26 August 2015 at 10.37am | Comment on this article
[Updated 14 September 2015 - Orpheus and Eugene Onegin added, with amends to start times]
[Updated 18 November 2015 - L’Étoile added]
BBC Radio 3 has announced that three Royal Opera productions will be broadcast over the coming months.
Details are as follows:
Orphée et Eurydice - 24 October 2015 (6.30pm BST)
Gluck's opera contains some of the composer's most loved music, from Orphée’s tender ‘Objet de mon amour’ and ‘J’ai perdu mon Eurydice’ to the spectacular ‘L’espoir renaît dans mon âme’, added for the French premiere. The chorus also assumes a role of great importance, particularly in their roles as the shades and Furies of the underworld. But the opera is perhaps most celebrated for its innovative dance music; two of its many highlights include the ‘Dance of the Furies’ and the ‘Dance of the Blessed Spirits’
Orpheus - 28 November 2015 (6.30pm GMT)
17th century Italian composer Luigi Rossi wrote his three-act opera for the French royal court in the late 1640s. With it he matched the pageantry and spectacle of the stage effects with glorious music – a wealth of enchanting arias and lively ensembles – that represented a climax both in his work and in court opera as a whole. Orpheus will be recorded at Shakespeare's Globe's Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.
Morgen und Abend - 5 December 2015 (6.30pm GMT)
Haas shot to international fame with in vain, described by Simon Rattle as ‘an astonishing work of art and an acknowledged masterpiece of the 21st century’. Common to all of his works is an intense and highly charged atmosphere, constructed from shifting sound worlds that coalesce suddenly into opulent richness. Haas’s latest works have continued his experimentation with sound and the interplay of light and dark, in works such as ins Licht and ATTHIS.
Il Tabarro - 4 February 2016 (2.00pm GMT)
Richard Jones’s production was acclaimed on its premiere in 2011. This tale of infidelity and murder set on the banks of the Seine is the first opera in Puccini’s Il trittico. Radio 3 broadcasts the recording captured in 2011.
Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci - 6 February 2016 (6.30pm GMT)
Both Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci are prime examples of verismo opera, each containing music that gives a strong sense of their setting in a southern-Italian poverty-stricken village and the characters within it. Both works are rich with melodies that have been championed by the greatest singers of the 20th century: Turiddu’s brindisi ‘Viva il vino spumeggiante’ and Santuzza’s melancholic ‘Voi lo sapete, o mama’ from Cavalleria rusticana; Tonio’s ‘Un nido di memorie’ and Canio’s ‘Vesti la giubba’ from Pagliacci.
Suor Angelica - 11 February 2016 (2.00pm GMT)
The second installment in Giacomo Puccini’s triptych of operas, Il trittico, is characterized by music of ethereal and spiritual beauty, in contrast to the dark melodrama of Il tabarro and the gutsy comedy of Gianni Schicchi. Director Richard Jones sets Angelica’s story in a mid-20th-century children’s hospital, where the sisters tend to their young patients on a busy ward – a painful reminder of Angelica’s own child. Suor Angelica contains some of Puccini’s most poignant music, including Angelica’s aria ‘Senza mamma’, in which she expresses her grief after receiving devastating news.
Eugene Onegin - 13 February 2016 (6.30pm GMT)
Tchaikovsky's best-loved opera is based on Pushkin's verse novel of the same name and quickly became a firm favourite of Russian audiences following its 1879 premiere. The composer shows his deep sympathy for his heroine Tatyana in the tenderness of her music and her letter aria in act I is one of the most intense solo scenes ever written for the soprano voice.
Gianni Schicchi - 18 February (2.00pm GMT)
Giacomo Puccini created Gianni Schicchi – the final work in his contrasting triple bill of operas, Il trittico – from a ‘desire to laugh and make others laugh’. The score displays a kaleidoscope of different musical styles, including Lauretta’s famous aria, ‘O mio babbino caro’, in which she begs her father to intervene to help her marry her sweetheart Rinuccio, and the grand comic ensemble in which Schicchi impersonates the dying Buoso and remakes his will.
L’Étoile - 20 February 2016 LIVE (6.50pm GMT)
Emmanuel Chabrier's L’Étoile has seen a recent resurgence of popularity since its initial success in the 1870s. The comic opera follows King Ouf, who wants to celebrate his birthday with a public execution. Expect plans to go awry as his chosen victim, Lazuli, leaps into the arms of his betrothed, Princess Laoula. Despite L’Étoile’s surreal plot there is music of tremendous craft, imagination and dark humour including the disconcertingly catchy ‘Couplets de pal’, where King Ouf sings of his love of impaling people. Mark Elder conducts the opera's Royal Opera debut.
All of the titles and broadcast dates listed above are subject to change.