The program broadcasts the best performances of famous operas, ballets, musicals, and operettas, presenting their plots and the history of their creation.
Before each act, the corresponding part of libretto is read, which makes the listening experience more vivid and comprehensible.
In 1933, the famous Shakespearean scholar, artistic director of the Leningrad Theater of Opera and Ballet after Kirov (now Mariinsky) Sergei Radlov suggested Sergei Prokofiev to write music on the theme of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." The composer immediately started to write. Parallel with making the music, he, together with Radlov and the theater critic and playwright Adrian Piotrovsky, also created the libretto of the ballet.
The ballet "Romeo and Juliet" was premiered on December 30, 1938, in the Czech city of Brno. On the national scene, it was presented after overcoming many obstacles, on January 11,1940.
Listen to the ballet in three acts in the three parts of the broadcast.
It is not known who wrote the Italian libretto of this оpera; it is known only that it was based on a work by Antonio Salvi, which in turn is based on the heroic poem of Ludovico Ariosto "Orlando Furioso."
Handel wrote about 40 operas during 36 years, starting with "Almira" and ending with "Deidamia."
Opera Ariodante was first staged in London, in the Covent Garden theater, on January 8, 1735. It was performed only 11 times. The lead singer was the then-famous castrato Giovanni Carestini.
Like other operas of Handel, Ariodante also had been forgotten for more than 200 years until it was staged again in 1971.
The opera consists of three acts, which are presented in the three parts of the broadcast respectively.
The author of the libretto of Verdi’s opera Otello is Arrigo Boito, and the plot is based on Shakespeare’s tragedy of the same name.
The opera was premiered on February 5, 1887, at Milan’s La Scala theater. The 74-year-old composer had written Otello in a new manner and with a special enthusiasm. The audience accepted it with great exultation. The opera soon became well-known in the world and is considered as one of the best works of Verdi.
The opera consists of four acts, which are presented in the four parts of this broadcast, respectively.
Mozart was offered the libretto for this opera by his longtime friend, theatrical businessman Emanuel Schikaneder, who wrote it using the themes of Christoph Martin Wieland's fantasy poems and fairy tales. Schikaneder also included some secret masonic ritualistic trials and mystical transformations in his libretto. The plot of the opera was very primitive, but Mozart managed to express serious moral and philosophical notions in it. He was inspired by the mottoes of human equality and brotherhood, faith in goodness, and desire of moral perfection.
The Magic Flute was premiered on September 30, 1791. Two months after the play, before even reaching the age of 36, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died, leaving a huge legacy of brilliant works that do not concede each other.
The opera consists of two acts, which are presented in two parts of the broadcast, respectively.
The broadcast presents Richard Wagner's opera Tannhäuser, based on medieval German legends. Its libretto was written by Wagner himself. The plot of the opera, borrowed from medieval legends and stories, takes the audience back to the old feudal and chivalrous times and contains a certain amount of mysticism. "Tannhäuser" demonstrates the struggle for the free expression of human and earthly feelings against Christian ascetic morality.
The libretto of the comic operetta "The Bat" ("Die Fledermaus") by Johann Strauss Jr. is based on a farce by German playwright Julius Roderich Benedix. Playwrights Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy transformed it into a vaudeville.
Their play was such a big success in Paris that the Director of the Theater An der Wien (Vienna) Maximilian Steiner decided to stage it in his theater. He ordered Austrian playwright and composer Richard Genée to write the final version of the play. One of the friends of Strauss' suggested that Steiner order Strauss to compose the music for the play. Strauss began working with great enthusiasm; he fell in love with the libretto so much that he completed his work in only 1.5 months. The premiere of the operetta took place on April 5, 1872, Easter, in the Theater An der Wien.
The operetta consists of three parts, which are presented in the three parts, respectively, of the broadcast.
The plot of Tchaikovsky's ballet "Тhe Nutcracker" was borrowed from the tale "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" by Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann. But the libretto is based on the tale "The Story of the Nutcracker" by Alexander Dumas the Father (1844), which was wrongly attributed to Alexander Dumas the Son in the "Theatrical Encyclopedia." Tchaikovsky worked on the creation of the ballet with popular ballet master Marius Petipa. The premiere took place on December 6, 1892, at the Mariinsky Theater along with the Opera "Iolanta."
- The first part of the broadcast presents Act I of the ballet, and the second presents Act II.
"Fidelio" is the only complete opera of Beethoven. The plot is based on a real story about a political prisoner whose wife selflessly saved her husband from a certain death. The dramatic nature of the opera, its moral pathos, heroism, glorification of the purity and strength of marital love, the desire to fight against totalitarianism were close to Beethoven's ideas.
- The first part of the broadcast presents Act I of the opera, and the second part, Act II.
Leoncavallo's opera Pagliacci was premiered in 1892. The events of the plot happen in Italy's south, in the small village of Montalto, Calabria. "Pagliacci" means "clowns." This story is not a product of fantasy only; the author tried to reflect the real life, being inspired by that same reality.
The Opera "The Freeshooter" ("Der Freischütz") is considered the first truly romantic German opera. The work is based on an ancient legend, common among Germans and Czechs, about a young hunter, but the ending of the libretto is different from that of the legend. The author of the libretto, Johann Friedrich Kind, changed it so that in the struggle of good and evil, good wins and everything ends happily for the heroes.
