At the Opera

Hosted by: Sean Bianco

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Saturday, December 21, 2013 Permalink

At The Opera, Operatic Double Bill, Puccini's La boheme and Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, December 21, 2013

  

La bohème is an opera in four acts was composed by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger. The world premiere performance of La bohème was in Turin on February 1, 1896 at the Teatro Regio, conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini. Since then, La bohème has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide. In 1946, fifty years after the opera's premiere, Toscanini conducted a performance of it on radio with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. This 1956 recording stars Victoria del los Angeles, Jussi Bjorling and Robert Merrill. Sir Thomas Beecham conducts.

Amahl and the Night Visitors is an opera in one act by Gian Carlo Menotti with an original English libretto by the composer. It was commissioned by NBC and first performed by the NBC Opera Theatre on December 24, 1951, in New York City at NBC studio 8H in Rockefeller Center, the same studio where it was broadcast live on television from that venue as the debut production of the Hallmark Hall of Fame. It was the first opera specifically composed for television in America. Menotti was commissioned by Peter Herman Adler, director of NBC's new opera programming, to write the first opera for television. The composer had trouble settling on a subject for the opera, but took his inspiration from Hieronymus Bosch's The Adoration of the Magi hanging in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

As the airdate neared, Menotti had yet to finish the score. The singers had little time to rehearse, and received the final passages of the score just days before the broadcast. The composer's companion Samuel Barber was brought in to complete the orchestrations. After the dress rehearsal, NBC Symphony conductor Arturo Toscanini told Menotti, "This is the best you've ever done." This original cast recording from 1952 stars Rosemary Kuhlmann and Chet Allen. Thomas Schippers conducts.

Playlist

8:00pm
8:00pm
Pietro Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana, opera Intemezzo BUY Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony; Ondrej Lenard, conductor
Naxos 8550240
8:11pm
Giacomo Puccini: La boheme BUY RCA Victor Orchestra and Chorus; Sir Thomas Beecham, conductor Vivtoria de los Angeles
10:00pm
10:35pm
Menotti: Amahl and the Night Visitors BUY Vienna; Thomas Schippers, conductor
RCA 64852RG
11:00pm
11:24pm
trad.: Stille Nacht BUY n/a; n/a, conductor Anne Sofie Von Otter
11:28pm
trad.: Sankta Lucia BUY n/a; n/a, conductor Anne Sofie Von Otter
11:31pm
Adam: O holy night BUY National Philharmonic; Kurt Herbert Adler, conductor Luciano Pavarotti
Decca B0005301-02
11:36pm
Franz Schubert: Ave Maria BUY National Philharmonic; Kurt Herbert Adler, conductor
Decca B0005301-02
11:41pm
Yon: Gesu Bambino BUY National Philharmonic; Kurt Herbert Adler, conductor Luciano Pavarotti
Decca B0005301-02
11:45pm
trad.: Adeste Fideles (O come, all ye faithful) BUY National Philharmonic; Kurt Herbert Adler, conductor Luciano Pavarotti
Decca B0005301-02
11:49pm
Irving Berlin: White Christmas BUY Philharmonia Orchestra; Carl Davis, conductor Kiri Te Kanawa
Decca 414632-2
11:52pm
trad. : Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas BUY Philharmonic Orchestra; Carl Davis, conductor Kiri te Kanawa
Decca 414632-2
11:56pm
Felix Bernard: Winter Wonderland BUY Philharmonia Orchestra; Carl Davis, conductor Kiri Te Kanawa
Decca 414632-2

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