Saturday, January 29, 2005

Saturday at the Opera(Cast)

Here's what's on the boards for this afternoon ---

Dr P2, Latvia Radio Clasica, Radio Slovenia Treji and Sveriges P2 - from National Opera in Warsaw, Tchaikovsky's Eugen Onegin, with Ekaterina Solowjowa, Wojciech Drabowicz, Anna Lubanska and Adam Zdunikowski, conducted by Jazek Kaspszyk

Radio Clasica de Espana - from Teatrro Real de Madrid, Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Juan Diego Florez, Maria Bayo and Ruggiero Raimondo, conducted by G. Gelmetti (performance from January 18, 2005)

Musiq3 - from l'Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Verdi's La Forza del Destino, with M. Feubel, A.M. Di Micco, Fr. Porretta, C. Almaguer, M. Ryssov, O. Grand, and L. Graus, conducted by A. Guingal

NPR World of Opera - from Bavarian State Opera (Munich), Gounod's Romeo et Juliet, with Mangela-Maria Blasi, Marcelo Alvarez , Anna Bonitatibus, Maurizio Muraro, Manolito Mario Franz, Martin Gantner, and Christian Rieger, conducted by Marcello Viotti

Metropolitan Opera Broadcast - (Back to current-day live action) Puccini's Turandot with Andrea Gruber, Krassimira Stoyanova, Johan Botha, and Hao Jiang Tian, conducted by Bertrand de Billy

Radio Oesterreich International - from Großen Festspielhaus in Salzburg, Mozart's Zaïde, with Michael Schade, Matthias Goerne, Rudolf Schasching, Franz Hawlata und Tobias Moretti, conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Cesky Rozhlas 3 - Vltava - from Usher Hall in Edinburgh, Weber's Carolstrelec, with Christopher Maltman, Hillevi Martinpelto, Ailish Tynanová, Jonas Kaufmann), and Matthew Rose, conducted by Charles Mackerras

Radio Tre (RAI) - fom Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Donizetti's Don Pasquale with Juan Diego Florez (this guy gets around!), Simone Alaimo, Alessandro Corbelli, and Tatiana Lisnic, conducted by Bruno Campanella

RDP Antena 2 - a recital by Susan Graham, Malcolm Martineau, piano

Happy listening,

Monday, January 24, 2005

Sam Shirakawa to appear on WNYC-AM

Although shorter than one hour and not therefore something we can list on OperaCast, our friend Sam Shirakawa (see his reviews of the Chemnitz Ring Cycle here) will be appearing tomorrow (Tuesday, January 25th) on Soundcheck, a radio program on WNYC-AM, at 2:30p.m. EST (GMT 1930) to discuss Wilhelm Fürtwangler. The interview will last about 25 minutes. He will be playing excerpts from some Fürtwangler recordings "including the notorious Hitler birthday Ninth, which recently has been released for the first time in its entirety." Sam is one of today's leading experts on Fürtwangler, having written the definitive biography of the conductor in English, The Devil's Music Master (Oxford University Press, 1992).

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Saturday January 22nd Offerings on OperaCast

I am back in the saddle again after several very busy weeks. Doing this stuff while holding down a day job can be pretty hectic! Here in the Northeastern United States it looks as if it will be a propitious afternoon to stay home and listen to some fine opera - a blizzard with high winds and heavy snow accumulation is predicted to begin by early afternoon.

The purple item for this afternoon looks to be the reairing of the February 25, 1967 Metropolitan Opera Broadcast of Verdi's Aida with Leontyne Price and Carlo Bergonzi in their prime, along with Grace Bumbry and Robert Merrill! In a late development, Sveriges Radio P2 from Sweden WILL be carrying the Aida (instead of a delayed broadcast of the Met Vespri from earlier this season, as their schedule had earlier indicated). Also, starting around GMT1920/EST 2:20pm, Sveriges Radio P2 will be airing the Epilogue from last week's Tales of Hoffman, which "went missing" in their airing of that broadcast last Saturday.

DR P2 - a Paris performance from this past October of Vivaldi's Orlando Furioso featuring Jennifer Larmore, conducted by Jean-Christophe Spinosi.

