Overture, please! WGBH presents its 10th annual Opera Bash, a celebration of opera on television and radio.
Tuesday-Friday, Sept. 1-4, on radio
Each day at 2pm on WGBH 89.7 – Opera from the Boston Early Music Festival
The crown jewel of the 2009 Boston Early Music Festival was a production of Claudio Monteverdi’s opera L’incoronazione di Poppea. Don’t miss the broadcast premiere of this production in four parts, with commentary and plot synopses prior to each segment by BEMF co-directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs.
Saturday, Sept. 5, on TV
noon on WGBX 44 – Great Performances at the Met: Salome
Finnish soprano Karita Mattila caused a sensation when she sang Salome at the Met for the first time in 2004, stunning the opera world with her interpretation of Richard Strauss’s biblical princess. Wonderful news for fans is her return to the role. Patrick Summers leads the orchestra and strong supporting cast in Jürgen Flimm’s provocative modern-dress production.
2pm on WGBX 44 – Great Performances at the Met: The Damnation of Faust
Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and Italian tenor Marcello Giordani are unlucky lovers in The Damnation of Faust, Hector Berlioz’s take on dancing with the devil.
4:30pm on WGBX 44 – Great Performances at the Met: Thaïs
Soprano Renée Fleming is Egyptian courtesan Thaïs in Jules Massenet’s tale of lust and salvation. Joining her is baritone Thomas Hampson as the tortured monk Athanaël, who falls from grace in his attempt to lead the godless voluptuary to redemption. Tenor Michael Schade plays Nicias, the lover of Thaïs. Jesús López-Cobos conducts.
7pm on WGBX 44 – Great Performances at the Met: Lucia di Lammermoor
Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor stars the Met’s brightest star, soprano Anna Netrebko. She dazzles in the demanding title role, a young woman driven to madness by love and politics. Piotr Beczala costars as Lucia’s headstrong lover, Edgardo. Marco Armiliato conducts.
9:30pm on WGBX 44 – Great Performances at the Met: La Rondine
Soprano Angela Gheorghiu and her husband, tenor Roberto Alagna, offer viewers a rare chance to experience Giacomo Puccini’s attempt to meld Italianate opera with the bittersweet Viennese operetta formula. La Rondine ("The Swallow") is the tale of an unhappy kept woman who opts for one last fling with an idealistic young man, then returns – like the swallow – to her rich benefactor, sadder yet wiser.
Sunday, Sept. 6, on TV
11am on WGBX 44 – Great Performances at the Met: Doctor Atomic
John Adams’s 2005 opera stars Canadian baritone Gerald Finley as s J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb," in this powerful portrait of the physicist presiding over the creation of the atomic bomb. Alan Gilbert conducts.
2pm on WGBX 44 – Independent Lens: Wonders Are Many — The Making of Doctor Atomic
Drawing on recently declassified documents, archival footage, and behind-the-scenes interviews, Wonders Are Many: The Making of Doctor Atomic chronicles the creation of John Adams's monumental opera Doctor Atomic.
3:30pm on WGBX 44 – Great Performances: Beverly Sills — Made in America
5pm on WGBX 44 – Great Performances at the Met: Orfeo ed Euridice
Christoph Willibald Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice is a mythical tale of poet/singer Orfeo, who enters the underworld to retrieve his dead wife, Euridice. Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, in her first performance as Orfeo, battles the furies with her powerhouse voice and “conveys piercing emotional subtleties with every glance and phrase,” wrote Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times. Soprano Danielle de Niese costars as Euridice. Mark Morris directs and choreographs, with costumes by Isaac Mizrahi. James Levine conducts.
7pm on WGBX 44 – Great Performances at the Met: Madama Butterfly
Anthony Minghella’s sumptuous production of Madama Butterfly, Giacomo Puccini’s tale of love and betrayal, offers viewers a visual treat.
9:30pm on WGBX 44 – Great Performances at the Met: La Sonnambula
In Mary Zimmerman’s "play within a play" production of Vincenzo Bellini’s La Sonnambula ("The Somnambulist"), soprano Natalie Dessay’s moon-kissed fingernails are all aglow as she “walks the walk” of sleepwalker Amina.