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World Classical Music
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Host - Inessa Khachatryan
Broadcast Schedule
Friday - 10:00
Pearls of Music Theater

The program broadcasts the best performances of famous operas, ballets, musicals, and operettas, presenting their plots and the history of their creation.

Before each act, the corresponding part of libretto is read, which makes the listening experience more vivid and comprehensible.

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02 July Richard Wagner, Tannhäuser


The broadcast presents Richard Wagner's opera Tannhäuser, based on medieval German legends. Its libretto was written by Wagner himself. The plot of the opera, borrowed from medieval legends and stories, takes the audience back to the old feudal and chivalrous times and contains a certain amount of mysticism. "Tannhäuser" demonstrates the struggle for the free expression of human and earthly feelings against Christian ascetic morality.

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25 June Armen Tigranyan, Opera Anush

Specialists consider the opera Anush as the first Armenian national opera. It was premiered in 1912 in Alexandropol by the efforts of an amateur troupe, but the melodies that sounded in the opera spread quickly among people and became very popular. The opera is based on the poem „Anush“ by Hovhannes Tumanyan, and the libretto was authored by the composer himself. Soon many arias, duets and choral songs of the opera Anush began to sound on the radio, TV, and concert scenes as brilliant concert samples.

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28 May Alfredo Catalani, La Wally

This opera's libretto was written by Luigi Illica who based it on the novel "The Vulture Wally: A Story from the Tyrolean Alps" by German writer Wilhelmine von Hillern. The opera was premiered on January 20, 1892, at the La Scala opera theater in Milan.

 

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21 May Richard Strauss, Salome

In 1893, Gustave Flaubert's novel "Herodias" inspired the English writer Oscar Wilde to write his one-act drama "Salomé" in French for the famous tragic actress Sarah Bernhardt. The play was staged in European theaters with a great success. The German composer Richard Strauss watched it in early 1903 in Berlin.
The exciting exotic nature of the East, Herod's hysterical character, and the sharpness of the contrast between Salome's disastrous amorality and God-fearing Jochanaan's (John the Baptist) piety inspired Strauss to compose an opera based on this play.

 

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14 May Manuel de Falla, La Vida Breve (The Brief Life)

This is Spanish composer Manuel de Falla's first opera. He worked on it for about a year, from August 1904 to March 1905. It was premiered in French translation on April 1, 1913, in Nice.

 

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07 May Gaetano Donizetti, Dom Sébastien

This episode presents Gaetano Donizetti's Opera Dom Sébastien. This is the last opera of the composer.  Its libretto was written by the famous French playwright  Eugène Scribe, based on the drama of the same name by Paul-Henri Foucher. It was premiered at the Paris Opera on November 13, 1843.

 

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09 April Leonard Bernstein, West Side Story

This musical is about two rival gangs, the Jets (White) and the Sharks (Puerto Rican), who struggle for control of the neighborhood somewhere in the Upper West Side of New York City. Though the conflicts found in Shakespear's Romeo and Juliette also recur here but this story is even more touching and emotional. Until the very last moment the audience expects to witness a happy end, but the real life is sometimes more cruel...

 

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26 March Adolphе Adam, Giselle, or the Wilis

The libretto of Adolphе Adam's fantastic ballet Giselle was written by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Théophile Gautier on the basis of Heinrich Heine's adaptation of a Slavic legend. The legend is about a group of female night dancers who are called Wilis. These unhappy young beings are brides that had died before entering the nuptial bed. At midnight, they come out of their graves, trying to re-experience their happy days. But death will happen to the passerby who will be so unfortunate to encounter them. They will take him in a round dance and force to dance with them until he falls down breathless. Giselle, a woman who had become disappointed in love and been deceived, dies and turns into a night dancer, a Wilis. 

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19 March Henry Purcell, Dido and Aeneas

The opera is based on Part IV of Virgil's epic poem "Aeneid" where the author tells about the legendary Trojan hero Aeneas. The libretto was written by Nahum Tate. "Dido and Aeneas" is the first music drama by Purcell. The composer wrote it in 1689 by a special order to present it at the graduation ceremony of Josias Priest's Girls' School.

 

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12 March Aram Khachaturian, Spartacus

The broadcast presents Khachaturian's ballet Spartacus, which describes the events of the uprising of slaves in 74-71 BCE in Ancient Rome, under the leadership of the Thracian Spartacus. In the basis of the libretto of this monumental work lies the idea of the universal human struggle for freedom. The moral beauty of Spartacus, his rich inner world and high aspirations are opposed to the violence towards the suppressed and to characters that embody cruelty. 

