The Opening of the Italian Opera Season
Sundays in November
Italy will always be the birthplace of opera! Each November, opera houses throughout the country ring in the new opera season. On Sundays at 14:00 CET, Stingray Classica broadcasts some of Italy’s finest composers' masterpieces to celebrate the opening of this year’s opera season: Vincenzo Bellini and Gioachino Rossini. On November 6, Stingray Classica presents Bellini’s tragic opera ‘I Capuleti e I Montecchi’ (1830). Completing this opera in just a month and a half, Bellini recycled material from his previous opera 'Zaira', which had enjoyed little popular success. On November 13, Carlo Rizzi leads the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Choir in a performance of Bellini’s ‘Norma’ (1831). ‘Norma’, an extraordinary fusion of sublime melody, vocal challenges and dramatic power, is perhaps the ultimate classic of the bel canto tradition, a style of singing that flourished in Italy in the 18th and early-19th century. The title role, performed by American-Canadian soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, demands dramatic vocal power combined with the agility and technique of a coloratura singer. One week later, Stingray Classica broadcasts Bellini’s final work, ‘I puritani’ (1835). Set in England in the Civil War period after Oliver Cromwell’s triumph, ‘I puritani’ involves romantic and political intrigues that inspired Bellini to compose music of melodic raptness and melancholic depth. Lastly, on November 27, Stingray Classica presents Rossini’s beloved ‘Il barbiere di Siviglia’ (The Barber of Seville, 1816), performed by the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège. The witty, lively opera tells the story of Count Almaviva's love for Rosina, a beautiful and wealthy young lady whose heart he tries to win with the help of their shrewd barber, Figaro.
Bellini - I Capuleti e I Montecchi
Sunday, November 6 | 14:05
Omer Meir Wellber leads the Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro La Fenice in a performance of Vincenzo Bellini's tragic opera 'I Capuleti e i Montecchi'. Felice Romani's libretto is not based on William Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' but on Luigi Scevola's 1818 play 'Giulietta e Romeo'. Teatro La Fenice commissioned Vincenzo Bellini's opera for the Venetian Carnival of 1830. Bellini composed 'I Capuleti e i Montecchi' in just a month and a half, recycling material from his previous opera 'Zaira', which enjoyed little popular success. In this production, English-born soprano Jessica Pratt performs the role of Giulietta, and Italian mezzo-soprano Sonia Ganassi performs the role of Romeo. Among the other soloists are Rubén Amoretti, Shalva Mukeria, and Luca Dall'Amico. This performance was recorded at Teatro la Fenice di Venezia in Venice, Italy, on January 18, 2015.
Bellini - Norma
Sunday, November 13 | 14:00
Bellini's (1801–1835) Norma is an extraordinary fusion of sublime melody, vocal challenge, and dramatic power. It examines an ageless and archetypal situation: A powerful woman compromises her ideals for love, only to find herself betrayed by her lover. The title role demands dramatic vocal power combined with the agility and technique of a coloratura singer. The opera is set in Gaul at the beginning of its occupation by the Roman Empire. Bellini was a Sicilian composer whose greatest gift was his extraordinary understanding of the human voice. His premature death at the age of 33, shortly after his opera I Puritani cut his meteoric career tragically short. Norma is perhaps the archetypal bel canto (from the Italian for “beautiful singing”) opera, a style of singing that flourished in Italy in the 18th and early- 19th centuries. Its principal features are beauty of tone, legato phrasing, and the delivery of florid ornamentation. Throughout the score, Bellini punctuates breathtaking melody with sharp moments of raw drama. The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Choir are led by Carlo Rizzi. Among the soloists are Sondra Radvanovsky (Norma), Joyce DiDonato (Adalgisa), Joseph Calleja (Pollione) and Matthew Rose (Oroveso). Directed by Gary Halvorson. Recorded at the Metropolitan Opera New York on October 7, 2017.
Bellini - I puritani
Sunday, November 20 | 14:00
I puritani is one of Bellini’s most creative and influential masterpieces, a bel canto opera stamped with vocal and orchestral writing of intoxicating beauty and dramatic intensity. Set in England in the Civil War period after Oliver Cromwell’s triumph, it involves romantic and political intrigues that drew from Bellini music of melodic raptness and melancholic depth. It also inspired him to compose some of his most breathtakingly virtuosic passages, notably Elvira’s Mad Scene, that call for the utmost in theatrical power. This production includes all the music performed at the work’s Paris premiere in 1835, and was performed at the Staatsoper Stuttgart, by the Staatsopernchor Stuttgart and the Staatsorchester Stuttgart, under the baton of Manlio Benzi, in 2018.
Rossini - Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Sunday, November 27 | 14:00
Guy Van Waas leads the Orchestra and Choirs of the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège in this 2015 production by director Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera of Gioachino Rossini’s famous Il barbiere di Siviglia ('The Barber of Seville'). The opera is based on Pierre-Augustin de Beaumarchais's play Le Barbier de Séville (1775). Rossini’s witty, lively opera tells the story of Count Almaviva's love for Rosina, a beautiful and wealthy young lady who is constantly guarded by her elderly guardian, doctor Bartolo. With the help of barber Figaro, the Count tries to win Rosina's heart in spite of her guardian's efforts to prevent this. Among the soloists are Lionel Lhote, Jodie Devos, Gustavo De Gennaro, Enrico Marabelli, Laurent Kubla, Alexise Yerna, Victor Cousu, and Marc Tissons. This production was recorded at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège, Belgium.