Opera Chorus,

Wexford Opera Orchestra,

Rory MacDonald (conductor).


Hamilton Harty: Ode to a Nightingale

Ailish Tynan (soprano),

Ulster Orchestra,

Steuart Bedford (conductor).

Little-known fact: the 'Paradise Garden' is actually a pub.

AO3Donizetti - Don Pasquale20120628

Penny Gore presents a performance of Donizetti's operatic masterpiece Don Pasquale, recorded earlier this year at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. This comic opera, which reportedly took the composer only two weeks to complete, tells the story of the ageing Don Pasquale and his doomed attempt to marry a young bride. Alessandro Corbelli sings the part of the Don and Désirée Rancatore plays his bride Norina.

Afterwards, a chance to hear Anthony Marwood and Lawrence Power with conductor Ilan Volkov and the BBC Scottish Symphony orchestra in a performance of the young Benjamin Britten's Concerto for violin, viola and orchestra.

Thursday Opera Matinee

Donizetti: Don Pasquale

Don Pasquale - Alessandro Corbelli (bass),

Norina - Desiree Rancatore (soprano),

Dr Malatesta - Gabriele Viviani (baritone),

Ernesto - Francesco Demuro (tenor),

The notary - Richard Tronc (bass),

Radio France Chorus,

French National Orchestra,

Conductor Enrique Mazzola.


Britten: Concerto for violin, viola and orchestra

Anthony Marwood (violin)

Lawrence Power (viola),

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra,

Ilan Volkov (conductor).

AO3Donizetti - Gianni Di Parigi20120621

Katie Derham presents Wexford Festival Opera's 2011 production of Donizetti's two-act comedy Gianni di Parigi.

Wexford Festival Opera is renowned for staging rarely performed repertoire, and Donizetti is one of the most frequently performed composers at Wexford. In 1952 the festival produced the little-known Donizetti opera L'Elisir D'Amore! Gianni di Parigi, written in 1831, is still one of his least-known works. It is the fifteenth Donizetti opera to be presented at Wexford in its 61 years.

It's a good idea to know the woman you're going to marry - and it's a clever woman who sees what the man's getting up to! The story of Gianni di Parigi derives from a popular 15th-century chivalric story about the French heir to the throne, the Dauphin. Although he is betrothed to the Princess of Navarre, they have never met. He wants to see for himself if she is really as good and beautiful as he has been told. He disguises himself as a wealthy burgher and insists on staying at the inn which the princess has reserved for herself and her entourage on their journey to Paris for her marriage. He bribes the innkeeper, commandeers the food and drink and asks the princess to dine with him. She sees through the plot and is well aware of his true identity, but she admires his enterprise and they fall in love.

Thursday Opera Matinee

Donizetti: Gianni di Parigi

Princess of Navarra - Suzanna Markova (soprano)

Il gran Siniscalco, her Seneschal - Alessandro Luongo (bass)

Gianni di Parigi - Edgardo Rocha (tenor)

Pedrigo - Alessandro Spina (bass)

Lorezza, his daughter - Fiona Murphy (mezzo-soprano)

Oliviero, a page - Lucia Cirillo (contralto).

Wexford Festival Opera Chorus and Orchestra,

Giacomo Sagripanti.

Plus, at 3.50pm, another recent Mendelssohn performance by this week's featured orchestra:

Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto

Alexandra Soumm (violin),

Ulster Orchestra,

Howard Shelley (conductor).

AO3Donizetti - La Fille Du Regiment20120614

This week's Thursday Opera Matinee is a performance of Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment given at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The heroine of Donizetti's comedy is Marie, the 'daughter' or mascot of the 21st Regiment. She's in love with a hunky peasant called Tonio, but can only marry a soldier from the 21st. Natalie Dessay sings Marie, and Juan Diego Florez supplies the famous top Cs as Tonio. And there's a cameo for Dawn French in the hilarious spoken role of the Duchess of Crackentorp

Plus today's Russian music is from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra: a performance of Lyadov's 8 Russian Folksongs.

Presented by Penny Gore.


Donizetti: La Fille du Regiment

Marie - Natalie Dessay (soprano),

Tonio - Juan Diego Florez (tenor),

La Marquise - Felicity Palmer (mezzo-soprano),

Sulpice Pingot - Alessandro Corbelli (baritone),

Hortensius - Donald Maxwell (baritone),

A Corporal - Bryan Secombe (bass),

Paesan - Luke Price (tenor),

La Duchesse de Crackentorp - Dawn French,

Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra

Bruno Campanella (conductor)


Lyadov: 8 Russian Folksongs

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Stefan Blunier (conductor).

