Upcoming and Noteworthy

What's ahead on The Classical Network? Catch some of these great programs coming your way.

The Lyric Opera of Chicago returns to the Sunday Opera (8/19 3:00 p.m.) with Hector Berlioz’s epic work “Les Troyens” for which he wrote the libretto himself based on Virgil’s retelling of the circumstances surrounding the Trojan War, the “Aeneid.”  Sir Andrew Davis conducts a cast that includes Christine Goerke as Cassandre, Susan Graham as Didon, Brandon Jovanovich as Enee, Lucas Meachem as Chorebe, Christian Van Horn as Narbal, and Okka von der Damerau as Anna.

The first part of our centennial celebration of the life and career of Leonard Bernstein is this week’s Dress Circle (8/19 7:00 p.m.).  Although he is probably best known for his work in the classical music realm, we’ll be focusing on his works for the stage, and this first program will look at a variety of his musicals and will feature performances from “On the Town” (1944), “Peter Pan" (1950), “Wonderful Town” (1953), “Candide” (1956), and “West Side Story” (1957).  For this program, we’ll be featuring original cast, revival cast, and studio cast recordings.  

This week we have selections from Giordano's Madame Sans-Gens, with Mirella Freni in a live performance of  Giordano's version of Victorien Sardou's comedy drama.

In 1792, the very lovable Caterina, Madame Sans-Gens - Madame Carefree - is a Parisian laundress who is happy, carefree, engaged to be married, completely at ease.  One of her customers is a young officer named Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Lost Chord: August 19 - Ida Danced All Night

Aug 16, 2018

Ida Rubinstein gained notoriety for her racy sensuality.  She performed the Dance of the Seven Veils in a production of Oscar Wilde’s “Salome.”  Subsequently, she was welcomed into the Ballets Russes, where she assumed the roles of Cleopatra and Scheherazade.  Later, she introduced Ravel’s “Bolero” and Stravinsky’s “The Fairy’s Kiss.”  Hear music for two of her lesser-known characterizations:  “Istar,” the Assyrian goddess of love and war, a work of Vincent d’Indy; and “Semiramis,” the queen with seemingly unquenchable desire, by Arthur Honegger.  Everyone loves Ida, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Sunday evening (8-19) at 11 we'll hear the Violin Concerto No. 1 by Spanish born composer Leonardo Balada, Triptico for guitar by Venezuelan Antonio Lauro and the Cello Concerto No. 2 by Spanish composer Jesus Villa-Rojo.  Music from the past half-century on Half Past.

Wednesday, 8-15 on Curtis Calls we'll hear Curtis students in the String Quartet No. 6 by Bela Bartok, NoaNoa for flute by Kaija Saariaho & selections from Richard Danielpour's brass quintet, Urban Dances.  Performances from student recitals at the Curtis Institute of Music, Wednesdays at noon and Monday evening at 10.

The age-old story of good being undermined by corrupt forces and the forbidden question comes to us from the Lyric Opera of Chicago on this week’s Sunday Opera (8/12 3:00 p.m.) and their production of “Lohengrin” by Richard Wagner.  Knight of the Grail Lohengrin, son of Parsifal, is sent to Brabant to unify the people and protect the unjustly accused Elsa under the proviso that he does so anonymously and that no one must ever ask his name.  Of course, Elsa asks, and loses both Lohengrin and her life as a result.  

Antonio Vivaldi claimed to have written 94 operas but only about 50 have been identified and only 16 of those are complete. They were influential and popular during his lifetime but to an audience 300 years later the poetry and stories often appear stilted and artificial, almost alien, and in spite of the music they were mostly neglected. But recent revivals have been well received and there is much reward in accepting the operas on their own terms.

We’re staying in England for this week’s Sunday Opera (8/5 3:00 p.m.) and the Opera North production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera.”  Without the censors of the 1850s, Antonio Somma’s libretto is set, as it was first intended, in Sweden, where the opera deals with the political machinations surrounding the assassination of King Gustavus III.  The cast includes Rafael Rojas as Gustavus, Adrienn Miksch as Amelia, Philip Rhodes as Count Anckarstroem (Renato), Patricia Bardon as the fortune teller Ulrika, and Tereza Georgyan as Gustavus’ page Oscar.  

This Wednesday (8-1) at noon on Curtis Calls we'll hear Romanze by Richard Strauss, Poeme by Ernest Chausson, and Brahms' Sonata No. 1 for piano & cello.  Performances from student recitals at the Curtis Institute, Wednesdays at nooon and Monday evening at 10.

Join us as we travel to Glasgow for this week’s Sunday Opera (7/29 3:00 p.m.) and the Scottish Opera’s production of “Eugene Onegin.”  Tchaikovsky’s glorious adaptation of Pushkin’s novel features Samuel Dale Johnson as the jaded Onegin, Peter Auty as the doomed Lensky, and Natalya Romaniw as the naïve Tatyana.  Also in the cast are Sioned Gwen Davies as Tatyana’s sister Olga, Alison Kettlewell as their mother Larina, Anne-Marie Owens as their servant Filipyevna, and Graeme Broadbent as Prince Gremin.  Stuart Stratford conducts.  

We’ll journey to the 17th century on this week’s Sunday Opera (7/22 3:00 p.m.) and a production of Claudio Monteverdi’s “The Return of Ulysses” in a joint production of London’s Roundhouse and the Royal Opera.  This tale of Ulysses’ return to Penelope and the defeat of her treacherous suitors after his arduous journey  features Roderick Williams in the title role and Christine Rice as his Penelope, and they’re joined by David Shipley as Antinous, Catherine Carby as Minerva, Samuel Boden as Telemachus, and Susan Buckley as Eurycleia.  

The Classical Network's Artist-in-Residence Jed Distler is attracted to music where opposites attract and merge as one. "Think about the fusion of boldness and beauty, strength and sensitivity, or power and lyricism," says Distler. "These are contradictory elements, yet when they come together, creative sparks can truly fly."

This week's episode of the ASCAP Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award winning Between the Keys is called "The Bold and the Beautiful," and Distler is particularly excited about its playlist.

We’re continuing with productions from England’s Royal Opera House at Covent Garden on this week’s Sunday Opera (7/15 3:00 p.m.) with their production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Macbeth.”  Shakespeare’s tragic tale of unbridled ambition features Zeljko Lucic as Macbeth, Anna Netrebko as the tortured Lady Macbeth, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo as Banquo, Konu Kim as Malcolm, and Yusif Eyvazov as Macduff with Antonio Pappano leading the Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House.  

Composer/pianists on Between the Keys, July 10th

Jul 10, 2018

The Classical Network's Artist-in-Residence Jed Distler has a special affection for his fellow composer/pianists, and has frequently showcased them on his weekly ASCAP Deems Taylor Virgil Thomson Award winning program Between the Keys, sponsored by Steinway and Sons.

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