Romantic Era
 

1846-1847-1848-1849-1850

1846  
Poles in Krakow revolt against Russian rule. Austrian and Russian troops enter Krakow and Austria annexes the city
  •  Pope Gregory XVI dies and is replaced by Pius IX, who deviates from Gregory's policies by introducing railways and gas streetlights to the Papal States. Gregory had thought them departures from God's intentions  •  In India the British are appearing weak after their Afghanistan debacle. A coalition of Sikhs attack the British. In three months of fighting the British forces prevail and the Sikhs sign a treaty obliging them to disband most of their military  •  The ruler of Tunisia, Ahmad Bey, promulgates a decree that abolishes slavery in his country. Black slaves had been tied to domestic work. No other part of the economy was tied to or dependent upon slavery  •  In the United States, Elias Howe invents a "lock-stitch" sewing machine  •  A patient in Boston is given ether as an anesthetic, a revolution in surgical practice  •  In Belgium, Adolphe Sax invents the saxaphone  •  In Italy, Ascanio Soberero discovers how to make nitroglycerin  •  Cholesterol is discovered in blood. It will be more than a hundred years before it is a widespread concern  • Jean-Léon Gérôme - Young Greeks Attending a Cock Fight

1847
Mexicans lose Los Angeles to the United States Marines. The war in California is essentially over
  •  Members of the Donner Party are starving in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, and they turn to cannibalism  •  In London, dozens of working class rebels hold a meeting. They are largely from Germany, driven to England by German and French monarchical governments. Today they change their name from "The League of the Just" to the "Communist League," and they change their slogan from "All Men Are Brothers" to "Working Men of All Countries, Unite!."  •  Britain's parliament passes the "Ten Hours Bill," which limits to sixty-three the hours of work per week for women and children  •  Liberia becomes an independent republic  •  Three years of fighting in Tahiti ends with the French crushing Tahitian resistance to French domination

1848
The war between Mexico and the United States ends with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The United States wins recognition of its possession of Alto California, New Mexico and Texas to the Rio Grande. Mexico is given a guarantee of rights for the people who had been living in these areas and loyal to Mexico
  •   With Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx writes a theory of political development contrary to those who claim that everyone within a society have no fundamental conflicting interests. Marx sides with the proletariat, which he believes is exploited by capitalists. The first sentence of his little book reads: "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." His little book is The Communist Manifesto  •  The economies of Europe have been suffering from a recent economic downturn. In France and Germany there has been a longer range decline in income as measured by what income can buy (real wages). Karl Marx is going to use figures from such decline to theorize about capitalism making working people more and more miserable and about capitalism's decline and eventual overthrow  •  In Milan there is taxation without representation. In January, sixty-one people are killed protesting against a rise in taxes by Austria's authorities. In January in Palermo, Sicily, people riot. In February in Paris people go to the barricades. The monarchy quits and the Second Republic is born. Revolution in Paris inspires uprisings in Germany and Austria. And Hungarians demand independence  •  In the summer, economic recovery begins across Europe  •  Revolutionaries in Paris, upset by elections that did not go in their favor, stage another uprising, and they are crushed. The middle class in Germany joins the aristocracy against disorder, and revolution there is crushed. The political left in Vienna has alienated the liberal center and reaction there replaces revolution.  Austria crushes Czech and Italian nationalism. With help from Russia, Austria crushes Hungarian resistance to its rule  •  Switzerland's civil war ends. Federalism and unity win against the separatism wanted by the Catholic Church and Austria  •  A gold rush begins in Central California  •  At a women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, a call is made for equal treatment of women and men under the law and voting rights for women  •  In the Hawaiian Islands until now land has not been privately owned. This changes with the great Mahele (land division). Ownership of land in the Hawaiian Islands is individualized, seen by Hawaii's leaders as advantageous for Hawaiians as well as enabling foreigners to buy land  •  An ancient human-like skull is discovered in a quarry on the island of Gibraltar that in eight years will be identified as Neanderthal

1849  
Karl Marx is ordered out of Paris and goes to London
  •  Conservative rule in Prussia is devoted to improving education and science, seen there as contributing to the nation's power  •  The British have defeated a second Sikh rising. The British formally annex the Punjab and territory to Peshawar and the Khyber Pass  •  In New York, Walter Hunt invents a safety pin. Poor sanitation in New York City creates a cholera epidemic, killing 5,000 people, most of them poor and Irish. Some believe the epidemic is God's punishment

1850  
A Chinese Christian in China sees himself as the son of God ordered to save the world. He has started a movement for sharing wealth, land distribution and the Ten Commandments. He favors chastity and an end to foot-binding for women and opposes opium smoking. He creates what is to be known as the Taiping Rebellion. It sweeps across central-eastern China, intending to drive away  "Manchu demons" and rival faiths
  •  In Prussia, new freedoms won by peasants are maintained, and a decree moves 640,000 peasants to free farming  •  In the United States, Congress passes another Fugitive Slave Act, which mandates government support for the capture of escaped slaves. Protests occur in the northern states  •  In Britain the Public Libraries Act has passed  •  Five percent of British ships are now powered by steam rather than sail

Karl Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, journalist and revolutionary socialist.

His best-known titles are the 1848 pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto, and the three-volume Das Kapital. His political and philosophical thought had enormous influence on subsequent intellectual, economic and political history and his name has been used as an adjective, a noun and a school of social theory.

 

1846

César FranckRuth

Ruth - Cesar Franck (8ème mouvement)
8ème mouvement de l'oratorio Ruth de César Franck par les choeurs et l'orchestre du campus d'Orsay dirigé par Martin Barral.

 

Ruth - Cesar Franck (9ème Mouvement)

Ruth - César Franck (11ème mouvement)

 Felix Mendelssohn:  
Elijah; 
Lauda Sion, Op. 73

Mendelssohn: Elias (Part 1)

Elias (Elijah), Op. 70 (sung in German), an Oratorio after words from the Old Testamnt.

Elly Ameling, soprano I (The Widow / The Angel / A Seraph)
Renate Krahmer, soprano II (The Boy / A Seraph)
Annelies Burmeister, contralto I (An Angel / A Seraph)
Gisela Schröter, contralto II (The Queen / A Seraph)
Peter Schreier, tenor I (Obadiah)
Hans-Joachim Rotzsch, tenor II (Ahab)
Theo Adam, bass I (Elijah (Elias)
Hermann-Christian Polster, bass II 
Christel Klug . Roswitha Trexler . Ingrid Wandelt (Three Angels)

Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra & Choir 
(Rundfunkchor und Gewandhausorchester Leipzig)
Conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch, 
1968

Part One
1. Einleitung - So wahr der Herr 
2. Ouverture - Nr.1 Chor - Hilf, Herr!, Rezitativ - Die Tiefe ist Versieget! 
3. Nr.2 Duett mit Chor - Herr, hore unser Gebet! 
4. Nr.3 Rezitativ - Zerreisset eure Herzen, Nr. 5 Chor - So ihr mich von ganzem Herzen suchet 
5. Nr.5 Chor - Aber der Herr sieht es nicht 
6. Nr.6 Rezitativ - Elias! Gehe weg von hinnen 
7. Nr.7 Droppelquartett - Denn er hat seinen Engeln befohlen, Rezitativ - Nun auch der Bach vertrocknet ist 
8. Nr.8 Rezitative, Arie und Duett - Was hast du an mir getan 
9. Nr.9 Chor - Wohl dem, der den Herrn fuerchtet 
10. Nr.10 Rezitativ mit Chor - So wahr der Herr Zebaoth lebet 
11. Nr. 11 Chor - Baal, erhoere uns! 
12. Nr.12 Rezitativ und Chor - Rufet lauter! Denn er ist ja Gott 
13. Nr. 13 Rezitativ und Chor - Rufet lauter! Er hoert euch nicht! 
14. Nr. 14 Arie - Herr Gott Abrahams 
15. Nr.15 Quartett - Wirf dein Anliegen auf den Herrn 
16. Nr. 16 Rezitativ mit Chor - Der du deine Diener machst 
17. Nr. 17 Arie - Ist nicht des Herrn Wort    
18. Nr. 18 Arioso - Weh ihnen, dass sie von mir weichen!  
19. Nr.19 Rezitativ mit Chor - Hilf deinem Volk    
20. Nr. 20 Chor - Dank sei dir, Gott

Mendelssohn: Elias (Part 2) 

Elly Ameling, soprano I (The Widow / The Angel / A Seraph)
Renate Krahmer, soprano II (The Boy / A Seraph)
Annelies Burmeister, contralto I (An Angel / A Seraph)
Gisela Schröter, contralto II (The Queen / A Seraph)
Peter Schreier, tenor I (Obadiah)
Hans-Joachim Rotzsch, tenor II (Ahab)
Theo Adam, bass I (Elijah (Elias)
Hermann-Christian Polster, bass II 
Christel Klug . Roswitha Trexler . Ingrid Wandelt (Three Angels)

Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra & Choir 
(Rundfunkchor und Gewandhausorchester Leipzig)
Conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch, 
1968

Part Two
1. Nr.21 Aria - Hoere, Israel, hoere des Herrn Stimme!, Rezitativ - So spricht der Herr, Arie - Ich bin euer Troester (Elly Ameling) 0:00
2. Nr. 22 Chor - Fuerchte dich nicht 5:30
3. Nr.23 Rezitativ mit Chor - Der Herr hat dich erhoben  9:53
4. Nr. 24 Chor - Wehe ihm, er muss sterben! 13:05
5. Nr. 25 Rezitativ - Du Mann Gottes, lass meine Rede 
6. Nr. 26 Arie - Es ist genug!, Nr.27 Rezitativ - Siehe, er schlaeft unter dem Wacholder 
7. Nr. 28 Terzett - Hebe deine Augen auf zu den Bergen 
8. Nr. 29 Chor - Siehe, der Hueter Israels 
9. Nr. 30 Rezitativ - Stehe du auf, Elias 
10. Nr. 31 Arie - Sei stille dem Herrn 
11. Nr. 32 CHor - Wer bis an das 
12. Nr. 33 Rezitativ - Herr, es wird Nacht um mich 
13. Nr. 34 Chor - Der Herr ging vorueber 
14.Nr. 35 Rezitativ - Seraphim standen ueber ihm, Quartett mit Chor - Heilig, heilig heilig 
15. Nr. 36 Chor und Rezitativ - Gehe wiederum hinab 
16. Nr. 37 Arioso - Ja, es sollen wohl Berge 
17. Nr.38 Chor - Und der Prophet Elias brach hervor 
18. Nr. 39 Arie - Dann werden die Gerechten leuchten 
19. Nr. 40 Rezitativ - Darum ward gesendet der Prophet Elias 
20. Nr. 41 Chor - Aber einer erwacht von Mitternacht 
21.  Quartett - Wohlan, alle die ihr durstig seid 
22. Nr. 42 Schluss - Chor - Alsdann wird euer Licht hervorbrechen

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy - "Lauda Sion" op. 73
Oratorische Kantate für Soli, Chor und Orchester

Würzburger Madrigalchor, Kammerorchester Bad Kissingen
Leitung: KMD Jörg Wöltche

Frederic Chopin: 
Polonaise-Fantaisie; 
Barcarolle; 
Cello Sonata

Frédéric Chopin - Polonaise No. 7 in A-flat major, Op. 61, "Polonaise-Fantaisie"
Piano: Arthur Rubinstein

Chopin's Barcarolle in F# Op.60
Friedrich Gulda (1986)

Chopin - Cello Sonata Op.65
Cello Sonata in g minor, Op.65.  
Mstislav Rostropovich / Martha Argerich, 1981.

Franz von SuppéPoet and Peasant overture

Franz Von Suppe: Poet and Peasant Overture 
San Diego Civic Youth Orchestra: ( SDCYO )
Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Robert Gilson
Spring Showcase Concert at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido

17 March ​ 
Giuseppe Verdi - Attila

Attila
is an opera in a prologue and three acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera, based on the 1809 play Attila, König der Hunnen (Attila, King of the Huns) by Zacharias Werner. The opera received its first performance at La Fenice in Venice on 17 March 1846.

Giuseppe Verdi - Attila

Direttore SERGIO ALAPONT

Regista VINCENZO PIRROTTA

Maestro del Coro Gaetano Costa

Luci Salvatore Da Campo

Attila - Carlo Colombara  
Ezio – Carmelo Corrado Caruso 
Odabella – Dimitra Theodossiou
Foresto – Sung Kyu Park
Uldino – Giuseppe Costanzo
Leone – Concetto Rametta

Allestimento E.A.R. Teatro Massimo Bellini

Synopsis
Time: Mid-5th century
Place: Aquileia, the Adriatic lagoons, and near Rome

Prologue
Scene 1: The ruined city of Aquileia

Attila and his victorious horde are surprised to see a group of women spared as prisoners of war. Their leader, Odabella, asks why the Huns' women remain at home (Allor che i forti corrono / "While your warriors rush to their swords like lions"). Attila, impressed by her courage, offers a boon and she asks for her sword, with which she intends to avenge the death of her father at Attila's own hand (Da te questo or m'è concesso / "O sublime, divine justice by thee is this now granted"). The Roman envoy Ezio asks for an audience and proposes a division of the empire: Avrai tu l'universo, Resti l'Italia a me / "You may have the universe, but let Italy remain mine". Attila disdainfully calls him a traitor to his country.

