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The Sunday Opera: Two by Prokofiev: "Betrothal in a Monastery" and "Maddalena"

I’m being very bad this week because it’s late, very late, as I’m posting this, and you’ll just have to tune into this week’s Sunday Opera (2/4 3:00 p.m.) for more information, and to hear the operas, of course!  

We’re featuring a Prokofiev double-bill this week that will begin with “Betrothal in a Monastery” that includes some wonderful music and a charming story. Basically, the story is about two young ladies who use their formidable wits to outsmart the men trying to control them so that they can marry the men of their choice. 

Yes, there’s more to it, but that is all that you’re getting about the story.

The cast for this first opera includes Alexei Maslennikov, Vladimir Redkin, Lyudmila Sergienko, Galina Borisova, Arkady Mishenkin, Marina Shutova, Mikhail Krutikov, Vladislav Verestnikov, Anton Djaparidze, and Alexander Arkhipov with the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra and Chorus. Alexander Lazarev is the conductor. 

The second opera is a short and rather silly work about “Maddalena,” a woman who, in disguise, seduces her husband’s friend. The friend realizes who she is and attempts to tell the husband, but the wife outsmarts both men and convinces them to fight each other. Once they’ve killed each other, the wife runs to the window and yells for help, saying a stranger has broken in and is attacking her husband. 

It’s not much of a story, but once again, Prokofiev’s music is delightful. 

This cast includes Elena Ivanova, Aleksei Martynov, Sergei Yakovenko, Natalia Koptanova, and Victor Rumyantsev. They’re joined by the Men of the State Chamber Choir and The U.S.S.R. Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra with Gennadi Rozhdestvensky conducting. 

We’ll round out our time together with Prokofiev’s Russian Overture performed by the Orchestre National de O.R.T.F conducted by Jean Martinon.

It’s an all Prokofiev program, and you have my promise that, if you tune in, you’ll not only hear some lovely music, but you’ll also get the full synopsis of both of these lesser-known works.

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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