AO3Gluck - Alceste20121122

Penny Gore introduces Opera Matinee: Gluck's Alceste, recorded live at the Vienna State Opera earlier this month. Veronique Gens and Joseph Kaiser lead a starry cast with Ivor Bolton at the helm of the Gustav Mahler Chorus and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. This is the 1776 Paris version of Gluck's Alceste, adapted by Ranieri de' Calzabigi from a play by Euripides.


Christoph Willibald Gluck: Alceste

Alceste, Queen of Thessaly - Véronique Gens (soprano)

Admète, her husband - Joseph Kaiser (tenor)

Evandro, a confidant of Admetus - Benjamin Bruns (tenor)

High Priest - Clemens Unterreiner (baritone)

Apollon - Alessio Arduini (baritone)

Thanathos, an infernal deity - Clemens Unterreiner (bass)

First Child / Coryphée - Ileana Tonca

Second Child / Coryphée - Juliette Mars

Hercules - Adam Plachetka

Gustav Mahler Chorus

Freiburg Baroque Orchestra

Ivor Bolton (conductor).

AO3J Strauss Ii - Die Fledermaus20120705

Katie Derham presents Strauss's Johann Strauss II's evergreen operetta where Champagne, waltzes and memorable tunes ceaselessly flow -- and which features everything you'd expect in the way of jealous spouses, mistaken identity and a happy ending.

Johann Strauss: Die Fledermaus

Gabriel von Eisenstein....Kurt Streit (tenor)

Rosalinde...Michaela Kaune (soprano)

Adele....Daniela Fally (soprano)

Ida...Lydia Rathkolb (soprano)

Alfred...Rainer Trost (tenor)

Dr Falke....Markus Eiche (baritone)

Dr Blind....Peter Jelosits (tenor)

Frank....Alfred Sramek (baritone)

Prince Orlofsky....Zoryana Kushpler (mezzo-soprano)

Frosch....Peter Simonischek

Vienna State Opera Chorus

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Franz Welser-Möst, conductor.

AO3Massenet's Marie-magdeleine20121004

This year is the 100th anniversary of Massenet's death, and today's Opera Matinee is a rare chance to hear his epic sacred drama Marie-Magdeleine, in a performance from Prague. The work depicts the events during the final days of Jesus' life, in particular his relationship with the title character, Mary Magdalene. That's followed by more from the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and today's Romantic piano concerto by Brahms's great friend Robert Fuchs.

Presented by Jonathan Swain.


Massenet: Marie-Magdeleine

Marthe - Eva Drízgová (soprano),

Marie-Madeleine - Barbora Polásková (mezzo-soprano),

Jesus - Josef Zedník (tenor),

Judas - Richard Haan (bass),

Czech Philharmonic Chorus, Brno,

Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra,

Vladimír Válek (conductor).


Lutoslawski: Grave

Paul Watkins (cello)

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Edward Gardner (conductor)

Strauss: Das Rosenband, Op. 36 no. 1; Muttertandelei, Op. 43 no. 2

Elizabeth Watts (soprano)

Jakub Hrusa (conductor)


Robert Fuchs: Piano Concerto in B flat minor, Op.27

Martin Roscoe (piano)

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Martyn Brabbins (conductor).

AO3Mussorgsky - Boris Godunov20121213

Katie Derham presents the Vienna Philharmonic with conductor Tugan Sokhiev in today's opera matinee: continuing the week's Russian theme with Mussorgsky's masterpiece Boris Godunov. There's something rotten in the state of Russia: Boris Godunov, sung by the Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto, is a ruthless Tsar who seizes the Russian throne after murdering the rightful heir. Can he enjoy the spoils of his crime?

Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov

Boris Godunov - Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass),

Fyodor, his son... Stephanie Houtzeel (mezzo-soprano),

Xenia, Boris's daughter... Ileana Tonca (soprano),

Xenia's nurse... Aura Twarowska (contralto),

Prince Vasiliy Ivanovich Shuysky - Jorma Silvasti (tenor),

Andrey Shchelkalov, Clerk of the Duma... Eijiro Kai (baritone),

Pimen, chronicler-hermit... Kurt Rydl (bass),

The Pretender under the name Grigoriy... Marian Talaba (tenor),

Varlaam, vagabond... Andreas Hörl (bass),

Misail, vagabond... Benedikt Kobel (tenor),

Innkeeper... Monika Bohinec (mezzo-soprano),

The Yuródivïy... Norbert Ernst (tenor),

Nikitich, a police officer... Sorin Coliban (bass),

Mityukha, a peasant... Hans Peter Kammerer (bass),

Captain... Alfred Sramek (bass),

Vienna State Opera Chorus,

Vienna Philharmonic,

Tugan Sokhiev (conductor).