Scene 2: A swamp, the future site of Venice

A boat bearing Foresto and other survivors arrives; he thinks of the captive Odabella (Ella in poter del barbaro / "She is in the barbarian's power!") but then rouses himself and the others to begin building a new city (Cara patria già madre e reina / "Dear homeland, at once mother and queen of powerful, generous sons").

Act 1
Scene 1: A wood near Attila's camp

Odabella laments her father and Foresto (Oh! Nel fuggente nuvolo / "O father, is your image not imprinted on the fleeting clouds?...") believing the latter to be dead. When he appears, she is put on the defensive, denying any infidelity and reminding him of the biblical Judith. The couple is reunited: Oh, t'inebria nell'amplesso / "O vast joy without measure")

Scene 2: Attila's tent

Attila awakes and tells Uldino of a dream in which an old man stopped him at the gates of Rome and warned him to turn back (Mentre gonfiarsi l'anima parea / "As my soul seemed to swell"). In the daylight, his courage returns and he orders a march (Oltre quel limite, t'attendo, o spettro / "Beyond that boundary I await you, O ghost!"). However, when a procession of maidens clad in white approaches, singing Veni Creator Spiritus, he recognizes the Roman bishop Leo as the old man of his dream and collapses in terror.

Act 2
Scene 1: Ezio's camp

Ezio has been recalled after a peace has been concluded. He contrasts Rome's past glory with the current child emperor Valentine (Dagl'immortali vertici / "From the splendid immortal peaks of former glory"). Recognizing the incognito Foresto among the bearers of an invitation to a banquet with Attila, he agrees to join forces (E' gettata la mia sorte, son pronto ad ogni guerra / "My lot is cast, I am prepared for any warfare" ).

Scene 2: Attila's banquet

Foresto's plot to have Uldino poison Attila is foiled by Odabella, jealous of her own revenge. A grateful (and unsuspecting) Attila declares she shall be his wife, and places the unmasked Foresto in her custody.

Act 3
The forest

Uldino informs Foresto about the plans for the wedding of Odabella and Attila; Foresto laments Odabella's apparent betrayal (Che non avrebbe il misero / "What would that wretched man not have offered for Odabella"). Ezio arrives with a plan to ambush the Huns; when Odabella comes Foresto accuses her of treachery, but she pleads for his trust. Attila finds the three together and realizes he has been betrayed. As Roman soldiers approach, Odabella stabs him with the sword he had given her. The three conspirators cry that the people have been avenged.
 

31 May​ 
Albert LortzingDer Waffenschmied

Der Waffenschmied (The Armourer)
is an opera in three acts by Albert Lortzing. The German-language libretto was by the composer after Friedrich Wilheim von Ziegler's Liebhaber und Nebenbuhler in einer Person (Lover and Rival in One Person).

Albert Lortzing – Der Waffenschmied

Roles:
Hans Stadinger, armourer and vet (bass)
Marie, his daughter (soprano)
Count Liebenau, nobleman in disguise as "Konrad", a journeyman blacksmith (baritone)
Georg, Count Liebenau's squire (tenor)
Adelhos, a knight (baritone)
Irmentraut, Marie's governess (contralto)
Brenner, an innkeeper and Standinger's brother-in-law (tenor)
Synopsis
Act 1

Count von Liebenau loves Marie, the daughter of the armorer Stadinger (who is also a veterinarian) and wants nothing to do with Fräulein von Katzenstein. He wants her to love him for his own sake and not because of his noble title. Since the Stadinger also has rejected the noble candidate - because his wife was abducted by a Knight - Liebenau has come to work for him as a blacksmith journeyman named Konrad. Poor Marie is in distress, should she give her heart to the noble Knight or a simple blacksmith, because she loves both of them.

Stadinger invites his companions to his 25th anniversary of becoming a master armorer the next day after work. Entrusting Georg (Liebenau’s Squire posing with his master as a blacksmith) for the arrangements because Stadinger must make a vet call on some sick cows. Georg sings of the joys of life (Man wird ja einmal nur geboren). Liebenau appears in his true form as a rich knight after all have gone to bed, yet once more makes love to Marie, and put her to the test (Gern gäb ich Glanz und Reichtum hin). But Marie finally rejects him, because she loves Konrad. She begins to doubt the sincerity of the count’s love. Georg announces that Stadinger has returned. He discovers the count and Georg helps Liebenau to escape. After the commotion sparked by Stadinger has died down, Marie returns and listens at Konrad's door. Because he doesn’t stir, she wishes him good night at his closed door (Er schläft).

Act 2

Liebenau in the role of the jealous journeymen Konrad, accuses Marie, of having she a tryst with a count. After a short argument they are reconciled. In an intricate kissing scene, which also Irmentraut and Georg are involved, the suspicious Stadinger bursts in and tries in vain to find out who kissed who. Stadinger decides Konrad is fickle. The confusion becomes even greater when in waddles the Knight Adelhof, who warns Stadinger that Count Liebenau would like to see Konrad married to Marie. But Stadinger doesn't like the journeyman Konrad. Stadinger decides to marry his daughter off to Georg so that neither Konrad nor the Count will get her. Georg declines the offer.

At Stadinger’s celebration Georg has to sing a song (War einst ein junger Springinsfeld). The party is abruptly interrupted by the Irmentraut who says that the Count has kidnapped his daughter. In fact the Count has put on this kidnapping by his men, so that as Konrad he can rescue her. He hopes that Stadinger will then give him Marie's hand out of gratitude. Stadinger thinks of sending her to a nunnery instead since he doesn’t like Konrad.

Act 3

Marie complains of women’s lot in life (Wir armen, armen Mädchen). To break Stadinger’s obstinacy Liebenau has his armed men marching around the city. Stadinger’s brother in-law reads aloud a letter allegedly from the City Council, in which Stadinger is required to marry his daughter to Konrad to keep the civic peace. Now, he has to give his consent. While he remembers his youth and how good life used to be (Auch ich war ein Jüngling mit lockigem Haar). The royally arrayed Knight comes with his young wife and numerous followers to thank his new father-in-law. Stadinger is incensed when he realizes that Count Liebenau and the journeyman Konrad are one and the same person and he has been outsmarted, but he finally blesses the couple and is satisfied with the turn of events.

29 July 
Sophie Menter, pianist and composer, born.

10 November 
Saverio MercadanteOrazi e Curiazi

Orazi e Curiazi (The Horatii and the Curiatii)
is an opera by the Italian composer Saverio Mercadante. It takes the form of a tragedia lirica in three acts. The libretto, by Salvadore Cammarano is based on the Roman legend of the fight between the Horatii and the Curiatii. It was first performed at the Teatro San Carlo, Naples on 10 November 1846.

Saverio Mercadante - Orazi e Curiazi
Nell Miricioiu; Marcus Jerome; Anthony Michaels-Moore; Alastair Miles; Paul Nilon; Geoffrey Mitchell Choir; Philharmonia Orchestra; David Parry - direttore

6 December
Hector BerliozLa damnation de Faust

La damnation de Faust (The Damnation of Faust),
Op. 24 is a work for four solo voices, full seven-part chorus, large children's chorus and orchestra. It was first performed at the Opéra-Comique in Paris.

 

Sophie Menter
 

Sophie Menter (29 July 1846 – 23 February 1918) was a German pianist and composer who became the favorite female student of Franz Liszt. She was called l'incarnation de Liszt in Paris because of her robust, electrifying playing style and was considered one of the greatest piano virtuosos of her time. She died at Stockdorf, near Munich.
Sophie Menter was born in Munich, the daughter of cellist Josef Menter and singer Wilhelmine Menter (née Diepold). She studied piano with Siegmund Lebert and later Friedrich Niest. At 15, she played Carl Maria von Weber's Konzertstück for piano and orchestra with Franz Lachner conducting.

Her first concert appearances took her to Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Switzerland, and in 1867 she became acclaimed for her interpretation of Liszt's piano music at the Leipzig Gewandhaus. In Berlin, Menter became acquainted with the famous pianist Carl Tausig; she became a pupil of Liszt in 1869 after studying with Tausig and Hans von Bülow. Between 1872 and 1886 she was married to cellist David Popper, with whom she had a daughter named Celeste. In 1881 she first appeared in England and was awarded honorary membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society two years later. In 1883 she became professor of piano at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory but left in 1886 to continue concertizing.

Because of her popularity, Menter succeeded with music that no other pianist would touch. This included Liszt's First Piano Concerto, which she played in Vienna in 1869, 12 years after its disastrous premiere there. One of her recital specialties was a piece entitled Rhapsodies. This was a composite of three of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies—Nos. 2, 6 and 12—along with fragments from several others. She also composed various pieces for piano, mainly in a brilliant style, yet referred to her own compositional talent as "miserable."

Sophie Menter - Portrait by Ilya Repin

Sophie Menter - Ungarische Zigeunerweisen (Concerto in the Hungarian Style), (1885)
Performed by Janina Fialkowska piano, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (2000)

 

1847

Felix Mendelssohn – String Quartet No. 6

Felix Mendelssohn - String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80
1. Allegro vivace assai    min 00:09
2. Allegro assai              min 07:41 
3. Adagio                       min 12:29
4. Finale: Allegro molto   min 21:20
Schumann Quartett - pianist Henri Sigfridsson, oboist Ramón Ortega Quero, clarinetist David Orlowsky, cellist Nicolas Altstaedt and violist Nils Mönkemeyer.

 

Franz Liszt:
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2;
Glanes de Woronince;
Most of the Harmonies poétiques et religieuses

Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.
Valentina Lisitsa

Recorded live on May 22th, 2010 in Leiden, Holland

Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 
Volker Hartung 
Cologne New Philharmonic Orchestra

Franz Liszt - Ballade d'Ukraine (Dumka- Glanes de Woronince No. 1)
Mykola Suk 

Liszt - 10 Harmonies poétiques et religieuses, S.173
Philip Thomson, piano
1.  Invocation 
2.  Ave Maria 7:31
3.  Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude (The Blessing of God in Solitude) 15:08
4.  Pensée des morts (Thoughts of the Dead) 31:35
5.  Pater Noster 46:50
6.  Hymne de l'enfant à son réveil (The Awaking Child's Hymn) 49:09
7.  Funérailles (October 1849) ('Funeral') 55:49
8.  Miserere, d'après Palestrina (after Palestrina) 1:06:05
9.  Andante lagrimoso 1:09:25
10. Cantique d'amour (Hymn of Love) 1:17:17

Robert Schumann:
Symphony No. 2;
Piano Trio No. 1

Robert Schumann - Symphony No 2 in C major, Op 61

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Leonard Bernstein, conductor

Robert Schumann - Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 63
Movses Pogossian, violin
Clive Greensmith, cello
Inna Faliks, piano

Jacques OffenbachConcerto Militaire for cello and orchestra

Jacques Offenbach - Concerto Militaire for Cello and Orchestra in G Major 
Original Version

I. Allegro maestoso  0:00
II. Andante  14:40
III. Rondo: Allegretto  23:18

Jérőme Pernoo, cello
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski, conductor

22 July​ 
Giuseppe Verdi - I masnadieri

I masnadieri (The Bandits or The Robbers)
is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Andrea Maffei, based on the play Die Räuber by Friedrich von Schiller.

Giuseppe Verdi - I masnadieri

Massimiliano - Giacomo Prestia
Carlo - Aquiles Machado
Francesco - Artur Rucinski
Amalia - Lucrecia Garcia
Arminio - Walter Omaggio
Moser - Dario Russo
Rolla - Massimiliano Chiarolla

San Carlo Theatre Ballet School
San Carlo Theater Chorus and Orchestra
Nicola Luisotti, conductor. 
Naples, March 2012

Synopsis
Place: Germany          Time: between 1755 and 1757.
Act 1
Scene 1: A tavern on the borders of Saxony.

During a break from his studies at Dresden University, Carlo, the elder and favourite son of Count Massimiliano Moor has fallen amongst thieves, literally. He has become a member of a notorious gang of highwaymen and cut-throats who terrorise the local community by robbery, extortion and rowdy singing at all hours of the day and night.

But already Carlo has tired of living a life of depravity and longs to return home to be with Amalia, his gentle cousin and lifelong sweetheart (O mio castel paterno / "O castle of my fathers"). He is awaiting the reply to a letter he has sent to his father begging for forgiveness for his recent misdemeanors.

Rolla and the other robbers arrive with the longed-for reply from the Count. Carlo's joy soon turns to sorrow, and then anger (Nell'argilla maledetta / "Let my wrath plunge these swords into the accursed clay"), as he finds that the letter is not from his father but from his younger brother Francesco, who warns him not to return home because, far from having forgiven Carlo, the old Count is intent on punishing him and locking him away.

