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Romantic Era


Various uprisings are taking place on the Italian peninsula, including the papal states. Pope Gregory XVI is opposed to democracy at any level and calls for help from Austria. Austria's army marches across the peninsula, crushing revolts and revolutionary movements
  •  In Warsaw, Polish soldiers revolt against Russian rule. Crowds take control of the city. Austria and Prussia want the revolt crushed  •  Freedom for the Poles is a popular cause in Britain and in France, but little help arrives and Nicholas I, who considers himself both the Tsar of Russia and King of Poland, sends troops that overwhelm the rebellion  •  In England, parliament's lower body, the House of Commons, passes a reform bill. Britain's new Prime Minister, Earl Grey, wants to end undue representation to towns that have shrunk (rotten boroughs) and to give Britain's growing industrial towns representation in the House of Commons. The bill is defeated in the House of Lords, dominated by aristocratic conservatives. Rioting erupts in various cities, most seriously in Bristol from April 15 to May 4  •  A severe flood and plague devastate Baghdad. Mumeluke rule ends there as Mahmud II, sultan, reasserts Ottoman control over Mesopotamia  •  Charles Darwin, 22, has completed his B.A. at Cambridge and sails as an unpaid naturalist on the H.M.S. Beagle to South America, New Zealand and Australia  •  In Boston, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrisons begins publishing an anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator  •  In Jamaica, a black Baptist deacon, Sam Sharpe, has gathered from the Bible that all men are created equal. He has learned from newspapers that people in England want an end to slavery. He organizes a sit-down strike timed for the harvest. Local planters move to crush the revolt and a group of slaves become violent, set fire to buildings and to cane fields. The planters crush the rebellion and hang Sam Sharpe  •   In America, Cyrus McCormick invents the reaper-harvester. making it possible to harvest at three times the previous speed

Egypt takes advantage of Russia's defeat of the Ottoman Turks and declares independence
  •  The Whigs acquire more power momentarily. They are largely aristocrats with liberal leanings. They want to make Britain's political system fairer and to placate working people without giving in to all their demands. The Great Reform Act, denied in 1831, is passed into law  •  In Illinois, a state since 1818, the Fox Indians, led by Black Hawk, are defeated militarily. In his surrender speech Black Hawk acknowledges defeat. He says he has done nothing shameful

Carl von Clausewitz' On War (vom Kriege) is published two years after his death. Clausewitz saw violence as the only proper defense against the violence of others, and he saw war as a political act for political goals
  •  In Japan, too much rain produces crop failures and what is called the Tempo famine. (The previous famine in Japan was around fifty years before.) Prosperity comes to a temporary end. The famine is to last three years and an estimated 300,000 are to die  •  Karl Bryullov – The Last Day of Pompeii

Britain's Abolition Slavery Act goes into effect, with the British government prepared to compensate financially those who lose slaves. In Canada many slaves had been freed years before. The remaining 781,000 slaves are freed, but no claims for receiving financial compensation are submitted
  •  The Queen Mother, Maria Christina, fourth wife of Ferdinand VII, who died in 1833, officially ends Spain's Inquisition

In Britain, vaccination becomes mandatory
  •  Britain and Spain renew agreement against the slave trade. British sea captains are authorized to arrest suspected Spanish slavers and bring them before mixed commissions established at Sierra Leone and Havana. Vessels carrying specified "equipment articles" (extra mess gear, lumber, foodstuffs) are declared prima-facie to be slavers  •  In the southern states of the United States, abolitionists are expelled and mailing anti-slavery literature is forbidden  •  Steamships appear on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers  •  Samuel Colt of Connecticut receives a patent for his revolver in Europe  •  Balzac (France) - Le Père Goriot

Honoré de Balzac (20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. The novel sequence La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of post-Napoleonic French life, is generally viewed as his magnum opus.



Felix Mendelssohn : Piano Concerto No. 1, Opus 25; Die erste Walpurgisnacht, secular cantata, Opus 60 

Mendelssohns - Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor (op. 25)

Molto allegro con fuoco in G minor
Andante in E major
Presto—Molto allegro e vivace in G major

Kurt Masur (direction)
Yuja Wang (piano)
Verbier Festival Orchestra

Mendelssohn: Die erste Walpurgisnacht
∙ hr-Sinfonieorchester

Ouvertüre ∙
I. »Es lacht der Mai« – »Die Flamme lodre durch den Rauch« ∙
II. »Könnt ihr so verwegen handeln?« ∙
III. »Wer Opfer heut' zu bringen scheut« ∙
IV. »Verteilt euch hier« ∙
V. »Diese dumpfen Pfaffenchristen« – »Kommet mit Zacken und mit Gabeln« ∙
VI. »Kommt mit Zacken und mit Gabeln« ∙
VII. »So weit gebracht« ∙
VIII. »Hilf, ach hilf mir, Kriegsgeselle« ∙
IX. »Die Flamme reinigt sich vom Rauch« ∙

hr-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra) ∙ 
Sonja Leutwyler, Alt ∙ 
Maximilian Schmitt, Tenor ∙ 
Adrian Eröd, Bariton ∙ 
Markus Volpert, Bass ∙ 
MDR Rundfunkchor ∙
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Dirigent ∙ 

Rheingau Musik Festival 2014 ∙ 
Kloster Eberbach, 22. August 2014 ∙ 

8 January  
Franz Krommer, composer, dies.

4 March 
Georg Michael Telemann, theologian and composer, dies.

6 March
Vincenzo Bellini - La Sonnambula

La sonnambula (The Sleepwalker) is an opera semiseria in two acts, with music in the bel canto tradition by Vincenzo Bellini set to an Italian libretto by Felice Romani, based on a scenario for a ballet-pantomime written by Eugène Scribe and choreographed by Jean-Pierre Aumer called La somnambule, ou L'arrivée d'un nouveau seigneur.  

Ferdinand Hérold - Overture "Zampa"
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier

Zampa, a pirate    tenor  
Alphonse de Monza    tenor  
Camille, Alphonse's fiancée    soprano  
Daniel    tenor   
Ritta    mezzo-soprano   
Dandolo    tenor  
The young Count of Monza, having dissipated the family fortune and seduced then deserted Alice Manfredi, went off to sea to become a pirate. He adopted the name Zampa. Alice Manfredi, roaming in search of her treacherous lover, was taken in and sheltered by Lugano, a wealthy merchant. Alice died shortly thereafter, of a broken heart; and Lugano caused a marble statue of her to be erected in his palace. This statue is venerated by the local people as a saint.

Act 1
Camille, Lugano's daughter, is preparing to marry Alphonse, the younger son of the Monza family, who has never met his elder brother. Just then, by the sort of coincidence beloved of opera librettists, Zampa arrives on the scene, in disguise. He is thought by everyone to be in prison awaiting execution; but in reality he has escaped, and he has just captured Lugano. Now he has arrived at the palace to demand a ransom for Lugano's release.

Zampa is smitten by Camille's beauty and so, in addition, he demands her for himself as the price for Lugano's life. In order to save her father, Camille is thus forced to break her engagement to Alphonse, who is removed from the scene when he, too, is captured by the pirates. Zampa is then joined by his pirates. They take possession of the palace and order Dandolo, the castle steward, to prepare rooms and bring wine for them all. During the ensuing feast Daniel, Zampa' s first mate, notices the statue of Alice. For a joke, Zampa places a ring on the marble Alice's finger and declares her his fiancée for the night. However, when he tries to remove the ring, the statue's hand closes — to the terror of all except Zampa.

Act 2
The following day, Zampa is leading Camille to the altar when — on the very threshold of the chapel — the statue of Alice appears and threatens Zampa. Again, Zampa refuses to be alarmed by the statue. Now Camille's companion Ritta comes on the scene; she is perplexed about two things: first, that Camille is, although apparently unwillingly, about to marry a stranger; and second, that neither the bride's father Lugano nor Alphonse are there. Then Ritta spots Daniel, her supposedly dead husband; this places her in a quandary, because the (much more attractive prospect) Dandolo has been courting her.

The comic sub-plot of this trio continues to weave its way through the rest of the story. Alphonse appears, having made good his escape from the pirates, and recognises Zampa as the pirate chief. As he is in the throes of denouncing Zampa to the assembled company, a pardon arrives from the viceroy: Zampa is to be given his freedom on condition that he and his men go to fight the Turks. All this notwithstanding, the ceremony goes ahead: Zampa and the heartbroken Camille are married.

Act 3
In despair, Alphonse comes at night to bid farewell to the desolate Camille. Alphonse decides to kill Zampa, but he suddenly realizes that Zampa is in fact his long-lost elder brother, and that consequently he is unable to kill him. He leaves Camille' s room.

Zampa and Camille are finally alone together. However, in the final fatal twist of the story, just as Zampa goes to take Camille in his arms, the statue of Alice Manfredi appears again between the couple, and drags Zampa down to hell. (This aspect of the plot is clearly a pastiche of the plot of Mozart's Don Giovanni, and also bears striking similarity to Merimee's La Vénus d'Ille.)

21 November
Giacomo Meyerbeer Robert le diable

Robert le diable (Robert the Devil) is an opera in five acts composed by Giacomo Meyerbeer from a libretto written by Eugène Scribe and Germain Delavigne. Robert le diable is regarded as one of the first grand operas at the Paris Opéra. It has only a superficial connection to the medieval legend of Robert the Devil.

26 December
Vincenzo Bellini - Norma

Norma  is a tragedia lirica or opera in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini with libretto by Felice Romani after Norma, ou L'infanticide (Norma, or The Infanticide) by Alexandre Soumet. It was first produced at La Scala in Milan on 26 December 1831.



Albert Lortzing Singspiel Szenen aus Mozarts Leben, with music selected from the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Albert Lortzing: Szenen aus Mozarts Leben - Freundschaft und Liebe
Scenes uit Mozarts leven. Muziektheatervoorstelling van maart 2015 theater Geert Teis. Dirigent: Pim de Koning. regie: Hans Elbersen m.m.v. Wyanda Yap, Alina de Roo, Jan Hofman, Johan Kleinheerenbrink.
Basz de Jonge als Mozart.
Vertaling en bewerking: Nico Vloothuis
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Sprechrolle 
Constanze, seine Gattin - Sopran 
Aloysia Lange, ihre Schwester, Sängerin - Alt 

Leopold Mozart, Mozarts Vater - Sprechrolle 
Joseph Haydn - Sprechrolle 
Baron van Swieten - Sprechrolle 
Antonio Salieri, Komponist - Bariton 
Anton Stadler, Hofmusiker - Sprechrolle 
Georg Albrechtsberger, ein Freund Mozarts - Baß 
Valentin Adamberger, ein weiterer Freund - Tenor 
Fräulein Cavaglieri, Sängerin - Sprechrolle 
Dauer, ein Sänger, Salieris Freund - Sprechrolle 
Ein Stubenmädchen - Sprechrolle 

 28 January
Franz Wüllner, conductor and composer, born. 

10 March  
Muzio Clementi, composer and pianist, dies, aged 80

12 March 
Friedrich Kuhlau, composer, dies, aged 55

Charles-Valentin Alkan – Concerti da Camera nos. 1 and 2, Op. 10

Charles-Valentin Alkan - 3 Concerti da camera Op. 10

(00:10) Concerto da camera Op. 10/1 in A minor was premiered in Paris on 29 April 1832


(14:33) The second Concerto da camera in C sharp minor was composed for Henry Field of Bath. Dedicated to the same individual, he performed it in Bath on 11 April 1834. 