Frances Musiques - a December 2004 performance of Messager's Véronique.

Radio 4 Netherlands & BBC Radio 3 - a rebroadcast of a December 2004 performance from La Fenice in Venice of Massenet's Le Roi de Lahore, featuring Ana Maria Sanchez and Vladimir Stoyanov, conducted by Marcello Viotti.

RadioClasica de Espana - a July 2004 performance from the Bavarian State Opera of Wagner's Die Meistersingers von Nuremberg, with Jan Hendrik Rootering as Hans Sachs, Eike Wilm Schulte as Beckmesser, Robert Dean Smith as Walther, and M. Kaune as Eva (and in a bit of luxury casting, Matti Salminen appears here as Pogner!), Zubin Mehta conducting.

Espace 2, Musiq3 & Radio 4 Netherlands (at varying times during the afternoon) - a performance of Verdi's Jérusalem, featuring Nelly Miricioiú and Francisco Casanova, conducted by Paolo Olmi.

DeutschlandRadio - an April 2004 performance from Covent Garden of Donizetti's Don Pasquale featuring Juan Diego Florez, Simone Alaimo and Tiana Lisnic, conducted by Bruno Campanella.

NPR World of Opera - a performance from Liège of Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi, with Ekaterina Siurina, Ruxandra Donose, Cesare Catani and Giovanni Furlametto, Giuliano Carella conducting.

Radio Tre (RAI) - a performance of Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame from Teatro San Carlo in Naples, with Robert Brubaker, Olga Guryakova and Raina Kabaivanska, conducted by Jerzy Semkow.

NRK Alltid Klassisk & NRK P2 - a Covent Garden performance of Massenet's Werther, conducted by Anthony Pappano with Marcelo Alvarez and Ruxandra Donose.

We already know that after the end of the Met Opera broadcast, WOMR will be paying tribute to the beloved soprano Victoria de los Angeles, who died this week, and I suspect that other stations who carry "filler" after the Met broadcasts will likewise pay tribute to either De los Angeles or Renata Tebaldi.

That wraps up the live highlights for this Saturday. Happy listening!

Saturday, January 08, 2005

On tap for January 8-9, 2005

Here are some of the high points in opera listening throughout the weekend over the Internet:

  • Front and center is Bellini's Capuleti e i Montecchi and Verdi's Otello.

  • The Bellini is from this past summer's Salzburg Festival and will be heard over KLARA with the marvelous trio of Anna Netrebko, Daniela Barcellona and Joseph Calleja! Operacast is in the process this weekend of retooling its audio links for KLARA's revised stream picture. So to listen this afternoon, you might want to go directly to KLARA's home page at

  • This afternoon's MET Otello features Ben Heppner and Barbara Frittoli under James Levine. Carlo Guelfi, today's scheduled Iago, is indisposed and Frederick Burchinal will take his place.For this broadcast, many stations are available. You can check out the choices at

  • Also this Saturday, those who missed the Sondra Radvanovsky Vespri Siciliani at the opening of the MET b'cast season have another chance to catch this performance on FRANCE MUSIQUES.

  • And the next day, WQED starts a rare hearing (in two parts) of Verdi's original French-language Vepres Siciliennes.

  • Another MET rebroadcast this Saturday is Christmas Day's spellbinding Katya Kabanova under the fine Jiri Belohlávek, featuring the magnetic Karita Mattila, with colleagues Jorma Silvasti and Vladimir Ognovenko. This is being heard over RADIO OESTERREICH INTERNATIONAL.

  • (The next day, you can also catch Jorma Silvasti with Anna Larsson in Lied von der Erde over DR KLASSISK.)

  • Those in an exploratory vein today can tune in to RADIO 4 NETHERLANDS for Tan Dun's Tea conducted by the composer.

  • The superb Philippe Jordan conducts Ariadne auf Naxos on MUSIQ3.

  • A curiosity: today's NPR World of Opera offering features Verdi's original Gustavo III, the ur-Ballo in Maschera. A must for Verdi aficionados.

  • An NPR World of Opera rebroadcast gives us another chance to hear Erwin Schrott's Pharoah in Rossini's Moses and Pharoah.

