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Historic Radio Broadcasts

We are proud to partner with Houston Public Media to bring our operas to the radio!

 

Through the partnership with HPM's Classical station, you have two opportunities each week to enjoy opera broadcasts: Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 1 p.m.

Our Houston Public Media broadcast schedule includes:

 

      • February 26 and 27: Aida, 2007 (Verdi

      • March 5 and 6: Daughter of the Regiment, 2007 (Donizetti)

      • March 12 and 13: Madame Butterfly, 2010 (Puccini)

      • March 19 and 20: Mary Stuart, 2012 (Donizetti)

      • March 26 and 27: Carmen, 2000 (Bizet)

      • April 2 and 3: Queen of Spades, 2010 (Tchaikovsky) 

      • April 9 and 10: Idomeneo, 2005 (Mozart) 

      • April 16 and 17: Jenufa, 2004 (Janáček) 

      • April 23 and 24: Romeo and Juliet 2005 (Gounod) 

      • April 30 and May 1:  Il Trovatore, 2005 (Verdi)

Options for listening to the broadcasts: 

The arts bring us together and give us hope and inspiration, especially in challenging times. We cannot thank our friends at Houston Public Media enough for helping us fill your homes (and cars!) with great opera.


Did you miss the broadcast on the radio?

No problem. You have the option to stream the broadcast below for one month after the air date. 

Aida, 2007 (Verdi)

This broadcast will be available until 4/12/21

Ramfis 

Tigran Martirossian 

Radames 

Marco Berti 

Amneris 

Dolora Zajick 

Aida 

Zvetelina Vassileva 

King of Egypt 

Bradley Garvin 

Messenger 

Beau Gibson 

Priestess 

Tamara Wilson 

Amonasro 

Gordon Hawkins 

Houston Grand Opera Chorus
Richard Bado, Chorus Master
The Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Master Chair

Houston Grand Opera Orchestra
Carlo Rizzi, Conductor 

Ancient Egypt during the time of the pharaohs 

ACT I 

In the royal palace of the pharaoh, a young captain of the guard, Radames, learns from the High Priest Ramfis that Ethiopia is threatening the Nile valley. Radames secretly hopes to be chosen as commander of the army, envisioning a glorious victory that would enable him to free his beloved Aida, the Ethiopian slave of the pharaoh’s daughter, Amneris. Unfortunately, Amneris is also in love with Radames; when she sees him with Aida, she senses their love. 

A royal messenger reports that the Ethiopians, led by King Amonasro, are indeed marching on Thebes. Radames is appointed commander of the Egyptian army. Hearing this news, Aida is torn between her duty to her country and her love for Radames, since, unbeknown to the Egyptians, she is Amonasro’s daughter. 

Radames is taken to the Temple of Vulcan, where the priests ask the god Ptah to bless the sacred sword that Radames will take into battle to defend Egypt’s soil. 

ACT II 

The Egyptians have won the war. Amneris and her attendant ladies prepare for Radames’ triumphal return. When Aida approaches, Amneris dismisses her attendants and tests her slave, telling her that Radames was killed in the battle. Aida’s reaction reveals her love for Radames, and her joy when Amneris admits that Radames is still alive only confirms Amneris’s suspicions. Threatening her rival, Amneris departs for the festivities. 

Radames and the Egyptian army parade in triumph through the city, bringing with them the conquered Ethiopians. Among them is Aida’s father, King Amonasro, who quickly warns Aida not to betray his rank. He pleads for his fellow captives’ lives, but Ramfis and the priests demand their death. Radames, however, requests their freedom as his reward. The pharaoh releases all but Amonasro and Aida; he then presents Radames with Amneris’s hand in marriage, leaving Aida in despair. 

ACT III 

On a moonlit bank of the Nile, Amneris enters the Temple of Isis for a wedding vigil. Aida waits in secret for Radames, but her father appears first, explaining that the Ethiopians have re-armed and will continue to fight. He extracts a promise from Aida to ask Radames where the Egyptian army plans to enter Ethiopia. Radames arrives; Aida slowly convinces him to prove his love by running away with her, and then tricks him into revealing the route of the Egyptian army. At that moment, Amonasro steps out of hiding, identifying himself as Aida’s father and the king of Ethiopia. Amneris comes out of the temple and denounces Radames as a traitor. Amonasro attacks Amneris, but Radames intervenes, allowing Aida and her father to escape, while he surrenders himself to Ramfis. 

