Opera for Everyone Podcast

Opera for Everyone is a radio show and podcast that makes opera understandable, accessible and enjoyable for a mainstream audience. The show airs on Wyoming's only community radio station - 89.1 KHOL in Jackson, WY. Opera for Everyone is produced and hosted by Keely Herron and Pat Wright.

 

Ep.60 Roméo Et Juliette

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Charles Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette is an operatic take on Shakespeare’s timeless and tragic tale of young love bursting through old hatreds. Gounod’s sumptuous music exquisitely transports us into the world of the Juliette Capulet and Roméo Montague. Just say yes to this timeless love story's sweet sorrow.

Ep.54 Maria Stuarda

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With unabashed romanticism, Gaetano Donizetti sweeps us into the passions of the final days of Mary Queen of Scots in his Bel Canto masterpiece, Maria Stuarda. Donizetti seeks not accuracy in history and politics, but to explore the boundaries of affection and loyalty by imagining a tragic love-triangle involving Mary Stuart, Queen Elizabeth I, and Elizabeth’s favourite, the Earl of Leicester. Only one woman will survive.

Ep.53 Anna Bolena

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Donizetti dazzles in the Bel Canto masterpieces that comprise his Tudor Queen “trilogy.” In Anna Bolena, the first of these, Henry VIII has turned against his second wife, Anne Boleyn, and decided to make Anne’s lady-in-waiting, Jane Seymour, his next queen – in this take, for reasons of passion not dynastic politics. Opera For Everyone will soon be presenting the second Tudor Queen opera, Maria Stuarda, and you can find the third opera, Roberto Devereaux, as Episode 44. Enjoy these presentations of English “history” from an unabashedly Italian perspective.

Ep.51 Daughter of the Regiment

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Join us for Gaetano Donizetti’s exquisite Bel Canto comic opera, La Fille du Régiment. Found as a baby on the battlefield, Marie was raised by the regiment. Her true love, Tonio, enlists to be by her side, but it’s complicated. Pavarotti, as Tonio, in the role that made him Pavarotti. Dame Joan Sutherland as Marie.

Ep.49 Adriana Lecouvreur

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Adriana Lecouvreur, by composer Francesco Cilea and librettist Arturo Colautti, is an opera that exquisitely dramatizes the life of the great French actress Adrienne Lecouvreur of the Comédie Française. Adriana Lecouvreur’s story is based on the play by Eugène Scribe, and as well as being the central character of Cilea’s soaring and heart-breaking opera, she has been portrayed on screen by such acting greats as Sarah Bernhardt and Joan Crawford. Join us for the twists and turns of this beloved, dramatic woman’s life.

Ep.44 Roberto Devereux

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Roberto Devereaux, from 1837, is a Bel Canto opera by Gaetano Donizetti set at the end of the end of the reign of Elizabeth I of England. The opera is the third of Donizetti’s “Tudor Queen Operas,” preceded by Anna Bolena (1830) and Maria Stuarda (1835). The man, Roberto Devereaux, is the last in a series of courtiers favored by the famous Virgin Queen. However, Roberto has seriously disappointed both Elizabeth and Parliament. Matters of state and matters of the heart provided inspiration for both librettist Salvatore Cammaramo and composer Donizetti. English history was a starting point, but the story is not limited to the facts. Invention and imagination soar with the beautiful Bel Canto tunes.

Ep.43 Samson et Dalila

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Samson et Dalila is Camille Saint-Saëns’ magnificent three-act opera based on the biblical story of Samson and Delilah, with a French libretto by Ferdinand Lemaire. It premiered in 1877 and remains the sole opera in the popular modern opera repertoire by this prolific composer. In the opera we see Samson struggle to not only to convince his people to remain true to their beliefs, but also struggle with himself to resist the temptations of the beautiful and seductive Delilah. Though you may know “how the story ends,” there is nothing to compare to the power of the operatic dramatization of the unfolding events.

Ep.42 Cavalleria Rusticana & I Pagliacci

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Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni & I Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo are arguably Opera’s most well-known double-bill. Two verismo operas, they each present an unvarnished “slice of life” in small-town Italy of the late 19th century. Direct and compressed, the stories of both operas feature lust, infidelity, merriment and murder. Cavalleria Rusticana, “Rustic Chivalry” uses splendid music to amplify human passions, particularly those of a young man and young woman who never quite become a couple. I Pagliacci tells the tale of the man behind the clown’s mask, those in his orbit, and shows the danger of believing in simple characters we see on stage.


Ep.41 Aida

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Aida premiered in Cairo in December 1871. Giuseppe Verdi’s four-act opera, Aida, was commissioned for the newly constructed opera house in Cairo, following the celebrations for the opening of the Suez Canal. Taking inspiration from a third century story discovered by Egyptologist Auguste Marietta, librettist Antonio Ghislanzoni worked with Verdi to create a drama which is both grand and intimate, set in Egypt, “in the time of the Pharaohs.” The opera’s magnificent music depicts spectacle and triumph for the state, and praise for the gods. It also brings us close to all of the emotions of three people caught up in a high-stakes love triangle. Join us for a story of achingly beautiful tenderness, soaring triumph, and devoted resignation on this episode of Opera for Everyone.

