Upcoming and Noteworthy

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

The Tallis Scholars visit Distant Mirror this Friday with the music of Josquin Des Prez, the central figure of the 15th century Franco Flemmish school and considered to be the first master of the Renaissance style of polyphonic vocal music.  Hear a performance of one of his four voice msterpieces, the Missa Pangue Lingua.  Peter Phillips directs.  Join Allan Kelly at 10pm.

Venetian composer Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari is the featured composer on this week’s Sunday Opera (1/13 3:00 p.m.) as we look at two of his works.  The first is his only example of verismo opera in “The Jewels of the Madonna” which is about the willful Maliella who is loved by two men: her adoptive brother, the gentle blacksmith Gennaro and the blackguard leader of the local Camorristi, Rafael who only wants her because she’s a virgin.  Our cast includes Pauline Tinsley, Peter Glossop, Malcolm King, Andre Turp, and Valerie Cockx.  They’re joined by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of Alberto Erede.  

We’re shining a spotlight on Welsh actor Jonathan Pryce on this week’s Dress Circle (1/13 7:00 p.m.).  American audiences may know Pryce primarily from his appearance as The Engineer in “Miss Saigon” for which he won a Tony Award or his film appearances as Peron in “Evita,” Sam Lowry in “Brazil.” 

Camacho's Wedding may well be "the most brilliant opera written by a youthful composer," brilliant and inspired music, but "an opera to be seen with your eyes closed." So says the Belgian conductor Jos van Immerseel about Camacho's Wedding, Felix Mendelssohn's 1827 opera in two acts. Friedrich Voigt gets credit for the libretto, which is based on an episode in Cervantes's Don Quixote.

This Sunday evening (1-13) at 11 we'll hear the Lincoln Trio in Jennifer Higdon's Piano Trio and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra in Evening Prayers by Giya Kancheli.  Gerard Schwarz conducts pianist Richard Good and Music Today Ensemble in Serenade No. 3 by George Perle.  Music from the past half-century on Half Past.

Franck, Rachmaninov & Bartok for Violin, Cello & Piano

Jan 8, 2019

Wednesday, 1-9  at noon on Curtis Calls we'll hear Cesar Franck's Sonata in A major in a version for cello & piano, Sergei Rachmaninov's Trio Elegaique in g minor and Bela Bartok's Rhapsody No. 1 for violin & piano. Performances from student recitals at the Curtis Institute of Music, Wednesdays at noon and Monday evening at 10.

For this week's episode of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Virgil Thomson Award winning program Between the Keys, the Classical Network's Artist-in-Residence Jed Distler invited his Toronto-based colleague Stephen Cera to curate and co-host a program devoted to the music of Alexander Scriabin. Cera explores the composer's brief, tumultuous life and far-reaching creative journey through recorded performances by with performances by Vladimir Sofronitzky, Vladimir Horowitz, Mikhail Pletnev, Sviatoslav Richter and Vladimir Ashkenazy.

An afternoon of wonderful melodies will be showcased on this week’s Sunday Opera (1/6 3:00 p.m) when host Michael Kownacky brings you two works by Franz Lehar.  We’ll begin with “Das Land des Lachlens” (“The Land of Smiles”), a romantic operetta which features the very popular song “Das ist mein ganzes herz” (“You Are My Heart’s Delight”).  

2019 is being welcomed in on The Dress Circle (1/6  7:00 p.m.) as we look at some of the shows that opened in New York in January.  We’ll sample songs from hits like “Beautiful The Carole King Musical,” Lynn Arhens and Stephen Flaherty’s “Ragtime,” Charlie Smalls’ “The Wiz,” and George and Ira Gershwin’s “Strike Up the Band” as well as Jerry Herman’s “The Grand Tour,” Albert Hague and Arnold B. Horwitt’s “Plain and Fancy,” and a few other favorites.  If you’re detoxing from the holidays, Broadway musicals are the perfect fit. 

This week on the Lyric Stage we have selections from the New York City Opera's 1958 production of Douglas Moore’s The Ballad of Bay Doe, featuring a name synonymous with the City Opera, Beverly Sills.