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05 March P. Tchaikovsky, Eugene Onegin

The broadcast presents Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin written on the basis of Alexander Pushkin's poem of the same name. The plot of this work is simple and well-known to many: it's centered around a love story. Tchaykovsky called his opera "Lyrical Scenes." It presents the fate of Tatyana Larina, a daughter of a modest aristocratic family living in a village. The characters are revealed in the opera through lyrical and dramatic arias, recitatives and duets, while the chorus of girls gathering berries describes the village life of that time. 

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23 January Gioachino Rossini, Cinderella

The broadcast presents Rossini's opera Cinderella, or Goodness Triumphant created on the basis of the fairy-tale Cinderella that is well known among both children and adults. The Italian libretto of the opera was written by Jacopo Ferretti. In the first part of the broadcast, you can listen to the first part of the first act of the opera.

 

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15 January Alexander Dargomyzhsky, Rusalka

The broadcast presents Russian composer Alexander Dargomyzhsky's opera, Rusalka, which is based on Alexander Pushkin's incomplete dramatic poem of the same name.

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08 January Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake

Libretto was written by Vladimir Begichev and Vasily Geltser.
"Swan Lake" was premiered in February 1977 and met by the public not very well. The experts of that time considered it unsuccessful and it was soon removed from the scene. The main culprits were considered choreographer Vatslav Reisinger and Polina Karpakova, who performed the role of Odette.
After almost twenty years, the Directorate of Imperial Theaters again turned its attention to Tchaikovsky's work to include it in the new season of 1893-1894. Thus, a new script of the play was developed by famous Marius Petipa. The composer's brother, Modest Ilyich, remade the libretto.
The new premiere took place in January 1895 in St. Petersburg. Since that time, the ballet has received a well-deserved recognition among both the public and music critics.

The ballet consists of four acts, which are presented in the four parts of our broadcast, respectively.

 

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05 January Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Christmas Eve

The plot of this opera by the Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov is  based on the novel "Christmas Eve" by Nikolai Gogol. The libretto was authored by the composer himself, who wrote his opera in the style of a fairy tale, enriching it with imaginary elements, as well as including in the libretto ancient pagan sayings with which Russian ans Ukrainian peasant household rituals were particularly rich.
"Christmas Eve" was premiered on November 28, 1895, at the Mariinsky Theater.

The opera consists of four acts, which are presented in the four parts of our broadcast, respectively.

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07 February Sergei Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet Ballet

In 1933, the famous Shakespearean scholar, artistic director of the Leningrad Theater of Opera and Ballet after Kirov (now Mariinsky) Sergei Radlov suggested Sergei Prokofiev to write music on the theme of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." The composer immediately started to write. Parallel with making the music, he, together with Radlov and the theater critic and playwright Adrian Piotrovsky, also created the libretto of the ballet.
The ballet "Romeo and Juliet" was premiered on December 30, 1938, in the Czech city of Brno. On the national scene, it was presented after overcoming many obstacles, on January 11,1940.

Listen to the ballet in three acts in the three parts of the  broadcast.

 

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31 January Alexey Verstovsky, Askold's Grave

The author of the libretto of this opera is well-known Russian writer and playwright Mikhail Zagoskin. His novel "Askold's Grave" that was published in 1833 received appreciation by neither critics nor readers. However, two years later, in 1825, Alexey Verstovsky decided to write an opera based on this novel.
The opera was premiered on September 15, 1836. The audience highly appreciated it. The opera was presented  in Moscow Bolshoy Theater over 400 times in 25 years, and until 1887, it was in the permanent repertoire of the Theater.

The opera consists of four acts, which are presented in the four parts of our broadcast, respectively.

 

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24 January Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro

The plot of the comic opera The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is created on the basis of a "scandalous comedy" by Pierre Beaumarchais that was banned by Austrian Emperor Joseph II because of its anti-feudal freethinking. The opera written by Mozart in a few months was the first attempt of joint work of the composer with the author of the libretto Lorenzo Da Ponte; next were the operas Don Giovanni and Thus Do They All.
The opera premiered in Italian on May 1, 1786, at the Burgtheater, Vienna.

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17 January Hector Berlioz, Benvenuto Cellini

The authors of the libretto of this opera by French composer Berlioz are Léon de Wailly and Henri Auguste Barbier. It is based on the memoirs of Benvenuto Cellini, the famous Italian sculptor, jeweler, painter, soldier and musician of the period of  Renaissance.
The opera consists of two acts, which are presented in the two parts of the broadcast, respectively.