Carlo renounces his former life and swears an oath to remain with his new comrades for the rest of his days. The robbers unanimously elect him as their new leader.

Scene 2: A room in Count Moor's castle in Franconia.

Francesco is congratulating himself on having intercepted the letter from his brother to their father, knowing that Massimiliano would certainly have forgiven Carlo if he had received it. Now only the elderly, infirm Count stands between Francesco and the family title and estates, and he has devised a plan to hasten his father's death (La sua lampada vitale / "The lamp of his life burns low").

He forces Arminio, one of the castle servants, to disguise himself as a soldier recently arrived with tragic 'news' of Carlo's death, and sings his cabaletta, Tremate, o miseri / "Tremble, you wretches, you shall see me in my true terrible aspect".

Scene 3: Count Moor's bedroom in the castle.

Amalia is watching over the ailing Count. Each of them is thinking affectionately of the missing Carlo (Lo sguardo avea degli angeli / "His face had the smile of the angels").

Francesco ushers the disguised Arminio into the room. Arminio describes how he fought alongside Carlo for King Frederick in a battle for the city of Prague, and how he saw him mortally wounded. Carlo's final act in this world was to inscribe a message, using his own blood, on the blade of his sword, that Amalia and Francesco should marry.

Amalia and the Count are completely taken in; Massimiliano falls into a dead faint and Amalia, in a frenzy of hysteria, rushes offstage leaving a jubilant Francesco.

Act 2
Scene 1: A graveyard near the castle.

Several months have passed since the previous scene and Amalia enters to pray at Count Massimiliano's tomb (Tu del mio Carlo al seno / "Blessed spirit, you have flown to the bosom of my Carlo"). In the distance can be heard the sounds of a festive banquet hosted by Francesco, the new Count.

Arminio has followed Amalia from the castle because he is overcome by guilt at his part in Francesco's wicked scheming. He just has time to reveal that both Carlo and the old Count are still alive (provoking Amalia's cabaletta Carlo vive? O caro accento / "Carlo lives? ... O sweet words") before he is disturbed by the arrival of Francesco and forced to flee the scene.

Francesco has also been searching for Amalia with the intention of asking her to marry him. Her scornful refusal provokes him into a rage and he becomes violent. Amalia pretends a change of heart and embraces him so that she can seize his dagger and fend him off before making her escape into the nearby forest.

Scene 2: A clearing in a Bohemian forest.

Rolla has been captured in Prague and the brigands are awaiting the return of their leader, Carlo, who has gone to rescue him. The rescue is achieved, but at the same time Carlo has managed to set fire to much of the city, resulting in armed citizens pursuing him. The scene ends with Carlo exhorting his gallant band to fight like wolves to save themselves.

Act 3
Scene 1: A clearing in a Franconian forest.

The robbers sing of the pleasures of their criminal activities. They are now in the same forest as the distraught Amalia. Amalia fails to recognise her betrothed when he approaches her. Carlo reveals his identity, without mentioning his comrades, and there is a joyous reconciliation. Carlo is horrified when he learns of his brother's unsuccessful attack on her virtue.

Scene 2: Another clearing in the Franconian forest.

Carlo is alone and contemplates his dismal future (Di ladroni attorniato / "Surrounded by robbers, fettered to crime"). He considers suicide, but decides that he must accept his dreadful fate and live on in loneliness and misery, reviled by all decent people.

Arminio enters stealthily and approaches some nearby ruins. Hearing a voice within the ruins, Carlo investigates and discovers the emaciated figure of his father. Massimiliano fails to recognise his son, but nevertheless describes to him how Francesco attempted to bury him alive after his collapse on hearing of Carlo's death (Un ignoto tre lune or saranno / "An unknown - it will be three moons ago now - told me that my Carlo had been killed"). Fortunately Arminio saved him and has kept him hidden in the ruins where Carlo has found him.

Leaving the Count, Carlo calls on his band to storm the castle and capture his evil brother.

Act 4
Scene 1: Another room in Count Moor's castle.

Francesco wakes after terrifying, guilt ridden nightmares (Pareami che sorto da lauto convito / "I fancied that, having risen from a sumptuous banquet, I was sleeping ..."). He summons the local priest who refuses him absolution for his heinous crimes. At this point the brigands are heard storming the castle and Francesco rushes out, swearing that he will defy the very fires of Hell.

Scene 2: The second clearing in the Franconian forest.

Massimiliano bewails Carlo's death, although he still does not recognise that the man standing in front of him is his favourite son. He blesses the "unknown stranger" for saving his life.

The robbers reappear and report that they had not been able to capture Francesco. This pleases Carlo who intends to change his ways. At this moment Amalia is dragged in by the brigands. Carlo is forced to admit to her, and to his father, his role as leader of the robbers. Massimiliano expresses his horror and despair, but Amalia declares that despite everything she still loves Carlo and wants to stay with him.

Although Carlo has sworn to change his ways, he has also given his oath of lifelong allegiance to his band of robbers. He cannot allow the woman he loves to be dragged down into his world of degradation and disgrace and he cannot escape his own evil fate; he resolves this paradox by stabbing Amalia to death. Carlo rushes offstage claiming he is going in search of his own death.

Henryk WieniawskiGrand Caprice Fantastique Op. 1

Wieniawski -  Grand Caprice Fantastique Op. 1

Live performance by Emmanuel Borowsky (violin) and Elizabeth Borowsky (piano) at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, D.C. on March 8, 2015. 

4 November  
Felix Mendelssohn, pianist, conductor and composer, dies.

Frederic Chopin:
Waltz Opus 64 No.1 (Minute);
Waltz Op. 64. No. 2

Chopin -  Valse op 64 No. 1 "Minute Waltz"
Valentina Lisitsa

Chopin - Waltz in C sharp minor op. 64 no. 2
Paul Barton

14 March  
Giuseppe Verdi's Macbeth (opera) is premiėred at Teatro della Pergola in Florence, Italy. 

Macbeth  is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi, with an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave and additions by Andrea Maffei, based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name. Written for the Teatro della Pergola in Florence, it was Verdi's tenth opera and premiered on 14 March 1847. Macbeth was the first Shakespeare play that Verdi adapted for the operatic stage. Almost twenty years later, Macbeth was revised and expanded in a French version and given in Paris on 19 April 1865.

14 May   
Fanny Mendelssohn, pianist and composer, dies.

25 November​ 
Friedrich von FlotowMartha

Martha, oder Der Markt zu Richmond (Martha, or The Market at Richmond)
is a romantic comic opera in four acts by Friedrich von Flotow set to a German libretto by Friedrich Wilhelm Riese and based on a story by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges.

Friedrich von Flotow - Martha 

Lady Harriet Durham ('Martha'): Lucia Popp
Nancy: Doris Soffel
Lord Tristan Mickleford: Sigmund Nimsgern
Lyonel: Siegfried Jerusalem
Plumkett: Karl Ridderbusch
The Judge in Richmond: Peter Lika
Maid I: Irmgard Lampert
Maid II: Isolde Mitternacht
Maid III: Gudrun Greindl-Rosner
Servant of Lady Harriet I: Georg Baumgartner
Servant of Lady Harriet II: Theodor Nicolai
Servant of Lady Harriet III: Wilfried Vorwold
Tenant I: Karl Kreile
Tenant II: Paul Hansen

Description by John Palmer

Synopsis
Time: 1710.          Place: Richmond, England.
Act 1
Lady Harriet Durham, a maid-of-honour to Queen Anne, is so tired of Court life, and so sick of her many insipid admirers, she retires to the country. But she becomes bored so she decides to attend the fair at Richmond where girls hire themselves out as servants. For a laugh, she and her confidante Nancy masquerade as maidservants. Her foppish old cousin, Sir Tristan, another admirer who she terms a bore, accompanies them. Harriet manages to lose her escort, and then she and Nancy stand in the line of girls waiting to be hired. Two young farmers, Lyonel and Plunkett, are looking for a couple of wenches to do their housework and, being struck by the beauty and charm of the two masqueraders, proceed to hire them. Lady Harriet gives her name as Martha. The girls are soon dismayed to find they are legally bound to their new masters for a year. Sir Tristan is unable to retrieve them from their fate.

Act 2
Quickly, both farmers fall for their new maidservants — Lyonel for Harriet and Plunkett for Nancy. Harriet feels that Lyonel is of higher station than he appears. He is an orphan who was left with Plunkett's parents in early childhood. The new maids are totally inept at their tasks, which infuriates Plunkett. Finally, the new maids are told to go to bed, but escape through the window, with the aid of Sir Tristan. The young farmers are distressed and angry at the loss of their maids, and Lyonel's grief is so great that he falls into a melancholy state.

Act 3
Wandering in the forest, Lyonel meets a royal hunting party and recognises Lady Harriet. He declares his love for her, but she rebuffs him. Lyonel reminds her of her contract to serve him for a year. She tells the party the young man is mad, and Sir Tristan supports her declaration. Orders are given to imprison the young man. Lyonel has a ring his father gave him, saying if he was ever in trouble he was to send the ring to the Queen. He begs his friend to take it to the court.

Act 4
The ring saves Lyonel. The Queen recognises it as that of a banished nobleman, whose innocence has since been proven. Lady Harriet is now willing to accept his courtship as there is no longer a class difference to stand between them. She is filled with remorse for the way she has treated him. She reveals to him his true identity and tells him that his estate will be restored but he is blinded by anger with Harriet for the injustice she did him and refuses to accept her love. To win him back, Harriet and Nancy return to the fair once again dressed as country wenches. When Plunkett brings Lyonel to the fair and points out the two pretty serving-maids, Lyonel realises he does love Harriet. He embraces her, and they agree to marry, as do Plunkett and Nancy.

26 November​ 
Giuseppe Verdi - Jerusalem 

Jérusalem is a grand opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi. The libretto was to be an adaptation and partial translation of the composer's original 1843 Italian opera, I Lombardi alla prima crociata. It was the one opera which he regarded as the most suitable for being translated into French and, taking Eugène Scribe's advice, Verdi agreed that a French libretto was to be prepared by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaëz, who had written the libretto for Donizetti's most successful French opera, La favorite. The opera received its premiere performance at the Salle Le Peletier in Paris on 26 November 1847.

Verdi's  - JÉRUSALEM (highlights)
From the Vienna State Opera

Sonntag, 10. Dezember 1995
Österreichische Erstaufführung
Zubin Mehta - Dirigent
Robert Carsen - Inszenierung
Michael Levine - Bühnenbild und Kostüme
Johannes Meister - Choreinstudierung
José Carreras - Gaston
Davide Damiani - Der Graf von Toulouse
Samuel Ramey - Roger
Eliane Coelho - Hélène
Rosa Vento - Isaure
Franz Hawlata - Adhémar de Monteil
Ruben Broitman - Schildknappe Gastons
Wolfgang Bankl - Der Emir von Ramla
Peter Jelosits - Ein Offizier des Emirs
Rudolf Katzböck - Ein Herold
Peter Tuff - Ein Soldat

Giuseppe Verdi - JERUSALEM
Gaston: Josè Carreras,
Hélène: Katia Ricciarelli,
Roger: Siegmund Nimsgern ,
Le legat: Leonardo Monreale,
Raimondo: Gianpaolo Corradi,
Isaura: Licia Falcone, Il conte : Alessandro Cassis
L’emiro: Eftimios Michalopoulos,
L’araldo: Vinicio Cocchieri
L’ufficiale / Un pellegrino: Fernando Jacopucci,
Un soldato : Franco Calabrese
Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro di Torino della RAI
Direttore Gianandrea Gavazzeni  
Registrazione del 14 novembre 1975

Synopsis
Time: 1095 and 1099 AD
Place: Toulouse (Act 1); Palestine, near Jerusalem (Acts 2 – 4)

Act 1
Scene 1: The palace of the Count of Toulouse

Late at night Hélène is with her lover, Gaston. His family and hers have long been in conflict, but on the following day and prior to Gaston's departure for the First Crusade, it has been agreed that there will be a solemn reconciliation between the two families. (Duet: Adieu, mon bien-aimé / "Farewell, my beloved!"). After he leaves, Hélène and her companion, Isaure, pray for Gaston's safety.

Scene 2: The following morning outside the chapel

The Count proclaims the reconciliation and gives Gaston Hélène's hand in marriage. However, standing to one side, Roger, the Count's brother is quietly furious, since he is in love with Hélène. He leaves, after which the Papal Legate announces that the Pope has appointed Gaston to lead the Crusade, Gaston swears to follow him and he is awarded the Count's white cloak as a symbol of his loyalty. They enter the chapel. Returning, Roger proclaims his hatred of Gaston (Aria: Oh dans l'ombre, dans la mystère / "Oh! In darkness and mystery remain hidden, guilty passion") and approaches a soldier with whom he has plotted to kill his rival. He instructs the soldier to kill the man who will not be wearing the white cloak. (Aria: Ah! Viens, démon, esprit du mal / "Ah, come, demon, spirit of evil").

