The 2022 WFMT Radio Network Opera Series concluded December 3, 2022. We'll continue to feature weekly opera with the Metropolitan Opera Saturdays at noon. Please tune in!
Below, find our archived annotation of the previous WFMT Opera Series.
Santa Fe Opera kicks off the 2022 Opera Series with Mason Bates’ imaginative work The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (June 18). Heralded as “a triumph” (Washington Post), and “a winning opera” (Los Angeles Times), Bates’ score combines electronics and operatic orchestration to tell a fascinating story about the complicated man behind the rise of a tech giant.
Next, we fly halfway around the world to Europe for a set of phenomenal productions beginning with Opéra de Paris’ production of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro (June 25)—always an audience favorite! The stellar cast includes Luca Pisaroni in the title role, led by the inimitable Gustavo Dudamel.
We stop by the Salzburg Festival for Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust (July 2), featuring Charles Castronovo as the romantic and tortured title character, with Ildar Abdrazakov as the wily Mephistopheles and Elīna Garanča as Marguerite. Alain Altinoglu conducts the Salzburg Festival Orchestra.
Like in past Opera Series seasons, we’re pleased to return to the Royal Opera House (UK) for a set of four productions spanning from Vivaldi to Verdi. First up is Handel’s gripping Theodora (July 9), featuring Joyce DiDonato, Julia Bullock, and Jakub Józef Orliński in a new, alternate-reality production by Katie Mitchell. Baroque specialist Harry Bicket leads the Royal Opera Orchestra in this stunning production. Next up is Vivaldi’s 1735 opera Bajazet (July 16), a dark and thrilling work where “powerful men and strong women negotiate their relationships as desires of the heart clash with rank and duty” (Royal Opera). This production features Gianluca Margheri as Bajazet, James Laing as Tamerlano, and Niamh O’Sullivan as Asteria, with Peter Whelan at the podium. Verdi’s exceptional Macbeth (July 23) follows, in a striking production by Phyllida Lloyd. Simon Keenlyside reprises the role of Macbeth, with Anna Pirozzi by his side as Lady Macbeth. David Junghoon Kim performs the role of Macbeth’s rival Macduff, with Günther Groissböck as Banquo. Daniele Rustioni conducts. Closing out Royal Opera’s suite of productions is Camille Saint-Saëns’s grand opera Samson et Delila (July 30), directed by multi-Olivier Award winner Richard Jones. Elīna Garanča stars as the Philistine Dalila, SeokJong Baek as the inspiring Jewish hero Samson and Antonio Pappano conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
New to the WFMT Opera Series, we next return to the States for two exquisite broadcasts from Boston Early Music Festival, beginning with an incredible quadruple (!) bill with two performances of Marc-Antoine Charpentier and two of Michel-Richard de Lalande—it’s a vibrant celebration of early opera! BEMF presents Les Plaisirs de Versailles and Les Arts Florissants by Charpentier, followed by Lalande’s Les Fontaines de Versailles and Le Concert d’Esculape (August 6), featuring Teresa Wakim, Virginia Warnken, Jesse Blumberg, and more. Next is Handel’s fantastic work Almira (August 13), featuring period instruments of the Boston Early Music Orchestra led by Music Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs. Emőke Baráth performs in the title role, with Amanda Forsythe as the princess Edilia, Colin Balzer as Fernando, Christian Immler as Consalvo, Zachary Wilder as Osman, Jesse Blumberg as Raymondo, Teresa Wakim as Bellante, and Jan Kobow as Tabarco. We’re thrilled to feature these exceptional performances from Boston in the WFMT Opera Series for the first time!
After a brief stint in Boston, we return to Europe for two productions from Vienna State Opera. Mussorgsky’s masterpiece Boris Godunov (August 20), based on the play of the same name by Pushkin, is a story full of intrigue, war, and assassination in Tsarist Russia. Alexander Tsymbalyuk sings the title role, with Vitalij Kowaljow as Pimen, Dmitry Golovnin as Grigory, led by conductor Sebastian Wiegle. Next, Vienna State Opera presents Puccini’s story of love and loss, Manon Lescaut (August 27). Asmik Grigorian sings the title role, with Brian Jagde as Des Grieux and Artyom Wasnetsov as Geronte de Ravoir. Francesco Ivan Ciampa conducts.
Next, we arrive in Italy for two performances to round out the first half of the Opera Series. The illustrious La Scala presents Ponchielli’s grand La Gioconda (September 3), set in a dark and mysterious Venice. Saioa Hernández performs as Gioconda, with Daniela Barcellona as Laura Adorno, Stefano La Colla as Enzo Grimaldo, Anna Maria Chiuri as La Cieca, and more. Frédéric Chaslin conducts this exquisite performance. Finally, for the first part of the Opera Series, is Teatro dell’Opera Rome’s production of Bellini’s I Puritani (September 10) with a stellar cast including Jessica Pratt as Lady Elvira Valton, John Osborn as Lord Arturo Talbot, and more. You won’t want to miss these incredible performances!