The Lost Chord: January 6 - Epic Finnish

Jan 3, 2019

The “Kalevala,” a disparate collection of long narrative poems culled from oral tradition, is frequently referred to as the Finnish national epic.  Its fantastic and heroic tales informed the work of Finland’s greatest artists at a time when the country began to surge toward independence after 700 years of Swedish rule and another century as a duchy of the Russian Empire.  Jean Sibelius turned to it repeatedly for inspiration.  Less well known, perhaps, are Robert Kajanus’ “Aino” and Uuno Klami’s “Kalevala Suite.”  Acquire some additional Finnish, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Wednesday, 1-2 at noon we'll hear Curtis Institute students in music by Yasuo Suey0shi, Iannis Xenakis, Eliot Carter, Isaac Albeniz, Radames Ganattali & Astor Piazzolla.  Performances from student recitals Wednesdays at noon and Monday evenings at 10.

The Lyric Stage: Dec. 30 - The Merry Widow

Dec 30, 2018

This week on The Lyric Stage, a 1962 highlights version of Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow, featuring Lisa Della Casa as the Merry Widow and John Reardon as the Count Danillo, with Franz Allers conducting the American Opera Society Orchestra and Chorus in  a 1962 recording. One of the most performed stage pieces ever written, The Merry Widow premiered in Vienna in 1905, and has held stage continiously throughout the world since.

For many, New Year's celebrations include partying and good music.  Well, on this week’s Sunday Opera (12/30 3:00 p.m.), we’ll be supplying a musical soiree with Johann Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus” from a recording made in 1960 featuring Waldemar Kmentt as Eisenstein, Hilde Gueden as his wife Rosalinde, Erika Koth as the flighty Adele.  

The Lost Chord: December 30 - Emil with Dancing

Dec 27, 2018

Everyone dances on New Year’s Eve, right?  Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek’s “Dance Symphony” serves up in its four movements a polonaise, a csardas, a ländler, and a tarantella.  However, if something starts to seem slightly askew, it’s because Reznicek conceived the piece as a “dance of death.” Happy New Year!  Make your reservation for a meal with dancing, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Join us Sunday evening (12-30) at 11 for William Schuman's Symphony No. 10 "American Muse," TARO by Dieter Mack and a tuba octet called The Liberation of Sisyphus by John Stevens.  Music from the past half-century.

Enjoy this year's Christmas Eve with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem at 8 pm, under the direction of artistic director and conductor Greg Funfgeld. The program includes Bach’s Cantata No. 36, Schwingt freudig euch empor; Respighi’s Laud to the Nativity and Bach’s Cantata No. 63, Christen, ätzet diesen Tag. The program will conclude with an audience sing-a-long of three favorite carols, including Silent Night.

Christmas comes to the Sunday Opera this week (12/23 3:00 p.m.) when Michael Kownacky is presenting two contemporary works based on beloved Christmas stories.  First, we’ll visit George Bailey in Bedford Falls for Jake Heggie’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  With a libretto by Gene Sheer, we’ll follow Clara (Talise Trevigne) as she tries to finally earn her wings by helping Geoge (William Burden) see is true worth.  This tale of redemption also features Andrea Carroll as Mary, Rod Gilfrey as Mr. Gower and Mr. Potter, Joshua Hopkins as Harry, and Anthony Dean Griffey as Uncle Billy.  Patrick Summers leads the Houston Grand Opera Chorus and Orchestra in this recording made in 2017.  

Christmas music this week on The Lyric Stage

Dec 20, 2018

Singers of all styles love to sing Chrismas Music of all kinds, and opera singers are no exception. This Sunday (12/23 at 8 pm), a special Lyric Stage of uninterrupted Christmas music sung by Jessye Norman, Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, Mario Lanza and Kiri te Kanawa. The music ranges from the sacred and the classical to the popular, so sit back and enjoy. 

It’s Christmas in the British Isles, with selections from The Chieftains’ “The Bells of Dublin,” William Mathias’ “Bell Carol,” and “Rose & Thistle:  English and Scottish Music from the Christmas Revels.”  Also, Dylan Thomas will read his holiday classic, “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”  Travel across the pond for an Old Country Christmas, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Sunday night, 12-23 at 11 we'll hear Leo Brouwer's Guitar Concerto No. 5, Panta Rhei by Ursula Mamlok and Libretto on a Dreamy Vision by Takayoshi Yanagida.  Music from the past half-century on Half Past.