Ep.40 Rodelinda

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A Baroque-style opera by George Frideric Handel, Rodelinda premiered in 1725 in London. Considered by Beethoven to be “the greatest composer who ever lived,” Handel created operas which tug at our emotions and fill our senses. The title character of Rodelinda is a queen who is under house-arrest following the supposed death of her royal husband. She rebuffs the persistent advances of his usurper and his scheming advisor, all while bravely protecting her young son. Events do not go smoothly when her husband returns on the scene. Dare we hope for a happy ending? Find out on this episode of Opera for Everyone.

Ep. 39 La Rondine

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La Rondine, “The Swallow,” is an opera in three acts by the famed Italian composer Giacomo Puccini and librettist Giuseppe Adami which had its premiere in 1917 in Monte Carlo. Originally commissioned to write an operetta by the Carltheater in Vienna, Puccini decided in favor of a full opera. La Rondine refers to the title character, Magda, who opens the story as the glittering hostess of a lively Parisian party in the apartment she shares with a wealthy elder gentleman, Rambaldo. One of the guests, the poet Prunier, opines on romantic love, and Magda wistfully recalls a brief romance of her youth, and considers the possibility of finding romance once again, in spite of her very stable and practical current arrangement. Magda’s spunky maid, Lisette, announces the arrival of a young man from the countryside, and, well, you can imagine how events might unfold.

Ep. 38 Il Trittico

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Il Trittico is a set of three one-act operas by Giacomo Puccini that premiered in 1918. The first opera, IlTabarro, centers on an evening in the life of river workers on a barge in Paris’s Seine of the early 20th century. The second opera, Suor Angelica, takes place entirely in a convent and features only female singers. It is set in the late 17th century, and give a glimpse into life of the convent sisters and how they manage their desires. The final opera, Gianni Schicchi, is comedic and cautionary tale. Inspired by Dante’s Canto 30 on falsifiers, Gianni Schicchi, shows a world of two emotions: greed and love. Love may triumph, but greed keeps us astonished and amused.

Ep. 37 Madama Butterfly

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Madama Butterfly is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini. It premiered at Milan’s LaScala in 1903, and with a few revisions by Puccini after its opening, it has become one of the most frequently performed operas in the world. Inspired to make the story into an opera after seeing David Belasco’s play Madame Butterfly in London, Puccini created one of the most beloved characters in the world of opera. The story focuses on a young Japanese woman, Butterfly, who marries and American naval officer, Pinkerton, who is stationed in Nagasaki. The two marry, but have a very different understanding of the meaning of this cross-cultural marriage. These different understandings have tragic results for Butterfly. Puccini’s music is lush and powerful, at times including influences from America and Japan. In this episode of Opera for Everyone we discuss both the opera, and the popular stories which led to its creation.

Ep. 36 Rigoletto

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Rigoletto is a three-act opera by Guiseppe Verdi, first performed in 1851 in Venice. In this episode we follow the story of Duke of Mantua's jester, Rigoletto. He gleefully mocks members of the court for the amusement of the Duke, earning the enmity of the courtiers, and the powerful curse of a father whose daughter the Duke has dishonored. However, the seemingly heartless Rigoletto hides a tender secret-- his lovely and innocent daughter Gilda. Her sweetness is no match for the crafty, carousing Duke and his courtiers. This opera has complex drama, and one of the all-time great opera tunes, La Donna è Mobile.

Ep. 35 Il Trovatore

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il Trovatore is a powerful and tuneful opera in four acts by the great master, Giuseppe Verdi. Il Trovatore, "The Troubadour," premiered in Rome in January 1853. Set in 1409, during a period of civil war in Spain, Il Trovatore is a story that illustrates the mortal danger inherent in an unrelenting pursuit of vengeance. Alas, in this story, love does not triumph. It's strong human drama, heightened by Verdi's incomparable compositions.

Ep. 34 Ariadne auf Naxos

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Ariadne auf Naxos, an opera in German, is the creation of composer Richard Strauss and librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal. The original version of the opera premiered in 1912, following the enormous success that Strauss and von Hofmannsthal had with Der Rosenkavalier the prior year. This version, most commonly performed in modern times, is the second version by the duo, and was premiered by the Vienna state opera in 1916.
The opera is, by turns, a serious treatment of an ancient myth, a sly social commentary, and a comedic mash-up of low and high art.

Ep. 32 Idomeneo

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On this episode of Opera for Everyone we listen to Idomeneo, an opera seria in three acts by Mozart with an Italian libretto by Giambattista Varesco. The work was commissioned by Karl Theodor, Elector of Bavaria and premiered on 29 January 1781 at the Cuvilliés Theatre in Munich, Germany, as part of a court carnival.

The opera tells the story of Idomeneo, the King of Crete, his son Idamante, and the princess Ilia, who Idomeneo captured when he defeated Ilia's father the Trojan king Priam in the Trojan war.

Ep. 31 Semiramide

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On this episode of Opera for Everyone we listen to Semiramide by Gioachino Rossini which is based on Voltaire's tragedy Semiramis, which in turn was based on the legend of Semiramis of Assyria.