From inside the chapel the sound of uproar is heard. The soldier-murderer rushes out pursued by others while Roger gloats in his triumph. But it is Gaston who emerges, announcing that the Count has been struck down. The captured murderer is brought in before Roger; quietly Roger arranges for him to point to Gaston as the one who instigated the murder. Although protesting his innocence, Gaston is cursed by all and ordered into exile by the Papal Legate.

Act 2
Scene 1: A cave near Ramla in Palestine

Remorseful, Roger has been wandering for years in the desert and he cries out for forgiveness. (Aria: Ô jour fatal, ô crime / "O dreadful day, o my crime!"). Unexpectedly, Raymond, Gaston's squire, appears in a state of exhaustion and he begs Roger, whom he believes to be a holy man, for help, telling him that others of his Crusader group are lost. Roger hurries off to help them. Hélène and Isaure come down the pathway seeking the hermit who they think can tell them of Gaston's fate. They are surprised to find Raymond, who tells them that Gaston is still alive but held captive in Ramla. While expressing her joy, Hélène and Isaure are led towards the town by Raymond (Aria: Quell'ivresse, bonheur suprême / "What rapture! Supreme happiness! God has protected the man I love ...").

A group of distraught pilgrims climbs down from the hills around the cave. They are met by a band of newly arrived Crusaders led by the Count, who praises God for saving him from the assassin's dagger, and the Papal Legate. Roger appears requesting that he may be allowed to join them in their battle and the three proclaim their anticipated victory (Trio and chorus: Le Seigneur nous promet la victoire! O bonheur! / "The Lord promises us victory! Oh joy!").

Scene 2: The palace of the Emir of Ramla

Gaston is admitted and expresses his desire to be close to Héléne again. He begins to plan his escape (Aria: Je veux encore entendre.. / "I want to hear your voice again") when the Emir arrives and advises him that escape will result in his death. At that moment, Hélène, having been captured in the city, is brought in. The couple pretends not to know one another, but the Emir is suspicious. However, they are left alone and are joyous in their reunion, until Gaston attempts to dissuade Hélène from associating with him in his dishonor (Aria: Dans la honte et l'épouvante / "You cannot share in the horror and shame of my wandering life!"). She remains firmly resolved to remain with him. From a window, they see the approaching Crusaders and, in the chaos, determine to escape but are thwarted by the arrival of the Emir's soldiers.

Act 3
Scene 1: The harem gardens

Hélène is surrounded by the ladies of the harem who express some sympathy with her plight. But, when the Emir enters and is told that the Christians are close to attacking the city, he orders that if the invaders are successful, Hélène's head should be thrown to the Count. In despair, she considers the uselessness of her life (Aria: Que m'importe la vie / "What does life matter to me in my extreme unhappiness" and Mes plaintes mes plaintes sont vaines / "My laments are in vain").
Gaston has escaped and rushes in to find Hélène, but their joy is short-lived as the Crusaders, led by the Count, burst into the room and demand Gaston's death, still believing that he was responsible for the attempt on the Count's life. Defiantly, Hélène challenges the Crusaders (Aria: Non ... non votre rage / "No ... no, your anger, your unworthy outrage") as well as her father ("The shame and crime are yours!"). The Count drags her away.

Scene 2: A scaffold in a public square in Ramla

Gaston is brought in and the Legate tells him that he has been condemned by the Pope and, following his public disgrace that day, he will be executed the following day. Gaston pleads for his honor to remain intact (Aria: O mes amis, mes frères d'armes / "O my friends, my brothers-in-arms"), but the smashing of his helmet, shield, and sword take place.

Act 4
Scene 1: The edge of the Crusaders' camp

The hermit Roger is alone near the camp. A procession of Crusaders and women arrives, Hélène amongst them. The procession continues on, although Hélène hangs back as the Legate approaches Roger and asks him to give some comfort to the condemned man who is then brought out. Gaston is brought out, but Roger refuses to give him his blessing. Instead, he hands his sword to Gaston urging him to place his hands on its hilt where it forms a cross and then to go off and fight for the Lord.

Scene 2: The Count's tent

Hélène and Isaure wait for news of the outcome of the battle for Jerusalem. They hear shouts of victory from outside and the Count, the Legate, and Crusaders enter followed by Gaston with the visor of his helmet closed. Praised for his bravery and asked to reveal his identity, Gaston announces that he is now prepared to be executed. Just then, the mortally wounded Roger is brought in and reveals himself as the Count's brother. He begs for mercy for Gaston and confesses to being the one who planned the murder which almost resulted in his brother's death. All rejoice at the restoration of Gaston's honor and position, as Roger takes one final look at Jerusalem and he dies.

 

1848

Johann Strauss IRadetzky March

Johann Strauss Sr. "Radetzky March" performed by Vienna Philharmonic at new years concert 2011
Franz Welser-Möst - conductor

Vienna New Years Concert: Johann Strauss, Radetzky March (01 Jan 2014)
Daniel Barenboim - conductor

Johann Strauss - Radetzky-Marsch
From the Heldenplatz in Vienna, 29. May 1999

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Wiener Philharmoniker)
Zubin Mehta - conductor

21 January  
Henri Duparc
, composer, born.

27 February  
Hubert Parry
, composer, teacher and music historian, born.

8 April
Gaetano Donizetti, composer, dies.

Gaetano Donizetti  - All 33 Overtures

01. Adelia 0:01
02. L'Ajo nell'imbarazzo 6:17
03. Alahor in Granata 10:48
04. Alina, Regina di Golconda 17:49
05. Anna Bolena 25:01
06. Belisario 32:59
07. Betly 39:44
08. Il Borgomastro di Saardam 43:59
09. Il Diluvio Universale 50:30
10. Don Pasquale 59:41
11. Elisabetta (Gli esiliati in Siberia) 1:06:04
12. Enrico di Borgogna 1:13:02
13. Il Falegname di Livonia (Pietro Il Grande) 1:20:52
14. Fausta 1:30:23
15. La Favorite (La Favorita) 1:37:46
16. La Fille du Régiment 1:43:09
17. La Follia di Carnovale 1:49:50
18. Il Fortunato Inganno 1:57:07
19. Gabriela di Vergy 2:01:23
20. Gemma di Vergy 2:06:28
21. Gianni di Parigi 2:15:59
22. Linda di Chamounix 2:22:15
23. Maria di Rohan 2:31:02
24. Marino Faliero 2:40:47
25. Maria Stuarda 2:49:20
26. Olivo e Pasquale 2:56:50
27. Parisina 3:03:56
28. Poliuto - 'O nume pietoso' (Les Martyrs) 3:12:03 
29. Roberto Devereux 3:21:47
30. Rosmonda d'Inghilterra 3:28:42
31. Torquato Tasso 3:35:36
32. Ugo di Parigi 3:45:12
33. Zoraida di Granata 3:53:08

25 October 
Giuseppe VerdiIl corsaro

Il corsaro (The Corsair)
is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi, from a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on Lord Byron's poem The Corsair. The first performance was given at the Teatro Grande in Trieste on 25 October 1848.

Verdi - Il Corsar

Bruno Ribeiro - Corrado
Andrea Papi - Giovanni
Irina Lungu - Medora
Silvia Dalla Benetta - Gulnara
Luca Salsi - Seid
Gregory Bonfatti - Selimo
Angelo Villari - Un eunuco / Uno schiavo

Parma Teatro Regio Chorus and Orchestra
Carlo Montanaro, conductor, 
Parma, October 2008

Giuseppe Verdi - Il Corsaro

CORRADO: José Carreras
MEDORA: Jessye Norman
GULNARA: Montserrat Caballé
SEID: Gian Piero Mastromei
SELIMO: John Noble
GIOVANNI: Clifford Grant
EUNUCO/SCHIAVO: Alexander Oliver

Ambrosian Singers - John McCarthy
NEW PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA - LAMBERTO GARDELLI

ATTO I: 0:00
ATTO II: 25:09
ATTO III: 52:20

Synopsis
Place: A Greek island in the Aegean and the Turkish city of Corone.
Time: The early 1800s
Act 1
The Greek Island

Scene 1: Corrado's ship

The island is controlled by the corsairs, or pirates. A chorus introduces Corrado, the chief corsair, who is in exile. He laments his present condition: Tutto parea sorridere / "The world seemed to smile upon my early life". But he receives a letter containing military intelligence about the Turkish Pasha, Seid. It convinces him to set sail with his comrades, and he immediately starts rallying the troops: Sì, di Corsari il fulmine / "Yes, the lightning blow of the Corsairs shall I myself strike".

Scene 2: Medora's home

Medora is alone, and anxious for Corrado's return. She picks up her harp and sings a beautiful, but vaguely sinister aria; some sixth sense seems to be telling her that things are bound to turn out badly: Non so le tetre immagini / "Dark forebodings I cannot banish from my thoughts". When Corrado finally arrives, the two sing a duet that captures both the serenity of their love and the uncertainty of their future. Medora pleads with Corrado not to leave, but finally he departs to confront the Pasha.

Act 2
Corone

Scene 1: The harem

The slave girls in Pasha Seid's harem are looking after Gulnara, the Pasha's favorite. However, Gulnara is unhappy about the Pasha's attentions. She chafes at life in the harem, and longs for freedom and true love: Vola talor dal carcere / "At times my thought flies free from its prison". A eunuch brings Gulnara an invitation to a celebratory banquet anticipating the Pasha's victory in the impending sea battle with the corsairs. She expresses a hope of something better awaiting her in life: Ah conforto è sol la speme / "Ah, comfort lies only in hope for this lost soul" and the ladies of the harem tell her that "you are everyone's hope".

Scene 2: The banquet

Seid and his men express their feelings that Allah will protect them: Salve, Allah! tutta quanta / "Hail Allah! All the earth resounds with his mighty name". A slave asks the Pasha if a Dervish who has apparently escaped from the corsairs might be admitted. Seid grants an audience and questions him. Suddenly everyone notices flames at sea: the Pasha's fleet is burning. As the Dervish whips off his disguise and reveals himself to be Corrado, his corsairs invade the banquet, and a battle takes place. At first, it seems that Corrado and his men will win, but he makes a fatal mistake. Seeing that the harem is burning, Corrado decides to rescue Gulnara and the other women. This gives the Pasha and his men time to regroup. They take Corrado prisoner and Seid confronts him - Audace cotanto, mostrarti pur sai? / "Yet so bold do you stand before me" - as he condemns Corrado to a grisly death, in spite of pleas from Gulnara and the harem to spare him for saving their lives.

Act 3
Scene 1: Seid's quarters

Seid is enjoying his victory, but he is not entirely satisfied: Cento leggiadre vergini / "A hundred lissom virgins asked love of me" he says, but "my heart beats only for Gulnara". He is afraid she has fallen for the dashing Corrado. Sending for her, he proclaims his basic credo of revenge: S'avvicina il tuo momento / "Your moment approaches, dread thirst for vengeance". When she enters, he challenges her and she tells him that he is right; he threatens Gulnara, but she defies him and the Pasha storms out of the room.

Scene 2: The prison

Corrado is in prison and assumes that he is doomed: Eccomi prigionero! / "Here am I a prisoner". Having bribed a guard to let her into his cell, Gulnara vows to help him, handing him a knife to kill Seid. Corrado rejects her offer, citing his honor as a combatant. He also senses her deep feelings for him, and tells her that he is in love with Medora. Gulnara leaves, saying that she will kill Seid. In a brief interlude, the stormy music, which opened the Prelude, is heard again; this time, it accompanies a murder. On her return Gulnara reports that she takes all the blame for killing the Pasha: Sul capo mio discenda, fiero Iddio / "Upon my head, grim God, let your dread lightning fall". With their enemy gone, she and Corrado resolve to escape together to the corsairs' island.

Scene 3: The Greek island

Near death after taking poison, Medora is convinced that she will never see Corrado again. The ship carrying Gulnara and Corrado appears in the distance and, when they arrive, Corrado and Medora throw themselves into each other's arms. In a trio with each character expressing his/her feelings, Corrado begins by explaining how he and Gulnara became free: Per me infelice vedi costei / "Unhappy for my sake you see this woman; she risked her life to save mine". However, their joy does not last for long, for Medora dies. With his men trying to stop him, Corrado leaps from a cliff to his death as the opera ends.

30 November 
Gaetano Donizetti - Polliuto  

Poliuto is a three-act tragedia lirica (or tragic opera) by Gaetano Donizetti from the Italian libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, which was based on Pierre Corneille's play Polyeucte written in 1641–42. It reflected the life of the early Christian martyr Saint Polyeuctus.

Regarded by one author as Donizetti's "most personal opera" with the music being "some of the finest Donizetti was to compose", Poliuto was written in 1838 for performances planned at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples later that year. However, close to the time for rehearsals to begin, King Ferdinand II refused to allow the martyrdom of a Christian saint to be seen on stage and forbade the production.

