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JULES MASSENET: Le Cid

Paris National Opera

Week of 6/6/15

Paris National Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Michel Plasson, conductor

CAST: Anna Caterina Antonacci (Chimène); Roberto Alagna (Rodrigue); Paul Gray (Don Diègue); Nicolas Cavallier (The King); Franck Ferrari (Count of Gormas); Annick Massis (L'Infante); Farncis Dudziak (Saint Jacques)

In Paris, an operatic hotbed for centuries, few composers were ever as successful Massenet, and Le Cid is the piece that got his career rolling. The plot is a tangle of politics and romance, in which a young patriot, acting out of family loyalty, kills his fiancée's father. It comes to us from the modern incarnation of the historic Paris Opéra, where it premiered in 1885.

GAETANO DONIZETTI: Don Pasquale

Vienna State Opera

Week of 6/13/15

Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Jesús Lopez Cobos, conductor

CAST: Juan Diego Florez (Ernesto); Valentina Nafornita (Norina); Michele Pertusi (Don Pasquale); Alessio Arduini (Dr. Malatesta)

Donizetti wrote any number of irresistible comedies, including The Elixir of Love and The Daughter of the Regiment, and this sparkling score may be the best of them all. From Vienna, acclaimed veteran Juan Diego Florez does a star turn alongside the captivating young Romanian soprano, Valentina Nafornita.

W. A. MOZART: La Finta Semplice

Prinzregenten Theater, Munich

Week of 6/20/15

Munich Radio Orchestra

Rinaldo Alessandrini, conductor

CAST: Nuria Rial (Rosina); Andrew Staples (Fracasso); Kay Stiefermann (Cassandro); Oliver Ringelhahn (Polidoro); Elena Belfiore (Giacinta); David Steffens (Simone); Anna Lucia Richter (Ninetta)

The term "children's music" is generally used to describe music written for children -- but in this opera, it takes on a different meaning. La Finta Semplice is kids' music written by a kid -- the eleven-year-old Mozart, who used it to showcase an innovative ensemble style that later came to full bloom in masterpieces including The Marriage

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