highlights from WRTI’s “Day at the Opera” Act I

I’m listening to WRTI’s “Day at the Opera.”  Some wonderful selections thus far. Yes, you have to endure the fundraising pitches today, but the snatches of music in between have been exquisite. You can listen too at http://www.wrti.org/listenlive.html.

Because I love my readers, I’ll spare you their fundraising patter and just share some of the pieces they’ve played thus far. Here’s an extraordinary version of the “Ave Maria” from Verdi‘s Otello sung by Mirella Freni.

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Another delight this morning was hearing “Libiamo Ne’ Lieti Calici” from La Traviata. I know some think La Traviata is overdone and rightly so–there are many other operas worthy of production–but I never tire of the drinking song. Perhaps because I never tire of drinking. Here’s a glorious version by The Three Tenors.

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  1. Yes, they weren’t broad or deep in terms of the selections they played–it was mass appeal day at the opera. I may have to dig up that aria you mentioned. I’m seeing Pelleas at the Met next month and want to prepare. Thanks for stopping by.

    • J.

      Hi Gale,

      Just so you know — Genevieve’s recitation of Golaud’s letter is not technically an aria, just the closest example to ‘conventional aria’ that the work offers.

      Although it is probably my favorite opera even I will admit that it’s not a perfect work. There are problems that aren’t fully solved, especially in, say, the love music at the end of Act 4 which I’ve never really cared for. It doesn’t quite hit the mark dramatically even though Debussy seems to have worked harder on that scene than any other.

      Regarding Act 5 — the somberness of the music is sometimes too much for me; I have to be in a special mood for it.

      I think the finest and most exquisite music is to be found in the first three acts which are basically flawless. Interesting to note that Debussy began working on Act 2 after he had completed the rest of the opera.

      I also am seeing it at the Met next month — on the 17th (Friday) 🙂

  2. J.


    Couldn’t they at least have included Genevieve’s gravely beautiful ‘Reading Of The Letter’ from Act 1 of ‘Pelleas et Melisande’… ?

    No excerpts at all from Debussy’s masterpiece… A pity.