We’ll be celebrating two works of Edward German (German Edward Jones) on this week’s Sunday Opera (12/16 3:00 p.m.) with his operas “Merrie England” and “Tom Jones.”  Basil Hood wrote the libretto for the patriotic romance “Merrie England” featuring a romantic rivalry centering around Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh who was in love with Bessie Throckmorton, one of the queen’s ladies in waiting.  The cast features William McAlpine, June Bronhill, Monica Sinclair, and Peter Glossop.  

The heroic folk-legend of Swiss patriot William Tell is this week’s Sunday Opera (12/2 3:00 p.m.) from Opera Southwest.  Gioacchino Rossini’s opera, with a libretto by Etienne de Jouy and Hippolyte-Louis-Florent Bis which was based on the play by Friedrich Schiller, features the love story of Arnold and Mathilde told against the Swiss fight for freedom, led by Tell, from the Austrians who have been in power for one-hundred years. 

Wednesday, 12-5 at noon we'll hear Curtis Institute students in Bela Bartok's String Quartet No. 5 and Mozart's Piano Sonata in F, K 332.  Performances from student recitals at the Curtis Institute Wednesdays at noon and Monday evenings at 10.

Ancient Babylon is the setting for this week’s Sunday Opera from OperaDelaware (12/2 3:00 p.m.) with Gioachiono Rossini’s last Italian opera, “Semiramide” featuring a libretto by Gaetano Rossi based on Voltaire's tragedy “Semiramis,” which in turn was based on the legend of Semiramis of Assyria.  Nicknamed by some as “’Tancredi’ revisited,” the story deals with the power-struggle of Queen Semiramide who was one of the people responsible for the death of her predecessor.  

Just in time for the holidays, we’ll be spending an afternoon with Edgar Allan Poe on this week’s Sunday  Opera (11/25 3:00 p.m.).  We’ll begin with two versions of Poe’s novella “The Fall of the House of Usher” from the San Francisco Opera.  This supernatural tale deals with the final days of the Usher family after the premature burial of Madeline.  The first version is Gordon Getty’s “Usher House” which will be followed by Claude Debussy’s fragments of “La Chute de la Maison Usher” which were completed by Robert Orledge.  

An opera based on an 18th century Chinese work called the “pinnacle of Chinese fiction” by Bright Sheng and David Henry Hwang is this week’s Sunday Opera (11/18 3:00 p.m.).  “The Dream of the Red Chamber” is a huge work that features some forty main characters and over four-hundred secondary characters.  In this San Francisco Opera version, the focus has been fine-tuned by librettist David Henry Hwang.  

We could all use some levity just now, and there will be an afternoon of it when this week’s Sunday Opera (11/11 3:00 p.m.) features the San Francisco Opera production of Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale” where a poor and rebellious nephew and his beloved teach his conniving uncle a lesson about love and family.  The cast includes Maurizio Muraro in the title role, Lawrence Brownlee is his nephew Ernesto, and Heidi Stober as Ernesto’s beloved Norina.  

On Wednesday, 11/7 at noon we'll hear bass Kodi Meyer in Johannes Brahms' Vier ernste Gesaenge.  Also on the program are Domenico Scarlatti's Sonata in B minor, K 87 and Mozart's String Quartet in C, "Dissonance."  Performances from student recitals at the Curtis Institute of Music, Wednesdays at noon and Monday evenings at 10.

Beaumarchais’ trickster Figaro is the central figure on this week’s Sunday Opera (11/4 3:00 p.m.) in the San Francisco Opera production of Giaochino Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville.”  Luca Meacham is the wily Figaro, Daniela Mack the lovelorn Rosina, and Rene Barbera the fickle Count Almaviva.  Joining them are Alessandro Corbelli as the greedy Doctor Bartolo, Andrea Silvestrelli as Don Basilio, and Catherine Cook, Edward Nelson, and Efrain Solis as Berta, Fiorello, and Ambrogio.  Giuseppe Finzi conducts.