Angry at the decision and with a commission for the Paris Opéra due from the composer, Donizetti paid the penalty to the San Carlo for not producing an original work as a substitute, and left Naples for Paris arriving on 21 October. As his first commission for Paris, he decided to revise Poliuto and between 1839-40 a French text, with the title Les martyrs, was prepared by Eugene Scribe which conformed to the conventions of a French four-act grand opera, but which incorporated 80% of the music from Poliuto. It was presented in Paris on 10 April 1840. When eventually given in Italy, it was initially presented in a translation from the French version under the title of I martiri. It took until 30 November 1848, months after the composer's death, in order for Poliuto to finally appear for six performances at the San Carlo in its original Italian three-act version.







 

POLIUTO - GAETANO DONIZETTI

Poliuto - Franco Corelli
Paolina - Maria Callas
Severo - Ettore Bastianini
Callistene - Nicola Zaccaria
Nearco - Piero De Palma
Felice - Rinaldo Pelizzoni
A Christian - Virgilio Carbonari

Conductor - Antonino Votto
Orchestra - Teatro alla Scala
Chorus - Teatro alla Scala
1960

Roles:
Poliuto, Roman convert to Christianity    tenor  é
Paolina, Poliuto's wife    soprano  
Severo, Roman Proconsul    baritone 
Felice, Paolina's father, Governor of Armenia    tenor 
Callistene, High Priest of Jupiter    bass    
Nearco, a Christian, Poliuto's friend    tenor   
A Christian   
Synopsis
Place: Melitene
Time: c. 259 A.D.

Armenia has been conquered by the Romans, and they have decreed that Christianity, which has a significant following in the country, must be destroyed and its followers put to death. Paolina had been in love with the Roman general, Severo, and had only married Poliuto after pressure from her father, Felice, who told her that Severo had been killed in battle.

Act 1: The Baptism
Scene 1: The Entrance to a Hidden Sanctuary

A secret gathering of Christian worshipers assembles, ready to be baptised into the new faith. (Chorus: Ancor ci asconda un velo arcano / "May a veil of secrecy still protect us From the ungodly sword which threatens us"). As they go into the cave, Poliuto, the principal magistrate of Melitene, enters and seeing his friend Nearco, the Christian leader, embraces him as he expresses his reservations about being baptised along with the others. He confides to his friend that he has misgivings regarding his wife’s loyalty to him, fearing that he still has a rival for her affections. Nearco, urging him to be calm and to turn his thoughts to God, causes Poliuto to pray: D'un'alma troppo fervida, tempra, buon Dio, gli affetti / "Temper the emotions, dear God, of a soul that is too ardent".

Poliuto enters the shrine, as his wife Paolina, who has been following him, arrives outside. She suspects that he has become a Christian convert, and waits for him to reappear from the baptism, recognizing that she has come to the right place. She calls to Nearco when he leaves the cave, and he warns her not to become involved since death is the penalty for all. Upon hearing the voices coming from the cave as the service progresses, she finds herself strangely moved by its sincerity and power as the Christians pray for their persecutors: "Yes, the prayer enters my heart" and, as the prayers continue, she feels the need to kneel as the Christians pray for their enemies as well: (Aria. Di quai soave lagrime, aspersa è la mia gota / "My cheeks are moistened, With such gentle tears, How this sweet unknown power, goes straight to my soul!....a dark veil seems to fall from my eyes").

At that moment, Nearco and Poliuto leave the sanctuary and find Paolina there: "Have you abandoned your religion?" she asks her husband, who states that he has no fear. Sounds of celebration outside are heard as Nearco returns to tell them that Severo, the Roman general, has returned from Rome: "The unsheathed sword hangs over all our heads" says Nearco, as Paolina realises that the report she had been given of Severo's death in battle was untrue. Experiencing both great joy and utter despair on learning that her lover has survived, she acknowledges to herself that now they can never be united. The Christians, proclaiming that they shall defy death, leave Paolina alone.

Scene 2: The Great Square of Melitene

A jubilant crowd hails the arrival of Severo: Plausi all'inclito Severo, lauri eterni alla sua chioma / "All hail the illustrious Severo, eternal laurels for his head". He addresses the people, and without specifying that he is describing the Christians, he tells them that he will sweep away the unholy rabble who, like a wicked serpent, are in their midst. Then, to himself, he expresses his desire to once again see his love. (Aria: Di tua beltade imagine è questo sol ch'io miro / "This sun I see is the image of your beauty".) Greeted by Callistene, he sees Felice, wishes to embrace him, and asks where his daughter is. In his awkward reply, Felice points to Poliuto, acknowledging him as Paolina's husband. Together, Severo, Callistene and Felice express their anger, frustration and confusion, with Severo enraged and bitter when he realizes that Paolina is married. (Cabaletta: No, l'acciar non fu spietato che versava il sangue mio / "No, the sword that spilled my blood was not merciless, but the god who kept me alive was merciless indeed!") Again, each man expresses his anguish: for Poliuto it is a "cold hand gripping his heart"; for Callistene it is revenge; and for Felice, the "sun has become enshrouded in a thick cloud."

Act 2: The Neophyte
Scene 1: The gardens of Felice’s house

Callistene and Severo are at Felice's home where the priest tells Severo that it is possible that it was Felice's idea that Paolina marry Poliuto. He then leaves, and Severo waits for Paolina who is surprised to find him in her father's house. Angrily he confronts her: Il più lieto dei vivent / "Returning to this land, I was the happiest man alive! I hoped our marriage would be a blissful paradise!.." Clearly conflicted by Severo's sudden confrontation and, as he states that "my joy has turned to weeping, my broken heart is bleeding", she expresses to herself the anguish which overtakes her: (aria): Ei non vegga il pianto mio / "He must not see my weeping, nor understand my agitation... If there is a merciful God in heaven, may he protect me from myself. All my former passion is re-awakening in my heart". Severo's pleas to her are rebuffed, albeit with some reluctance. In the background, Poliuto and Callistene are seen arriving.

Finally, Paolina expresses her frustration: Quest'alma è troppo debole, In cosi ro cimento!... / "This soul is too weak for such a cruel trial" and she demands that Severo leave her to her grief. No, vivi, esulta, o barbara / "No, live and rejoice, cruel woman" he replies and, together, they express their conflicting feelings, with Severo finally leaving and Paolina entering the house.

Entering alone, Poliuto, believes that the couple are guilty and he pledges to revenge this attack on his honour by killing them both: (cavatina:) Valeno è l'aura ch'io respire! Indegna! / "The air I breathe is poison to me! Despicable woman!.....So tremble guilty couple... My honour has been sullied! This calls for vengeance. Ah! my love for her was immense!.. Now my fury is immense!" But his bitter thoughts of revenge are interrupted by the news that Nearco, a fellow Christian, has been arrested by the Romans for his religious beliefs. Quickly, he casts aside thoughts of revenge as he realizes that greater action is required: (Cabaletta:) Sfolgorò divino raggio, Da' miei lumi è tolto il velo / "A ray of divine light blazed down, the veil has fallen from my eyes [......] A holy voice as if from heaven spoke to me of forgiveness." He rushes off to the Temple.

Scene 2: The Temple of Jupiter

The Priests are assembled along with Callistene, Severo, Paolina, and the people. The High Priest calls down the vengeance of the gods upon those who insult the sacred cult. As Nearco is dragged into the temple in chains, Callistene demands to know the name of an important new convert to Christianity about whom he has heard rumour. Initially, Nearco refuses to betray the convert, but when Severo threatens him with torture until he speaks, Poliuto proudly reveals himself to be the man they seek.

All assembled express their feelings in an ensemble: Severo, Callistene, Felice, Priests and the People: La sacrilege parole Nel delubro ancor rimbomba / "The sacrilegious word Still resounds in the temple" and, addressing Poliuto, declare "You are destined to eternal punishment amongst the dead"; Paolina: Qual preghiera al Ciel disciolgo? / "What prayer can I now offer up?"; Poliuto: Dio, proteggi l'umil servo, A morir per te qui vengo/ "God, protect your humble servant, I have come here to die for you, but worldly emotions rise up fiercely to fight again"; and Nearco expresses a longing for death for himself.

In a concerted finale, Paolina entreats her father to save her husband’s life, and then throws herself at Severo’s feet, begging him to show mercy for the sake of the love she knows he still has for her. Her actions so enrage Poliuto that he breaks free from his captors and smashes the pagan altar. He is quickly overpowered and led away with Nearco, as Felice forcibly removes his daughter from the temple.

Act 3: Martyrdom
Scene 1: A sacred wood near the Temple of Jupiter

In the distance, the people can be heard encouraging all to go to the circus where they will see blood flow. (Chorus: Vieni, vieni...al circo andiamo... / "Come, come...let's go to the circus").

Priests enter awaiting the arrival of Callistene, the High Priest. He tells them that others have come forward and declared that they too will die for the Christian cause, while Paolina has gone to plead for Poliuto. Callistene encourages the priests to stir up the crowd. (Aria, then repeated by all: Alimento alla fiamma si porga, Tal che incendio vorace ne sorga / "Let the flames be fanned, So that a voracious fire blazes").

Scene 2: Inside the prison of the Temple of Jupiter

In his prison cell, Poliuto is asleep and wakes up, somewhat confused. He has dreamed that Paolina is in truth a loyal and faithful wife. (Aria: Visione gradita!... Bella, e di sol vestita / "A happy vision! Beautiful in the sunlight My wife ascended heavenward.") Just then, he hears someone approaching, and it is Paolina, who has persuaded the guards to let her visit him. Although she explains that she did love Severo before meeting Poliuto, she now wishes nothing more than his death. Suspicious, Poliuto asks why then did she invite him to meet her at her father's house, but she denies that this happened and explains that it was a plot by the High Priest. He understands, silently begging for her forgiveness as he forgives her before he will die.

They are reconciled, and Paolina tells him that it is arranged that he need not die if he renounces his Christian beliefs. He responds: "But my soul would be lost!". Paolina: (Aria: A' piedi tuoi son io... Ah! fuggi da morte / "I am at your feet... Ah! flee from a death, That is so horrible".) But Poliuto is certain that eternal salvation awaits him after death: (Aria: Lasciando la terra, Il giusto non muore / "The just man does not die when leaving the world; He is reborn in heaven to a better life"). Coraggio inaudito! ("What incredible courage"), she exclaims, and recognising the strength of his faith, Paolina begs him to baptize her, so that she can die with him. At first Poliuto is unwilling to perform the baptism, but when he sees that her conversion is genuine, he agrees: "Grace has entered your soul. The road to salvation has just opened for you" he tells her.

Together they sing of the joys of eternal life together, Paolina exclaiming Ah! Il suon dell'arpe angeliche / "Ah! I already hear the sound, of angelic harps all around me! I see the light of a hundred and a hundred more suns shining!" and then, together, "It is granted me to live with you, in heaven for all eternity...." The doors to the amphitheatre open, revealing huge crowds waiting for the condemned.

Severo and his men arrive to take Poliuto to the arena. He chooses death and, when Paolina declares "I have embraced the faith of his God", Severo is horrified. She demands to die with her husband, but Severo continues to urge her to reconsider, at the same time as Callistene and the assembled priests continue to demand their deaths. In spite of his attempts, Severo fails to persuade Paolina to save herself because of her father, and the couple proclaim: "Let us die together". The signal is heard.

In a concerted finale, each expresses his or her feelings: Paolina and Poliuto (Il suon dell'arpe angeliche / "I already hear the sound of angelic harps"); Callistene, some Priests, and the assembled women (Sia maledetto, Chi reca insulta, Dei gran Tonante / "Cursed be he, who dares insult, the holy cult"); Savero (Giove crudel, famelico, Di sangue e di vendetta / "Cruel Jupiter, starving, for blood and vengeance"); and the Priests urging then on to the arena. After one last attempt to change Paolina's mind, the couple, along with the condemned Christians, go off to their deaths.
 

POLIUTO - Gaetano Donizetti
Paolo Gavanelli
Katia Ricciarelli
José Carreras
Juan Pons
Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Singakademie 
Oleg Caetani, conductor.

 

Henri Duparc

Henri Duparc, original name Henri Fouques-duparc, (born Jan. 21, 1848, Paris, Fr.—died Feb. 12, 1933, Mont-de-Marsan), French composer known for his original and lasting songs on poems of Charles Baudelaire, Leconte de Lisle, Théophile Gautier, and others.















Duparc studied with César Franck at the Jesuit College of Vaugirard. In 1869 he met Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner at Weimar and in 1870 published five songs (Cinq Mélodies, Opus 2). Two of them, “Soupir” and “Chanson triste,” were later incorporated in his collection of songs, written between 1868 and 1884, including eight with orchestral accompaniment. In these songs, Duparc enlarged the French song into a scena, or opera-like scene, and brought to it a poetic sense of musical prosody and a symphonic conception of form. In his youth Duparc wrote two orchestral works, Aux Étoiles (To the Stars) and Lénore, and a motet. 

He was also keenly interested in Russian literature, planning an opera, Roussalka, based on a narrative poem by Aleksandr Pushkin. 