(22:09) Third Concerto da camera, the first performance of which was announced for the concert in Paris on 3 March 1838. 

Richard Wagner – Symphony in C; Die Hochzeit- komplettes Fragment 

Richard Wagner - Symphony in C major 
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra - Heinz Rögner

Wagner - Die Hochzeit - komplettes Fragment (Chor, Rezitativ, Septett)
Die Hochzeit (The Wedding)
is an unfinished opera by Richard Wagner which predates his completed works in the genre. Wagner completed the libretto, then started composing the music in the second half of 1832 when he was just nineteen. He abandoned the project after his sister Rosalie, who was the main supporter and the spokesman of the family, expressed her disgust at the story. Wagner destroyed the libretto.

12 January Gaetano DonizettiFausta

Fausta is a melodramma, or opera seria, in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. The Italian libretto was partly written by Domenico Gilardoni, who died while doing so: the remainder was written by Donizetti. The literary source of the opera's libretto is Crispo, a tragedy improvised by Tommaso Sgricci on 3 November 1827.

The opera successfully debuted on 12 January 1832 at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples

Gaetano Donizetti - Fausta 

Fausta, Raina Kabaivanska
Costantino il Grande, Renato Bruson
Crispo, Giuseppe Giacomini
Massimiano, Luigi Roni
Licinia, Ambra Vespasiani
Albino, Tullio Pan

Conductor, Daniel Oren
Orchestra, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
Chorus, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, 1981

Time: 326 A.D.
Place: Rome

Act 1
Scene 1: The Capitol Square, with the Temple of Jupiter in the background

The populace welcomes the return of victorious Crispus, son of Emperor Constantine and his first wife Minervina. A high priest by the altar is waiting to crown Crispus who has been successful in his campaign against the Gauls. Fausta, the second wife of Constantine, and her father Maximian (archrival of the Emperor), as well as Licinia, Constantine himself and scores of prisoners witness the triumph of Crispus. Fausta looks at him and feels the pangs of her incestuous love; Constantine rejoices and Beroe, one the prisoners, remembers her love at first sight for Crispus. Constantine notices her and wonders about the female prisoner; Crispus explains that she is the daughter of a prince and declares his love for her. Fausta is stunned by the development and the Emperor tells Beroe to come forward; she declares her love and Constantine tells her that he is going to marry them that very day. Fausta is devastated by the announcement and tells her husband that the wedding will have to be set for the following day because the goddess Vesta so requires. Licinia and those attending the event rejoice. After the jubilation, everyone leaves except Maximian who is conspiring against the Emperor, and although he failed his first attempt to kill both father and son, this time he is sure he will succeed.

Scene 2: The magnificent imperial apartments

The Empress’ maids wonder why she no longer smiles. Fausta, in deep thought, is depressed and asks the servants and Licinia to leave. Alone, Fausta is perturbed by her unrequited love for Crispus and she feels that her only rewards are tears and endless despair.

Scenes 3, 4, 5, and 6: The pavilion

Licinia accompanies Crispus to the pavilion where Fausta is planning to meet him. After arriving, she ensures that no one is in sight and tells her stepson that she has to unveil a secret that has caused her great distress. It is no state secret, but her love for someone.

Unexpected, Beroe arrives much to the delight of her lover, Fausta shudders, and explains to the Empress that Maximian needs to see her. Fausta tells her rival to leave. When they are alone again she implores Crispus to forget Beroe and to direct his love to someone who is really passionately devoted to him. He begins to understand what she means by a secret and is horrified by her revelation; he tries to leave, but she grabs his hand and tells him that if he rejects her, Beroe will perish. He falls on his knees and begs her not to do that.

Constantine, Beroe, Maximian, members of the imperial household, Licinia and the maids arrive. The Emperor is suspicious seeing the son prostrated before his wife. When she explains that he was professing his love for her, all are aghast and even Beroe believes he is guilty. The Empress whisper to Crispus that she is willing to recant and die if he loves her. Maximian is overjoyed because the turn of events is very favourable to his plans to topple Constantine who is determined to exile the son. Crispus, in turn, blames Fausta for the curse the father has cast on him; she begins to see the early signs of the great tragedy she has unleashed.

Act 2
Scenes 1, 2, 3 and 4: A grove close to the imperial palace

It is night. Maximinian, who dreams to become Emperor before sunrise, has summoned his followers to murder both Crispus and Constantine.

While Maximinian and his men prepare to leave, Crispus and Beroe arrive. The former captive princess explains that Licinia has confessed to Fausta’s machinations. Maximian suspects there are other people in the grove and, when he bumps into Crispus, both become very suspicious of each other and brandish their swords.

Holding torches, Maximian’s followers, along with Constantine, appear. Seeing him with his greatest enemy, the Emperor declares that his son is plotting to get rid of him. Crispus kneels at his feet saying that he is ready to die. He professes his innocence on all accusations. The father responds that the judges and the Senate will decide his fate. Crispus is arrested and carried away by the pretorians.

At dawn, Beroe and Licinia talk about the impending trial that will sentence Crispus to death.

Scenes 5 and 6: The Senate Hall

The senators have gathered and the Emperor arrives escorted by his guards. Constantine realizes he still has deep feelings for his son and warns Maximian to give a factual deposition. However, during his narration he alleges that Crispus was planning to kill the Emperor. Crispus responds that this is a lie and asks Beroe to tell the facts. She explains that Crispus is innocent and that she is ready to be exiled with him, the truth being that Maximian and his assassins were ready to kill both father and son. Crispus confirms this explanation, but the father tells the senators to remember what had just been said. Constantine wants to speak to Crispus and all are asked to leave, but although he professes love for the son, when he sees no tears coming from the eyes of Crispus he remains convinced that the son is guilty. Crispus responds that an innocent person has no tears. The senators are summoned back to the hall and deliver a guilty verdict. Constantine realizes that he is about to send his son to the executioner and, trembling, he signs the death warrant.

Scenes 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11: The atrium of the jail

Jailer Albino feels very sorry for the 20-year-old Crispus. Fausta enters and asks him to bring her stepson; she realizes that this is her last chance. Crispus cannot believe his eyes and ears as she professes love for him in a desperate delirium. Fausta tells him that they can run away, but he shows her the poison inside his ring. She snatches the ring and utters "Love will save you."

Maximian and four armed guards arrive. Fausta is ordered to leave, but she resists and begs the father not to execute Crispus. One of the guards returns from Crispus’ cell and confirms that the execution has been carried out. Fausta ingests the poison from the ring and collapses, Maximian rushes to the cell and hears voices calling for his own death.

Constantine has heard the truth from Maximian’s hitmen and arrives with Beroe, Licinia, the Empress’s maids and his pretorians. In his hand is the signed pardon for his son, but Maximian proudly and cynically confirms that his son is dead. Meanwhile Fausta has regained some of her strength and tells Constantine about her lies. When the infuriated Emperor remonstrates that she will pay the ultimate price, she confesses that she has taken a deadly poison. Everyone is horrified and in unison respond, "Evil woman; there is no bigger monster than you on earth."

14 August 
Première of Felix Mendelssohn's
Hebrides Overture is held in London.

Felix Mendelssohn - Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave), Op. 26

London Symphony Orchestra - Claudio Abbado

12 May 
Gaetano DonizettiL'elisir d'amore, May 12, Teatro della Canobbiana, Milan.

20 June
Fromental Halévy – La tentation

La tentation 
is a "ballet-opera", a hybrid work in which both singers and dancers play major roles. It was premiered in 1832 in its original five-act form by the Paris Opéra at the Salle Le Peletier. Most of the music was by Fromental Halévy, and the libretto was by Edmond Cavé and Henri Duponchel.

Fromental Halévy - Quadrille sur la Tentation

Act 1
An oriental desert close to a hermitage

The hermit prays to free himself from temptation; he is apparently struck dead by lightning when lusting after the pilgrim Marie. Whilst angels and demons debate his fate, he revives and flees.

Act 2
The interior of a volcano

Astaroth and the demons plot a revenge against the hermit. In one of the most popular scenes of the opera, they create the temptress Miranda, who rises (apparently naked) from a cauldron which has previously produced a grisly monster. Miranda is marked by a black spot on her heart. The demons are dispersed by an angel on a meteor.

Act 3
In a deserted park

The hermit is starving. Astaroth appears with the demoness Miranda to tempt him, offering bread for his cross. However Miranda is moved by the hermit's prayer and kneels; the spot vanishes.

Act 4
A magnificent harem by the seashore

The hermit is attracted by the beautiful dancers of the harem, who prevent Miranda from joining their revels. The hermit is told that by murdering the Sultan he can take over the harem; but Miranda prevents him.

Act 5
An oriental desert close to a hermitage

The hermit finds Marie in his hermitage. Miranda joins Marie in prayer, although she has been commanded to seduce the hermit. Astaroth and his legions undertake various diabolic actions, including the murder of Miranda. However, angels take the hermit to heaven.

3 August 
Ivan Zajc
, composer, conductor, director and teacher, born.

4 November 
Gaetano DonizettiSancia di Castiglia

Sancia di Castiglia is an Italian opera seria in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti to a libretto by Pietro Salatino. It was first performed at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, on 4 November 1832 conducted by Nicola Festa.

Donizetti: Sancia di Castiglia
Sancia: Montserrat Caballé
Garzía: Itxaro Mentxaka
Ircano: Boris Martinovich
Rodrigo: José Sempere
Elvira: Rosa Martín
Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid, José Collado.
Teatro de la Zarzuela, 1992.

Place: Castile, Spain
Time: the middle ages

Sancia, Queen of Castile, whose husband has been killed in battle, also believes that her son, Garcia, has been killed. She plans to marry the Saracen prince, Ircano, against the advice of her minister, Rodrigo. When Garcia, having survived an assassination attempt instigated by Ircano, reappears to claim the throne, Ircano tells Sancia that he will marry her only if she poisons her son. Garcia is about to drink from the poisoned goblet when a suddenly repentant Sancia snatches it and drinks it herself. She dies pleading for her son's forgiveness.

9 December 
Hector BerliozLelio

Lélio, ou Le retour à la vie
(Lélio, or the Return to Life) Op. 14b, is a work incorporating music and spoken text by the French composer Hector Berlioz, intended as a sequel to his Symphonie fantastique. It is written for a narrator, solo voices, chorus, and an orchestra including pianos.

     Berlioz - Lélio, op 14b

Jean Martinon & Jean Topart (1974)
Choeur & Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française
Jean Topart (récitant) ; Charles Burles (Ténor) ; Jean Van Gorp (Baryton) - Nicolai Gedda (Ténor) ; Michel Sendrez (piano) ; Marie Claire Jamet (Harpe)

0:00 : Le pêcheur. Ballade - Sur une traduction de la ballade de Goethe Der Fischer.
10:37 : Chœur d'ombres - Une évocation de l'atmosphère fantomatique d'Hamlet de Shakespeare, cette pièce réutilise de morceaux de la cantate La mort de Cléopâtre.
20:02 : Chanson de brigands - Une célébration de la liberté par des bandits en Calabre.
25:39 : Chant de bonheur - Souvenirs - La musique provient de la cantate La mort d’Orphée (1827).
La harpe éolienne, pour orchestre seul - la musique provient de la cantate La mort d’Orphée. La harpe éolienne est un important symbole de l'inspiration artistique dans le romantisme.
39:00 : Fantaisie sur la "Tempête" de Shakespeare - Pièce basée sur la pièce de Shakespeare The Tempest pour orchestre et chœurs (chanté en Italien. Cette œuvre marque la première utilisation du piano comme instrument de l'orchestre. Berlioz, qui se répétait rarement, ne l'utilisa ensuite jamais plus (The work marks the first appearance of the piano as an orchestral instrument. Berlioz, who rarely repeated himself, never made use of it again - Cairns p.382).