ACT IV 

Amneris is torn between her love for Radames and rage at his betrayal. She sends for him and offers to save him if he will renounce Aida. He refuses, and in a fury, she sends him to trial, where he is quickly convicted. Overcome with remorse, Amneris curses the priests who condemn him to death. 

Buried alive in a crypt beneath the temple, Radames thinks of Aida, hoping she is safe and well. She, however, has secretly come back to Egypt and hidden in the tomb to await the outcome of his trial. Weak and faint with hunger, she emerges from the shadows to join him: Radames tries desperately to save her, but in vain. The lovers prepare to be united in eternity as Amneris, outside the tomb, alone and desperate, prays for Radames’ soul and for peace. 

The Makropulos Case, 2002 (Janáček)

This broadcast will be available until 4/5/21

Ramfis 

Tigran Martirossian 

Radames 

Marco Berti 

Amneris 

Dolora Zajick 

Aida 

Zvetelina Vassileva 

King of Egypt 

Bradley Garvin 

Messenger 

Beau Gibson 

Priestess 

Tamara Wilson 

Amonasro 

Gordon Hawkins 

Houston Grand Opera Chorus
Richard Bado, Chorus Master
The Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Master Chair

Houston Grand Opera Orchestra
Carlo Rizzi, Conductor 

Ancient Egypt during the time of the pharaohs 

ACT I 

In the royal palace of the pharaoh, a young captain of the guard, Radames, learns from the High Priest Ramfis that Ethiopia is threatening the Nile valley. Radames secretly hopes to be chosen as commander of the army, envisioning a glorious victory that would enable him to free his beloved Aida, the Ethiopian slave of the pharaoh’s daughter, Amneris. Unfortunately, Amneris is also in love with Radames; when she sees him with Aida, she senses their love. 

A royal messenger reports that the Ethiopians, led by King Amonasro, are indeed marching on Thebes. Radames is appointed commander of the Egyptian army. Hearing this news, Aida is torn between her duty to her country and her love for Radames, since, unbeknown to the Egyptians, she is Amonasro’s daughter. 

Radames is taken to the Temple of Vulcan, where the priests ask the god Ptah to bless the sacred sword that Radames will take into battle to defend Egypt’s soil. 

ACT II 

The Egyptians have won the war. Amneris and her attendant ladies prepare for Radames’ triumphal return. When Aida approaches, Amneris dismisses her attendants and tests her slave, telling her that Radames was killed in the battle. Aida’s reaction reveals her love for Radames, and her joy when Amneris admits that Radames is still alive only confirms Amneris’s suspicions. Threatening her rival, Amneris departs for the festivities. 

Radames and the Egyptian army parade in triumph through the city, bringing with them the conquered Ethiopians. Among them is Aida’s father, King Amonasro, who quickly warns Aida not to betray his rank. He pleads for his fellow captives’ lives, but Ramfis and the priests demand their death. Radames, however, requests their freedom as his reward. The pharaoh releases all but Amonasro and Aida; he then presents Radames with Amneris’s hand in marriage, leaving Aida in despair. 

ACT III 

On a moonlit bank of the Nile, Amneris enters the Temple of Isis for a wedding vigil. Aida waits in secret for Radames, but her father appears first, explaining that the Ethiopians have re-armed and will continue to fight. He extracts a promise from Aida to ask Radames where the Egyptian army plans to enter Ethiopia. Radames arrives; Aida slowly convinces him to prove his love by running away with her, and then tricks him into revealing the route of the Egyptian army. At that moment, Amonasro steps out of hiding, identifying himself as Aida’s father and the king of Ethiopia. Amneris comes out of the temple and denounces Radames as a traitor. Amonasro attacks Amneris, but Radames intervenes, allowing Aida and her father to escape, while he surrenders himself to Ramfis. 

ACT IV 

Amneris is torn between her love for Radames and rage at his betrayal. She sends for him and offers to save him if he will renounce Aida. He refuses, and in a fury, she sends him to trial, where he is quickly convicted. Overcome with remorse, Amneris curses the priests who condemn him to death. 

Buried alive in a crypt beneath the temple, Radames thinks of Aida, hoping she is safe and well. She, however, has secretly come back to Egypt and hidden in the tomb to await the outcome of his trial. Weak and faint with hunger, she emerges from the shadows to join him: Radames tries desperately to save her, but in vain. The lovers prepare to be united in eternity as Amneris, outside the tomb, alone and desperate, prays for Radames’ soul and for peace. 

