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The Sunday Opera: Richard Wagner's "Die Feen"

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The first completed opera by Richard Wagner Is the featured work on this week’s Sunday Opera (4/5 3:00 p.m.).  “Die Feen” or “The Fairies” was begin in 1833 when Wagner was 20 years old, but the opera would not be performed until five years after his death in 1888.  Wagner based his libretto on a 1762 fable by Carlo Gozzi titled “La donna serpente,” and the libretto is terribly complicated.  Basically, it deals with a fairy princess who is in love with and marries a mortal, but there are stipulations which, if not met, would result with the princess being turned into a statue and the mortal beset by madness.   Even with that, there’s a happy ending.  

The cast from this 1998 recording includes Raimo Sirkia, Sue Patchell, Ulrike Sonntag, Manuela Kriscak, Artur Korn, Dagmar Schellenberger, Debastian Holecek, and Jyrki Korhonen.  Gabor Otvos conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Comunale di Cagliari, Gabor Otvos, cond.  We’ll finish off the afternoon with more fairies, well, one in particular with “Die Puppenfee” (“The Fairy Doll”), a ballet by Josef Bayer peformed by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra with Andrew Mogrelia conducting.  Join host Michael Kownacky for an afternoon of wonderfully escapist fantasy.

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.