Franz Wüllner

Franz Wüllner

Franz Wüllner (28 January 1832 – 7 September 1902) was a German composer and conductor. He led the premieres of Richard Wagner's operas Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, but was much criticized by Wagner himself, who greatly preferred the more celebrated conductors Hans von Bülow and Hermann Levi.


Wüllner was born in Münster and studied in his native place, and at Frankfurt, Berlin, Brussels, and Munich. In 1856 Wüllner became instructor in piano at the Munich Conservatory. He held the position of town musical director at Aix-la-Chapelle from 1858 to 1864.
He succeeded the temperamental Bülow in 1869 as conductor of the Court Opera and the Academy Courts. Here he conducted the first performances of Rheingold and Walküre (1869, 1870) before the production of the entire Ring cycle at the first Bayreuth Festival of 1876. 

He became court kapellmeister at Dresden and artistic director of the conservatory in 1877, and director of the Cologne conservatory and conductor of the Gürzenich concerts in 1884. After 1864 he appeared frequently as conductor of the Lower Rhenish Music Festival. He died in Braunfels. 

Among his works are: Heinrich der Finkler, a cantata for solo, male chorus, and orchestra; additional recitatives to Weber's Oberon, accepted by many of Germany's principal theatres; Psalm 125, for chorus and orchestra; Miserere for double choir; and Stabat Mater for double choir; besides masses, motets, songs, chamber music, and piano pieces.

Franz Wüllner - Te Deum

Franz Wüllner - Kindelein zart
Ausführende: Ensemble sirventes, Berlin. Leitung: Stefan Schuck

Ivan Zajc

Ivan Zajc

Ivan Zajc (August 3, 1832 – December 16, 1914), was a Croatian composer, conductor, director and teacher who for over forty years dominated Croatia's musical culture. Through his artistic and institutional reform efforts, he is credited with its revitalization and refinement, paving the way for new and significant Croatian musical achievements in the 20th century. He is often called the Croatian Verdi.

Ivan Dragutin Stjepan Zajc was born in Fiume, modern-day Rijeka, Croatia. His family migrated from Bratislava, Slovakia; his father, Johann Zaytz, was of Czech descent, and his mother, Anna Bodensteiner was of German descent. His musical talent was evident very early on in his life, as he began to study the piano and violin at the age of five, performed in public by the age of six, and even began to compose his own music by the age of twelve. Nevertheless, despite his early musical success, his military bandmaster father was opposed to the idea of a career in music and wanted him to study law instead following the completion of his secondary education. In the end, Zajc's professors prevailed and he entered the Milan Conservatory in 1850 with his father's consent.
Zajc studied in Milan from 1850 to 1855, under the supervision of Stefano Ronchetti-Monteviti (counterpoint and composition), Alberto Mazzucato (orchestration), and Lauro Rossi (dramatic music). During this period, Zajc took his studies very seriously and regularly won prizes as one of the conservatory's most talented students. He was awarded first prize at his graduation examination for the opera La Tirolese (1855), which was performed on stage in the same year. Zajc's future as a composer and conductor in Milan was secure, but the death of his parents in the meantime forced him to return to Rijeka.

Back home, he accepted the post of conductor and concert master of the Town Theatre Orchestra, taught stringed instruments at the Philharmonic Institute, and simultaneously wrote numerous compositions with his characteristic speed and ease. In 1860, his opera Amelia ossia Il Bandito was met with great success, though two years later, after a prolonged illness, Zajc chose to move to Vienna, where opera and theatre were flourishing. His eight-year stay there (1862–70) was marked by further success, though he settled for composing operettas rather than operas. His first Viennese work, Mannschaft an Bord (1863), was enormously well received and his later operettas only served to strengthen his growing reputation. Yet it was in Vienna that Zajc became involved with the Croatian academic society Velebit and frequently met with young Croatian students. Influenced by such Croatian cultural figures as bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer and poets Petar Preradović, Ivan Trnski, August Šenoa, and Matija Divković, Zajc chose patriotism over world fame and returned to Croatia.
Upon his arrival in Zagreb in 1870, Zajc was presented with two posts: director and conductor of the Croatian Opera and director and teacher at the Croatian Institute of Music. It was during this period that Zajc made his colossal contribution to Croatian musical culture, not only through his compositions, but also through his leadership in reorganizing Zagreb's musical institutions. He was also an excellent vocal teacher and succeeded in training several prominent singers. Zajc was an exceptionally prolific composer as evidenced by almost 1000 works, from Op. 234 to Op. 1202, produced during his time in Zagreb. Included in this number are Mislav (1870), Ban Leget (1872), his masterpiece Nikola Šubić Zrinski (1876), and Lizinka (1878), in addition to operettas, musical comedies, cantatas, songs and choral compositions, concerti, chamber music, and many other works.

Zajc's appointment at the opera was held until 1889, when owing to financial difficulties the organization lapsed for a time, but Zajc retained his post at the school until 1908, when he finally retired. He is credited with reviving Croatian music during a period of musical stagnation after the collapse of the Illyrian Movement and raising it to the artistic level where it stands today. His efforts paved the way for new and significant Croatian musical achievements in the early 20th century, which Zajc himself lived to see until his death on December 16, 1914 in Zagreb.

Ivan Zajc - Nikola Šubić Zrinski -part 1

Nikola Šubić Zrinski, Croatian ban, commander of Siget : Vladimir Ruždjak
Eva, his wife: Milka Bertapelle
Jelena, their daughter: Branka Stilinović
Lovro Juranić, Jelena's fiancé: Zvonimir Prelčec
Gašpar Alapić: Nikola Bogdan
Vuk Paprutović: Rajko Truban
Sulejman the Magnificent, Turkish Sultan : Dragutin Bernardić
Mehmed Sokolović, Grand Vizier: Franjo Paulik
Levi, Sulejman's physician: Milivoj Belavić
Timoleon: Ivica Kiš

Ivan Zajc - Nikola Šubić Zrinski -part 2

Act 1

Scene one: In his camp in Belgrade, Suleyman II, already in poor health, decides to wage war and advance to Vienna. The physician Levi warns him that the exertions of war can prove to be fatal for his health. The grand vizier Mehmed Sokolović praises the Sultan's plans. Suleyman announces to his troops that he first of all wants to capture Szigeth and vanquish Nikola Zrinski. His captains think that they should bypass Szigeth, but the Sultan remains implacable.

Scene two: The people in Szigeth have a foreboding of coming events. Jelena, Nikola's daughter, tells her mother Eva how she fears the Turks and enslavement. Upon hearing about the Turkish invasion, Zrinski decides to make a stand. Jelena and Juranić wish to be married, but Zrinski postpones the marriage until the end of the war.

Scene three: On the fortress wall, Zrinski's troops greet Alapić and Juranić who are joined by Nikola Šubić together with Eva and Jelena. The women decide to stay in Szigeth with the defenders. Zrinski and the troops take a solemn oath to defend Szigeth to the last man.

Act 2

Scene four: In the Turkish camp, the Sultan's suite, together with Timoleon the eunuch, are enjoying themselves in a song celebrating the death of the young Hungarian king on the field of Mohacs some forty years previously. The Sultan and the grand vizier attend a ceremonious dance. The Sultan is impatient because of Zrinjski's resistance and sends Sokolović to negotiate with him.

Scene five: In Szigeth, Nikola Šubić is worried because the Turks are continuing their advance. He decides to bring down the walls of the new town himself and to withdraw to the old fortress with his troops. Mehmed Sokolović arrives with the Sultan's message. He will make Zrinski king if he hands over the keys of the town. Zrinski proudly rejects this. Sokolović threatens him and discloses that the Turks have taken his son Gjuro. Together with his family and troops, Zrinski repeats the solemn oath. Amazed by such courage, Sokolović returns to the camp.

Act 3

Scene six: At the camp before Szigeth, the Sultan dies. Sokolović assumes power and hides Suleyman's death from the Turkish troops.

Scene seven: Eva and Jelena have taken shelter in the basement of the old town. The girl dreams of her marriage to Juranić. He arrives with the message, that they are preparing for the decisive battle. Jelena anticipates that things will go badly, and asks Juranić to kill her so that she does not fall into Turkish hands. They say goodbay and Juranić stabs Jelena with his dagger.

Scene eight: On the fortress wall, Zrinski takes his leave of Eva. The troops and the people gather. With the joint cry »To arms, to arms, draw your sword« all go to their death.

Ivan Zajc - Mislav

Ivan Zajc (Giovanni de Zaytz): Symphony in C minor (Sinfonisches Tongemälde), Op. 394
Croatian Radio-Television, Symphony Orchestra Robert Homen, conductor



Frédéric Chopin: Grande valse brillante in E-flat major, Op. 18; Boléro, Op. 19

Chopin "Grande valse brillante" Op. 18 In E-Flat
Arthur Rubinstein 

Frédéric Chopin - Bolero, Op.19 

Idil Biret

Charles Valentin Alkan Rondo Brilliant

Alkan -  Op.4 - Rondo Brillant

Johann Nepomuk Hummel – Fantasy for piano

Johann Nepomuk Hummel - Fantasy for Piano in G minor, Op.123

Mikio Tao

9 September 
Gaetano DonizettiTorquato Tasso

Torquato Tasso
is a melodramma semiserio, in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti and based on the life of the great poet Torquato Tasso. The Italian libretto was written by Jacopo Ferretti, who used a number of sources for his text, including works by Giovanni Rosini, Goethe, Goldoni, and Lord Byron as well as Tasso's actual poetry. It premiered on 9 September 1833 at the Teatro Valle, Rome.

Gaetano Donizetti – Torquato Tasso

Torquato Tasso - Simone Alaimo
Eleanore d'Este - Luciana Serra
Roberto - Ernesto Palacio
Don Gherhardo - Roberto Coviello
Eleanora di Scandio - Silvana Silbano
Alfonso d'Este - Ambrogio Riva

Conductor - Carlo Rizzi
Orchestra - Angelicum di Milano
Chorus - Teatro Donizetti de Bergamo, 1986

Torquato Tasso (11 March 1544 – 25 April 1595) was an Italian poet of the 16th century, best known for his poem Gerusalemme liberata (Jerusalem Delivered, 1581), in which he depicts a highly imaginative version of the combats between Christians and Muslims at the end of the First Crusade, during the Siege of Jerusalem. He suffered from mental illness and died a few days before he was due to be crowned on the Capitoline Hill as the king of poets by the Pope. Until the beginning of the 20th century, Tasso remained one of the most widely read poets in Europe.