  • We hear the old Ivan Petrov recording of Rimsky-Korsakov's Tsar Saltan over ESPACE 2.

  • On Sunday, baritone Thomas Quasthoff is heard in recital over BBC RADIO 3.

  • On the same day, one can catch Sandor Konya and Franz Crass in Act I of a "live" Parsifal under Eugen Jochum, 1971, carried by RADIO CLASICA DE ESPANA.

  • John Tomlinson and Ildiko Komlosi are also heard over BBC RADIO 3 in last summer's Bluebeard's Castle from the Proms.

  • In celebration of what Renata Tebaldi gave to so many of us, UNIVALLE ESTEREO offers a rare "live" La Wally from 1968 with Carlo Bergonzi opposite the Wally of Mme. Tebaldi.

Wishing you happy listening and a Happy New Year,

Geoffrey Riggs

On tap for January 8, 2005

Before posting here a more complete rundown of this weekend's offerings, we take this opportunity of highlighting just two special events this Saturday afternoon:

Many have already tuned in to this afternoon's MET Otello featuring Ben Heppner and Barbara Frittoli under James Levine. Carlo Guelfi, today's scheduled Iago, is indisposed and Frederick Burchinal will take his place.

For this broadcast, many stations are available. You can check out the choices at

Just as special is KLARA's spectacular Capuleti e i Montecchi, which started just a moment or so ago, and with the marvelous trio of Anna Netrebko, Daniela Barcellona and Joseph Calleja! Operacast is in the process this weekend of retooling its audio links for KLARA's revised stream picture. So to listen this afternoon, you might want to go directly to KLARA's home page at

More to come --


Geoffrey Riggs

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The tsunami

Is this too Quixotic idea or could it be a triumph? It occurs to me that we might be able to take advantage of a sudden abundance (IMO) of striking new soprano talents today. We may not have a Callas, a Tebaldi, a Milanov, a Farrell, and so on, around, but the caliber and numbers of truly distinguished sopranos today strike me as greater than what we had, say, ten years ago.

So could it be possible that effective enough word-of-mouth, starting right here and assisted by readers here who are in more direct contact than I am with "movers and shakers" either at the Met or at Lincoln Center generally, or at opera centers around the world, could generate speedy enough plans to mount a special Gala all-soprano concert to help raise money for the tsunami victims on a date during the upcoming hiatus of the Met season?

This Gala could take place at the Met during its two "dark" weeks this month, and all its proceeds could go to the tsunami relief. It might generate significant publicity for itself by dint of its billing as a multi-soprano evening (an aura of friendly competition such as enhanced the extremely popular triumph of the Three Tenors concerts). That might serve as a good publicity hook to bring more than the usual opera crowd (hardly inconsiderable in New York as it is) to the event.

FWIW, if the planning is really successful, it could be either a salutary gesture of needed American generosity or, more broadly, an expression of tangible assistance from the entire opera or opera/classical music community. If the former, box-office American talent like Renee Fleming, Deborah Voigt, Sondra Radvanovsky, Lauren Flanigan, Patricia Racette and Ruth Ann Swenson all gathered together on the same stage, might add some excitement -- the sense of an "occasion" -- to such a concert. If the latter, the occasion might be turned into a truly Gala occasion of worldwide soprano talent, with additional box-office stars like Karita Mattila, Angela Georghiu, Veronica Villaroel, Jane Eaglen and Hei Kyung Hong taking part as well.

A balance of the different kinds of soprano repertoire would be needed, and if all of the above names were not uniformly available, there would hardly be a paucity of distinguished artists who might be ready, for such an urgent cause, to step in at the last moment instead. Among lyric coloraturas, there might be Laura Claycomb, Marvis Martin, or Maureen O'Flynn. Among straight lirics, there might be Helen Donath. Among lirico spintos, there might be Twyla Robinson. Among heavier spintos, there might be Christine Goerke, Alexandrina Pendatchanska, Krassimira Stoyanova, or Margaret Jane Wray. Among dramatics, there might be Andrea Gruber, Maria Guleghina, or Susan Neves. These may not all be box-office names, but a significant number now are, and a few of these, along with those cited in the previous paragraph, have been in the New York area relatively recently -- or are here right now.

