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The Sunday Opera: Giuseppe Verdi's "La forza del destino" from London's Royal Opera

The three fates look on as the thread of life is about to be severed thus ending the actions begun because of a dropped pistol.
The three fates look on as the thread of life is about to be severed thus ending the actions begun because of a dropped pistol.

The Sunday Opera is off to 18th Century Spain and Italy via the Royal Opera House, Covent Gardens this week (12/3 3:00 p.m.) with Giuseppe Verdi’s “La forza del destino” (“The Force of Destiny”).

Don Alvaro (Brian Jadge) is a newcomer to Seville, probably from South America. He has fallen in love with Leonora (Sondra Radvanovsky), the daughter of the Marquis of Calatrava (James Creswell) who has forbidden the match. The lovers plan to elope, but Leonora hesitates at the last minute, and they are caught by her father who challenges Alvaro. To try to prove Leonora is pure, Alvaro throws down his gun which accidentally discharges, killing the Marquis. This accident sets the wheels of fate in motion.

Through the remaining three acts, Leonora’s brother, Don Carlo (Etienne Dupuis), seeks revenge, and fate deems that he and a disguised Alvaro end up serving together in the Spanish army. Eventually, Carlo and Alvaro fight, and they end up outside of the cave where Leonora has been living her ascetic life (as one does). Carlo is mortally wounded, and Alvaro runs off to get a surgeon. Meanwhile, Leonora leaves her cave, recognizes Carlo, and bends down to him to try to embrace her dying brother. However, he stabs her in the heart as he dies, and Leonora pleads with Alvaro to stop blaming God and cursing fate which he does as she dies. No one is really happy in this opera.

Other members of the cast include Evgeny Stavinsky, Vasilisa Berghanskaya, rodion Pogossov, Carlo Bosi, and Chanae Curtis. Sir Mark Elder conducts the Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra.

Stay tuned after the opera for a short look at the classical music output of a man who is perhaps better known for his film music, Sir Arthur Bliss. The piece is his delightful A Colour Symphony where its four movements are based on Bliss’ impressions of the colors purple, red, blue, and green. David Lloyd-Jones conducts the English Northern Philharmonia in this recording.

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.
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