27 April 2016 at 4.32pm | 2 Comments
BBC Radio 3 has announced that four Royal Opera productions will be broadcast over the coming months.
In order to preserve the ailing Lammermoor fortune, Enrico wants his sister Lucia to marry advantageously. He is horrified to learn she has actually fallen in love with his sworn enemy, Edgardo.
Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor is perhaps best-known for Lucia’s Act III 'mad scene', but the Act II sextet 'Chi mi frena in tal momento' is almost as well-known. It was rapturously applauded at the opera’s premiere and went on to influence such composers as Verdi. It was also one of the first ever opera ensembles to be recorded.
Musician Heinrich Tannhäuser leaves his home in the Wartburg to become the consort of the goddess Venus. Growing tired of her hedonistic realm, he decides to return to his old life and his beloved, Elisabeth. But if Elisabeth and his comrades learn where he has been, will they ever forgive him?
Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser contains few arias, but the small number it has are all remarkable for their beauty. Best known perhaps is Wolfram’s Act III aria ‘O du, mein holder Abendstern’, his hymn to the Evening Star.
Oedipe’s parents plot his murder after they discover he is destined to murder his father and marry his mother. However, their plans go awry and he is raised as a prince of Corinth. Discovering the prophecy, he flees Corinth – only unwittingly to kill his true father and marry his mother.
The score calls for haunting saxophone solos, grand orchestral passages, and extreme, chromatic harmonies. The icing on the cake comes at the end of the opera, which according to conductor Leo Hussain is 'one of the most beautiful, moving and thrilling arias that exists'.
I Due Foscari – 11 June 2016 (6.30pm BST)
Jacopo Foscari, son of the Doge of Venice, is convicted of murder and treason. His wife Lucrezia is sure of his innocence. But the Doge, trapped by the machinations of a corrupt city, is forced to make a terrible decision.
In his sixth opera Verdi concentrates on the intense relationships between his leading characters, rather than grand dramatic effects. Highlights of the score include one of Verdi’s earliest great duets for soprano and baritone, where Lucrezia pleads with the Doge for her husband’s life in Act I, and the passionate finale that closes Act II.
Listen live to BBC Radio 3. Please note broadcast schedules are subject to change.