AO3Peter Von Winter - The Labyrinth20121101

Penny Gore presents Peter von Winter's The Labyrinth, a 1790s sequel to The Magic Flute. This rare performance was given in the open air at the Salzburg Festival where it was mounted to commemorate the death two hundred years ago of Mozart's librettist Emanuel Schikaneder. It was he who provided the libretto for, and also directed, the early performances of Winter's 'heroic comedy' - a work complete with High Priests, a Queen of the Night, a spectacular battle with the elements, a glockenspiel and, of course, a jolly bird catcher.

Peter von Winter: The Labyrinth or the Battle with the Elements

Part 2 of the Magic Flute

Sarastro - Christof Fischesser (bass)

Queen of the Night - Julia Novikova (soprano)

Pamina, her daughter - Malin Hartelius (soprano)

Tamino - Michael Schade (tenor)

Papageno....Thomas Tatzl (bass)

Papagena - Regula Mühlemann (soprano)

Old Papageno - Anton Scharinger (bass)

Old Papagena....Ute Gfrerer (soprano)

First Lady of the Queen - Venus - Nina Bernsteiner (soprano)

Second Lady of the Queen - Amor - Christina Daletska (mezzo soprano)

Third Lady of the Queen - Page - Monica Bohinec (mezzo soprano)

Monostatos, a Moor - Klaus Kuttler (tenor)

Tipheus, King of Paphos - Clemens Unterreiner (baritone)

Sithos, his friend - Philippe Sly (bass-baritone)

Salzburg Bach Choir

Salzburg Festival and Theatre Children's Choir

Mozarteum Orchestra, Salzburg

Ivor Bolton (conductor).

AO3Puccini - Il Tabarro20121129

Louise Fryer introduces the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra's production of Puccini's Il Tabarro.

Daniel Harding conducts the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in this one-act opera by Puccini at the Berwaldhallen, Stockholm. The first in a trilogy of short operas by Puccini, Il Tabarro - The Cloak - is a dark passionate opera with a love triangle at its core and is set on a barge on the banks of the river Seine.

Recorded just a few days ago and featuring an international cast, Paoletta Marrocu is Giorgetta, Lucio Gallo is her husband Michele and Thiago Arancam plays the young docker Luigi. At the climax of the opera the cloak reveals its dark secret.

And at 3pm, live from the Ulster Hall in Belfast, the Ulster Orchestra performs music by Dvorak and Sibelius, introduced from the stage by John Toal.

Puccini: Il Tabarro

Giorgetta - Paoletta Marrocu (soprano)

La Frugola (the rummager) - Ingrid Tobiasson (mezzo-soprano)

Luigi - Thiago Arancam (tenor)

Michele - Lucio Gallo (baritone)

Il Tinca and ballad-seller - Niklas Björling Rygert (tenor)

Il Talpa - Jeremy Carpenter (baritone)

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Daniel Harding (conductor)

c. 3pm

Dvorak: The Midday Witch, Op.108

Ulster Orchestra

Jac van Steen, conductor

c. 3.20pm

Sibelius: Lemminkainen Suite Op.22

Jac van Steen (conductor).

AO3Puccini - La Boheme20120913

Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczala star as tragic lovers Mimì and Rodolfo in a classic tearjerker for this week's Thursday Opera Matinee: Puccini's La Bohème, one of the highlights of the 2012 Salzburg Festival.

Her tiny hand is frozen - starving, consumptive seamstress Mimì enjoys a few months of winter happiness in her Paris garret with the equally penniless poet-next-door Rodolfo, before the inevitable unhappy ending.

Presented by Penny Gore.

Plus another adopted Parisian - Frederick Delius - take the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conductor Andrew Davis climbing in the Norwegian mountains.

Opera Matinee

Puccini: La Bohème

Rodolfo - Piotr Beczala (tenor)

Mimi - Anna Netrebko (soprano)

Marcello - Massimo Cavalletti (baritone)

Musetta - Nino Machaidze (soprano)

Schaunard - Alessio Arduini (baritone)

Colline - Carlo Colombara (bass)

Benoit / Alcindoro - Davide Fersini (bass)

Parpignol - Steven Forster (tenor).

Vienna State Opera Chorus Concert Association,

Salzburg Festival Children's Chorus,

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,

Daniele Gatti (conductor).

c. 3.50pm

Delius: The Song of the High Hills

Olivia Robinson (soprano),

Christopher Bowen (tenor),

BBC Symphony Chorus,

BBC Symphony Orchestra,

Andrew Davis (conductor).

