Monday Night at the Opera

Beverly Sills sings Lucia di Lammermoor


7 p.m., Monday, Feb.23

Join us for one of Gaetano Donizetti’s greatest works, Lucia di Lammermoor. The cast includes Beverly Sills in her most iconic roll, Lucia. The Mad Scene is one of the greatest pieces of operatic music ever recorded. Thomas Schippers conducts the London Symphony Orchestra. Joining Miss Sills are Carlo Bergonzi, Piero Cappuccilli, and Justinio Diaz.

Spend an evening with an ill fated love story in a cold Scottish castle with some of the warmest Italian music ever composed.

Carmel Bach Festival Opera Program

Giacomo Puccini

Giacomo Puccini


7 p.m., Tuesday, September 1

The Carmel Bach Festival’s 2014 program narrated by David Gordon is called Inside the Music. The Festival explored its Bach and the Italians theme by pulling out all the stops for this concert. You’ll hear music form Monteverdi to Puccini. In fact, Paul Goodwin leads the orchestra, soloists, and chorus in the entire first scene of “Gianni Schicchi.”

Francis Garcia hosts.

Respighi and Puccini hits from the 2014 Carmel Bach Festival

Giacomo Puccini

Giacomo Puccini


7 p.m., Monday, August 18

Host Barbara Smythe introduces popular works from the world of opera and vocal music. The Bach Festival offers Ottorino Respighi’s”Il tramonto”  and Giacomo Puccini’s “Il crisatimi” both in arrangements for string quartet. Rufus Muller provides the voice line in the Respighi.

There’s plenty more from the Festival including Ralph Vaughan Williams’ On Wenlock Edge with Mr. Muller and from Barbara’s private collection of great arias.

Trouble in the Middle East — Haydn’s Armida


7 p.m., Monday, August 11

Jessye Norman

Jessye Norman

An early recording of soprano Jessye Norman singing the title character role of Armida, the sorceress of the Saracens during the Crusades. Armida also features the voices of Samuel Ramey, Anthony Rolf Johnson, and Claes Ahnsyo. Antal Dorati conducts the Lausanne Chhaydnamber Orchestra.

Bach’s St. Matthew Passion


7 p.m., Monday, August 4

We hear a complete performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Passion of Saint Matthew featuring the Carmel Bach Festival orchestra, soloists, and chorus.

Andrew Megill, Chorus Director, Carmel Bach Festival

Andrew Megill, Chorus Director, Carmel Bach Festival

Haydn: L’incontro improvviso

Depiction of the original setting for Haydn's opera "L'incontro improvviso" or "The Unexpected Encounter"

Depiction of the original setting for Haydn’s opera “L’incontro improvviso” or “The Unexpected Encounter”


Monday, March 17, 7 p.m.

The signed manuscript of Haydn’s “L’incontro improvviso” or “The Unexpected Encounter” was only discovered in 1954 in a library in St. Petersburg. Haydn had published one of the arias but the opera had been considered lost. This accounts for the general opera public’s unfamiliarity with this jewel of the classical repertoire.

Haydn created it in 1775 as entertainment for the Royal Austrian court’s visit to Esterhazy. The subject matter is quite entertaining as it is entirely set in a harem in Egypt and makes use of several Turkish effects which were popular at that time.

Rezia, a Persian princess promised to another, fall is in love with the Egyptian Ali. They elope but are captured by pirates and get separated. Rezia is sold to the Egyptian Sultan and becomes part of his harem. Ali discovers where she is and the plot of the opera plot follows their path to reuniting. Rezia and the Sultan are serious characters, held in great esteem. The Calendar and his servant Osmin are comic religious characters which fits the Archiduke’s disdain for the powerful religious orders that were in conflict with his political ambitions. Haydn was one smart cookie and new who signed his checks. But the result opera pleases all and is full of remarkable music which deserves to have a much wider audience. Joe Truskot hosts.

Violanta by Korngold: set in Venice at Carnival


Monday, March 10, 7 p.m.

Host Joe Truskot presents a rarely performed opera by Austrian composer Erich Korngold. Although best remembered for his work in the 30s and 40s in Hollywood, Korngold was one of the most prolific and talented musicians of the 20th century. Much of his music awaits discovery.

Here’s a production from the early 1980s with soprano Eva Marton, tenor Siegfried Jerusalem, bass Walter Berry conducted by Marek Janowski with the Bavarian Radio Choir and the Munich Radio Orchestra.

Violanta is short so the remainder of the program will feature several selections from German operas featuring the voices of Dietrich Fischer Diskau, Kiri Te Kanawa, Josef Greindl and others.

Sid Caesar Tribute

Sid Caesar (1922-2014)

Sid Caesar (1922-2014)

A round of applause please for a man who helped people enjoy opera and have fun doing it.

The skit was done live. Watch what happens when the eyebrow pencil tip breaks. All improvised.



Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra


Monday, Feb.10, 7 p.m.

Perhaps the least performed of Verdi’s masterpieces, “Simon Boccanegra” first appeared in 1857. It followed ” I Vespri Siciliani” and came prior to “Un balo en maschera.” The story revolves around unknown identities, love triangles, and contentious officials in 14th century Genoa.

One reason the work isn’t performed more frequently has to do with the five male voices it requires. There is only one female character of substance and she isn’t given an aria. Verdi worked with Boito years later and improved the score somewhat. It was restaged again in the revised version in 1881. The music is still much stronger than the story and some of Verdi’s most colorful scene painting.

The stellar cast includes Mirella Freni, Jose Carreras, Jose van Dam, Nicolai Ghiarov, and Piero Capucelli as Boccanegra.

Joe Truskot hosts.

Puccini’s Madama Butterfly


Monday, January 27, 7 p.m.

Host Joe Truskot presents one of the finest recordings of Puccini’s masterpiece featuring tenor Jussi Bjorland and soprano Victoria de los Angeles with the Chorus and Orchestra of Rome’s Opera House conducted by Gabriele Santini.

David Belasco’s play about the American soldier Pinkerton and the young Japanese girl Cho Cho San come to life in this love story with a shocking ending.