The 2019 WFMT Radio Network Opera Series begins in May with a stellar array of recent productions from London’s Royal Opera House. Presented in partnership with the European Broadcasting Union and the BBC, the line-up from Covent Garden includes parts one to three from Wagner’s Ring – Das Rheingold, Die Walküre and Siegfried – performed under the baton of Sir Antonio Pappano in October 2018. Hear two powerhouse voices make their Royal Opera debuts – Swedish bass-baritone John Lundgren singing Wotan/Wanderer and Australian tenor Stuart Skelton as Siegmund. Plus, 2018 Birgit Nilsson Prize-winner soprano Nina Stemme sings Brünnhilde.
The series continues in June with Verdi, including a handsome Renaissance production of the tragic Simon Boccanegra, a star-studded La forza del destino with soprano Anna Netrebko as Leonora and tenor Jonas Kauffman as Don Alvaro, and the delightfully comical Falstaff with a celebrated cast led by Sir Bryn Terfel and Ana María Martínez. Also, there’s an opportunity to catch Tchaikovsky’s secret-filled The Queen of Spades and Covent Garden’s first production of Britten’s Billy Budd in almost two decades, directed by Deborah Warner. Rounding out this nine-title run is Giordano’s French Revolution-set opera, Andrea Chénier, featuring American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky as Maddalena de Coigny and acclaimed tenor and Covent Garden regular, Roberto Alagna in the title role.
The Opera Series continues through the summer with productions presented in partnership with Rai, Italy and the European Broadcasting Union, featuring performances from the Rossini Opera Festival, Teatro dell’Opera (Rome), and La Scala (Milan). First, from the Rossini Opera Festival, comes one of the less performed works of Rossini – Adina. This broadcast features New Orleans-native, soprano Lisette Oropesa, in the title role and her festival debut in Pesaro. Next up, the myth of Orpheus in three acts – Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, from the stage of Teatro Costanzi in Rome, with conductor Gianluca Capuano leading the Rome Opera Orchestra. In the title roles are two Italian artists, countertenor Carlo Vistoli and Mariangela Sicilia. Our trio of Italian titles concludes with Verdi’s Attila – a broadcast from the opening night of La Scala’s 2018-19 season with conductor Riccardo Chailly at the podium, and sought-after Russian bass, Ildar Abdrazakov, in the title role opposite Spanish soprano Saioa Hernández in her La Scala debut as Odabella.
The series continues with encore broadcasts from Lyric Opera of Chicago, featuring stunning performances of Bellini’s Norma with a title-role performance by Sondra Radvanovsky and a cast that includes Elizabeth DeShong as Adalgisa, Russell Thomas as Pollione and Andrea Silvestrelli as Oroveso. Also in store is Mozart’s delightful The Magic Flute, featuring Kathryn Lewek’s stratospheric Queen of the Night, followed by the breathtaking bel canto of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, with the thrilling Albina Shagimuratova opposite Piotr Beczała’s celebrated Edgardo. The series continues with French favorite Massenet’s Don Quichotte starring the incomparable Ferruccio Furlanetto. Don’t miss Ana María Martínez’s role debut as Tatiana opposite Mariusz Kwiecień in the title role of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, just before Lyric’s broadcasts conclude with the mighty Les Troyens by Hector Berlioz, starring powerhouse artists Susan Graham, Brandon Jovanovich, and Christine Goerke.
Next up in the Opera Series are two performances from LA Opera’s 2018-19 season—Verdi’s Don Carlo, with a stunning cast including Ramón Vargas, Ana María Martínez and Plácido Domingo, and Mozart’s The Clemency of Titus, starring tenor Russell Thomas in the title role —along with encore broadcasts of Macbeth, The Tales of Hoffmann and Carmen.
This fall, OperaDelaware presents an exciting line-up including Puccini’s Il trittico (The Triptych), his trilogy of three one-act operas. First up, hear the pairing of Puccini’s first two acts, Il Tabarro (The Cloak) and Suor Angelica. The third and final act, Gianni Schicchi, is then coupled with a comic sequel, Michael Ching’s Buoso’s Ghost, in which we follow the Schicchi characters in a continuing story packed with drama and laughs. OperaDelaware’s broadcasts conclude with Anthony Barrese’s widely-celebrated 21st century recreation of Franco Faccio’s Amleto.
Following these performances, Edo de Waart and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra present a semi-staged version of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, a special initiative of Maestro de Waart from late in his tenure as music director, featuring the stunning soprano Joélle Harvey alongside Douglas Williams in the title role.
And last but not least, the 2019 WFMT Radio Network Opera Series wraps up with two remarkable productions from Opera Southwest: the New Mexico state premiere of Bellini’s Norma, and a much-awaited performance of Giovanni Bottesini’s little-known work, Alì Babà. A comic opera in four acts, Alì Babà is based on the story of Alì Babà and the Forty Thieves and had virtually disappeared from opera houses over the last century and more, despite having been described as having “made its mark” in those first performances conducted by Bottesini himself in January 1871 at London’s Lyceum Theatre. Music director, Anthony Barrese, leads Opera Southwest in championing this long overlooked work, said to be modeled after Rossini.
The WFMT Radio Network Opera Series is designed to complement the Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts, filling out the year from May through November. The 2019 Opera Series releases on May 18, 2019, and will last until November 30, 2019.
Royal Opera House (Presented in partnership with the BBC and the European Broadcasting Union)
May 18 Falstaff / Verdi / Royal Opera
May 25 Das Rheingold / Wagner / Royal Opera
June 1 Die Walküre / Wagner / Royal Opera
June 8 Siegfried / Wagner / Royal Opera
June 15 Simon Boccanegra / Verdi / Royal Opera
June 22 The Queen of Spades / Tchaikovsky / Royal Opera
June 29 La forza del destino / Verdi / Royal Opera
July 6 Billy Budd / Britten / Royal Opera
July 13 Andrea Chénier / Giordano / Royal Opera
Operas from RAI, Italy (Presented in partnership with Rai and the European Broadcasting Union)
July 20 Adina / Rossini / Rossini Opera Festival (Pesaro)
July 27 Orfeo et Euridice / Gluck / Teatro dell’Opera (Rome)
August 3 Attila / Verdi / La Scala (Milan)
Lyric Opera of Chicago
August 10 Norma / Bellini
August 17 The Magic Flute / Mozart
August 24 Lucia di Lammermoor / Donizetti
August 31 Don Quichotte / Massenet
September 7 Eugene Onegin / Tchaikovsky
September 14 Les Troyens / Berlioz
September 21 Don Carlo / Verdi
September 28 The Clemency of Titus / Mozart
October 5 Macbeth / Verdi
October 12 Tales of Hoffmann / Offenbach
October 19 Carmen / Bizet
October 26 Il Tabarro; Suor Angelica / Puccini
November 2 Gianni Schicchi; Buoso’s Ghost / Puccini; Ching
November 9 Amleto / Faccio
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
November 16 Marriage of Figaro / Mozart
November 23 Norma / Bellini
November 30 Ali Baba (1871) / Bottesini