The Italian Girl in Algiers, 2012 (Rossini)

The Italian Girl in Algiers, 2012 (Rossini)

This broadcast will be available until 3/29/21

Elvira 

Lauren Snouffer 

Zulma 

Carolyn Sproule 

Haly 

Robert Pomakov 

Mustafà 

Patrick Carfizzi 

Lindoro 

Lawrence Brownlee 

Isabella 

Daniela Barcellona 

Taddeo 

Daniel Belcher 

Elvira 

Lauren Snouffer 

Zulma 

Carolyn Sproule 

Haly 

Robert Pomakov 

Mustafà 

Patrick Carfizzi 

Lindoro 

Lawrence Brownlee 

Isabella 

Daniela Barcellona 

Taddeo 

Daniel Belcher 

Elvira 

Lauren Snouffer 

Zulma 

Carolyn Sproule 

Haly 

Robert Pomakov 

Mustafà 

Patrick Carfizzi 

Lindoro 

Lawrence Brownlee 

Isabella 

Daniela Barcellona 

Taddeo 

Daniel Belcher 

Houston Grand Opera Chorus
Richard Bado, Chorus Master
The Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Master Chair

Houston Grand Opera Orchestra
Carlo Rizzi, conductor 

ACT I 

At the seaside palace of Mustafà, the bey of Algiers, his wife, Elvira, grieves over her husband’s contempt of her, while her slave and confidante, Zulma, tries to comfort her. Mustafà himself comes in and when he hears his wife’s lament, he sends her away. Alone with Haly, the captain of his corsairs, Mustafà says he is bored with Elvira and will give her as a wife to Lindoro, a young Italian slave and a favorite of the bey. Mustafà declares that he will take an Italian bride in place of Elvira, and he orders Haly to find one, threatening him with beheading if he fails to do so. Lindoro, however, is lovesick for his own sweetheart, Isabella, from whom he has been separated several months. Mustafà explains to Lindoro the advantages of marrying Elvira, but Lindoro is not persuaded. On the coast, Haly and his corsairs have captured the survivors of a shipwreck. Among them is an Italian girl—Isabella—who is lamenting her misfortune and yearns for Lindoro, for whom she has been searching. Taddeo, Isabella’s elderly admirer and traveling companion, has also been taken prisoner, and Isabella dupes her captors into believing that he is her uncle. When Haly learns that the beautiful Isabella is Italian, he is elated and announces he will bring her back to the bey as the jewel of his harem. Taddeo is inflamed with jealousy, but Isabella assures him she can tame the pompous bey. At the palace, Lindoro tells Zulma he refuses to accept Elvira as his wife; Mustafà then arrives and promises Lindoro he may return to Italy as long as Elvira accompanies him. Haly appears, announcing that he has captured an Italian girl, so the bey commands Elvira and Zulma to leave. Lindoro tries to cheer up Elvira. In the main hall of his palace, the eunuchs extol Mustafà as a tamer of women. Haly brings in Isabella, and Mustafà is immediately enchanted by her. Lindoro, Elvira, and Zulma enter to bid farewell before leaving for Italy, and Isabella and Lindoro are thunderstruck to see each other. Mustafà reveals his plan to Isabella, but the clever girl demands that the bey keep his wife and adds that Lindoro must become her slave. The Italian girl’s boldness sends the entire company into a frenzy. 