19 January  
Ferdinand Hérold, composer, dies.

7 May  
Johannes Brahms
, composer, born.

24 May 
Heinrich MarschnerHans Heiling

Hans Heiling is a German Romantic opera in 3 acts with prologue by Heinrich Marschner with a libretto by Eduard Devrient

Heinrich Marschner - Hans Heiling, Op. 80

00:00 Vorspiel
16:14 Ouvertüre 
24:27 Erster Aufzug
52:12 Zweiter Aufzug
1:15:30 Dritter Aufzug

Alexander Weltisch - Hans Heiling
Helene Werth - Königin der Erdgeister
Margit Guilleaume - Anna
Karl Friedrich - Konrad
Res Fischer - Getrude
Gustav Neidlinger - Stephan

Chor und Orchester des Nordwestdeutschen Rundfunks Hamburg - Wilhelm Schüchter, 1950

Place: Bohemian Erzgebirge mountains
Time: 14th century

After falling in love with the mortal Anna, Hans Heiling plans to leave the underworld empire of the Erdgeister (gnomes) to wed her. Ignoring the attempts of his mother the Queen to persuade him to stay, he takes some jewels and a magic book enabling him to retain power over his underworld subjects.

Act 1
Scene 1

Heiling ascends to the earth to find his would-be bride. Heiling finds Anna and her mother, who encourages Anna to accept the advances of the rich stranger. During a moment alone Anna looks inside his book, which immediately fills her with terror. Heiling burns the book on her demand and reluctantly accompanies Anna to the village festival.

Scene 2

There are many people in the tavern drinking, dancing and singing. Stephan and Niklas are joined by Konrad, who has loved Anna for a long time. Anna and Heiling arrive and Konrad asks to dance with Anna. Heiling objects angrily but Anna ignores him; and reminding him that they are not yet married, walks away with Konrad.

Act 2
Scene 1

Anna wanders through a forest on her way home. She has realised that she loves Konrad, but she remains Heiling's bride to be. Suddenly the Queen appears and beseeches the girl to release her son, who is not a human being but a prince of the underworld. Anna faints and upon discovering her, Konrad takes Anna home.

Scene 2

Heiling approaches Anna in her house, offering his jewellery to win her over, but it is returned by Anna who now knows of its origin. In a rage, Heiling stabs Konrad before running away.

Act 3
Scene 1

Heiling returns to the realm of the Erdgeister (gnomes). He summons his former subjects, only to be reminded that without his book he has lost his power. He then finds out that Konrad is not dead, and is to be wed to Anna the next day. In his despair, he throws himself on the ground, and seeing that Heiling has lost so much, his subjects swear fealty to him again. With the news of the wedding in his mind, he returns to the earth to take revenge with his new-found powers.

Scene 2

Konrad and Anna are wed in a forest chapel. Heiling approaches and seizes the hand of Anna, who pleads for mercy. Konrad rushes to help his wife, but his knife shatters as he strikes Heiling. Heiling summons the Erdgeister to destroy all the people, but then the Queen appears. She persuades Heiling to reconcile, and they then return to the underworld.

12 November   
Alexander Borodin, composer, born.

26 December 
Gaetano DonizettiLucrezia Borgia

Lucrezia Borgia
is a melodramatic opera in a prologue and two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Felice Romani wrote the Italian libretto after the play Lucrezia Borgia by Victor Hugo, in its turn after the legend of Lucrezia Borgia. Lucrezia Borgia was first performed on 26 December 1833 at La Scala, Milan.

Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara    bass 
Lucrezia Borgia    soprano 
Maffio Orsini    contralto   
Gennaro, young nobleman in
service of the Venetian Republic    tenor   
Jeppo Liverotto, young nobleman in
service of the Venetian Republic    tenor   
Don Apostolo Gazella, young nobleman in
service of the Venetian Republic    bass  
Ascanio Petrucci, young nobleman in
service of the Venetian Republic    baritone  
Oloferno Vitellozzo, young nobleman in
service of the Venetian Republic    tenor  
Rustighello, in the service of Don Alfonso    tenor 
Gubetta, in service of Lucrezia    bass   
Astolfo, in service of Lucrezia    tenor  
Gentlemen-at-arms, officers, and nobles of the Venetian Republic;
same, attached to court of Alfonso; ladies-in-waiting, Capuchin friars, etc.
Time: Early 16th century
Place: Venice and Ferrara

The Palazzo Grimani in Venice

Gennaro and his friends, including Orsini, celebrate on the brightly lit terrace, in front of which lies the Giudecca canal. The friends' conversation turns to Don Alfonso, Duke of Ferrara, to whose house they will be travelling the next day, and to his wife, the infamous Lucrezia Borgia. On hearing Lucrezia's name, Orsini tells of how Gennaro and he, alone in a forest, were warned by a mysterious old man to beware her and the entire Borgia family, and that the two of them would die together (Nella fatal di Rimini). Professing his boredom with Orsini's tale Gennaro wanders off and falls asleep nearby. His friends are invited to rejoin the festivities, and he is left alone. A gondola appears and a masked woman steps onto the terrace. She hurries over to the sleeping Gennaro and observes him with affection. (Com'è bello! Quale incanto in quel volto onesto e altero!) She kisses his hand, he wakes and is instantly struck by her beauty. He expresses his love for her and sings of his childhood as an orphan brought up by fishermen. He adds that he loves dearly the mother he has never met. (Di pescatore ignobile esser figliuol credei.) The others return and instantly recognise her as Lucrezia Borgia, listing in turn the members of their families she has killed to Gennaro's horror.

Act 1

The Duke, believing Gennaro to be Lucrezia's lover, plots his murder with his servant Rustighello (Vieni: la mia vendetta è meditata e pronta.) Gennaro and his companions leave the house for a party and pass the Duke's palace with its large gilded coat of arms reading Borgia. Keen to show his contempt for the Borgia family, Gennaro removes the initial "B", leaving the obscene "Orgia" (orgy).

In the palace, Lucrezia is shown into the Duke's chamber. Having seen the defaced crest, she demands death for the perpetrator, not knowing that it is Gennaro. The Duke orders Gennaro to be brought before her and accuses him of staining the noble name of Borgia, a crime to which he readily confesses. Lucrezia, horrified, attempts to excuse the insult as a youthful prank, but Don Alfonso accuses Lucrezia of infidelity, having observed her meeting with Gennaro in Venice. In a scene full of drama and tension, she denies any impropriety, but he demands the prisoner's death and forces her to choose the manner of Gennaro's execution. Pretending to pardon him, the Duke offers Gennaro a glass of wine and he swallows it. After a stunning trio (Guai se ti sfugge un moto, Se ti tradisce un detto!) the Duke leaves and Lucrezia hurries to Gennaro, giving him an antidote to the poison the Duke has mixed with the wine. He drinks, and in a last duet, she implores him to flee the city and her husband. (Bevi e fuggi ... te'n prego, o Gennaro!)

Act 2
The palace of the Princess Negroni

Ignoring Lucrezia's advice, Gennaro attends a party at the palace, swearing never to be parted from his friend Orsini. Orsini leads the party in a brindisi or drinking song ("Il segreto per esser felici") and they drink. Lucrezia enters and announces that in revenge for their insults in Venice she has poisoned their wine and arranged five coffins for their bodies. She has hitherto believed that Gennaro fled Ferrara on her advice, and is thus dismayed when he steps forward and announces that she has poisoned a sixth. Orsini, Liverotto, Vitellozzo, Petrucci and Gazella fall dead. Gennaro seizes a dagger and attempts to kill Lucrezia, but she stops him by revealing that he is in fact her son. Once again she asks him to drink the antidote, but this time he refuses, choosing to die with his friends. In a final cabaletta ("Era desso il figlio mio"), Lucrezia mourns her son and expires.

Donizetti - Lucrezia Borgia

Felix MendelssohnSymphony No.4 in A, Op.90 ‘’Italian’'

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy  - Symphonies
1-1824, 2-1840, 3-1842, 4-1833, 5-1830


Symphony No.1 in C minor, Op.11 (1824)
1.Allegro di molto (00:00)
2.Andante (07:43)
3.Menuetto - Allegro molto (14:29)
4.Allegro con fuoco (20:48)


Symphony No.2 in B flat, Op.52 ‘’Hymn of Praise’'(1840)
B-dur ‘’Lobgesang’’ 
Si bémol Majeur ‘’Chant des louanges’’ 
1.Sinfonia (29:15)
2.Alles was Odem hat, lobe den Herrn (54:46)
Lobt den Herrn mit Saitenspiel 
Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele 
3.Saget es, die ihr erlöst seid (1:01:53)
Er zählet unsre Tränen
4.Sagt es, die ihr erlöset seid (1:04:49)
5.Ich harrete des Herrn (1:06:56)
6.Stricke des Todes hatten uns umfangen (1:12:15)
7.Die Nacht ist vergangen (1:16:28)
8.Nun danket alle Gott (1:20:51)
Lob, Ehr’ und Preis sei Gott
9.Drum sing ich mit meinem Liede (1:24:49)
10.Ihr Völker! bringet her dem Herrn (1:29:26)
Alles danke dem Herrn
Alles was Odem hat, lobe den Herrn

Sopranos : Helen Donath & Rotraud Hansmann
Tenor : Waldemar Kmentt
New Philharmonia chorus
Chorus master : Wilhelm Pitz


Symphony No.3 in A minor, Op.56 ‘’Scottish’’ (1842)
a-moll ‘’Schottische Symphonie’’ 
la mineur ‘’Ecossaise’’ 
1.Andante con moto - Allegro un poco agitato (1:35:09)
Assai animato - Andante come prima
2.Vivace non troppo (1:50:33)
3.Adagio (1:54:50)
4.Allegro vivacissimo - Allegro maestoso assai (2:04:18)


Symphony No.4 in A, Op.90 ‘’Italian’' (1833)
A-dur ‘’Italienische Symphonie’’ 
La Majeur ‘’Italienne’'
1.Allegro Vivace (2:14:03)
2.Andante con moto (2:24:35)
3.Con moto moderato (2:31:00)
4.Saltarello (2:37:38)


Symphony No.5 in D minor, Op.107 ‘’Reformation’'(1830)
d-moll ‘’reformations-Symphonie’'
Ré mineur ‘’Réformation’’ 
1.Andante - Allegro con fuoco (2:43:32)
2.Allegro vivace (2:55:11)
3.Andante (3:01:13)
4.Choral : Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott ! (3:04:43)
Andante con moto - Allegro vivace
Allegro maestoso - Più animato poco a poco

New Philharmonia Orchestra 
Wolfgang Sawallisch
Stéréo recording in 1967, at London

Alexander Borodin

Alexander Borodin

Aleksandr Borodin, in full Aleksandr Porfiryevich Borodin, (born Oct. 31 [Nov. 12, New Style], 1833, St. Petersburg, Russia—died Feb. 15 [Feb. 27], 1887, St. Petersburg), major Russian nationalist composer of the 19th century. He was also a scientist notable for his research on aldehydes.


Borodin’s father was a Georgian prince and his mother an army doctor’s wife, and he was reared in comfortable circumstances. His gift for languages and music was evident early on, and as a schoolboy he learned to play the piano, flute, and cello and to compose music. From 1850 to 1856 he studied at the Medico-Surgical Academy, specializing in chemistry, and received a doctorate in 1858. From 1859 to 1862 he studied in western Europe. On his return to Russia he became adjunct professor of chemistry at the Medico-Surgical Academy and full professor in 1864. From this period dates his first major work, the Symphony No. 1 in E-flat Major (1862–67), written as a result of his acquaintance with Mily Balakirev, of whose circle (The Five) he was a member, along with Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, Modest Mussorgsky, and César Cui. Borodin began his Symphony No. 2 in B Minor in 1869, when he also began work on his operatic masterpiece, Prince Igor (completed posthumously by Rimsky-Korsakov and Aleksandr Glazunov). Act II of Prince Igor contains the often-played “Polovtsian Dances.” He also found time to write two string quartets, a dozen remarkable songs, the unfinished Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, and his tone poem In the Steppes of Central Asia.

