The Opening of the Italian Opera Season
Fridays in November
Italy will always be the birthplace of opera! Each November, opera houses throughout the country ring in the new opera season. On Friday evenings, Stingray Classica broadcasts some of Italy’s finest composers' masterpieces to celebrate the opening of this year’s opera season. On November 5, Stingray Classica broadcasts Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma, an extraordinary fusion of sublime melody, vocal challenges and dramatic power. American-Canadian soprano Sondra Radvanovsky stars in the title role, which demands a strong dramatic sense, vocal agility, and technical skill. On November 12, Stingray Classica shows a Metropolitan Opera production of Gaetano Donizetti's La fille du regiment, set in the beguilingly picturesque Tyrolean mountains during the grimness of World War I. Enjoy Donizetti’s combination of jaunty military tunes, brisk comic numbers, and sparkling arias. On November 19, soprano Anna Netrebko sings the title role in Francesco Cilea’s immensely popular Adriana Lecouvreur. This semi-historical biographical opera details the turbulent nine-year relationship between a French actress and her military paramour. Stingray Classica's Italian opera special comes to a close on November 26 with the première broadcast of the Norwegian National Opera's production of Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème.
Bellini - Norma
Friday, November 5 | 21:00
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.
Donizetti - La fille du régiment
Friday, November 12 | 21:00
Enrique Mazzola conducts the orchestra and chorus of the New York Metropolitan Opera in a performance of Donizetti's (1797–1848) La fille du régiment. Among the soloists are Pretty Yende, Javier Camarena, Paul Corona (Hortensius), Stephanie Blythe (The Marquise), Kathleen Turner (The Duchess) and Yohan Belmin (Notary). Recorded in the Metropolitan Opera, New York on March 2, 2019. The opera is set in the Tyrol, a picturesque mountain landscape. The Met’s production places the action during the First World War. Donizetti’s score is a deft combination of jaunty military tunes (including some actual French regimental songs from the composer’s era), brisk comic numbers, enormously graceful ensembles and vocal solos, and sparkling arias. Donizetti composed about 75 operas, plus orchestral and chamber music, in a career abbreviated by mental illness and premature death. Apart from the ever-popular Lucia di Lammermoor and the comic gems L’Elisir d’Amore and Don Pasquale, most of his works disappeared from public view after his death.
Cilea - Adriana Lecouvreur
Friday, November 19 | 21:00
Critically panned since its premiere, Adriana Lecouvreur nevertheless remains immensely popular with audiences to this day. This semi-historical biographical opera details the turbulent nine-year relationship between the French actress Adrienne Lecouvreur and her military paramour Maurice de Saxe, culminating in the titular character's death under mysterious circumstances. Basing his story on the play by Eugène Scribe and Ernest Legouvé, Cilea comments upon some of the real-life rivalries and plots surrounding Lecouvreur in the time leading up to her death. The opera is infused with captivating drama, emotional honesty and beautifully lyrical arias. This performance features Anna Netrebko (soprano), Piotr Beczala (tenor) and Anita Rachvelishvili (mezzo soprano). It was recorded at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, United States, in 2019.
Puccini - La bohème
Friday, November 26 | 21:00
In 2012, Norwegian opera director Stefan Herheim brought Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème to the stage of the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo. About his choice for this updated version, Herheim explained: “In bringing La bohème into a present-day setting with this new production we hope to revive the immediate power of suggestion and importance that this work at one time revelled in.” The opera about the Bohemian lifestyle of the poor seamstress Mimì and her artist friends is a fast-moving story, and offers some of the greatest arias Puccini ever wrote. Norwegian conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen leads the Orchestra and Chorus of the National Opera Oslo. Among the soloists are Marita Sølberg (Mimì), Diego Torre (Rodolfo), Vasily Ladyuk (Marcello), and Jennifer Rowley (Musetta).