This is an opera in two acts set to an Italian libretto by Gaetano Rossi. The story is set in the ancient kingdom of Assyria and the action takes place in Babylon around the Eight Century BCE.

Ep. 29 LaBoheme

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On this episode of Opera for Everyone we review the much beloved opera classic LaBoheme by Giacomo Puccini.

Ep. 28 LaLa Land

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On this episode of Opera for Everyone Keely discusses the musical film LaLaLand with special guest Gordy Megroz.

Ep. 27 L'Elisir D'Amore

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This episode of Opera for Everyone features Luciano Pavarotti as Nemorino and Kathleen Battle as Adina in a 1990 Metropolitan Opera production of Gaetano Donizetti's L'Elisir D'Amore conducted by James Levine.

This "Opera Buffa" - comedic opera - premiered in 1832 at Teatro Cannobiana, in Milan. The opera in two acts with a libretto by Felice Romani, is set in a small village in the Italian countryside. The story focuses on a romance between the beautiful young Adina, and Nemorino a shy and insecure man who works on her land.

L'Elisir D'Amore is considered to represent the best of the bel canto tradition that reigned in Italian opera in the early 19th century

The show-stopping tenor aria “Una furtiva lagrima” in Act II is a favorite aria for many opera lovers.
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Ep. 26 Tosca

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On this episode of Opera for Everyone we listen to the opera Tosca by Giacomo Puccini. Tosca is an opera in three acts with an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa.

It premiered in 1900 in Rome, Italy at the Teatro Costanzi. The story is based on the French-language play "La Tosca" by Victorien Sardou. It's a melodrama set in Rome in June 1800, where Napoleon's invasion of Italy threatens the Kingdom of Naples' control of the city.

The drama - based on real life events - focuses on an escaped political prisoner named Cesare Angelotti, his friend the famous painter Mario Cavaradossi, and Cavaradossi's lover, the beautiful, devout and talented singer Floria Tosca.

Tosca is a passionate, dynamic opera fueled by deception, murder, suicide, and love, and it features some of Puccini's best-known and loved arias.

Ep. 25 Otello By Verdi With Lester Lynch

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On this episode of Opera for Everyone we listen to the Opera Otello by Guiseppe Verdi, and also continue our conversation with dramatic baritone Lester Lynch, who plays Iago in this production.

Otello is an opera in four acts to an Italian libretto by Arrigo Boito. The opera is based on Shakespeare's play Othello. It was Verdi's penultimate opera, and was first performed at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan in 1887.

It follows the story of Otello, a moor commanding a military unit in Cyprus, his wife Desdemona, and several of his officers. Iago, an ensign, is jealous of his colleague Cassio who has been promoted to captain by Otello. Iago plots to make Otello suspicious that his wife is in love with Cassio and has been unfaithful.

In the end, Otello kills Desdemona and then himself. Iago is unrepentant.

Ep. 24 On My Journey Now / Otello with Lester Lynch

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On this episode of Opera for Everyone, we welcome special guest Lester Lynch, who is a baritone opera singer performing with some of the world's leading operas. He discusses his album "On My Journey Now" a collection of spirituals and hymns, as well as his experience as an African-American vocalist and musician. This episode is in honor of the life, work and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Ep. 23 Manon

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On today's episode we listen to Manon by Jules Massenet, an opera in five acts set to a French Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Philippe Gille. The story is based on the 1731 novel "L’histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut" by the Abbé Prévost.

The story begins in 1721 with a party of friends including Guillot Morfontain making merry at an Inn. Manon, escorted by her cousin Lescaut, of the Guards, arrives on her way to a convent. She is of the peasantry, but vain as well as beautiful. Guillot leaves his friends, to pay attention to the young girl. He meets with no success, and is finally compelled to retreat.

Ep. 22 The Nutcracker

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On this episode of Opera for Everyone, we listen to Tchaikovsky's holiday classic "The Nutcracker."

Ep. 19 The Magic Flute

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On this episode of Opera for Everyone we listen to The Magic Flute, also known as Die Zauberflöte, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It's an opera in two acts, first performed in Vienna in 1791.

Ep. 18 Les Danaides

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Les Danaïdes is an opera by Antonio Salieri, in 5 acts. It debuted at the Académie Royale de Musique (Paris Opéra) on 26 April 1784

The plot of the opera is based on Greek tragedy and revolves around the deeds of the mythological characters Danaus and Hypermnestra.

Ep. 17 Le Nozze di Figaro

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Mozart’s comic yet profound look at human nature and one crazy day in a wealthy Spanish household. The Marriage of Figaro, is an opera buffa (comic opera) in four acts composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with an Italian libretto written by Lorenzo Da Ponte.

Ep.16 I Puritani

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I Puritani (The Puritans) is an opera in three acts by Vincenzo Bellini, set to an Italian libretto by Count Carlo Pepoli. The action takes place around 1650 in Plymouth, England a Puritan stronghold, which is under siege from Royalist troops. This story of romantic love and love of country is told through the lives of the Puritan Elvira and her royalist lover Arturo.