Practically speaking, there might be logistical problems with having the Met Orchestra or even a pick-up orchestra donate their services to such an occasion at such short notice (the two-week Met hiatus is coming up _very_ soon, on January 10). So perhaps, piano accompaniment for such an occasion might be more feasible. That might mean shifting the venue to a place like Avery Fisher or even Carnegie Hall. But wherever its venue, the sponsor/producer of the concert might still remain the Metropolitan Opera or the general Lincoln Center axis.

This idea is simply the rough fleshing out of the ways in which such an occasion might work itself out in the New York area. There's no reason why such an idea might not take off in different permutations around the world using galaxies of stars from entirely different vocal categories (in this great mezzo age, one could put together, for example, a perfectly spectacular concert with mezzos like Stephanie Blythe, Olga Borodina, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Irina Mishura, Yvonne Naef and/or Dolora Zajick, and so on).

The notion of confining such concerts to one vocal category at a time is merely my provisional "hook" to get added publicity for an occasion where the chief need anyway would be excellent attendance and generous contributions to those afflicted in the twelve-nation(!) area where this disaster hit. There's no reason why such a Gala for such a fund-raising effort might not be built around some entirely different and equally intriguing idea/theme instead. But I believe, in this day and age, that a display of today's bumper crop of strikingly talented sopranos would constitute strong box-office.

In fact, one long-time Met patron donor, whom both Liz and I know quite well, may be broaching the notion of a fundraising Gala for the victims to someone higher up in the Met administration some time today. I hope that those reading this today who are in a similarly advantageous position with Met management, or even better placed, will be able to do the same, and soon.

This is a tragedy of global proportions.

I'm tilting at windmills, perhaps, but if the right people read this at the right time, enough of a groundswell may develop to turn this idea into a reality.

With hope in the midst of tragedy,

Geoffrey Riggs

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Welcome to 2005

2005 is here! And with it some mighty fine operatic programming:

KLARA - from La Fenice in Venice, a performance of Verdi's La Traviata with Patricia Ciofi, Roberto Saccà, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Lorin Maazel

METROPOLITAN OPERA BROADCAST [numerous stations] - Handel's Rodelinda with Renee Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, David Daniels, Bejun Mehta, John Relyea and Kobie van Rensburg, conducted by Harry Bicket

RADIO 4 NETHERLANDS - a September 24, 2004 performance from Florence of Mussorgsky's Khovanschina with Vladimir Ognovenko, Clifton Forbis, Robert Brubaker, Roberto Scandiuzzi, Valerie Alexeev and Elena Zaremba, conducted by James Conlon

RADIO CLASICA DE ESPANA - a rebroadcast Massenet's of Le Roi de Lahore from La Fenice in Venice, conducted by Marcello Viotto

RDP ANTENA 2 - Dvorak's oratorio Santa Ludmila

NPR WORLD OF OPERA - Rossini's Möise et Pharaon with Ildar Abdrazakov, Sonia Ganassi and Giuseppe Filianoti, conducted by Riccardo Muti

NRK ALLTID KLASSISK - A December 1999 from Covent Garden performance Verdi's Falstaff with Bryn Terfel, Roberto Frontali, Barbara Frittoli, Kenneth Tarver, and Désirée Rancatore, conducted Bernard Haitink

CESKY ROZHLAS 3-VLTAVA - Smetana's Libuše with Nadežda Kniplová and Václav Bednár, conducted by Jaroslav Krombholc

FRANCE MUSIQUES - From Theatre des Champs Elysee in Paris, a performance of Rossini's La Cenerentola with Elena Garanaca, Mazim Mironov, Ildebrando d'Arcangelo OR Nicolas Rivenq, Natale de Carolos OR Andrea Concetti, conducted by Evelino Pido

MDR KULTUR - Virgilio Ranzato's Il paese dei campanelli, conducted by Fabio Luisi

MUSIQ3 - yet another performance of Rossini's Möise et Pharaon, this one from Opera Royal de Wallonie conducted by Alberto Zedda, featuring N, A. Andalean, B. Haveman, A. Bienkowska, I. Abdrazakov and E. Capuano

Happy listening!