Borodin’s musical work was never more than relaxation from his scientific work. In addition to his research and teaching, he helped found medical courses for women in 1872. In the 1880s pressures of work and ill health left him little time for composition. He died suddenly while at a ball.

Borodin’s compositions place him in the front rank of Russian composers. He had a strong lyric vein but also was noted for his handling of heroic subjects. He had an unusually fine rhythmic sense and excelled in the use of orchestral colour and in the evocation of distant places. In his symphonies and string quartets—among the finest of the Romantic era—he developed a formal structure in which the musical material of a movement was derived from a single initial motif. His melodies reflect the character of Russian folk melodies, and like other composers of the Russian national school he used striking harmonies unconventional in western European music.

Prince Igor (Russian: Князь Игорь, Knyaz' Igor') is an opera in four acts with a prologue, written and composed by Alexander Borodin. The composer adapted the libretto from the Ancient Russian epic The Lay of Igor's Host, which recounts the campaign of Rus' prince Igor Svyatoslavich against the invading Cuman ("Polovtsian") tribes in 1185.

Borodin - Symphony 1

Borodin - Symphony No. 2 «The Bogatyrs» in B Minor
(revised by N. Rimsky-Korsakov & A. Glazunov)

I. Allegro
II. Scherzo (Prestissimo)
III. Andante
IV. Finale (Allegro)

L'Orchestre de la Suisse romande (Genève)
Ernest Ansermet

Borodin - String Quartets 
String Quartet No. 1 in A Major 
35:06 String Quartet No. 2 in D Major - I. Allegro moderato



Richard Wagner - Die feen

Die Feen (The Fairies)
is an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner. The German libretto was written by the composer after Carlo Gozzi's La donna serpente. Premiere cast, 29 June 1888.

Richard Wagner - Die feen
Linda Esther Gray John Alexander Jan-Hendrik Rootering Norbert Orth Cheryl Studer Kurt Moll Friedrich Lenz Roland Hermann Kari Lovaas Krisztina Laki June Anderson Roland Bracht Karl Helm
Orchestra Sinfonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks Chorus Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks Wolfgang Sawallisch, 1984

The Fairy King    bass 
Ada, a fairy    soprano
Zemina, a fairy    soprano  
Farzana, a fairy    soprano 
Arindal, King of Tramond    tenor   
Lora, his sister    soprano   
Morald, her betrothed    baritone 
Gunther, a courtier from Tramond    tenor 
Gernot, Arindal's friend    bass 
Drolla, Lora's friend    soprano   
Harald, General of Groma the magician    bass   
A messenger    tenor  
Voice of Groma the Magician   bass
Act 1
While other fairies amuse themselves in a fairy garden, Zemina and Farzana discuss how their mistress Ada, a half-fairy, has renounced her immortality to spend her life with Arindal, the mortal whom she loves. The fairy-king has set a condition which Farzana believes that Arindal will not fulfil even with the help of the magician Groma. Nevertheless, they get the other fairies and spirits to pledge their help in separating Ada from the mortal.

In a rocky wilderness Morald and Gunther meet Gernot. The former pair have been sent to find out what has happened to Arindal, who disappeared eight years ago. In the meantime his father, the king, has died from grief and the kingdom is being attacked by their enemy Murold who demands they surrender Arindal's sister Lora as his wife. Gernot relates how he and Arindal had hunted a beautiful doe to a river where it vanished. They heard a voice and jumped into the river where they found a beautiful woman in luxurious surroundings. She declared her love for Arindal and said they could stay together provided Arindal could go eight years without asking who she is. But the day before he did ask her, and Arindal and Gernot found themselves in the wilderness. Morald and Gunther depart before Arindal can know of their presence. Arindal appears and sings of his grief at the loss of Ada (Wo find ich dich, wo wird mir Trost?). Gernot tries to argue him round to believing that Ada is a sorceress who has abandoned him and that he should return to his kingdom. He sings of an evil witch who had disguised herself as a beautiful woman (War einst 'ne böse Hexe wohl). Gunther returns, disguised as a priest, and continues the attempt to persuade Arindal that he will be turned into a wild beast by the witch unless he returns at once; Morald similarly disguises himself as the ghost of Arindal's father and announces that his kingdom is threatened. Each disguise is magically destroyed just as Arindal is about to be convinced. However, the three are finally able to persuade him of his country's need. They agree to depart in the morning, although Arindal fears he will not see Ada again. When he is left alone he falls into an enchanted sleep.

The scene changes again to a fairy garden with a palace in the background out of which Ada comes. She sings of how she is willing to sacrifice her immortality and pay the price, however hard it is, necessary to win Arindal (Wie muss ich doch beklagen). Arindal awakens and declares his joy at seeing Ada again, but she announces that he will abandon her the next day. Gernot, Gunther and Morald arrive with companions to fetch Arindal. Those who have not seen her before are struck by Ada's beauty and fear Arindal will not come. A procession of fairies comes out of the palace and Zemina and Farzana tell Ada that her father has died and she is now queen. Ada tells Arindal that they must part now but she will see him tomorrow. She asks him to swear that whatever happens he will not curse her. He swears it even though she takes back her request. She expresses her fear that they will both go under as a result of his breaking the oath.

Act 2
The people and warriors in Arindal's capital are panicking because they are under attack. Lora berates them, saying that she herself stands firm even though she has lost father, brother and lover. She reminds them of Groma's prophecy that the kingdom will not fall if Arindal returns, but the chorus express doubts. Just as she begins to fear that they are right (O musst du Hoffnung schwinden), a messenger arrives to announce that Arindal is on his way. The new king is greeted joyously by his people, but Arindal himself expresses his fears that he is not strong enough for battle. Meanwhile, Morald and Lora express their mutual love.

Gernot and Gunther talk of the terrible omens of the night and morning. Gernot asks Gunther if Drolla is still beautiful and still loyal to him. Gunther says he believes so but says Gernot should ask her himself as she is nearby. Gernot and Drolla test each other with stories of the many people who love them. Each becomes jealous before they realise that they both truly love each other.

Ada is with Zemina and Farzana. She complains to them of how they heartlessly drive her on. They, however, express hope that she will renounce Arindal and remain immortal. She sings (Weh' mir, so nah' die fürchterliche Stunde) of her fears that Arindal will be cursed with madness and death, and she with being turned to a statue, but then expresses hope that Arindal's love will prove strong.

Battle is raging outside. Arindal is anxious and refuses to lead the army out. Morald does so instead. Ada appears with her two children by Arindal. She seems to throw them into a fiery abyss. Meanwhile, defeated warriors rush in. Ada refuses to console Arindal saying she has come to torment him instead. More defeated warriors arrive with reports that Morald has disappeared, captured or dead. Then Harald, who was sent to bring reinforcements, comes. He reports that his army was defeated by one led by Ada. Arindal curses her. Zemina and Farzana express joy that Ada will remain immortal. But she sorrowfully explains that the fairy-king had required as a condition of her renouncing her immortality, that she conceal her fairy background from Arindal for eight years and on the last day torment him as best she can. If he cursed her, she would remain immortal and be turned to stone for a hundred years while he would go mad and die. In truth, Morald is not dead, the army Harald led was full of traitors, and the children are still alive. Already Arindal can feel his sanity slipping.

Act 3
A chorus hail Morald and Lora as the King and Queen who have brought them peace. The couple say they cannot rejoice, because of Arindal's fate. All pray for the curse to be lifted.

Arindal is hallucinating that he is hunting a doe. As it is killed, he realises it is his wife. He continues to experience visions (Ich seh' den Himmel) before falling asleep. The voice of the petrified but weeping Ada is heard calling for him. Then the voice of Groma calls to him too. A sword, shield and lyre appear which Groma says can win Arindal victory and a greater reward. Zemina and Farzana, enter. The former expresses her pity for Arindal while the latter says he deserves punishment for seeking to take Ada from them. They wake him and announce they will lead him to Ada to rescue her. He expresses his willingness to die for her. The two fairies hope this will actually happen.

They lead Arindal to a portal guarded by earth spirits. He is about to be defeated when the voice of Groma reminds him of the shield. The earth spirits disappear when he holds it up. The fairies express their surprise but are sure he will not triumph again. Meanwhile, he thanks Groma's power. Next they encounter bronze men who guard a holy sanctuary. The shield fails Arindal but when Groma advises him to hold up the sword, the bronze men vanish. The fairies again express their surprise whilst Groma's spirit urges Arindal on. They now have reached a grotto where Ada has been turned to stone. The two fairies taunt Arindal with the threat that failure will mean that he too is turned to stone. But the voice of Groma urges him to play the lyre. When he does so (O ihr, des Busens Hochgefühle), Ada is freed from the stone. The two fairies realise that Groma is responsible.

The scene changes to the fairy king's throne room. He has decided to grant Arindal immortality. Ada invites him to rule her fairyland with her. Arindal grants his mortal kingdom to Morald and Lora. Everyone rejoices; even Zemina and Farzana are happy now that Ada remains immortal.

Hector BerliozHarold in Italy

Hector Berlioz  - Harold en Italie, Symphonie en quatre parties avec un alto principal Op. 16 

I. "Harold aux montagnes"
II. "Marche des pèlerins"
III. "Sérénade"
IV. "Orgie de brigands"



Sir COLIN DAVIS, conductor, 1962

Luigi Cherubini – String Quartet No. 3 in D minor

Luigi Cherubini - The Complete String Quartets
01 Quartet No. 1 00:01
02 Quartet No. 2 29:23
03 Quartet No. 3 56:28
04 Quartet No. 4 01:37:58
05 Quartet No. 5 02:09:25
06 Quartet No. 6 02:34:07

Frederic ChopinFantaisie-Impromptu (published posthumously in 1855)

Frederic Chopin Fantaisie Impromptu in C sharp minor, Op 66

31 August  
Amilcare Ponchielli
, composer, born.

8 October  
François-Adrien Boïeldieu, composer, dies.

26 December 
Gaetano DonizettiGemma di Vergy

Gemma di Vergy
 is an 1834 tragic opera in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti from a libretto by Giovanni Emanuele Bidéra. It is based on the tragedy Charles VII chez ses grands vassaux (Charles VII and His Chief Vassals) (1831) by Alexandre Dumas père, which was later to become the subject of the opera The Saracen by the Russian composer César Cui.

Gaetano Donizetti Gemma di Vergy
Montserrat Caballé-Gemma
Renato BRuson-Count di Vergy
Bianca Casoni-Ida
Armando Gatto-Conductor
Orchestra of Teatro San Carlo, Naples, 1975; LIVE


Amilcare Ponchielli

Amilcare Ponchielli (31 August 1834 – 16 January 1886) was an Italian opera composer, best known for his opera La Gioconda. He was married to the soprano Teresina

Born in Paderno Fasolaro (now Paderno Ponchielli) near Cremona, then Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, Ponchielli won a scholarship at the age of nine to study music at the Milan Conservatory, writing his first symphony by the time he was ten years old.

Two years after leaving the conservatory he wrote his first opera—it was based on Alessandro Manzoni's great novel The Betrothed (I promessi sposi)—and it was as an opera composer that he eventually found fame.

