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The Sunday Opera: Vincenzo Bellini's "I Puritani"

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Vincenzo Bellini’s last opera, “I Puritani,” is on offer as this week’s Sunday Opera (2/25  3:00 p.m.).  It proved to be one of Bellini’s best received operas, and it was revived frequently after its premier at the Theatre-Italien on 24 January 1835.  With a libretto by Count Carlo Pepoli, it’s a story of love, mistaken infidelity, madness, opportunistic sanity, and finally, a happy ending.  

Our performance comes from 1969 and features a stellar cast led by Mirella Freni as Elvira, Luciano Pavoratti as her beloved Arturo, and Sesto Bruscantini as the Puritan leader Riccardo who wants Elvira for his own.  Also featured are Bonaldo Giaiotti and Giovanni Antonini.  Riccardo Muti conducts the Italian Radio Symphonic Orchestra and Chorus.  After the opera, join host Michael Kownacky for highlights from one of the last Zarzuelas, the operetta tradition from Spain; the piece is “Black, the Clown” by Pablo Sorozabal.  This allegorical romance features delightful music and deals with a clown who takes the place of the ruler of a war-ravaged fictitious European country who would rather play the piano in a salon than rule.  This recording features Renato Cesari, Leda Barclay, and Alfredo Kraus.

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.