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Classical 101

Opera and More Returns with Local Productions, Tributes and — You Guessed it — More

Based on The Abduction from the Seraglio, Opera Columbus presented Mission: Seraglio in January.

The Metropolitan Opera broadcasts take a summer break, and I step in to bring you grand opera, both favorites and the unexpected. Opera and More returns to Classical 101 at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 20, followed by every Saturday afternoon through the fall.

We'll stick with some favorites for the first few weeks.

I was looking through all of the recordings I hope to present (so many operas! so little time!) and realized, "My God, everyone is dead!" Joan Sutherland, Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti, Robert Merrill, Anna Moffo, Eileen Farrell, Beverly Sills, Richard Tucker.

If that seems strange, I guess it pays to remember that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini and Richard Wagner are in heaven as well.

Soprano Leontyne Price, who recently turned 90, is alive and well. Our season begins with Verdi's Aida, featuring Price, Merrill and Jon Vickers, conducted by Georg Solti. 

Then on May 27, we'll hear Mozart's Die Zauberflote conducted by Otto Klemperer, with Nicolai Gedda, Walter Berry and Gundula Janowitz.

Coming up in June, we'll explore Puccini's Tosca with Renata Tebaldi, as well as Renee Fleming with Marcelo Alvarez in Jules Massenet's Manon.

We'll also hear Opera Columbus' recent productions of The Abduction from the Seraglioand CarmenAnd we'll commemorate Callas on Sept. 16, the 40th anniversary of her death.

As for the unexpected? I have Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein's Four Saints in Three Acts on my list. There's a wonderful new recording from the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. And we'll hear Mikhail Glinka's Ruslan and Lyudmila, with Anna Netrebko and Valery Gergiev.  

We'll sample new recordings of arias by your favorites, with some terrific singers who may be new to you: Pretty Yende, Javier Camarena, Matthew Polenzani — he's a favorite if you watch the Met Live in HD — Jamie Barton and Joyce DiDonato.

Join me for Opera and More, Saturdays at 1 p.m. on Classical 101 or online at wosu.org/classical101.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.
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