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Friday Night Operas!

Fridays in March


Every Friday night, Stingray Brava presents a new rendition of a magnificent opera! 2019 is an Offenbach year, and therefore we open this special with his opera bouffe La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein. Also, on the program is Dvořák’s enchanting Rusalka, a fairy tale opera in three acts. To this day, Rusalka remains one of the cornerstones of Czech opera houses. On March 15, Stingray Brava broadcasts the rarely performed Mefistofele, Boito’s only finished and preserved opera, in which the composer combines influences from Verdi and Wagner. Expect rousing choirs and intricate melodies! Our special closes with Gluck’s Alceste, in which the attentive listener will notice chord progressions Mozart would use in his famous Don Giovanni, 20 years later. 

March 1 at 21:00 | Offenbach - La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein

In La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein by Jacques Offenbach, the authors of this comic opera mock the war on France's threshold. The charge against the powers, the army and the nobility is pointed but, to satisfy censorship, it is skilfully camouflaged by the grotesque costumes of an imaginary duchy and by some musical buffoonery of sparkling gaiety. And yet, at the time, no-one was fooled! Only Offenbach could pull off the trick of being adulated by those by whom he was so cynically inspired! A production by Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège. With conductor Cyril Englebert, Solists: Patricia Fernandez, Sébastien Droy, Lionel Lhote, Sophie Junker, Jean-Philippe Corre, Giovanni Iovino, Patrick Delcour, Roger Joakim and the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège Orchestra and Chorus.

March 8 at 21:00 | Donizetti - Lucia di Lammermoor

From the Opéra Royal de Liege comes Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, based on the novel The Bride of Lammermoor by Sir Walter Scott and with a libretto by Salvadore Cammarano. Performed by the Orchestra and Choir of the Opéra Royal de Liege under the baton of Jesús López Cobos, it is a story that is set in the 17th-century. Scotland is marked by inter-clan warring. Edgardo and Lucia are in love but are members of opposing clans. In addition, the beauty's brother has promised her to another man. This is an impossible love that will drag her into madness and lead her, with her lover, to certain death.

March 15 at 21:00 | Boito – Mefistofele

Stefan Soltesz conducts the Münchner Philharmoniker in a performance of Arrigo Boito's (1842-1918) Mefistofele. The only finished and preserved opera by Boito is based on Goethe's Faust and premiered at La Scala, Milan in 1868 under the baton of the composer himself. It was badly received, provoked riots and duels over its supposed Wagnerism and was closed by police after only two performances. Boito made a more successful and drastically cut second version which premiered in Bologna in 1875. Boito combines influences of Verdi and Wagner in his musical work: rousing choirs, intricate melodies accompanied by music that is almost cinematic in intent. The main role in this performance is sung by Erwin Schrott. Other soloists are Charles Castronovo, Angel Joy Blue, Alex Penda, Jana Kurucová, Bror Magnus Tødenes, Luciana Mancini and Rudolf Schasching. Recorded in the Festivalhaus Baden-Baden in Austria in 2016 and directed by Philipp Himmelmann.

March 22 at 21:00 | Dvořák – Rusalka

Ádám Fisher conducts the orchestra and choir of La Monnaie in a performance of Antonín Dvořák’s (1841-1904) Rusalka, a fairytale opera in three acts. Rusalka is the composer’s ninth opera and still one of the cornerstones of Czech opera houses. The main roles are played by Myrtò Papatanasiu (Rusalka), Pavel Černoch (Prince), Annalena Persson (Foreign Princess), Willard White (Vodnik) and Renée Morloc (Ježibaba). A rusalka is a water sprite from Slavic mythology, living in a lake or river. In this story, Rusalka wishes to become human in order to be loved by a prince. For her wish to be fulfilled, Rusalka must give up her voice and face eternal damnation if her love fails. Stage director Stefan Herheim masterfully presents this lyrical fairytale, recorded at La Monnaie, Brussels, in 2016. In this widely acclaimed interpretation, the fairytale elements sometime take on frighteningly realistic dimensions so that one might see this enchanting production as a psychoanalytical study of male fantasies and female archetypes.

March 29 at 21:00 | Gluck – Alceste

"Alceste" by Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787) is the story of a wife who gives her life to save her husband, King Admète, which ultimately convinces the gods to reprieve both of them. Gluck wanted to return opera to its origins, focusing on human drama and passion and composing words and music of equal depth. As a bridge between baroque and classical, Gluck used themes of simplicity, truth and naturalness. With Alceste, he wrote a radically innovative score that restored dignity to woman stained by eighteenth-century libertinism. In his idealization of the feminine, Gluck preferred women like Alceste or Iphigenia, beautiful heroines sacrificing themselves for others. Is Alceste the last tragic heroine or the first truly Romantic character? If not out of self-destructive, pre-Wagnerian love, why does Alceste decide to die? Krzysztof Warlikowski offers a multi-layered, postmodern revision of the original material. Composer: Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787). Conductor: Ivor Bolton. Stage Director: Krzysztof Warlikowski. Performers: Angela Denoke (Alceste), Paul Groves (Admète), Willard White (High Priest of Apollo/Thanathos, an infernal deity), Magnus Staveland (Évandre), Thomas Oliemans (Hercules), Isaac Galán (Apollo). Location: Teatro Real de Madrid.