His early career was disappointing. Maneuvered out of a professorship at the Milan Conservatory that he had won in a competition, he took small-time jobs in small cities, and composed several operas, none successful at first. In spite of his disappointment, he gained much experience as the bandmaster (capobanda) in Piacenza and Cremona, arranging and composing over 200 works for wind band. Notable among his "original" compositions for band are the first-ever concerto for euphonium (Concerto per Flicornobasso, 1872), fifteen variations on the popular Parisian song "Carnevale di Venezia", and a series of festive and funeral marches that resound with the pride of the newly unified Italy and the private grief of his fellow Cremonese. The turning point was the big success of the revised version of I promessi sposi in 1872, which brought him a contract with the music publisher G. Ricordi & Co. and the musical establishment at the Conservatory and at La Scala. The role of Lina in the revised version was sung by Teresina Brambilla whom he married in 1874. Their son Annibale became a music critic and minor composer.[1] The ballet Le due gemelle (1873) confirmed his success.

The following opera, I Lituani (The Lithuanians) of 1874, was also well received, being performed later at Saint Petersburg (as Aldona on 20 November 1884). His most well-known opera is La Gioconda (1876), which his librettist Arrigo Boito adapted from the same play by Victor Hugo that had been previously set by Saverio Mercadante as Il giuramento in 1837 and Carlos Gomes as Fosca in 1873. It was first produced in 1876 and revised several times. The version that has become popular today was first given in 1880.

In 1876 he started working on I Mori di Valenza, although the project dates back to 1873. It was an opera that he never finished, although it was completed later by Arturo Cadore and performed posthumously in 1914.
After La Gioconda, Ponchielli wrote the monumental biblical melodrama in four acts Il figliuol prodigo given in Milan at La Scala on 26 December 1880 and Marion Delorme, from another play by Victor Hugo, which was presented at La Scala on 17 March 1885. In spite of their rich musical invention, neither of these operas met with the same success but both exerted great influence on the composers of the rising generation, such as Giacomo Puccini, Pietro Mascagni and Umberto Giordano.

In 1881, Ponchielli was appointed maestro di cappella of the Bergamo Cathedral, and from the same year he was a professor of composition at the Milan Conservatory, where among his students were Puccini, Mascagni and Emilio Pizzi.

He died of pneumonia in Milan in 1886 and was interred in the city's Monumental Cemetery.

Amilcare Ponchielli - La Gioconda

La Gioconda is an opera in four acts by Amilcare Ponchielli set to an Italian libretto by Arrigo Boito (as Tobia Gorrio), based on Angelo, Tyrant of Padua, a play in prose by Victor Hugo, dating from 1835. 
Premiere cast, 8 April 1876

Amilcare Ponchielli - La Gioconda

Gioconda, a singer    soprano  
Laura Adorno, a Genoese lady    mezzo-soprano  
La Cieca, Gioconda's mother    contralto
Enzo Grimaldo, a Genoese prince, disguised as a Dalmatian seaman    tenor  
Barnaba, spy of the Inquisition    baritone 
Alvise Badoero, one of the leaders of the Inquisition, Laura's husband    bass   
Zuàne, a boatman competing in the regatta    bass   
Isèpo, a scribe    tenor   
A singer    bass   
A pilot    bass    
Chorus: Workers, senators, priests, nobles, sailors, children

Place: Venice       Time: 17th century
The story revolves around a woman, Gioconda, who so loves her mother that when Laura, her rival in love for the heart of Enzo, saves her mother's life, Gioconda puts aside her own romantic love to repay her. The villain Barnaba tries to seduce Gioconda, but she prefers death.

Act 1 The Lion's Mouth
The courtyard of the Doge's Palace

During Carnival celebrations before Lent, while everyone else is preoccupied with a regatta, Barnaba, a state spy, lustfully watches La Gioconda as she leads her blind mother, La Cieca, across the Square. When his amorous advances are firmly rejected, he exacts his revenge by denouncing the old lady as a witch whose evil powers influenced the outcome of the gondola race. It is only the intervention of a young sea captain that keeps the angry mob at bay.

Calm is restored at the approach of Alvise Badoero, a member of the Venetian Inquisition, and his wife, Laura. Laura places La Cieca under her personal protection, and in gratitude the old woman presents her with her most treasured possession, a rosary. The sharp-eyed Barnaba notices furtive behaviour between Laura and the sea captain indicating a secret relationship. Recalling that Laura was engaged to the now banished nobleman Enzo Grimaldo before her forced marriage to Alvise, Barnaba realises that the sea captain is Enzo in disguise.

Barnaba confronts Enzo, who admits his purpose in returning to Venice is to take Laura and begin a new life elsewhere. Barnaba knows that Gioconda is also infatuated with Enzo and he sees an opportunity to improve his chances with her by assisting Enzo with his plan of elopement.

When Enzo has gone, Barnaba dictates a letter to Alvise revealing his wife's infidelity and the lovers' plan of escape. He is unaware that he has been overheard by Gioconda. The act ends with Barnaba dropping the letter into the Lion's Mouth, where all secret information for the Inquisition is posted, while Gioconda laments Enzo's perceived treachery, and the crowd returns to its festivities.

Act 2 The Rosary
The deck of Enzo's ship

Enzo waits for Barnaba to row Laura out from the city to his vessel. Their joyful reunion is overshadowed by Laura's fears as she does not trust Barnaba. Gradually Enzo is able to reassure her, and he leaves her on deck while he goes to prepare for their departure.

La Gioconda has been following Laura with the intention of exacting revenge from her rival. Alvise and his armed men are also in hot pursuit, but as Gioconda is about to stab Laura she sees her mother's rosary hanging round her neck and has an instant change of heart. She hurries Laura into her boat so that she can evade her pursuers.

Enzo returns to the deck to find that Laura has fled leaving Gioconda triumphant. Furthermore, Alvise's men are rapidly approaching. He sets fire to the ship rather than let it fall into the hands of his enemies before diving into the lagoon.

Act 3 The Ca' d'Oro (House of Gold)
Alvise's palace

Laura has been captured, and her vengeful husband insists she must die by poisoning herself (effectively committing suicide and condemning herself to Hell). Once again Gioconda has followed and has found her way into the palace, this time with the intention of saving her rival. Finding Laura alone Gioconda replaces the phial of poison with a powerful drug which creates the appearance of death. The second scene begins with Alvise welcoming his fellow members of the nobility to the palace; Barnaba and Enzo are amongst those present. Lavish entertainment is provided and the act ends with the famous ballet Dance of the Hours. The mood of revelry is shattered as a funeral bell begins to toll and the body of Laura is revealed awaiting burial. A distraught Enzo flings off his disguise and is promptly seized by Alvise's men.

Act 4 The Orfano Canal
A crumbling ruin on the island of Giudecca

In exchange for Enzo's release from prison, La Gioconda has agreed to give herself to Barnaba. When Enzo is brought in, he is initially furious when Gioconda reveals that she has had Laura's body brought from its tomb. He is about to stab her when Laura's voice is heard and Gioconda's part in reuniting the lovers becomes clear. Enzo and Laura make their escape, leaving La Gioconda to face the horrors awaiting her with Barnaba. The gondoliers' voices are heard in the distance telling that there are corpses floating in the city. When Gioconda tries to leave, she is caught by Barnaba. She then pretends to welcome his arrival, but under cover of decking herself in her jewellery, seizes a dagger and stabs herself to death. In frustrated rage Barnaba tries to perpetrate one last act of evil, screaming at the lifeless body “Last night your mother offended me. I drowned her!”

I Lituani (The Lithuanians) is an opera consisting of a prologue and three acts by Amilcare Ponchielli to an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni, based on the historical poem Konrad Wallenrod written by Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz. It premiered at La Scala in Milan on 7 March 1874.

Amilcare Ponchielli - I Lituani

0:00 Sinfonia
6:19 Prologo
36:02 Primo Atto
1:12:04 Secondo Atto
1:31:53 Terzo Atto

Arnoldo, Lithuanian prince     baritone
Aldona, his sister       soprano  
Albano, an old bard      bass 
Walter, Aldona's husband, Corrado Wallenrod       tenor    
Vitoldo, a Lithuanian renegade, chief judge      bass            
A minstrel        soprano            
Commanders, Teutonic Knights, German and Lithuanian soldiers, judges, pages, bards, minstrels, people, abbots, monks, friars (chorus and supernumeraries)
Place: Lithuania (prologue), Marienburg (acts I-III)
Time: 14th century

Corrado Wallenrod, actually a Lithuanian named Walter who is impersonating a loyal Teutonic Knight, allows the Lithuanians to win against the Teutons by executing a long-planned misdirection. Aldona, his wife who has entered a convent, searches for her love Walter, and finds him just before he is sentenced to death for his deception.

From the battlements of a castle in Lithuania, Albano, an aged bard, moans that his country is being destroyed by the Teutons. Aldona, a Lithuanian princess, wonders about her brother, Arnoldo, and Walter, her husband, and invites everyone to pray. Arnoldo and Walter return and announce a heinous betrayal by Vitoldo, one of their leaders, which has led to the defeat of the Lithuanian army. Walter tells his wife about his plan to defeat the Teutonic Knights, and swears his eternal love for her before leaving to avenge the Lithuanians.

Act 1
Ten years later, in the cathedral square of Marienburg, the Teutonic Knights celebrate the new Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, Corrado Wallenrod, who is actually Walter. Vitoldo is furious, because he believes he should be Grand Master. Ten Lithuanian prisoners in chains are brought to be sacrificed in Corrado's honour at the celebration; Arnoldo is one of them. Corrado unexpectedly frees them, and afterwards Arnoldo realizes that Corrado is actually Walter. Arnoldo runs into his sister, Aldona, who has come to Marienburg after entering a convent, hoping to find Walter. Albano, Arnoldo, and Aldona set out to find Walter in the castle.

Act 2
In a large hall of the castle where the celebration is being held, Corrado invites everyone to dance and sing. Arnoldo and Aldona, disguised as bards, sing about the sad fate of Lithuania, predicting its imminent liberation. The Teutonic Knights object, and Corrado hurls himself towards Arnoldo, while Aldona tries to separate them. Corrado orders the knights to sheath their swords, and Albano tries to convince Corrado not to give his true identity away. Vitoldo recognizes Aldona, but Corrado orders the judgement against Aldona and Arnoldo be adjourned so that the celebration can continue.

Act 3
Aldona comes out of the ruins of a cloister, where a battle between the Lithuanians and Teutonic Knights is taking place nearby. She meets Walter, and hopes for a happy future of love, but Walter has been betrayed for causing the defeat of the Teutonic Knights by the Lithuanians. Later, back in the castle, Albano tells Walter that a secret court has sentenced Walter to death. Rather than falling into enemy hands, Walter drinks poison and exults in the victory of the Lithuanians, asking Albano to give Aldona his last farewell. Aldona arrives, and Walter dies in her arms. The Willi, divine spirits of Lithuania, arrive to welcome the glorious warrior's soul.



Otto NicolaiGran marcia funebre

Otto Nicolai - Funeral march for Bellini

Orchestra: Kölner Rundfunkorchester

Conductor: Michail Jurowski

Giuseppe VerdiMessa di Gloria

Giuseppe Verdi - Messa di Gloria - Christe
Dino Di Domenico - tenor

Giuseppe Verdi - "Cum Sancto Spiritu" dalla "Messa Solenne"  (1835)

14 January
Felix Otto Dessoff, conductor and composer, born.

23 March 
Daniel AuberLe cheval de bronze

Le cheval de bronze (The Bronze Horse)
is an opéra comique by the French composer Daniel Auber, first performed on 23 March 1835 by the Opéra-Comique at the Salle de la Bourse in Paris. The libretto (in three acts) is by Auber's regular collaborator, Eugène Scribe and the piece was a great success in its day. In 1857, it was transformed into an opera-ballet, but this did not hold the stage. The overture is one of Auber's most popular. The first-act finale expands on the final phrases from the first-act finale of Mozart's Così fan tutte. The composer tried to reflect the Chinese setting of the story in the music.

