Opera Bash 2011!

Patricia Racette in Madama Butterfly (photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera)

The annual WGBH Opera Bash brings you a full weekend of operatic masterpieces.  Tune in to WGBH 2 and 44, as well as 99.5 All Classical on radio and the web to revel in the voices of today's greatest singers through 42 hours of performances. 

NPR World of Opera host Lisa Simeone is your host, with
introductions and interviews with some of Boston's opera luminaries.

Sponsorship of Opera Bash is generously provided by Boston Lyric Opera.

Full schedule:

Friday, September 2

7pm on 99.5 All Classical
Mozart's Don Giovanni
Join us as the weekend starts with Mozart's (arguably) greatest operatic achievement.  Franz-Welser Möst leads the Cleveland Orchestra and Opera Chorus, with baritone Simon Keenlyside in the title role, Eva Mei as Donna Anna, soprano Malin Hartelius as Donna Elvira, baritone Ruben Drole as Leporello, tenor Shawn Mathey as Don Ottavio, soprano Martina Janková as Zerlina, bass Reinhard Mayr as Masetto, and bass-baritone Alfred Muff as The Commendatore.

Saturday, September 3

7am on 99.5 All Classical
Opera Without Words
As your day starts, James David Jacobs brings you transcriptions, arrangements, overtures, and suites that capture the drama and verve that make the opera house a special place.

11am on WGBX 44
Rossini's La Cenerentola
Gioachino Rossini’s La Cenerentola is perhaps the most famous operatic version of the Cinderella story, and it is like no other interpretation. This opera has no fairy godmother, no pumpkin that turns into a carriage, and no glass slipper. However, unlike most other operas, it has a happy ending.  Elina Garanca sings the title role, with Lawrence Brownlee as Prince Charming.

Noon on 99.5 All Classical
Opera Without Words
A celebration of the greatest orchestral music from opera continues through the afternoon with Ray Brown.

2pm on WGBX 44
Verdi's Don Carlo
Director Nicholas Hytner makes his Met debut as Roberto Alagna leads the cast in this new production of Verdi’s historic epic set during the Spanish Inquisition, with Ferruccio Furlanetto, and Marina Poplavskaya.  Anna Smirnova, and Simon Keenlyside also star in director Nicholas Hytner's Met debut, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

6pm on WGBX 44
Puccini's Madama Butterfly
Soprano Patricia Racette stars as Cio-Cio-San, the young geisha who chooses to die honorably, rather than suffer in shame after learning of her husband’s betrayal, with tenor Marcello Giordani as Pinkerton, Maria Zifchak as Suzuki and Dwayne Croft as Sharpless.


7pm on 99.5 All Classical
Film Night At The Proms
The BBC Concert Orchestra and (Boston's own!) conductor Keith Lockhart perform great scores by Bernard Herrmann, Enrico Morricone, John Williams, direct from London’s Royal Albert Hall.

On the program:
Bernard Herrmann - Four Works (from "The Man Who Knew Too Much," "Citizen Kane," "North By Northwest," and "Psycho")
Ennio Morricone - Theme from "Cinema Paradiso"
William Walton - Suite from "Henry V"
John Williams - Three Works (from "Star Wars," "Schindler's List," and "Harry Potter")
Jonny Greenwood - Three Pieces from "Norwegian Wood"
Richard Rodney Bennett - Overture, Waltz, and Finale from "The Orient Express"
John Barry - Love Theme from "Out of Africa"
John Barry and David Arnold - Music of James Bond

8:30pm on WGBX 44
James Levine: America’s Maestro
American Masters profiles one of the most fascinating figures in the music world, exploring how Levine has transformed the Met’s orchestra into one of the great ensembles of its kind, forged legendary performances from leading singers, and nurtured new generations of artists.

9:30pm on WGBX 44
Verdi's Simon Boccanegra
Plácido Domingo sings the title role of Simon Boccanegra for the first time in his Met career.  Adrianne Pieczonka, Marcello Giordani and James Morris also star in Giancarlo del Monaco’s production of Verdi's opera, conducted by James Levine.


Sunday, September 4

12midnight on WGBH 2
Richard Strauss's Salome
Karita Mattila gives a riveting performance as the wild-child royal who danced for Herod in return for the beheading of bass-baritone John the Baptist, with Juha Uusitalo, in the role of Jochanaan (John the Baptist), Hungarian mezzo-soprano Ildikó Komlósi as Salome’s treacherous mother, Herodias, and British tenor Kim Bagley as Herod.