ACT II 

In the palace hall, the eunuchs recognize how helplessly besotted the bey has become since falling in love with Isabella, while Elvira, Zulma, and Haly praise the Italian girl’s astuteness. Mustafà enters to announce that in a half hour’s time, he will take coffee with Isabella. They all leave and Isabella enters, distressed over Lindoro’s infidelity. The young man appears and explains his predicament. Isabella proposes they flee together, and they set about concocting a plan. Mustafà returns, and, in an attempt to win Isabella, he appoints Taddeo as his Kaimakan—his right-hand man. The eunuchs dress him in Turkish garb; not understanding what is going on, Taddeo complains that the clothes are uncomfortable and rejects the appointment. When he sees the look on Mustafà’s face, however, he quickly accepts. In her private palace apartment, Isabella is trying to instruct Elvira and Zulma on how to handle the bey. When Mustafà, Taddeo, and Lindoro arrive, Elvira and Zulma hide in adjacent rooms. From a distance, the three men admire Isabella’s beauty while she is getting ready to take coffee. The bey sneezes—a prearranged signal for Taddeo to leave him alone with Isabella—but Taddeo refuses to go away. Isabella invites Elvira to stay for coffee, to Mustafà’s displeasure. When Isabella insists that he treat his wife kindly, Mustafà goes into a rage. Alone with Zulma, Haly praises the artfulness of the Italian girl. Lindoro, Taddeo, and Mustafà return; Lindoro tells Mustafà that Isabella cares for him very much and has given him the honorary title of PappataciLindoro explains to the grateful Mustafà that this important Italian title is bestowed on those who indulge the feminine sex and that his duties include eating, drinking, and sleeping. In Isabella’s apartment, Lindoro tells Taddeo about Isabella’s plan to free all the Italian slaves in the bey’s service during the ceremony inducting Mustafà into the order of the Pappataci. Isabella enters with the slaves, disguised as Pappataci; Taddeo, under the impression that Isabella’s efforts are all on his behalf, prepares the bey for the ceremony. Isabella tells the bey that he must take an oath in order to be admitted to the Pappataci: “to see and not to see, to hear and not to hear, in order to eat and enjoy, let others do and say.” The mock initiation begins with eating, drinking, and silence. Isabella and Lindoro get ready to make their escape, and Mustafà—who is trying to honor his oath to see and not to see—merely continues eating and drinking, even though the ship by which they are planning to make their escape can be seen from the palace. When the slaves and sailors announce from the ship that they are ready to set sail, Isabella and Lindoro join them. Taddeo, realizing that Isabella doesn’t love him, leaves with her and Lindoro. Elvira, Zulma, and Haly appear with the eunuchs, and Mustafà, realizing he has been deceived, decides he is fed up with the willful Italian girl. He resolves to return to his docile wife and forgive the fugitive lovers. All agree: “The woman who sets her mind to it will rule the roost."

Beatrice and Benedict, 2008 (Berlioz)

This broadcast will be available until 3/22/21

Leonato 

Charles Krohn 

Messenger 

Joshua La Force 

Beatrice 

Joyce DiDonato 

Hero 

Ailish Tynan 

Don Pedro 

Ryan McKinny 

Benedict 

Norman Reinhardt 

Claudio 

Liam Bonner 

Somarone 

Donald Maxwell 

Ursula 

Leann Sandel-Pantaleo 

Houston Grand Opera Chorus
Richard Bado, Chorus Master
The Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Master Chair

Houston Grand Opera Orchestra
Michael Hofstetter, Conductor  

ACT I

The townspeople of Messina prepare to celebrate the arrival of Don Pedro, general of the Sicilian army, who is returning from victory in battle. He is to be received, along with some of his officers, at the residence of Leonato, governor of Messina. A messenger brings news that the soldiers are about to arrive and Leonato assures his daughter Hero that Claudio is among them. Beatrice inquires sarcastically about Benedict, so Leonato (her uncle) explains that there is a “merry war” between the two. Hero is in love with Claudio and is overjoyed at his return while Beatrice and Benedict resume their disdainful sparring. Benedict, who had assumed Claudio was a confirmed bachelor like himself, cannot believe that now he admits to being in love with Hero and plans to marry her. Don Pedro and Claudio tease Benedict by suggesting that he, too, should consider marriage. He ridicules the notion of wedded bliss, saying that if he is ever so weak as to succumb, they should put a sign on his house: “Here you may see Benedict, the married man.” Don Pedro decides that he will contrive a way to turn the war between Beatrice and 

Benedict into a love match. Somarone rehearses the nuptial song he has written for the bridal couple, prompting Benedict into an outburst of regret that Claudio has joined the company of lovers. He hides 

from Don Pedro and Claudio but they spot him, giving them the chance to have him overhear conversation with Leonato in which they talk about Beatrice being fiercely in love with Benedict. 

These words, said in apparent sincerity, work their magic: Benedict declares to himself that he will requite Beatrice’s love. Hero and Ursula, her lady in waiting, have played the same trick on Beatrice that the men played on Benedict. It is a beautiful night for Hero to reflect on her feelings of love. 