Auber - LE CHEVAL DE BRONZE - Overture
Chorus & New Philharmonic Radio Orchestra
Conductor : Jean-Pierre Marty
Paris, 28 June 1979

Auber - LE CHEVAL DE BRONZE - Act 2 Finale

No. 12 - Trio & Finale: "Ma femme, à souper"

Péki: Sonia Nigoghossian
Tao-Jin: Isabel Garcisanz
Yan-Ko: Léonard Pezzino
Tsing-Sing: Armand Arapian
Tchin-Kao: Ulrik Gold

Chorus & New Philharmonic Radio Orchestra
Conductor : Jean-Pierre Marty
Paris, 28 June 1979

Place: China
Péki is due to be married against her will to the mandarin Tsing-Sing, who already has four wives. Péki meets Prince Yang and tells him she is really in love with the poor young farmhand Yan-Ko, but six months earlier he mysteriously disappeared into the sky riding a bronze horse. Yan-Ko returns on the horse but refuses to say where he has been. The prince interrupts Péki's wedding by ordering Tsing-Sing to fly away with him on the horse. Undeterred by the ruined wedding, Péki's father finds another rich old man for her to marry. She decides to elope with Yan-Ko. Tsing-Sing returns on the bronze horse without the prince and refuses to reveal anything about his adventure because if he does he will be transformed into a statue. Unfortunately, he mumbles some details during his sleep and is turned into stone, as is Péki's beloved, Yan-Ko. She decides to ride away on the horse to try to save him. The horse takes Péki (who is disguised as a man) to the palace of Princess Stella on the planet Venus. Péki needs Stella's magic bracelet to rescue her beloved from the spell. She easily passes the task Stella sets her to resist seduction by a group of beautiful women. Péki returns to earth to find the statues of Yan-Ko, Tsing-Sing and Prince Yang (who was unable to resist kissing Stella). She uses the bracelet to free Yan-Ko and the prince but she will not fully release Tsing-Sing until he promises to give up his marriage claims on her. This leaves her free to marry Yan-ko and Prince Yang marries Princess Stella.

21 February
Giovanni Pacini   - Carlo di Borgogna

Carlo di Borgogna is an Italian opera in three parts composed by Giovanni Pacini to a libretto by Gaetano Rossi. It was first performed at the Teatro la Fenice, Venice on 21 February 1835.

Giovanni Pacini - Carlo di Borgogna
Conductor: David Parry

Carlo, Duke of Burgundy    tenor  
Leonora di Jork    soprano 
Arnoldo, Count of Ivrj    baritone  
Estella, his daughter    mezzo-soprano  
Amelia, a relative of the Ivrj family    soprano 
Lord Athol, Ambassador of England    tenor  
Guglielmo d'Erlach, a Swiss Knight    bass  
Place: Dijon (part one) and Switzerland (parts two and three)
Part One

The people of Burgundy have come to greet Carlo “il temerario” (Charles the Bold) from his quelling of the citizens of Liège. Among the girls who are strewing flowers at his feet and presenting him with a crown of laurels is Estella, the daughter of Carlo’s mentor Arnoldo. During this ceremony, it is impossible for the two to hide their feelings for each other (Cavatina, Del ciel cura, quest’alloro). Lord Athol then arrives with a letter from England, reminding Carlo of his promise to marry Leonora, the sister of Edward IV. Athol suspects Carlo is less than happy with the match, however.

In Arnoldo’s apartments of the ducal palace, Amelia suggests to Estella that she is about to become Duchess of Burgundy. When Carlo arrives, however, it is to announce the news of his betrothal to Leonora (Terzetto, Ad un’altra). Arnoldo is outraged by this and denounces Carlo as a seducer, promising his vengeance will be quick.

Leonora arrives in Burgundy (Cavatina, Vago ciel del caro sposo) and is not exactly pleased when Carlo is late for their immediate wedding ceremony. When he does arrive, he is at first distant with her but decides to get on with it when Estella appears, mad with rage, claiming Carlo for herself (Terzetto, ‘Mira un dio). Lord Athol orders her to be arrested, but Carlo tells him he has no right. Arnoldo appears to defend his daughter’s honour and, duelling with Athol, is wounded. Estella flees as Leonora declares England will avenge her.

Part Two

The inhabitants of a Swiss village celebrate the arrival of their “angel”, who arrived a year ago and has helped them ever since. Guglielmo appears and incites all to defend themselves against the invading Burgundians. A warrior in black armour arrives and Guglielmo recognises him as Arnoldo, who has survived his duel with Athol and is now searching for his daughter. He joins their cause on the condition they allow him to remain anonymous (Aria, D’essa in traccia). Athol and Leonora (dressed as a knight) enter, having become separated from Carlo’s army. Athol goes off to find somewhere to pass the approaching storm, and Leonora is soon joined by Arnoldo, who recognises her as being an enemy but nonetheless allows her to pass through unscathed as per Swiss custom (Duetto, Carlo di guerra è il fulmine).

Estella, the locals’ “angel”, is brooding when Amelia announces the arrival of two guests. She leaves by a concealed door when Amelia brings them in – they are Carlo and one of his knights, Oberto. Oberto retires for the night, and Carlo’s thoughts turn to Estella. She suddenly appears to confront him with his crime, despite his protestations of continued love (Duetto-finale, L’ombra mira di colei). She unveils a tomb inscribed “Arnoldo d’Ivrj”, with an open tomb next to it “for Estella d’Ivrj”. Carlo draws his sword and asks her to kill him, but she refuses. Carlo hears the horns of his followers and leaves to join them; Estella returning through the concealed door.

Part Three

A skirmish is taking place near a priory. Leonora, still dressed as a knight, is captured by Guglielmo, but just as the troops call for her death, Estella appears as the “angel”, heavily veiled. The two women recognise each other, and accuse each other of destroying their happiness (Duetto, Ciel! Tu…). Just as Leonora expects to be ordered to death, Estella orders her to be conducted safely to Carlo’s forces.

The Swiss are preparing an ambush in a craggy gorge, pushing boulders to the precipice ready to crush the Burgundian armies in the gorge below. When Carlo’s troops appear, Estella, on one of the rocky heights, warns them not to come any further. Carlo rallies his troops, however (Aria, Del Leone di Borgogna). Leonora arrives, still trying to rejoin Carlo’s forces (Aria, Or io prego. Deh! Lasciate…). Carlo appears on a bridge across the gorge, but is accosted by Arnoldo and the two fight. Leonora is forced by Guglielmo to watch as Arnoldo cuts him down, and Carlo’s body falls into the gorge below as the Swiss troops hurl the boulders down onto the Burgundian army. Estella recognises Arnoldo long enough to fall dead in his arms, and the opera ends with the Swiss celebrating their victory (Finale, Vi salvate: il tradimento).

23 February 
Fromental Halévy  - La Juive

La Juive (The Jewess) is a grand opera in five acts by Fromental Halévy to an original French libretto by Eugène Scribe; it was first performed at the Opéra, Paris, on 23 February 1835.

Halevy -  LA JUIVE
Shiccof, Frédéric Chaslin (conductor).
October 2015 - St Petersburg Mikhailovksy Theater


Place: Constance      Time: 1414
Events before the opera begins

When he was young, the Jew Eléazar had lived in Italy near Rome and witnessed the condemnation and executions of his sons as heretics by Count Brogni. Eléazar himself was banished and forced to flee to Switzerland.

During his journey, Eléazar found a baby near death, abandoned inside a burnt-out house which turned out to be the home of the Count. Bandits had set fire to the house, attempting to kill the entire family of Brogni but unaware that the Count himself was in Rome at the time.

Eléazar took the child, a girl, and raised her as his own daughter, naming her Rachel. Brogni discovered the ruins of his house and the bodies of his family upon his return. He subsequently became a priest and later a cardinal.

At the beginning of the opera, in 1414 Rachel (now a young woman) is living with her adopted father in the city of Constance. 
Act 1   A square in the city of Constance in 1414

Eléazar is a goldsmith. The crowd condemns him for working during a day dedicated to Church festivities. He is saved from a lynching by the arrival of Brogni, who in the process recognises Eléazar as his old adversary.

Prince Léopold arrives in disguise as a young Jewish artist Samuel. Rachel is in love with Samuel and knows nothing of his true identity. Local laws reflect prejudice against the Jews: if a Jew and a Christian have sexual relations, the Christian is excommunicated and the Jew is killed. Léopold is thus taking a great risk in this affair, especially as he is already married to the Princess Eudoxie. The crowd returns to attack Eléazar, but 'Samuel' secretly instructs his troops to calm things down. The act closes with a grand triumphal procession.

Act 2   Inside the house of Éléazar

Rachel has invited 'Samuel' for the Passover celebration in Eléazar's house. He is present while Eléazar and the other Jews sing their Passover prayers. Rachel becomes anxious when she notices that 'Samuel' refuses to eat the piece of unleavened bread that she has given him. He reveals to her that he is a Christian, without telling her his true identity. Rachel is horrified and reminds him of the terrible consequences of such a relationship.

Princess Eudoxie enters to order from Eléazar a valuable jewel as a present for her husband, at which point Samuel (Prince Léopold) hides.

After Eudoxie leaves, Léopold promises to take Rachel away with him. She tries to resist, worrying about abandoning her father, but as she is about to succumb to his advances, they are confronted by Eléazar, who curses Léopold before the latter runs off.

Act 3   Magnificent gardens

Rachel, who has followed 'Samuel' to the Palace, offers her services as a lady's maid to Princess Eudoxie. Eléazar arrives at the palace to deliver the jewel. He and Rachel recognise Léopold as 'Samuel'. Rachel declares before the assembly that Léopold seduced her and she, Eléazar and Léopold are arrested and placed in prison, on the instructions of Cardinal Brogni.

Act 4   A Gothic interior

Princess Eudoxie asks to see Rachel in prison, and persuades her to withdraw her allegations. Rachel agrees; Cardinal Brogni agrees to commute Léopold's sentence, and to spare Rachel and Eléazar if they convert. Eléazar at first answers that he would rather die, but then makes plans to avenge himself. He reminds the Cardinal of the fire in his house near Rome many years before and tells the Cardinal that his infant daughter did not die. He says that she was saved by a Jew and that only he knows who he is. If he dies, his secret will die with him. Cardinal Brogni begs him to tell him where his daughter is, but in vain. Eléazar sings of the vengeance that he will have in dying, but he suddenly remembers that he will be responsible for the death of Rachel. The only way to save her is to admit that the Cardinal is her father and that she is not Jewish but Christian. The act ends with the opera's most famous aria, Eléazar's 'Rachel, quand du Seigneur'. He does not want to sacrifice Rachel to his hatred of Christians, and renounces his revenge. However, when he hears the cries from a pogrom in the streets, he decides that God wants him to bear witness in death with his daughter to the God of Israel.
Act 5   A large tent supported by Gothic columns

Eléazar and Rachel are brought to the gallows where they will be thrown into a cauldron of boiling water. Rachel is terrified. Eléazar explains that she can be saved if she converts to Christianity. She refuses and climbs to the gallows before him. As the people are singing various prayers, Cardinal Brogni asks Eléazar if his own daughter is still alive. Eléazar says that she is and when Cardinal Brogni asks where she can be found, Eléazar points to the cauldron, saying "There she is!" He then climbs to his own death while the Cardinal falls on his knees. The opera ends with a chorus of monks, soldiers and the people singing "It is done and we are avenged on the Jews!"