2am on WGBH 2
Puccini's La Rondine
Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna are the lovers Magda and Ruggero, with tenor Marius Brenciu as Magda’s friend Prunier and veteran Met bass Samuel Ramey as her keeper, the banker Rambaldo. Marco Armiliato conducts a glittering new Art Deco production by Nicolas Joël.


7am on 99.5 All Classical
Opera Without Words on Baroque in Boston
Laura Carlo continues our operatic celebration with some of the great opera-and-theatre inspired works by Claudio Monteverdi, Henry Purcell, Antonio Vivaldi, and other early masters.

11am on WGBX 44
Bizet's Carmen
Elina Garanca sings the title role opposite Roberto Alagna as Don José in director Richard Eyre’s new production of Bizet’s masterpiece. Barbara Frittoli is Micaëla and Teddy Tahu Rhodes plays the matador Escamillo, with conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin.

2pm on WGBX 44
Verdi's Il Trovatore
James Levine conducts David McVicar’s stirring production of Verdi’s intense drama, starring four extraordinary singers - Sondra Radvanovsky, Dolora Zajick, Marcelo Álvarez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky - in what might be the composer’s most melodically rich score.


2pm on 99.5 All Classical
Rameau's Les Indes Galantes
Martin Pearlman leads Boston Baroque in the extravagently scored opera-ballet by Jean-Philippe Rameau, with sopranos Amanda Forsythe and Nathalie Paulin, tenors Aaron Sheehan and Daniel Auchincloss, and baritones Sumner Thompson and Nathaniel Watson.

Download notes on the production

Download complete synopsis and cast bios

Slideshow from the production

4:30pm on WGBX 44
Rossini's Le Comte Ory
Rossini’s vocally dazzling comedy stars bel canto sensation Juan Diego Flórez in the title role of this Met premiere production. He vies with mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, in the trouser role of Isolier, for the love of the lonely Countess Adèle, sung by soprano Diana Damrau.


6:30pm on 99.5 All Classical
Lully's Atys
NPR World of Opera brings Jean-Baptiste Lully to the radio in a performance from the Opéra Comique in Paris.  William Christie conducts Les Arts Florissants in a 1676 drama that centers on a man who must choose between the woman he loves and a powerful, lovesick goddess who won’t take “no” for an answer. Cast includes Bernard Richter (Atys), Stéphanie d’Oustrac (Cybéle), Emmanuelle de Negri (Sangaride) and Nicolas Rivenq (Célénus).

7pm on WGBX 44
Puccini's La Fanciulla del West
Nicola Luisotti conducts Puccini’s wild-west opera, given its world premiere in 1910 at the Met.  Now, a hundred years later, all-American diva Deborah Voigt sings the title role of the “girl of the golden west,” opposite Marcello Giordani in this revival of Giancarlo Del Monaco’s 1991 production. Lucio Gallo is the villainous sheriff Jack Rance.

9:30pm on WGBX 44
Massenet's Thaïs
Renée Fleming is Egyptian courtesan Thaïs in Jules Massenet’s perfumed tale of lust and salvation, with baritone Thomas Hampson as the tortured monk Athanaël, who falls from grace in his attempt to lead the Godless voluptuary to redemption.  The production, which comes from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, is by John Cox, with new costumes for Renée Fleming by renowned designer Christian Lacroix. Duane Schuler is the lighting designer; Sara Jo Slate makes her Met debut as choreographer.


Monday, September 5

12 midnight on WGBH 2
Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride
Susan Graham and Placido Domingo reprise their starring roles in Gluck’s nuanced and elegant interpretation of this primal Greek myth. Tenor Paul Groves also returns to Stephen Wadsworth's insightful production, first seen in 2007. Patrick Summers conducts.

2am on WGBH 2
"The Audition"
Directed by award-winning filmmaker Susan Froemke, “The Audition” looks at the intense pressures young opera singers face as they struggle to succeed in one of the most difficult professions in the performing arts. The feature-length documentary takes viewers behind the scenes at the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions, where each year thousands of hopefuls compete for a cash prize, the chance to sing on the Met stage and the opportunity to launch a major operatic career. The film covers the dramatic week leading up to the finals of the 2007 auditions, focusing on three tenor contestants. "The Audition" is both a suspenseful competition narrative and a revealing backstage look at what it takes to make it as an opera singer.


5am on 99.5 All Classical
Opera Without Words
Enjoy a Labor Day filled with opera masterpieces on the radio, with transcriptions, arrangements, overtures, and suites that capture the drama and verve that make the opera house a special place.



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