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The Sunday Opera: Giuseppe Verdi's "Macbeth" with Fischer-Dieskau and Souliotis


It’s an afternoon of Shakespeare on this week’s Sunday Opera (3/14 3:00 p.m.).  We’ll begin with a 1971 performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Macbeth” featuring some stellar performances from memorable singers who often “fall through the cracks” of contemporary radio programming.  Our Macbeth is Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and his ambitious Lady is Elena Souliotis performing in a libretto that closely follows the Shakespearean original even with the addition of a whole herd of witches.  They’re joined by Nicolai Ghiaurov as Banquo, Ricardo Cassinelli as Malcolm, and a young Luciano Pavarotti as Macduff a year before he made his triumphant Met debut in “La fille du regiment.”  The remainder of the cast includes Helen Lawrence, Raymond Myers, John Noble, Leslie Fyson, and David Reed with Lamberto Gardelli conducting The Ambrosian Opera Chorus and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Following the opera, we’ll switch to a magical side of Shakespeare without witches or deadly ambition in a ballet version of “The Tempest” by Paul Chihara.  Written for the San Francisco Ballet, Chihara’s score is wonderfully evocative of Purcell but with a charmingly modern and upbeat twist.  

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.