 

ACT II

The wedding festivities are in full swing, and Somarone improvises a song in honor of Sicilian wines. All are enjoying themselves except Beatrice, who is in a state of agitation; the trick has worked. She remembers that after Benedict left for battle she had nightmares about him coming to harm. She admits to herself that she loves him. Hero and Ursula join Beatrice and all three share Hero’s joy on her wedding morning. Benedict finds Beatrice and makes his feelings known to her, but she is unable to cope and the wedding celebration interrupts them. Claudio and Hero reveal love poems that Beatrice 

and Benedict have written about each other and so they both admit their love and agree to a truce — until tomorrow.

Abduction from the Seraglio, 2008 (Mozart)

This broadcast will be available until 3/15/21

Belmonte 

Paul Groves 

Osmin 

Andrea Silvestrelli 

Pedrillo 

Nicholas Phan 

Pasha Selim 

Richard Spuler 

Konstanze 

Tamara Wilson 

Blonde 

Heidi Stober 

 

Houston Grand Opera Chorus
Richard Bado, Chorus Master
The Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Master Chair

Houston Grand Opera Orchestra
William Lacey, conductor 

Setting: 1920s. All the action takes place on the Orient Express, en route to Paris from Istanbul. 

Turkish pirates in the Mediterranean have boarded and looted a yacht carrying Konstanze, a Spanish noblewoman; Blonde, her English maidservant; and Pedrillo, the personal valet of Konstanze' s fiance Belmonte. Intrigued by Konstanze, the wealthy Pasha Selim purchases the three Europeans. After months of searching, Belmonte has traced them to the Pasha's private car on the exotic Orient Express, about to depart Istanbul for Paris. Konstanze has become the Pasha's favorite, but she yearns for Belmonte and resists the Pasha's advances. Blonde is being pursued by Osmin, overseer of the harem, although she remains true to Pedrillo, who has been taken into the Pasha's service. 

Act I 

Belmonte searches for the Pasha's private car, yearning to be reunited with Konstanze. He meets the boorish Osmin and asks him where he might find PedrilloOsmin, who believes Pedrillo is his rival for Blonde's affections, flies into a rage and Belmonte departs. Pedrillo approaches Osmin and tries to make peace, but Osmin refuses. Returning, Belmonte learns from Pedrillo that Selim is in love with Konstanze, but that so far he has not forced himself upon her. They begin to plan an escape. Konstanze appears with Selim, and they are heralded by the crowd at the Istanbul station. Selim tenderly asks Konstanze why she is so sad, and she tells him that she is in love with another man. The Pasha angrily dismisses her, but admits to himself that he loves her even more for her steadfastness. Pedrillo comes in and introduces Belmonte to the Pasha as a gifted young architect; Selim approves and leaves. Belmonte and Pedrillo try to slip past Osmin, who attempts to bar their way-but the two succeed in getting into the Pasha's car.  

Act II 

Blonde scolds Osmin and instructs him in the correct way to treat women. Osmin orders her to love him, or that's the way it's done in Turkey. Blonde reminds him that her mistress is the Pasha's favorite, and that she enjoys their protection. Osmin warns Blonde not to flirt with Pedrillo. Meanwhile, Konstanze mourns her separation from Belmonte. The Pasha reminds Konstanze that by the next day she must decide whether to accept his offer. She maintains that she can honor him but never love him. She will remain true to her beloved even in the face of torture or death. Selim is baffled, wondering why Konstanze has so much hope and courage. Pedrillo tells Blonde of Belmonte's arrival and describes the plan for the "abduction." They will put a sleeping potion in Osmin's drink and all four lovers will escape. Blonde is delighted at this news and looks forward to telling Konstanze of Belmonte's arrival. Pedrillo begins working on Osmin, telling the overseer that Mohammed should not have forbidden drinking, and after being reassured that the drinks are not poisoned, Osmin succumbs to temptation. He joins Pedrillo in praising wine and women before falling fast asleep. The coast now clear, Belmonte and Konstanze joyously embrace. The happy reunion darkens when Belmonte and Pedrillo jealously question the women's faithfulness, but misunderstandings melt into relief and joy.  