AO3Puccini - Turandot20121011

Opera Matinee

Puccini: Turandot

Presented by Louise Fryer.

From the Les Chorégies d'Orange Festival 2012 we bring you a performance of Giacomo Puccini's Turandot, his unfinished swan song from the opera stage. Michel Plasson conducts the French National Orchestra with a cast led by Lise Lindstrom in the title role as the Princess of ice in search of a suitable husband, and tenor Roberto Alagna as Prince Calaf, her brave suitor defying fate. Also today, following our week's theme of Romantic piano concertos with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, a short gem: Alkan's Concerto da camera No. 2 with virtuoso soloist Marc-André Hamelin, under the baton of Martyn Brabbins.

Turandot - Lise Lindstrom (soprano)

Liù - Maria Luigia Borsi (soprano)

Calaf - Roberto Alagna (tenor)

Timur - Marco Spotti (bass)

Imperator Altoum - Chris Merritt (tenor)

Ping - Marc Barrard (baritone)

Pang - Jean-François Borras (tenor)

Pong - Florian Laconi (tenor)

A Mandarin - Luc Bertin-Hugault (baritone).

Orchestre National de France,

Michel Plasson (conductor).


Charles-Valentin Alkan: Concerto da camera in C sharp minor. Op. 10 No. 2

Marc-Andre Hamelin (piano),

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra,

Martyn Brabbins (conductor).

AO3Rachmaninov - Iolanta20120524

Thursday Opera Matinee: Tchaikovsky's Iolanta

In the mountains of Southern France in the fifteenth century, ignorance is bliss for Princess Iolanta: she knows neither that she's blind, nor that she is a princess, because no one's told her. But all that is about to change when her betrothed decides to marry another woman, an alternative suitor conveniently arrives and a Moorish doctor comes along with a blindness cure. Katie Derham presents Tchaikovsky's one act opera, written to be performed with 'The Nutcracker' and, like its companion-piece ballet, a satisfying work in its own right.

Iolanta....Olga Mykytenko (soprano),

Rene....Dmitry Belosselsky (bass),

Robert....Dalibor Jenis (baritone),

Count Vaudemont....Saimir Pirgu (tenor),

Ibn-Hakia....Elchin Azizov (baritone),

Almeric....Ladislav Elgr (tenor),

Bertrand....Vladimir Baykov (bass),

Marta....Svetlana Shilova (contralto),

Brigitta....Rinnat Moriah (soprano),

Laura....Victoria Yarovaya (mezzo-soprano),

Arnold Schoenberg Chorus

Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra

Vassily Sinaisky (conductor)

At approx. 3.35pm more from the BBC Philharmonic on tour:

Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 1 in D minor

BBC Philharmonic

Gianandrea Noseda (conductor).

AO3Rossini - Il Signor Bruschino20121115

Katie Derham whisks us off to 'Rossiniland' for today's opera matinee: a zany production of Rossini's comic opera Il Signor Bruschino (Mr Bruschino) was one of the highlights of this year's Rossini Opera Festival in the composer's native city of Pesaro, Italy. Sofia and Florville are head over heels in love, but their parents are at loggerheads and Sofia's father plans to hitch her to the son of his old friend Mr Bruschino. Fortunately, nobody's seen said son for years - so Florville takes his place, and even fools the local police into believing him. Will he get the girl? There's only one way to find out - tune in at 2pm.

Rossini: Il Signor Bruschino

Maria Aleida (soprano) - Sofia

Chiara Amarù (mezzo-soprano) - Marianna

Andrea Vincenzo Bonsignore (baritone) - Filiberto

Francisco Brito (tenor) - Bruschino junior / A Police Commissioner

Roberto De Candia (baritone) - Bruschino senior

David Alegret (tenor) - Florville

Carlo Lepore (bass).. Gaudenzio

Gioachino Rossini Symphony Orchestra

Daniele Rustioni (conductor)

Plus jolly ballet music by Elgar and Vaughan Williams' hard-hitting Fourth Symphony.


Elgar: The Sanguine Fan (ballet)

BBC Concert Orchestra,

John Wilson (conductor).

c. 3.45pm

Vaughan Williams: Symphony no. 4

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra,

Andrew Manze (conductor).