About 1890 his creative faculties began to be undermined by doubts, and he thereafter produced little. In a spirit of severe self-criticism, he destroyed nearly all his subsequent works and sketches, together with his earlier unpublished manuscripts and the correspondence addressed to him by Wagner and contemporary poets. During the latter part of his life he was associated with two French Catholic writers, Francis Jammes and Paul Claudel, and composed the song “Testament” (1906–13), the text of which is a prose prayer.

Songs of Henri Dupar

I. Measha Bruggergosman: Chanson triste 00:00
II. Susan Graham: Romance de Mignon 03:01
III. Natalie Dessay: Soupir 07:00
IV. Véronique Gens: Au Pays où se fait la guerre 10:00
V. Régine Crespin: L'invitation au voyage 15:07
VI. Kate Royal: Extase 19:56
VII. Régine Crespin: Elégie 23:03
VIII. Jessye Norman: La vie antérieure 26:27
IX. Lawrence Brownlee: Le manoir de Rosemonde 31:02
X. Renée Fleming: Phidylé 33:46
XI. Régine Crespin: Testament 39:49

I. Justus Zeyen -piano
II, VI. Malcolm Martineau -piano
III. Philippe Cassard -piano
IV. Susan Manoff
V, VII, XI. John Wustman -piano
VIII. Dalton Baldwin -piano
IX. Iain Burnside -piano
X. Sebastian Lang-Lessing -conductor, Philharmonia Orchestra

Gérard Souzay chante "L'invitation au voyage" d'Henri Duparc sur un poème de Charles Baudelaire

Duparc  - Charles Baudelaire - L'invitation au voyage

Baixo-baritono: Jose van Dam
Piano: Maciej Pikulski

 

Hubert Parry
 

Sir Hubert Hastings Parry, Baronet, original name in full Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, (born Feb. 27, 1848, Bournemouth, Hampshire, Eng.—died Oct. 7, 1918, Rustington, Sussex), composer, writer, and teacher, influential in the revival of English music at the end of the 19th century.


















While at Eton, where he studied composition, he took the bachelor of music degree from Oxford (1867). Among his later teachers, the pianist Edward Dannreuther particularly influenced him.

Parry’s Scenes from Prometheus Unbound (1880) was the first of a series of choral works that showed his gift for the massive effects that characterized English music of the rest of the 19th century. Among his works are Blest Pair of Sirens (1887) for chorus and orchestra; the oratorios Judith (1888), Job (1892), and King Saul (1894); and his Songs of Farewell (1916–18). His unison song “Jerusalem” (1916), a setting of words from William Blake’s Milton, became almost a second national anthem during and after World War I. His other works include five symphonies, Symphonic Variations, chorale preludes for organ, motets, and many songs.
 

In 1883 Parry was appointed choragus (festival conductor) of the University of Oxford and joined the staff of the Royal College of Music, London, becoming its director in 1894. In 1900 he became professor of music at Oxford. He was knighted in 1898 and created a baronet in 1903; he died without sons, and the baronetcy became extinct. His writings on music include Studies of Great Composers (1886), The Evolution of the Art of Music (1896), Johann Sebastian Bach (1909), and Style in Musical Art (1911).

C.H.H. Parry - Judith 
 Pax Christi Chorale & Orchestra, conducted by Stephanie Martin.

C.H.H. Parry - Songs of Farewell 
1. My soul, there is a country 0:00
2. I know my soul hath power 3:51
3. Never weather-beaten sail 5:53
4. There is an old belief 9:16
5. At the round earth's imagined corners 14:11
6. Lord, let me know mine end 21:36

Hubert Parry - Te Deum (1911)
BBC National Chorus of Wales BBC National Orchestra of Wales Neeme Järvi

Hubert Parry - Magnificat (1897)

Amanda Roocroft
BBC National Chorus of Wales
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Neeme Järvi

 

1849

Franz Liszt:
Tasso
Totentanz
Funérailles

Franz Liszt  - "Tasso. Lamento e Trionfo", Symphonic Poem
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Kurt Masur, conductor, 1977

Liszt - Totentanz for Piano & Orchestra
Valentina Lisitsa, piano
John Axelrod, conductor
Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai

Liszt - Funérailles
Piano: Krystian Zimerman - 1991

Hector BerliozTe Deum

Berlioz: Te Deum  
Barenboim 
Orchestre de Paris

Robert SchumannManfred Op. 115, overture and Incidental music

Robert Schumann - Overture "Manfred" Op. 115  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler Live Recording, Berlin, 1949

9 March 
Otto NicolaiThe Merry Wives of Windsor

The Merry Wives of Windsor (Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor)
is an opera in three acts by Otto Nicolai to a German libretto by Salomon Hermann Mosenthal based on the play The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare.

Otto Nicolai – The Merry Wives of Windsor

Roles:
Frau Fluth (Alice Ford)    soprano 
Frau Reich (Meg Page)    mezzo-soprano  
Sir John Falstaff    bass    
Fenton    tenor  
Herr Fluth (Ford)    baritone
Anna Reich (Anne Page)    soprano  
Herr Reich (Page)    bass  
Spärlich (Slender)    tenor   
Dr. Cajus    bass    
Robin    spoken    
Synopsis
Act 1
Scene 1

Two married ladies, Frau Fluth and Frau Reich, discover that they both received love letters from the impoverished nobleman Falstaff at the same time. They decide to teach him a lesson and withdraw to hatch a plan. Now the husbands of Frau Fluth and Frau Reich come in. Anna, Frau Reich's daughter, is of marriageable age and three gentlemen seek her hand in marriage: Dr. Cajus, a French beau, is her mother's favorite, and her father wants the shy nobleman Spärlich as his son-in-law, but Anna is in love with the penniless Fenton.

Scene 2

Frau Fluth has invited Falstaff to a supposed tryst, and he enters with grand romantic gestures and clumsily attempts to ensnare her. As Frau Reich reports the return of the distrustful Herr Fluth, which had been previously arranged, the old gentleman is hidden in a laundry basket, the contents of which are quickly emptied into a ditch. Herr Fluth has searched the whole house in the meantime without success and is forced to believe his wife, who protests her innocence.

Act 2
Scene 1

At the inn, Falstaff has recovered from his bath and sings bawdy drinking songs. A messenger brings him a letter, in which Frau Fluth proposes another rendezvous. Her husband appears in disguise and presents himself as Herr Bach to get Falstaff to talk about his trysts. He unsuspectingly brags about his affair with Frau Fluth, which provokes her husband's rage.

Scene 2

Spärlich and Cajus sneak around Anna's window, but before they attempt to go near, they hear Fenton's serenade and hide in the bushes. From there they observe a passionate love scene between the two lovers.

Scene 3

Falstaff is again with Frau Fluth, and Frau Reich again warns them both that Herr Fluth is on his way home. This time they dress the fat knight in women's clothes to try and pass him off as the maid. Herr Fluth enters and finds only the old maid, whom he angrily throws out of the house.

Act 3
Scene 1

Fluth and Reich are finally let in on the plan by their wives and the four of them decide to take Falstaff for a ride one last time. The knight is expected to show up at a grand masked ball in Windsor Forest. Additionally, Herr and Frau Reich each plan to take advantage of the confusion to marry Anna off to their preferred suitor. Instead, however, she has arranged a nighttime meeting with Fenton in the forest.

Scene 2

After the moonrise, depicted by the chorus and orchestra, the masked ball in the forest begins. At first, Falstaff, disguised as Ritter Herne, is lured by the two women, but then he is frightened by various other guests disguised as ghosts, elves, and insects. After the masks are removed and Falstaff is mocked by everyone, Anna and Fenton, who got married in the forest chapel, appear. In a cheerful closing number all of the parties are reconciled.

Giuseppe Verdi - La battaglia di Legnano

Federico Barbarossa - Enrico Giuseppe Iori
Primo console di Milano - Francesco Musinu
Secondo console di Milano - Federico Benetti
Il podestà di Como - Gabriele Sagona
Rolando - Leonardo López Linares
Lida - Dimitra Theodossiou
Arrigo - Andrew Richards
Marcovaldo - Giovanni Guagliardo
Imelda - Sharon Pierfederici
Un araldo - Alessandro de Angelis
Uno scudiero di Arrigo - Nicola Pascoli

Trieste Teatro Verdi Chorus
Trieste Teatro Verdi Orchestra
Boris Brott, conductor, 
2012

Giuseppe Verdi - La battaglia di Legnano

LIDA: Katia Ricciarelli
ARRIGO: José Carreras
ROLANDO: Matteo Manuguerra
FEDERICO BARBAROSSA: Nicola Ghiuselev
CONSOLE I: Hannes Lichetnberger
CONSOLE II: Dimitri Kavrakos
MARCOVALDO: Jonathan Summers
PODESTA': Franz Handlos
IMELDA: Ann Murray
ARALDO/SCUDIERE: Mieczyslaw Antoniak

SYMPHONIEORCHESTER UND CHOR DES ORF 
Lamberto Gardelli

ATTO I - "EGLI VIVE!" ("HE IS ALIVE!"): 0:00
ATTO II - "BARBAROSSA" ("BARBAROSSA"): 41:40
ATTO III - "L'INFAMIA" (INFAMY): 56:20
ATTO IV - "MORIRE PER LA PATRIA!" ("TO DIE FOR THE FATHERLAND"): 1:34:47

Synopsis
Time: 1176         
Place: Milan and Como

Act 1 – "He is Alive!"
Scene 1: Milan, not far from the city walls

Outside the city walls, people have gathered in support of the Lombard League whose troops are about to go into battle against the occupying German Emperor Federico Barbarossa. Among them is Arrigo, a young soldier whom all had thought dead, but he has now re-joined the army and he recounts how his mother had nursed his wounds (La pia materna mano / "A mother's kindly hand") after he was left for dead. Having recovered and before leaving again, he wants to see Lida, his sweetheart. Rolando, Arrigo's friend and leader of the troops from Milan, arrives and he is amazed to see that Arrigo alive. Joyously, he embraces his friend (Ah m'abbraccia d'esultanza / "Ah! Come to my arms..."). The gathered troops and the consuls of Milan all swear to defend the city against tyranny.

Scene 2: Beside the ramparts of the city

Rolando's wife Lida, who has lost her parents and brothers and who is downcast at the prospect of further war, also mourns the loss of her former love, Arrigo. She is unable to share in the general excitement of the upcoming battles. A German prisoner, Marcovaldo, who has been given some degree of freedom by Rolando, declares his love for Lida, but she is outraged and refuses him.

As Rolando returns home, bringing with him Arrigo, Lida is angry (A frenarti o cor nel petto / "My heart, no longer have I the power..."). When Arrigo arrives, he is clearly upset to see Lida married to his best friend. But with Rolando suddenly called away to the Senate by the news that Barbarossa's troops are on the move, Arrigo and Lida are left alone. She tries to explain that her father encouraged her to marry Rolando after all believed that Arrigo had been killed in battle. But Arrigo will not listen and does not believe her. He declares her a "faithless one", and hurries away, wishing only to die in the forthcoming battle.

Act 2 – "Barbarossa!"
The town hall of Como

The city fathers of Como have gathered to await the arrival of Rolando and Arrigo as ambassadors of the League from Milan. Como has been forced to come to terms with the invaders, and when the two men arrive, they announce that a new army has invaded from the north, that Barbarossa is having problems in Padua, and they seek Como's help, pointing out that the city lies between Milan and the invaders. They hope that Como will intervene to help the Italian cause. Suddenly, Barbarossa himself appears, proclaiming that "I am Italy's great destiny". His troops have surrounded Como and now further threaten Milan. He demands that Arrigo and Rolando return to Milan and seek its submission.

Act 3 – "Infamy!"
Scene 1: The Basilica of Sant' Ambrogio

In the subterranean vaults of the Basilica, Arrigo is inducted into the Knights of Death, warriors who have pledged to fight to the death rather than suffer defeat or imprisonment. All unite to swear an oath to support the cause of Italy (Giuriam d'Italia por fine ai danni / "We swear to put an end to Italy's wrongs") and to drive the foreign forces back across the Alps.

Scene 2: Rolando's castle

Lida has heard that Arrigo has joined the Knights of Death, and desperately tries to contact him via a note to be conveyed by her maid, Imelda. As Imelda is about to leave, Rolando suddenly enters to say farewell to Lida and to their son, whom he has brought to him. Imelda hides the note, then quickly leaves. Rolando tells Lida to convey his love of country to their son, and to bring the boy up to love the fatherland (Digli ch'è sangue italico / "Tell him he is of Italian blood").

Arrigo enters, summoned by Rolando, who does not know that his friend has joined the Knights of Death. Thinking that Arrigo has been ordered to remain to guard Milan, Rolando begs him to take care of his wife and son in the event of his death (Se al nuovo dì pugnando /"If when we fight on the morrow"). The two men part company, Rolando moved by grief, Arrigo with embarrassment. Just as Rolando is about to leave, Marcovaldo delays him, telling him that his honour has been betrayed and presents him with Lida's note to Arrigo, which he has intercepted. Rolando is enraged and proclaims that he will obtain double vengeance on his wife and his friend (Mi scoppa il cor / "My heart is bursting").

