Wednesday, April 15, 2020


In this series of podcasts, Seattle Opera Dramaturg Jonathan Dean gives listeners a taste of nine different types of traditional opera. Verismo was a late nineteenth-century reaction against the excesses of the great tradition. The aim was immediate, powerful, realistic opera, with post-Wagnerian music of titanic passion setting stories about simple, everyday, relatable characters. The vogue for verismo dominated opera as the older art form gave birth to the cinema. Leoncavallo’s masterpiece Pagliacci (1892) serves as a well-known example of verismo; Il tabarro (1918), by Puccini, isn’t so well-known but is every bit as great.

Musical examples on this podcast include:
  • •Opening of Andrea Chenier, orchestra of Seattle Opera conducted by Steven Mercurio, 1996
  • •“Bell Song” from Lakmé, Joan Sutherland and the orchestra of Seattle Opera conducted by Richard Bonynge, 1967
  • •“Musetta’s Waltz” from La bohème, Karen Driscoll, Philip Cutlip, soloists, chorus, and orchestra of Seattle Opera conducted by Vjekoslav Sutej, 2007
  • •Scene from Pagliacci, Renato Cellini conducts Jussi Björling, Victoria de los Angeles, Robert Merrill, Leonard Warren, and the RCA Victor Orchestra (EMI Classics, 1953)
  • •Scene from Il tabarro, Tito Gobbi, Margaret Mas, and the orchestra of the Rome Opera conducted by Vincenzo Bellezza (EMI 1956)
Stay tuned for another podcast introducing another kind of opera next week!

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