Carl Maria von Weber wrote this opera during the rise of the national liberation struggle and justified the expectations of the audience of Democrats. This opera was assessed not only as a brilliant phenomenon of arts, but also as a strong patriotic work.
The plot of the comic opera The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is created on the basis of a "scandalous comedy" by Pierre Beaumarchais that was banned by Austrian Emperor Joseph II because of its anti-feudal freethinking. The opera written by Mozart in a few months was the first attempt of joint work of the composer with the author of the libretto Lorenzo Da Ponte; next were the operas Don Giovanni and Thus Do They All.
The opera premiered in Italian on May 1, 1786, at the Burgtheater, Vienna.
Glinka had the idea of creating the opera "Ruslan and Lyudmila" still at the time of Pushkin. The composer wanted to create it on a libretto by Alexander Pushkin, but because of the sudden death of the poet he was forced to turn to his friends: he wrote the libretto with the help of Valerian Shirkov, Constantine Bahturin, Nestor Kukolnik, and others.
In this work, Glinka instilled the images with epic breath, developed the content of the opera, and created new types of operatic drama that are based on the development of symphonism, the clash and juxtaposition of opposite characters, and sequence of separate complete episodes.
The opera is based on Part IV of Virgil's epic poem "Aeneid" where the author tells about the legendary Trojan hero Aeneas. The libretto was written by Nahum Tate. "Dido and Aeneas" is the first music drama by Purcell. The composer wrote it in 1689 by a special order to present it at the graduation ceremony of Josias Priest's Girls' School.
This musical is about two rival gangs, the Jets (White) and the Sharks (Puerto Rican), who struggle for control of the neighborhood somewhere in the Upper West Side of New York City. Though the conflicts found in Shakespear's Romeo and Juliette also recur here but this story is even more touching and emotional. Until the very last moment the audience expects to witness a happy end, but the real life is sometimes more cruel...
The opera "Samson and Delilah" is based on the well-known biblical story about Samson and Delilah. The author of the libretto is Ferdinand Lemaire. The opera was premiered in German, under the direction of Franz Liszt, in Weimar, 1877.
The broadcast presents Khachaturian's ballet Spartacus, which describes the events of the uprising of slaves in 74-71 BCE in Ancient Rome, under the leadership of the Thracian Spartacus. In the basis of the libretto of this monumental work lies the idea of the universal human struggle for freedom. The moral beauty of Spartacus, his rich inner world and high aspirations are opposed to the violence towards the suppressed and to characters that embody cruelty.
The broadcast presents Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin written on the basis of Alexander Pushkin's poem of the same name. The plot of this work is simple and well-known to many: it's centered around a love story. Tchaykovsky called his opera "Lyrical Scenes." It presents the fate of Tatyana Larina, a daughter of a modest aristocratic family living in a village. The characters are revealed in the opera through lyrical and dramatic arias, recitatives and duets, while the chorus of girls gathering berries describes the village life of that time.
The opera's libretto was written by Ranieri de' Calzabigi on the basis of a variant of the ancient Greek legend incorporated in Virgil's "Georgics." The antique personages are presented in a lofty and touching simplicity in the opera and express real feelings peculiar to ordinary humans. The end of the opera, unlike that of the legend, is happy.
The broadcast presents Rossini's opera Cinderella, or Goodness Triumphant created on the basis of the fairy-tale Cinderella that is well known among both children and adults. The Italian libretto of the opera was written by Jacopo Ferretti. In the first part of the broadcast, you can listen to the first part of the first act of the opera.
The opera is based on the biblical events described in the tragedy of Auguste Anicet-Bourgeois. "Nabucco" is the Italian short form of the name of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II. The Bible tells how Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the first temple of Jerusalem in 578 BCE and captured the Jews.
The author of the Italian libretto is Temistocle Solera.
According to the author of this opera, it is a "Japanese tragedy."
From the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th, Europeans sought after exoticism, and the workers of art tried to enrich their works with Asian flavor. By choosing a Japanese theme, Puccini showed the importance of the drama of an individual.
The opera is based on American writer John Long's novel. David Belasco made a drama of it, and its staging so impressed Puccini that he asked Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa to transform the play into an opera libretto.
The actions of the opera take place in Nagasaki in 1900.
Specialists consider the opera Anush as the first Armenian national opera. It was premiered in 1912 in Alexandropol by the efforts of an amateur troupe, but the melodies that sounded in the opera spread quickly among people and became very popular. The opera is based on the poem „Anush“ by Hovhannes Tumanyan, and the libretto was authored by the composer himself. Soon many arias, duets and choral songs of the opera Anush began to sound on the radio, TV, and concert scenes as brilliant concert samples.
The libretto of Adolphе Adam's fantastic ballet Giselle was written by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Théophile Gautier on the basis of Heinrich Heine's adaptation of a Slavic legend. The legend is about a group of female night dancers who are called Wilis. These unhappy young beings are brides that had died before entering the nuptial bed. At midnight, they come out of their graves, trying to re-experience their happy days. But death will happen to the passerby who will be so unfortunate to encounter them. They will take him in a round dance and force to dance with them until he falls down breathless. Giselle, a woman who had become disappointed in love and been deceived, dies and turns into a night dancer, a Wilis.