Scene 3: A room in the tower

Having received no response to her note, Lida goes to see Arrigo in his room in the tower, where he is writing a farewell letter to his mother. Although they declare their love for each other, he tells her that he has not received any note. Lida tries to persuade him to abandon his suicidal quest while he distraughtly recounts his dismay at finding her married. Finally, Lida says that they must separate for the sake of her husband and child. Then Rolando is heard at the door and, before he enters, Lida hides on the balcony.

Rolando confronts Arrigo, telling him that he now knows about his vow to the Knights of Death and encourages him to depart. Then he opens the balcony door and discovers Lida. Rolando is in a rage while Arrigo confesses his love for Lida but asks for death. Lida then declares that she is the guilty one. Still raging, Rolando storms out to lead the Milanese troops into battle, but as he leaves, he locks the tower door on Arrigo and Lida, declaring that Arrigo will suffer a fate worse than death: the infamy of being absent from the battle in which he had promised to fight, and so will lose his honour. As trumpets signal the beginning of the battle, Arrigo, in desperation, leaps from the tower into the moat, shouting "Long Live Italy!". Lida remains in anguish.

Act 4 – "To Die For the Fatherland!"
A square in Milan

The assembled people sing a prayer for victory. Imelda assures Lida that Arrigo survived his leap from the tower and Lida prays for the safety of both Arrigo and her husband (Ah se di Arrigo e Rolando / "Ah! If I recommend to Thy care the lives of Arrigo and Rolando".) As the people begin a hymn of victory, city officials enter the church to confirm the defeat of Barbarossa's troops by the Lombard League, declaring that Barbarossa was wounded by Arrigo. But, in the middle of the victory celebrations, a group of Knights of Death enter bearing the mortally wounded Arrigo. Rolando receives Arrigo's assurance that Lida is innocent and that she had always acted honourably. Reconciling with Lida, he forgives Arrigo, who with his last breath, proclaims that "Italy is saved!"

27 January 
Giuseppe VerdiLa battaglia di Legnano

La battaglia di Legnano (The Battle of Legnano)
is an opera in four acts, with music by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian-language libretto by Salvadore Cammarano. It was based on the play La Bataille de Toulouse by Joseph Méry, later the co-librettist of Don Carlos.

Amos Cassioli,
"La Battaglia di Legnano"
(detail)

16 April 
Giacomo MeyerbeerLe prophète

Le prophète (The Prophet)
is a grand opera in five acts by Giacomo Meyerbeer. The French-language libretto was by Eugène Scribe and Émile Deschamps, after passages from the Essay on the Manners and Spirit of Nations by Voltaire. The plot is based on the life of John of Leiden, Anabaptist leader and self-proclaimed "King of Münster" in the 16th century.

11 May 
Otto Nicolai, composer, dies.

25 September  
Johann Strauss I, composer, dies.

17 October  
Frédéric Chopin, pianist and composer, dies.

8 December 
Giuseppe Verdi - Luisa Miller

Luisa Miller
is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, based on the play Kabale und Liebe (Intrigue and Love) by the German dramatist Friedrich von Schiller.

VERDI - LUISA MILLER
Ricciarelli - Domingo - Bruson - Connell
Maazel

Giuseppe Verdi - Luisa Miller

Giorgio Surian - Il conte di Walter
Marcelo Álvarez - Rodolfo
Francesca Franci - Federica
Rafal Siwek - Wurm
Leo Nucci - Miller
Fiorenza Cedolins - Luisa
Katarina Nikolic - Laura
Angelo Villari - Un contadino

Parma Teatro Regio Chorus and Orchestra
Donato Renzetti, conductor

Parma, October 2007

Synopsis
Time: Early 17th Century       Place: The Tyrol

Act 1
Scene 1: A village

On Luisa's birthday, the villagers have gathered outside her house to serenade her. She loves Carlo, a young man she has met in the village (Lo vidi e 'l primo palpito /"I saw him and my heart felt its first thrill of love") and looks for him in the crowd. Luisa's father, Miller, is worried by this mysterious love since Carlo is a stranger. Carlo appears and the couple sing of their love (Duet: t'amo d'amor ch'esprimere / "I love you with a love that words can only express badly"). As the villagers leave to enter the nearby church, Miller is approached by a courtier, Wurm, who is in love with Luisa and wishes to marry her. But Miller tells him that he will never make a decision against his daughter's will (Sacra la scelta è d'un consorte / "The choice of a husband is sacred"). Irritated by his reply, Wurm reveals to Miller that in reality Carlo is Rodolfo, Count Walter's son. Alone, Miller expresses his anger (Ah fu giusto il mio sospetto / "Ah! My suspicion was correct").

Scene 2: Count Walter's castle

Wurm informs the Count of Rodolfo's love for Luisa and is ordered to summon the son. The Count expresses his frustration with his son (Il mio sangue la vita darei / "Oh, everything smiles on me"). When Rodolfo enters, the Count tells him that it is intended that he marry Walter's niece Federica, the Duchess of Ostheim.

When Rodolfo is left alone with Federica, he confesses that he loves another woman, hoping that the duchess will understand. But Federica is too much in love with him to understand (Duet: Deh! la parola amara perdona al labbro mio / "Pray forgive my lips for the bitter words").

Scene 3: Miller's house

Miller tells his daughter who Rodolfo really is. Rodolfo arrives and admits his deception but swears that his love is sincere. Kneeling in front of Miller he declares that Luisa is his bride. Count Walter enters and confronts his son. Drawing his sword, Miller defends his daughter and Walter orders that both father and daughter be arrested. Rodolfo stands up against his father and threatens him: if he does not free the girl, Rodolfo will reveal how Walter became count. Frightened, Walter orders Luisa to be freed.

Act 2
Scene 1: A room in Miller's home

Villagers come to Luisa and tell her that her father has been seen being dragged away in chains. Then Wurm arrives and confirms that Miller is to be executed. But he offers her a bargain: her father's freedom in exchange for a letter in which Luisa declares her love for Wurm and states that she has tricked Rodolfo. Initially resisting (Tu puniscimi, O Signore / "Punish me, o Lord"), she gives way and writes the letter at the same time being warned that she must keep up the pretense of voluntarily writing the letter and being in love with Wurm. Cursing him (A brani, a brani, o perfido / "O perfidious wretch"), Luisa wants only to die.

Scene:2: A room in Count Walter's castle

At the castle Walter and Wurm recall how the Count rose to power by killing his own cousin and Wurm reminds the Count how Rodolfo also knows of this. The two men realize that, unless they act together, they may be doomed (Duet: L'alto retaggio non ho bramato / "The noble inheritance of my cousin"). Duchess Federica and Luisa enter. The girl confirms the contents of her letter.

Scene 3: Rodolfo's rooms

Rodolfo reads Luisa's letter and, ordering a servant to summon Wurm, he laments the happy times which he spent with Luisa (Quando le sere al placido / "When at eventide, in the tranquil glimmer of a starry sky"). The young man has challenged Wurm to a duel. To avoid the confrontation the courtier fires his pistol in the air, bringing the Count and his servants running in. Count Walter advises Rodolfo to revenge the offense he has suffered by marrying Duchess Federica. In despair, Rodolfo abandons himself to fate (L'ara o l'avello apprestami / "Prepare the altar or the grave for me").

Act 3
A room in Miller's home

In the distance echoes of the celebration of Rodolfo and Federica's wedding can be heard. Old Miller, freed from prison, comes back home. He enters his house and embraces his daughter, then reads the letter she has prepared for Rodolfo. Luisa is determined to take her own life (La tomba è un letto sparso di fiori / "The grave is a bed strewn with flowers"), but Miller manages to persuade her to stay with him. (Duet: La figlia, vedi, pentita / "Your child, see, repentant"). Alone now, Luisa continues praying. Rodolfo slips in and unseen pours poison into the water jug on the table. He then asks Luisa if she really wrote the letter in which she declared her love for Wurm. "Yes," the girl replies. Rodolfo drinks a glass of water and passes a glass to Luisa, inviting her to drink. Then he tells her that they are both condemned to die. Before she dies, Luisa has time to tell Rodolfo the truth about the letter (Duet: Ah piangi; il tuo dolore / "Weep your sorrow is more justified"). Miller returns and comforts his dying daughter; together the three say their prayers and farewells (Trio, Luisa: Padre, ricevi l'estremo addio / "Father, receive my last farewell"; Rodolfo: Ah! tu perdona il fallo mio / "Oh, forgive my sin"; Miller: O figlia, o vita del cor paterno / "Oh, child, life of your father's heart"). As she dies, peasants enter with Count Walter and Wurm and before he too dies, Rodolfo runs his sword through Wurm's breast declaring to his father La pena tua mira / "Look on your punishment".

 

1850

Louis Spohr –String Quintet No. 4 in A Minor, Op. 91

Louis Spohr - String Quintet No. 4 in A Minor, Op. 91

New Haydn String Quartet
Sandor Papp, 2nd viola

00:00 - I. Allegro;
11:03 - II. Larghetto
16:06 - III. Menuetto - Scherzo: Presto
22:26 - IV. Finale: Presto

28 August 
Richard WagnerLohengrin

Louise Farrenc – Sonate n°1 op. 37

Sonate n°1 op. 37 de Louise Farrenc
Gaëtane Prouvost, violon
Laurent Cabasso, piano

Édouard Lalo – Piano Trio no. 1 in C minor

Eduard Lalo - Piano Trio No.1 in C minor Op. 7Mikhailo Bilich (violin)
Anna Nuzha (cello)
Inna Dovbnya (piano)

Franz LisztPrometheus

Liszt - Prometheus
London Philharmonic Orchestra 
Bernard Haitink, conductor

Robert Schumann: Symphony No. 3 op. 97 in E-flat;
Cello Concerto Op. 129 in A minor

Schumann - Symphony No. 3 "Rhenish" in E flat major, Op. 97
Dimitris Mitropoulos - Conductor
Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra

(1958) 

Robert Schumann - Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129
Sonja Kraus, Cello
Caleb Young, Conductor
Jacobs School of Music, Student Orchestra

Niels Gade – Symphony No. 4

Niels Gade - Symphony No. 4 Op. 20
Christopher Hogwood

Anton Rubinstein – Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 25

Rubinstein - Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 25
Joseph Banowetz, piano
Czechoslovak Philharmonic - Alfred Walter conductor

25 June ​ 
Robert SchumannGenoveva

Genoveva,
Op. 81, is an opera in four acts by Robert Schumann in the genre of German Romanticism with a libretto by Robert Reinick and the composer. The only opera Schumann ever wrote, it received its first performance on 25 June 1850 at the Stadttheater in Leipzig, with the composer conducting. It received only three performances during the premiere, and the negative criticism it received in the press played a decisive role in Schumann's decision to not write a second opera.

Robert Schumann – Genoveva

Roles:
Genoveva, Siegfried's wife    soprano 
Golo, Siegfried's head servant    tenor  
Siegfried, Count of Brabante    baritone   
Hidulfus, Bishop of Trier    baritone
Margaretha, a servant    soprano   
Drago, an old steward    bass   
Balthasar, Siegfried's servant    bass  
Caspar, a hunter    baritone   
Angelo    baritone  
Conrad, Siegfried's farmhand    baritone    
Chorus: Ladies, knights, soldiers
Synopsis
Act 1

The opera begins with Hidulfus, Bishop of Trier, summoning Brabant's Christian knights to join Charles Martel's crusade against a feared Saracen conquest of Europe. Siegfried, Count of Brabante, answers the call. In preparing to leave for war, he entrusts his wife, Genoveva, to his young servant, Golo.

Act 2
Despite Golo's overwhelming desire for her, Genoveva persistently rejects his advances. Infuriated by these rejections, Golo seeks revenge against Genoveva by staging a trap to discredit her. One night, Golo sneaks Drago, an old steward, into Genoveva's bedroom to fake an adulterous affair that is then witnessed by other servants, brought to the scene by Golo. In their rage, the servants kill Drago and Genoveva is imprisoned for adultery.

Act 3
Word of this imagined infidelity gets back to Siegfried, who then commands Golo to put Genoveva to death. Drago's ghost appears in front of Margaretha and tells her that if she does not reveal the truth, she will die.

Act 4
As two armed men are dispatched to kill Genoveva, her life is saved through the intervention of a mute, deaf boy. Siegfried then discovers Golo's treachery and restores his wife's honour.

16 November 
Giuseppe Verdi - Stiffelio

Stiffelio
is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi, from an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. The origin of this was the novel “Le pasteur d’hommes”, by Émile Souvestre, which was published in 1838. This was adapted into the French play Le pasteur, ou L'évangile et le foyer by Émile Souvestre and Eugène Bourgeois. That was in turn translated into Italian by Gaetano Vestri as Stifellius; this formed the basis of Piave's libretto.

