March Highlights on WVIA-FM

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La Fille du Régiment

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Saturday, March 2nd, 1pm

Tenor Javier Camarena and soprano Pretty Yende team up for a feast of bel canto vocal fireworks provided by Gaetano Donizetti including the show-stopping tenor aria “Ah! Mes amis … Pour mon âme,” with its nine high Cs. Maurizio Muraro sings the comic Sergeant Sulpice, with mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as the outlandish Marquise of Berkenfield. And in an exciting piece of casting, stage and screen icon Kathleen Turner makes her Met debut in the speaking role of the Duchess of Krakenthorp. Enrique Mazzola conducts.

This frothy comedy mixes humor with a rush of buoyant melody and notorious vocal challenges. The story concerns a young orphan girl raised by an army regiment as their mascot and begins at the moment of her first stirrings of love. Complications (and comedy) ensue when her true identity is discovered. The action is startlingly simple and unencumbered by intricate subplots, allowing the full charm of the characters and their virtuosic music to come across in an uninhibited way.

 

Deutsche Welle Festival Concert: Berlin Philharmonic's Europe

Sunday, March 3rd, 2pm

We're going to Bayreuth for the reopening of the sumptuous Margravial Opera – and a yearly ritual by Germany's most famous orchestra. The show also offers a parting glance at the Simon Rattle era of the Berlin Philharmonic. Paavo Jarvi conducts Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 and the Leonore Overture No. 3. Soprano Eva-Maria Westbroeck with perform the Wesendonck Songs of Wagner.

 

Das Rheingold

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Saturday, March 9th, 1pm

Wagner’s visionary initial installment of the Ring Cycle depicts the original sin of the theft of the sacred golden treasure, the vanity of the gods, the greed of the Nibelungen, the fratricide of the giants, and the building of Valhalla. Bass-baritone Greer Grimsley sings the role of Wotan, the conflicted lord of the gods. Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton sings her first Wagner role at the Met as Wotan’s embattled wife, Fricka.

Conceived by Wagner as a prologue to his monumental Ring cycle, this work sets forth the dramatic and theoretical issues that play out in the three subsequent music dramas. The confrontations and dialogue in Das Rheingold are punctuated by thrilling musical and dramatic coups, and the entire work has a magnificent sweep. With Das Rheingold, Wagner fully realized his much-discussed system of leitmotifs (musical themes associated with specific things, people, or ideas). This technique is at its most accessible in this opera; in the later parts of the Ring, the number of leitmotifs multiplies, their use becoming more and more ambitious and intricate.

 

Deutsche Welle Festival Concert: West German RSO

Sunday, March 10th, 2pm

Marking its 70th anniversary, the West German Radio Symphony Orchestra invited the celebrated violinist Arabella Steinbacher, hailed for the perfection and primal energy in her playing - and for her glass clear tone. We'll also sample the orchestra's storied history. On the program: Beethoven’s mighty Violin Concerto and the Symphony No. 2 of Jean Sibelius.

 

Falstaff

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Saturday, March 16th, 1pm

Baritone Ambrogio Maestri brings his larger-than-life portrayal of the title role back for the first time since his Met role debut in the 2013 – 14 season. Robert Carsen’s insightful production—which moves the action to postwar England in the 1950s—features an exceptional cast that includes soprano Ailyn Pérez as Alice Ford and soprano Golda Schultz as Nannetta.

A deeply human comedy full of humor and genuine emotion, Verdi’s last opera is a splendid finale to an unparalleled career in the theater. The story is an amalgamation of scenes from Shakespeare, primarily drawn from the comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor. It centers on the remarkable personality of Sir John Falstaff, one of literature’s most compelling characters. With a supremely well-crafted score, which has long commanded the respect even of Verdi’s critics, it is an astounding work and among the greatest operatic comedies of all time.

 

Irish Inspirations: Women in Irish Classical Music

Sunday, March 17th, 2pm

Host Andrea Blain presents a musical exploration of the Emerald Isle, with a focus on women composers and performers, and music with female themes. "Irish Inspirations: Women in Irish Classical Music" features pianist, author and broadcaster Una Hunt. Audiences will also hear works by Joan Trimble, Amy Beach, Percy Grainger and Shaun Davey, as well as works that celebrate the Irish Colleen and several lassies called Molly.

 

Samson et Dalila

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Saturday, March 23rd, 1pm

When mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča and tenor Roberto Alagna joined forces for a new production of Carmen at the Met, the results were electrifying. Now this star duo reunites for another sensual French opera: the title roles of Saint-Saëns’s biblical epic Samson et Dalila. Darko Tresnjak, who won a Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical in 2014 for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, makes his Met debut directing a vivid, seductive staging, featuring a monumental setting for the last-act Temple of Dagon, where the hero crushes his Philistine enemies. Sir Mark Elder conducts the first new Met production of the work in 20 years.

The source of this popular opera is a single chapter in the biblical Book of Judges, and the brevity of the tale did nothing to prevent it from becoming one of the world’s great stories of love (or at least passion)—as well as the archetypal depiction of a man betrayed by an immoral woman. Saint-Saëns’s opera, along with other artistic renderings across multiple genres, has had an important role in the popularization of this tale. Despite tepid success early on, Samson et Dalila eventually conquered the operatic world and has proven itself a magnificent evening of theater.

 

Deutsche Welle Festival Concert: Currentzis Debut

Sunday, March 24th, 2pm

Teodor Currentzis, one of the hottest young stars in the world of classical music, just took over at the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra.  Critics lauded their first concert together – and we've got it. A varied program of music of Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, and Ligeti is capped by a performance of the Symphony No. 9 of Anton Bruckner.

 

Die Walküre

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Saturday, March 30th, 12pm

In what is expected to be a Wagnerian event for the ages, soprano Christine Goerke plays Brünnhilde, Wotan’s willful warrior daughter, who loses her immortality in opera’s most famous act of filial defiance. Tenor Stuart Skelton and soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek play the incestuous twins Siegmund and Sieglinde. Greer Grimsley sings Wotan. Philippe Jordan conducts.

The second opera in Wagner’s monumental Ring cycle, Die Walküre has long stood on its own as an evening of extraordinarily powerful theater. Part of this appeal lies in its focus on some of the Ring’s most interesting characters at decisive moments of their lives: Wotan, the leader of the gods; his wife, Fricka; his twin offspring, Siegmund and Sieglinde; and, above all, Wotan’s warrior daughter Brünnhilde. These characters and others follow their destinies to some of Wagner’s most remarkable music.

 

Deutsche Welle Festival Concert: The Sound of Dresden

Sunday, March 31st, 2pm

If you love Brahms, you'll find three opportunities for true love in this concert featuring Germany's youngest orchestra, ,The Dresden Festival Orchestra. Founded only seven years ago, it explores Dresden's musical traditions – and is a mainstay of that city's music festival. Ivor Bolton conducts the Haydn Variations, the Symphony No. 2, and the Violin Concerto featuring Thomas Zehetmair.

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