Fromental Halévy  - La Juive

10 July
Henryk Wieniawski, violinist and composer, born.

23 September
Vincenzo Bellini, composer, dies, aged 34.

Time: Early 18th century
Place: Scotland

Act 1
Scene 1: The gardens of Lammermoor Castle

Normanno, captain of the castle guard, and other retainers are searching for an intruder. He tells Enrico that he believes that the man is Edgardo of Ravenswood, and that he comes to the castle to meet Enrico's sister, Lucia. It is confirmed that Edgardo is indeed the intruder. Enrico reaffirms his hatred for the Ravenswood family and his determination to end the relationship.

Scene 2: By a fountain at the entrance to the park, beside the castle

Lucia waits for Edgardo. In her famous aria "Regnava nel silenzio", Lucia tells her maid Alisa that she has seen the ghost of a girl killed on the very same spot by a jealous Ravenswood ancestor. Alisa tells Lucia that the apparition is a warning and that she must give up her love for Edgardo. Edgardo enters; for political reasons, he must leave immediately for France. He hopes to make his peace with Enrico and marry Lucia. Lucia tells him this is impossible, and instead they take a sworn vow of marriage and exchange rings. Edgardo leaves.

Act 2
Scene 1: Lord Ashton's apartments in Lammermoor Castle

Preparations have been made for the imminent wedding of Lucia to Arturo. Enrico worries about whether Lucia will really submit to the wedding. He shows his sister a forged letter seemingly proving that Edgardo has forgotten her and taken a new lover. Enrico leaves Lucia to further persuasion, this time by Raimondo, Lucia's chaplain and tutor, that she should renounce her vow to Edgardo, for the good of the family, and marry Arturo.

Scene 2: A hall in the castle

Arturo arrives for the marriage. Lucia acts strangely, but Enrico explains that this is due to the death of her mother. Arturo signs the marriage contract, followed reluctantly by Lucia. At that point Edgardo suddenly appears in the hall. Raimondo prevents a fight, but he shows Edgardo Lucia's signature on the marriage contract. Edgardo curses her, demanding that they return their rings to each other. He tramples his ring on the ground, before being forced out of the castle.

Act 3
Scene 1: The Wolf's Crag

Enrico visits Edgardo to challenge him to a duel. He tells him that Lucia is already enjoying her bridal bed. Edgardo agrees to fight him. They will meet later by the graveyard of the Ravenswoods, near the Wolf's Crag.

Scene 2: A Hall in Lammermoor Castle

Raimondo interrupts the marriage celebrations to tell the guests that Lucia has gone mad and killed her bridegroom Arturo. Lucia enters. In the aria "Il dolce suono" she imagines being with Edgardo, soon to be happily married. Enrico enters and at first threatens Lucia but later softens when he realizes her condition. Lucia collapses. Raimondo blames Normanno for precipitating the whole tragedy.

Scene 3: The graveyard of the Ravenswood family

Edgardo is resolved to kill himself on Enrico's sword. He learns that Lucia is dying and then Raimondo comes to tell him that she has already died. Edgardo stabs himself with a dagger, hoping to be reunited with Lucia in heaven.

26 September 
Gaetano Donizetti - Lucia di Lammermoor

Lucia di Lammermoor is a dramma tragico (tragic opera) in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Salvadore Cammarano wrote the Italian-language libretto loosely based upon Sir Walter Scott's historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor.

Gaetano Donizetti - Lucia di Lammermoor  -
La Scala, 1992

Lucia                –  MARIELLA DEVIA
Enrico             – RENATO BRUSON
Edgardo          – VINCENZO LA SCOLA
Arturo             – MARCO BERTI
Raimondo       – CARLO COLOMBARA
Alisa                 – FLORIANA SOVILLA
Normanno       – ERNESTO GAVAZZI

Conductor        – STEFANO RANZANI
Chorus master – ROBERTO GABBIANI
Staging              – PIER’ALLI

0:08:00 – Tu sei turbato! (Enrico, Normanno - You are troubled!)
0:10:47 – Cruda... Funesta Smania (Enrico - A cruel, deadly clamour...)
0:15:14 – La Pietade in Suo Favore (Enrico - Pity for her)
0:21:12 – Regnava Nel Silenzio... Quando rapito in estasi...  (Lucia – Silence reigning... When delighted in the ecstasy)
0:32:53 – Sulla Tomba Che Rinserra... (Edgardo, Lucia – On the tomb which encloses...)
0:38:33 – Verranno a Te Sull’aura (Edgardo, Lucia – My ardent sighs will come to you)
0:46:46 – Appressati, Lucia... Soffriva nel Pianto... (Enrico, Lucia – Come closer, Lucia... I suffered in tears...)
1:04:12 – Al Ben De’ Tuoi Qual Vittima (Raimondo – For the good of your people…)
1:13:57 – Chi Mi Frena in Tal Momento?.. (Sextet – Who would restrain me at a time like this?..)
1:26:02 – Qui del padre ancor s’aggira... (Edgardo – Here the unavenged spirit of my father...)
1:35:12 – Dalle stanze ove Lucia... (Raimondo – From the room to which I brought Lucia...)
1:40:34 – Il Dolce Suono... (Lucia – The sweet sound... )
2:03:42 – Tombe Degli Avi Miei... Fra poco a me ricovero darà negletto avello... (Edgardo – Tombs of My Forefathers... Before long, a neglected tomb will shelter me...)
2:13:23 – Ove corri sventurato?.. Tu Che a Dio spiegasti l’ali (Edgardo – You who have spread your wings to God)

9 October
Camille Saint-Saëns, composer, born.

16 December 
Fromental Halévy - L'éclair

L'éclair (The Lightning Flash)
is an opéra comique in 3 acts by Fromental Halévy to a libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges.

Halevy - L'Eclair Act III, Halévy - Quand de la Nuit L'Epais Nuage

George    tenor  
Henriette    soprano 
Lyonel    tenor  
Madame Darbel    soprano  
Place: Contemporary Boston

It recounts the amours of the Englishman George and the American Lyonel for two sisters, Henriette and the widow Mme. Darbel. These are complicated by everyone being a bit indecisive and variable in their choice of preferred partner, and then further complicated by the temporary blindness suffered by Lyonel when he is struck by lightning in a thunderstorm.

30 December 
Gaetano Donizetti - Maria Stuarda

Maria Stuarda (Mary Stuart)
is a tragic opera (tragedia lirica), in two acts, by Gaetano Donizetti, to a libretto by Giuseppe Bardari, based on Andrea Maffei's translation of Friedrich Schiller's 1800 play Maria Stuart.

Henryk Wieniawski

Henryk Wieniawski

(b. Lublin, July 10, 1835; d. Moscow, March 31, 1880)

Polish violinist and composer.

He was born into an educated family—his mother and an uncle were professional pianists, and his father was an army surgeon. In 1843, at the age of eight, he was sent to study at the Paris Conservatoire. The following year he entered the advanced class of Lambert Massart, and at the age of 11 walked away with a premier prix and was awarded a Guarneri violin. He continued studying with Massart for two more years before going on tour to Russia and the Baltic in 1848; he returned to the Conservatoire in 1849 to study harmony. In 1851 he began the life of a touring virtuoso, playing roughly 100 concerts a year (many accompanied by his younger brother Jozef, an accomplished pianist) and composing steadily. By 1853 he had completed 14 works, including several mazurkas, a set of etudes, and his brilliant Violin Concerto No. 1 in F-sharp minor, Op. 14—whose premiere at the Leipzig Gewandhaus cemented his reputation in Germany. In 1858 he played with Anton Rubinstein in Paris, and in 1859 he performed (as violinist and violist) with the Beethoven Quartet Society in London, an ad hoc group consisting of violinists Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst and Joseph Joachim, cellist Alfredo Piatti, and Wieniawski, a star-studded quartet if ever
there was one. The following year he married Isabella Hampton, niece of the composer George Osborne. In 1860, Rubinstein persuaded Wieniawski to move to St. Petersburg and accept the posts of soloist to the tsar and professor of violin. His artistic development during the 12 years he spent there was substantial; he wrote his best works in Russia, including the Etudes caprices, Op. 18, for two violins, and the Concerto No. 2 in D minor, dedicated to Sarasate and one of the finest of all Romantic violin concertos. In a letter to Pauline Viardot, Turgenev recalled how beautifully Wieniawski played the Bach Chaconne and, on another occasion, the Op. 127 string quartet of Beethoven, signaling an artist of considerable depth.

In 1872 Wieniawski succumbed again to wanderlust, joining Rubinstein on a grueling American tour that entailed 215 concerts over the course of eight months. In 1875 he moved to Brussels to teach at its conservatory in place of Henry Vieuxtemps, who had suffered a stroke. One of his students there was the young Eugene Ysaye, who would strive to match his virtuosity without trying to emulate his style. While teaching, Wieniawski continued the demanding life of a touring violinist, tackling Germany in 1876 and playing concerts in London, Paris, Berlin, and Moscow in 1878. By that point his health had deterioriated drastically due to emphysema and a serious heart condition. At a Berlin performance of his D minor concerto on November 11, 1878, he had to be carried off the stage after collapsing midway through the piece. Joachim, who was in the audience, went onstage with his colleague’s violin in hand and offered a performance of the Bach Chaconne so that Wieniawski wouldn’t lose the receipts for the concert. Gravely ill but in desperate financial need, Wieniawski continued on to Russia, where he gave his last performances in Moscow and Odessa. He spent his final days in the care of Nadezda von Meek, Tchaikovsky’s famous patroness, at her home in Moscow.

Wieniawski was, in the estimation of knowledgeable contemporaries, the most brilliant violinist of the mid-19th century. Joachim recalled what a bold and committed performer he was, a daredevil with a left hand of dazzling accuracy. Leopold Auer saw him as absolutely unique. Wieniawski was the first to use what became known as the “Russian grip,” with the index finger applying pressure to the top of the bow—a technique that added intensity to his tone and was adopted by many 20th-century violinists. Nearly everyone who heard him paid homage not only to his technique but to his extraordinarily powerful projection and fiery, outsized temperament, which left no doubt that a performer of the first magnitude was on the stage. Though he died young, he contributed significantly to the repertoire, to the development of technique, and to the notion that a virtuoso should also be a serious creative artist.

Henryk Wieniawski: Violin Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, op. 14

1. Allegro Moderato
2. Preghiera. Larghetto
3. Rondo. Allegro giocoso

Midori, violin
Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Leonard Slatkin

Live Radio Recording from St. Louis, September 1988

Henryk Wieniawski - Violin Concerto No.2 in D minor
00:00  1. Allegro moderato
11:56  2. Romance. Andante non troppo
16:52  3. Allegro con fuoco - Allegro moderato
Benjamin Schmid, violin
Daniel Raiskin, conductor
Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra

Henryk Wieniawski - Legende op. 17
Published on Dec 28, 2016
Kammerorchester CAMERATA POLONIA 
Konzert am 12. November 2016

Yehudi Menuhin - Wieniawski Legende

Wienawski - Légende op.17
David Oistrakh - Violin
Vladimir Yampolsky - Piano

Karl Bryullov – The Last Day of Pompeii

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