Verdi - Stiffelio 
Carreras, Malfitano, Yurisich, Leggate, Howell 

Giuseppe Verdi - Stiffelio

Stiffelio - Roberto Aronica
Lina - Yu Guanqun
Stankar - Roberto Frontali
Raffaele - Gabriele Mangione
Jorg - George Andguladze
Federico di Frengel - Cosimo Vassallo
Dorotea - Lorelay Solis

Parma Teatro Regio Chorus and Orchestra
Andrea Battistoni, conductor

Parma, April 2012

Roles:
Stiffelio, a Protestant minister    tenor
Lina, his wife    soprano 
Count Stankar, her father, an elderly colonel    baritone  
Raffaele, Lina's lover    tenor   
Jorg, an elderly minister    bass  
Dorotea, Lina's cousin    mezzo-soprano 
Federico, Dorotea's lover    tenor   
Synopsis
Place: Count Stankar's castle by the River Salzbach, Germany
Time: Early 19th Century

Act 1
Scene 1: A hall in Count Stankar's castle

Stiffelio, a Protestant priest or minister, is expected to return from a mission. His wife Lina, her father Stankar, and her cousins Dorotea and Federico are waiting for him. In addition, there is Raffaele who, unknown to all, is Lina's lover. Stiffelio arrives and recounts how the castle's boatman has told him the strange story of having seen a man and a woman escaping from a castle window and, as they did so, dropping a packet of letters, which Stiffelio now holds. Refusing to learn by opening the package who was involved, he throws the letters into the fire, much to the relief of Lina and Raffaele. Secretly, Raffaele communicates to Lina that he will leave instructions as where they may next meet inside a locked volume in the library.

After he has been greeted by friends, Lina and Stiffelio are left alone (Non ha per me un accento – "She has no word for me, not a glance"). He tells her of the sin he has witnessed (Vidi dovunque gemere – "Everywhere I saw virtue groan beneath the oppressor's yoke") and then notices that her wedding ring is not on her finger. Angrily, he demands to know why (Ah v'appare in fronte scritto – "Ah, clearly written on your brow is the shame that wages war in your heart"), but Stankar arrives to escort him to the celebrations being arranged by his friends. Alone, Lina is filled with remorse (A te ascenda, O Dio clemente – "Let my sighs and tears ascend to thee, O merciful God").

Scene 2: The same, later

Deciding to write a confession to Stiffelio, Lina begins to write, but her father enters and grabs the letter, which he reads aloud. Stankar rebukes her (Dite che il fallo a tergere – "Tell him that your heart lacks the strength to wash away your sins", but is determined to preserve family honor and cover up his daughter's behavior (Ed io pure in faccia agli uomini – "So before the face of mankind I must stifle my anger"). In their duet, father and daughter come to some resolve (O meco venite – "Come now with me; tears are of no consequence") and they leave.

Now Raffaele enters to place the note in the volume, which has been agreed to. Jorg, the elderly preacher, observes this just as Federico arrives to take the volume away. Jorg's suspicions fall upon Federico and he shares what he knows with Stiffelio. Seeing the volume and realizing that it is locked, he is told that Lina has a key. She is summoned, but when she refuses to unlock it, Stiffelio grabs it and breaks it open. The incriminating letter falls out, but it is quickly taken up by Stankar and torn into many pieces, much to the fury of Stiffelio.

Act 2
A graveyard near the castle

Lina has gone to her mother's grave at the cemetery to pray (Ah dagli scanni eterei – "Ah, from among the ethereal thrones, where, blessed, you take your seat"), but Raffaele joins her. She immediately asks him to leave. He laments her rejection (Lina, Lina! Perder dunque voi volete – "Lina, then you wish to destroy this unhappy, betrayed wretch") and refuses to go (Io resto – "I stay"). Stankar arrives, demands that his daughter leave, and then challenges Raffaele to a duel. Stiffelio arrives, and announces that no fighting can take place in a cemetery. There is an attempt at conciliation whereby the priest takes Stankar's hand and then Raffaele's, joining them together. However, Stankar reveals that Stiffelio has touched the hand of the man who betrayed him! Not quite understanding at first, Stiffelio demands that the mystery be solved. As Lina returns demanding her husband's forgiveness, Stiffelio begins to comprehend the situation (Ah, no! E impossibile – "It cannot be! Tell me at least that it is a lie"). Demanding an explanation, he challenges Raffaele to fight but, as he is about to strike the younger man, Jorg arrives to summon the priest to the church from which the sound of the waiting congregation can be heard. Filled with conflicting emotions, Stiffelio drops his sword, asks God to inspire his speech to his parishioners, but, at the same time, curses his wife.

Act 3
Scene 1: A room in Count Stankar's Castle

Alone in his room, Stankar reads a letter which tells him that Raffaele has fled and that he seeks to have Lina join him. He is in despair over his daughter's behaviour (Lina pensai che un angelo in te mi desse il cielo – "Lina, I thought that in you an angel brought me heavenly bliss"). For a moment, he resolves to commit suicide and begins to write a letter to Stiffelio. But Jorg enters to give him the news that he has tracked down Raffaele who will be returning to the castle. Stankar rejoices (O gioia inesprimibile, che questo core inondi! – "Oh, the inexpressible joy that floods this heart of mine!"), as he sees revenge being within reach. He leaves.

Stiffelio confronts Raffaele and asks him what he would do if Lina were free, offering him a choice between "a guilty freedom" and "the future of the woman you have destroyed". The younger man does not respond, and the priest tells him to listen to his encounter with Lina from the other room. Stiffelio lays out the reason that their marriage can be annulled (Opposto è il calle che in avvenire – "Opposite are the paths that in future our lives will follow"). Lina's reaction, when presented with the divorce decree, is to swear an ongoing love for her husband ("I will die for love of you"). Appealing to Stiffelio more as a priest than as a husband, Lina confesses that she has always loved him and she still does. Stankar enters to announce that he has killed Raffaele. Jorg tries to convince Stiffelio to come to the church service (Ah sì, voliamo al tempio – "Ah, yes, let us flee to the church").

Scene 2: A church

In the church, Stiffelio mounts the pulpit and opens the Bible to the story of the adulterous woman (John 7:53–8:11). As he reads the words of forgiveness (perdonata) he looks at Lina and it is clear that she too is forgiven.

6 December 
Daniel AuberL'enfant prodigue

L'enfant prodigue (The Prodigal Son)
is a grand opera in five acts composed by Daniel Auber to a French libretto by Eugène Scribe based on the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Chapter 15 of the Gospel of Luke. It was first performed at the Théâtre de l'Académie Nationale de Musique in Paris on 6 December 1850.

François Auber - L’Enfant prodigue - Ouverture Góteborg Opera Orchestra
B. Tommy Andersson, conductor

21 December  
Zdeněk Fibich
, born.

 

Zdeněk Fibich
 

Zdeněk Fibich (21 December 1850 – 15 October 1900) was a Czech composer of classical music.













Among his compositions are chamber works (including two string quartets, a piano trio, piano quartet and a quintet for piano, strings and winds), symphonic poems, three symphonies, at least seven operas (the most famous probably Šárka and The Bride of Messina), melodramas including the substantial trilogy Hippodamia, liturgical music including a mass – a missa brevis; and a large cycle (almost 400 pieces, from the 1890s) of piano works called Moods, Impressions, and Reminiscences. The piano cycle served as a diary of sorts of his love for a piano pupil. He was born in Všebořice (Šebořice) near Čáslav.

That Fibich is far less known than either Antonín Dvořák or Bedřich Smetana can be explained by the fact that he lived during the rise of Czech nationalism within the Habsburg Empire. While Smetana and Dvořák gave themselves over entirely to the national cause, consciously writing Czech music with which the emerging nation strongly identified, Fibich’s position was more ambivalent. This was due to the background of his parents and to his education. Fibich’s father was a Czech forestry official and the composer’s early life was spent on various wooded estates of the nobleman for whom his father worked. His mother, however, was an ethnic German Viennese. Home schooled by his mother until the age of nine, he was first sent to a German-speaking gymnasium in Vienna for two years before attending a Czech-speaking gymnasium in Prague where he stayed until he was 15. After this he was sent to Leipzig where he remained for three years studying piano with Ignaz Moscheles and composition with Salomon Jadassohn and Ernst Richter. After the better part of a year in Paris, Fibich concluded his studies with Vinzenz Lachner (the younger brother of Franz and Ignaz Lachner) in Mannheim. Fibich spent the next few years living with his parents back in Prague where he composed his first opera Bukovina, based on a libretto of Karel Sabina, the librettist of Smetana's The Bartered Bride. At the age of 23, he married Růžena Hanušová and took up residence in the Lithuanian city of Vilnius. where he had obtained a position of choirmaster. After spending two personally unhappy years there (his wife and newly born twins both died in Vilnius), he returned to Prague in 1874 and remained there until his death in 1900. In 1875 Fibich married Růžena's sister, the operatic contralto Betty Fibichová (née Hanušová), but left her in 1895 for his former student and lover Anežka Schulzová. The relationship between Schulzová and Fibich was important to him artistically, since she wrote the libretti for all his later operas including Šárka, but also served as the inspiration for his Moods, Impressions, and Reminiscences.

Fibich was given a bi-cultural education, living during his formative early years in Germany, France and Austria in addition to his native Bohemia. He was fluent in German as well as Czech. In his instrumental works, Fibich generally wrote in the vein of the German romantics, first falling under the influence of Weber, Mendelssohn and Schumann and later Wagner. His early operas and close to 200 of his early songs are in German. These works along with his symphonies and chamber music won considerable praise from German critics, though not from Czechs. The bulk of Fibich’s operas are in Czech, although many are based on non-Czech sources such as Shakespeare, Schiller and Byron. In his chamber music, more than anywhere else, Fibich makes use of Bohemian folk melodies and dance rhythms such as the dumka. Fibich was the first to write a Czech nationalist tone poem (Záboj, Slavoj a Luděk) which served as the inspiration for Smetana’s Má vlast. He was also the first to use the polka in a chamber work, his quartet in A.

After his return to Prague in 1874, Fibich's music encountered severely negative reactions in the Prague musical community, stemming from his (and Smetana's) adherence to Richard Wagner's theories on opera. While Smetana's later career was plagued with problems for presenting Wagnerian-style music dramas in Czech before a conservative audience, Fibich's pugilistic music criticism, not to mention his overtly Wagnerian later operas, Hedy, Šárka, and Pád Arkuna, exacerbated the problem in the years after Smetana's death in 1884. Together with the music aesthetician Otakar Hostinský, he was ostracized from the musical establishment at the National Theatre and Prague Conservatory and forced to rely on his private composition studio. The studio nevertheless was well respected among students, drawing such names as Emanuel Chvála, Karel Kovařovic, Otakar Ostrčil, and Zdeněk Nejedlý, the notorious critic and subsequent politician.

Zdenek Fibich - Symphony No. 1 (1877)

Zdeněk Fibich - Symphony No. 2 (1893)

Zdeněk Fibich - Symphony No. 3 (1898)

Zdeněk Fibich - Piano Quintet (1893)

The Bride of Messina (Nevěsta messinská) is a tragic opera in three acts, op. 18, by composer Zdeněk Fibich. The Czech language libretto by Otakar Hostinský is based on Friedrich Schiller's play Die Braut von Messina. Fibich’s most Wagnerian opera, he composed the work between 1882–1883 for the purposes of submitting it in an opera competition sponsored by the National Theatre in Prague. The opera won first prize in the 1883 competition and it premiered at the National Theatre on 28 March 

Die Braut von Messina - Zdeněk Fibich
00:00 Erster Akt
46:07 Zweiter Akt
1:23:21 Dritter Akt

Libuše Márová – Donna Isabella
Václav Zítek – Don Manuel
Ivo Žídek – Don Cesar
Gabriela Beňačková – Beatrice
Karel Hanuš – Diego
Jaroslav Horáček – Cayetan
Miroslav Švejda – Bohemund
Naďa Šormová – Page des Cesars

Prager Rundfunkchor 
Chor und Orchester Nationaltheater Prag,
Milan Malý – Choreinstudierung
František Jílek, 1975

Synopsis
Act 1

Don Manuel and Don Cesar, the sons of Donna Isabella (the ruling Princess of Messina), are feuding with one another. Overwraught with the situation, Isabella summons her sons to her and manages to help make peace between them.

Act 2

Manuel and Cesar discuss their plans to present their future wives to their mother for her approval. Isabella reveals to her sons that they have an unknown sister, Beatrice. She secured Beatrice away in a convent after her late husband had a dream which foretold that Beatrice would bring about the deaths of her sons. Diego, Isabella's servant, is sent to fetch Beatrice but returns with the disturbing news that she has been kidnapped.

Act 3

It is revealed that Manuel is in fact Beatrice's kidnapper. He comes to the horrible realization that the girl he loves must be his missing sister. Cesar stumbles upon Manuel and Beatrice and is surprised to find them together, as Beatrice is also the girl that he is in love with. In a jealous rage Cesar kills Manuel before he can explain the truth of the situation. When the full truth is revealed to him, Cesar commits suicide.

Jean-Léon Gérôme - Young Greeks Attending a Cock Fight

 

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