AO3Strauss - Die Frau Ohne Schatten20120607

Richard Strauss

Opera matinee: Strauss Die Frau ohne Schatten Acts 1 and 2 in this Salzburg Festival performance with the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Christian Thielemann

John Shea presents this week's celebration of some of the best of Austrian music making

In the mythical land of the Southeastern Islands the Emperor captures a gazelle who assumes human form and marries him. But, in a symbol of her inability to have children, she has no shadow. It is decreed that unless the Empress gains a shadow before the end of the twelfth moon, she will be reclaimed by her father and the Emperor will turn to stone.

Strauss and Hofmannsthal's opera, with its involved plot, heightened use of symbolism and generous passages of monologue has recently been enjoying the acclaim which many have felt it deserves. Calling for a large cast and orchestra and for frequent scene changes, it is difficult to stage in the theatre. but here receives a warmly received performance at the Salzburg Festival.

Die Frau ohne Schatten (Acts 1 and 2)

The Emperor (Der Kaiser) Stephen Gould (tenor),

The Empress (Die Kaiserin), Keikobad's daughter Anne Schwanewilms (soprano),

The Nurse (Die Amme), her guardian Michaela Schuster (mezzo),

Barak, the Dyer (Barak, der Färber) Wolfgang Koch (baritone),

The Dyer's Wife (Die Färberin) Evelyn Herlitzius (soprano),

The One-eyed Man (Der Einäugige), Barak's brother Markus Brück (high bass),

The One-Armed Man (Der Einarmige), Barak's brother Steven Humes (bass),

The Hunchback (Der Bucklige), Barak's brother Andreas Conrad (tenor),

The Messenger of Keikobad Thomas Johannes Mayer (high baritone),

Rachel Frenkel, The Voice of the Falcon

Peter Sonn, The Apparition of a Youth

Christina Landshamer, A Guardian of the Threshold of the Temple

Maria Radner, A Voice from Above

Christina Landshamer, First Servant

Lenneke Ruiten, Second Servant

Martina Mikelic, Third Servant

Hanna Herfurtner, Solo Voices / Voices of Unborn Children

Christina Landshamer, Solo Voices / Voices of Unborn Children

Lenneke Ruiten, Solo Voices / Voices of Unborn Children

Rachel Frenkel, Solo Voices / Voices of Unborn Children

Martina Mikelic, Solo Voices / Voices of Unborn Children

Maria Radner, Solo Voices / Voices of Unborn Children

Vienna State Opera Chorus Concert Association

Members of Angelika Prokopp Sommerakademie der Wiener Philharmoniker, Stage Music

Christa Schönfeldinger, Glass Harmonica

Salzburg Festival Children's Chorus

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Christian Thielemann (conductor)

(Continued tomorrow afternoon).

AO3Thursday Opera Matinee20120712

Penny Gore presents a performance of Donizetti's sparkling comedy L'elisir d'amore - The Elixir of Love - starring Juan Florez and Diana Damrau recorded earlier this year at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. To the usual operatic plot of the tenor and the baritone being rivals for the love of the soprano this witty score adds a wonderful comic bass role - Dulcamara, the 'quack doctor' whose magic potion (the Elixir of Love itself) causes a good deal of merriment and confusion. All ends happily, despite the moment when Nemorino contemplates Adina's 'furtive tear'... but that gives the opera its best-known aria 'Una furtiva lagrima' - Juan Diego Florez's New York performance of which was so good he sang it twice.

Donizetti: L'Elisir d'Amore

Nemorino, a simple peasant, in love with Adina - Juan Diego Florez (tenor),

Adina, a wealthy landowner - Diana Damrau (soprano),

Belcore, a sergeant - Mariusz Kwiecien (baritone),

Dr Dulcamara, an itinerant medicine man - Alessandro Corbelli (bass),

Giannetta, Adina's friend - Layla Claire (soprano).

Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra

Donato Renzetti (conductor).

AO3Verdi - Oberto20120517

Verdi: Oberto

We're in thirteenth-century Italy where Count Riccardo is about to be wed to Cuniza. But as you might expect, there's a problem. The wicked count has form, and satisfaction is demanded of him by Oberto, the father of Leonora, the girl he has seduced and ruined. A duel is fought which leaves Oberto dead, Riccardo guilt-ridden, and Leonora in a convent. With its powerful choruses, striking ensembles, and rhythmic vitality, Verdi's rarely-heard first opera has many of the hallmarks of his later style.

Presented by Katie Derham.

Oberto....Michele Pertusi (bass)

Leonora....Maria Guleghina (soprano)

Cuniza....Ekaterina Gubanova (mezzo)

Imelda....Sophie Pondjiclis (mezzo)

Riccardo....Vater Borin (tenor)

Chorus of Radio France

French National Orchestra

Carlo Rizzi, conductor.