Act Ill 

Pedrillo gives the signal for escape. When the women appear, the noise awakens Osmin, who sends for the guards. The lovers are trapped and Osmin will not accept Belmonte's bribe to keep silent. Instead, Osmin savors the prospect of torturing and killing his enemies. The Pasha is informed of the treachery and arrives to question the prisoners. While Konstanze offers to die to save her beloved, Belmonte suggests that the Pasha might collect a handsome ransom from his wealthy family, the Lostados. Selim then realizes that Belmonte is the son of an old enemy and bids them prepare for the kind of punishment that Belmonte's father would have dealt. The lovers vow to welcome death as the path to an eternal union, but the Pasha decides that rather than taking revenge, he will free his captives, for he despises Belmonte's father too much to emulate him. He bids Belmonte to return to his homeland and become more humane than his father. This magnanimous act confounds Osmin, who protests the loss of Blonde to no avail. The Pasha declares that love cannot be won by force. As the train pulls into the Paris station, the lovers vow never to forget the Pasha's kindness. Osmin's rage erupts, but he is silenced by the crowd chanting praise to Selim.  

Rigoletto, 2001 (Verdi) 

This broadcast will be available until 3/8/21

 

 

Duke of Mantua 

Roberto Aronica 

Borsa 

Scott Scully 

Rigoletto 

Dmitri Hvorostovsky 

Countess Ceprano 

Kristin Reiersen 

Marullo 

Aaron Judisch 

Count Ceprano 

Joshua Winograde 

Count Monterone 

George Cordes 

Sparafucile 

Raymond Aceto 

Gilda 

Laura Claycomb 

Giovanna 

Angela Niederloh 

Page 

Marie Lenormand 

Usher 

Gustavo Hernandez 

Maddalena 

Stephanie Novacek 

Young Gilda 

Elizabeth Kaufman 

Monterone’s Daughter 

Rebecca Pueringer 

 

Houston Grand Opera Chorus
Richard Bado, Chorus Master
The Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Master Chair

Houston Grand Opera Orchestra
Patrick Summers, Conductor
Margaret Alkek Williams Chair 

In and around Mantua, Italy during the 16th century We see a straitjacketed Rigoletto as the curtain opens. He has attempted to kill the Duke of Mantua and was apprehended. The events of the opera are Rigoletto's anguished recollections of his daughter Gilda as a child, and discordant encounters with his real or imagined enemies. 

ACT I 

At the ducal court of Mantua, a ball is in progress. The licentious Duke of Mantua openly pursues the Countess Ceprano, to her husband's mortification. When Rigoletto, the Duke's henchman and master of the revelries, suggests that the Duke imprison or behead Count Ceprano in order to get him out of the way, the infuriated husband enlists the help of the courtiers in exacting revenge upon Rigoletto. They need no encouragement, for Rigoletto has many enemies; he is a master of debauchery who has educated the Duke and his court in all manner of depravities. Rigoletto has been seen in the company of a young woman presumed to be his mistress-perhaps this is an OfJportunity for reprisal. The party is interrupted by the entrance of Count Monterone, whose daughter has fallen into the clutches of Rigoletto and the others. Monterone curses both the Duke and Rigoletto. The superstitious Rigoletto, of a Gypsy caste, agonizes over the curse. Sparafucile and his sister Maddalena mysteriously appear. Sparafucile is an assassin who cryptically offers to help rid Rigoletto of a rival. Unnerved, Rigoletto sends him away. Rigoletto's daughter Gilda next appears-the young girl whom the courtiers believe is Rigoletto's mistress. Rigoletto has kept Gilda virtually a child, and she is a prisoner allowed out only to attend church; she does not know his position in the court and in fact doesn't even know his name. The Duke, disguised as a commoner, is watching and listening from the courtyard. He is surprised to learn that the beautiful girl he admired in church and followed home is Rigoletto's daughter. When Rigoletto leaves, the Duke comes forward and professes his love for Gilda, telling her he is a poor student named Gualtier Maidè. She returns his love, but sends him away, fearing that her father will return shortly. As she prepares for bed, the courtiers gather outside to abduct Rigoletto's "mistress"; as revenge, they will present her to the Duke. Rigoletto returns; the courtiers fool him into thinking they are abducting the Countess Ceprano who lives nearby, and ask for his help. Rigoletto discovers too late that it is Gilda whom he has helped the courtiers kidnap, and blames Monterone's curse for this terrible turn of events. 

ACT II 

Early that morning back at the palace, the Duke laments that Gilda disappeared from the house by the time he returned to see her. The courtiers rush in to tell him that they abducted Rigoletto's mistress for his pleasure; elated, the Duke hurries off to be with Gilda. Rigoletto enters, looking for his daughter, and learns that she is with the Duke in his chambers. A disheveled Gilda suddenly appears, and runs to her father's arms. Gilda says she loves the Duke and asks her father to forgive him. Monterone, meanwhile, has been led off to his execution, and Rigoletto swears vengeance against the Duke.  