 

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The plot of Tchaikovsky's ballet "Тhe Nutcracker" was borrowed from the tale  "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" by Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann. But the libretto is based on the tale "The Story of the Nutcracker" by Alexander Dumas the Father (1844), which was wrongly attributed to Alexander Dumas the Son in the "Theatrical Encyclopedia." Tchaikovsky worked on the creation of the ballet with popular ballet master Marius Petipa. The premiere took place on December 6, 1892, at the Mariinsky Theater along with the Opera "Iolanta."

  • The first part of the broadcast presents Act I of the ballet, and the second presents Act II.
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10 January Pyotr Tchaikovsky, "The Nutcracker"

The plot of Tchaikovsky's ballet "Тhe Nutcracker" was borrowed from the tale  "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" by Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann. But the libretto is based on the tale "The Story of the Nutcracker" by Alexander Dumas the Father (1844), which was wrongly attributed to Alexander Dumas the Son in the "Theatrical Encyclopedia." Tchaikovsky worked on the creation of the ballet with popular ballet master Marius Petipa. The premiere took place on December 6, 1892, at the Mariinsky Theater along with the Opera "Iolanta."

  • The first part of the broadcast presents Act I of the ballet, and the second presents Act II.
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The libretto of the  comic operetta "The Bat" ("Die Fledermaus") by Johann Strauss Jr. is based on a farce by German playwright Julius Roderich Benedix. Playwrights Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy transformed it into a vaudeville.
Their play was such a big success in Paris that the Director of the Theater An der Wien (Vienna) Maximilian Steiner decided to stage it in his theater. He ordered Austrian playwright and composer Richard Genée to write the final version of the play. One of the friends of Strauss' suggested that Steiner order Strauss to compose the music for the play. Strauss began working with great enthusiasm; he fell in love with the libretto so much that he completed his work in only 1.5 months. The premiere of the operetta took place on April 5, 1872, Easter, in the Theater An der Wien.
The operetta consists of three parts, which are presented in the three parts, respectively, of the broadcast.

 

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03 January Johann Strauss Jr., "Тhe Bat"

The libretto of the  comic operetta "The Bat" ("Die Fledermaus") by Johann Strauss Jr. is based on a farce by German playwright Julius Roderich Benedix. Playwrights Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy transformed it into a vaudeville.
Their play was such a big success in Paris that the Director of the Theater An der Wien (Vienna) Maximilian Steiner decided to stage it in his theater. He ordered Austrian playwright and composer Richard Genée to write the final version of the play. One of the friends of Strauss' suggested that Steiner order Strauss to compose the music for the play. Strauss began working with great enthusiasm; he fell in love with the libretto so much that he completed his work in only 1.5 months. The premiere of the operetta took place on April 5, 1872, Easter, in the Theater An der Wien.
The operetta consists of three parts, which are presented in the three parts, respectively, of the broadcast.

 

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20 December Imre Kalman, Die Csárdásfürstin (The Csárdás Princess)

The libretto of this operetta was written by the Austrian playwright Leo Stein and and librettist Bela Jenbach. Kalman conceived the idea of creating an operetta dedicated to the variety star Sylva Varescu in the beginning of 1914. The German libretto was called "Long live love."
The operetta was completed by November 1915, and its premiere took place on November 17 at the Johann Strauss Theater in Vienna.
The first staging of the operetta in Russia was in the midst of the World War I (1916), so both the title of the operetta and many of the names of the characters were changed. Since then, the Soviet and Russian audience have known this operetta as "Silva."

The operetta consists of three acts, which are presented in the three parts of our broadcast, respectively.

 

 

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The opera is based on the biblical events described in the tragedy of Auguste Anicet-Bourgeois. "Nabucco" is the Italian short form of the name of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II. The Bible tells how Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the first temple of Jerusalem in 578 BCE  and captured the Jews.
The author of the Italian libretto is Temistocle Solera.

 

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13 December Giuseppe Verdi's Opera "Nabucco"

The opera is based on the biblical events described in the tragedy of Auguste Anicet-Bourgeois. "Nabucco" is the Italian short form of the name of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II. The Bible tells how Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the first temple of Jerusalem in 578 BCE  and captured the Jews.
The author of the Italian libretto is Temistocle Solera.

 

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06 December Camille Saint-Saëns, Samson and Delilah

The opera "Samson and Delilah" is based on the well-known biblical story about Samson and Delilah. The author of the libretto is Ferdinand Lemaire. The opera was premiered in German, under the direction of Franz Liszt, in Weimar, 1877.

 

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