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.
- Author of the program: Inessa Khachatryan
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.
Christoph Willibald Gluck, Orpheus and Eurydice
The opera's libretto was written by Ranieri de' Calzabigi on the basis of a variant of the ancient Greek legend incorporated in Virgil's "Georgics." The antique personages are presented in a lofty and touching simplicity in the opera and express real feelings peculiar to ordinary humans. The end of the opera, unlike that of the legend, is happy.
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.
Giacomo Puccini, Madama Butterfly
According to the author of this opera, it is a "Japanese tragedy."
From the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th, Europeans sought after exoticism, and the workers of art tried to enrich their works with Asian flavor. By choosing a Japanese theme, Puccini showed the importance of the drama of an individual.
The opera is based on American writer John Long's novel. David Belasco made a drama of it, and its staging so impressed Puccini that he asked Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa to transform the play into an opera libretto.
The actions of the opera take place in Nagasaki in 1900.
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.
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.
Ruggero Leoncavallo, Pagliacci
Leoncavallo's opera Pagliacci was premiered in 1892. The events of the plot happen in Italy's south, in the small village of Montalto, Calabria. "Pagliacci" means "clowns." This story is not a product of fantasy only; the author tried to reflect the real life, being inspired by that same reality.
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...
Igor Stravinsky, The Firebird ballet
Stravinsky wrote this ballet by order of Sergei Diaghilev, the famous director of the Russian ballet studio in Paris. The plot is based on Russian folk tales about Prince Ivan, Firebird, Grey Wolf, Kashchey the Deathless, and Princess Beloved Beauty.
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.
Tchaikovsky, The Queen of Spades
The broadcast presents Pyotr Tchaikovsky's opera The Queen of Spades, written on the basis of Alexander Pushkin's novel of the same name.
Sergei Prokofiev: Тhe Love for Тhree Оranges
The broadcast presents Sergei Prokofiev's opera Тhe Love for Тhree Оranges. The libretto was written by Prokofiev himself on the basis of the eponymous fairy tale by Italian writer Carlo Gozzi. The opera was first presented on stage on December 30, 1921, in Chicago, in the French language.
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.
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. Tchaikovsky 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.
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.
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.
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.