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The Sunday Opera: Verdi's "Luisa Miller" from The Rome Opera

It’s another tale of tragic love and an innocent victim on this week’s Sunday Opera (12/12 3:00 p.m.) in Giuseppe Verdi’s “Luisa Miller” and a production from the Rome Opera.   Village girl Luisa (Roberta Mantegna) is in love Carlo (Antonio Poli) whom she doesn’t know is actually Rodolfo, the son of the rather dubious Count Walter (Michele Pertusi).   With the help of Walter’s henchman aptly named Wurm (Nahuel di Pierro), Walter threaten’s Luisa’s father (Roberto Frontali) so that she’ll write a letter to Rodolfo to tell him that she deceived him and is going to marry Wurm.  Rudolfo is devastated by Luisa’s letter, and Wurm tries to convince him to marry Frederica (Daniela Barcellona), Walter’s niece, so that Walter can continue to control Rodolfo.  This only proves to send Rodolfo further into despair, and, in the final act, he visits Luisa who explains everything, but it’s too late.   Rodolfo has already secretly poisoned them both, and Luisa dies in her father’s arms, but Walter and Wurm appear as Rodolfo is dying, and with his last breath, Rodolfo kills Wurm and tells his father to “Look on your punishment.”   Michele Mariotti conducts the Rome Opera Chorus and Orchestra. 

With this being enough gloom and doom for a weekend close to the Christmas holiday, host Michael Kownacky will be changing things up with a subject near and dear to his heart: the overeating of sweets during the holidays (or anytime, actually) in Richard Strauss’ wonderful 1924 ballet “Schlagobers” which, in the Viennese dialect, means whipped cream.  

The story centers around a group of children who visit a confectionary after their confirmation with one young man truly embracing the situation.   His sugar rush lands him in the hospital where he has the most interesting hallucinations of dancing cakes and candies and combative liquors.   For the ballet, we’ll hear the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Antoni Wit.

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.