ACT Ill 

At night, Rigoletto brings Gilda to a remote inn owned by the assassin Sparafucile. The Duke, whom Gilda believes is sincerely in love with her, follows Maddalena into the inn. Rigoletto forces Gilda to watch as the Duke woos Maddalena. Rigoletto sends Gilda away, and then hires Sparafucile to kill the Duke. Maddalena, however, has taken a fancy to the Duke and persuades her brother to spare him; Sparafucile agrees, provided that another victim can be found. They are overheard by the lovesick Gilda, who has returned in disguise, resolving to sacrifice herself to save the Duke's life. She knocks on the door, pretending to be a beggar, and Sparafucile stabs her and places her body in a sack. Rigoletto returns, and Sparatucile gives him the sack containing the body of his "victim." But when he hears the Duke singing in the distance, Rigoletto realizes he has been duped. Ripping open the sack he discovers Gilda; with her dying breath she bids him farewell as he begs her not to die. Monterone's curse has been fulfilled! 

Don Pasquale, 2006 (Donizetti) 

This broadcast will be available until 3/1/21

 

Don Pasquale 

John Del Carlo 

Dr. Malatesta 

Brian Leerhuber 

Ernesto 

Norman Reinhardt 

Norina 

Jennifer Welch-Babidge 

A Notary 

Jon Kolbet 

 

Houston Grand Opera Chorus
Richard Bado, Chorus Master
The Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Master Chair

Houston Grand Opera Orchestra
Patrick Summers, Conductor
Margaret Alkek Williams Chair 

Background

Don Pasquale, a wealthy old bachelor, has quarreled with Ernesto, his nephew and sole heir, who has been living in his home for the past three months. Ernesto is in love with Norina, a young but impoverished widow, and wishes to marry her. Pasquale instead demands that his nephew marry a rich, elderly spinster. Ernesto refuses. Enraged by his nephew's obstinacy, Pasquale threatens to disinherit him and to get married himself. The idea of getting married appeals to Pasquale and he seeks advice from his old friend Doctor Malatesta. Malatesta secretly supports Ernesto and thinks Pasquale is making a fool of himself, so he plots to teach Pasquale a lesson.  

Act I 

Pasquale is nervously awaiting Malatesta's return, in hopes that the doctor has found a suitable bride for him. Malatesta proposes that Pasquale marry his "sister" Sofronia, a recent graduate of the local convent school. Pasquale urges the doctor to arrange for the marriage to take place that very day and joyously begins making preparations. Pasquale once again suggests the elderly spinster as a suitable bride for his nephew. Ernesto again refuses to marry her and reiterates his love for Norina. Ernesto further enrages his uncle by laughing in disbelief at Pasquale's wedding plans. Pasquale orders his young nephew to move out at once. Norina receives a disturbing letter from her lover Ernesto, saying that he has been evicted from Pasquale's home and plans to leave the country. Dr. Malatesta arrives; he describes his plot to teach Don Pasquale a lesson and enlists her help. 

Act II 

Ernesto bitterly laments his fate, for without his uncle's support, he can never marry Norina. He has no choice but to leave the country forever. Malatesta has carefully dressed his "sister" Sofronia, who is actually Norina in disguise. Pasquale is enchanted with her modesty and charm. When the notary(Malatesta's cousin, also in disguise) arrives, Malatesta dictates the marriage contract. The proceedings are interrupted by the arrival of Ernesto, who has returned to make one last attempt to change his uncle's mind. To his amazement, Ernesto finds Pasquale about to marry his own Norina! Malatesta explains the secret without arousing Pasquale's suspicions. Ernesto agrees to witness the contract. Before the ink is dry, "Sofronia" undergoes a spectacular transformation: no longer the blushing girl, she becomes a demanding shrew. She insists on additional servants and top-to-bottom 

redecoration of the house, and demands that Ernesto be kept on as her escort, since she finds Pasquale far too old for such a task. 

Act Ill 

The house is being redecorated while Pasquale wallows in bills. Sofronia enters and orders her husband to bed: she is going to the theater with Ernesto. When Pasquale protests, she slaps him and storms out of the house, careful to drop a note from a "lover" arranging a tryst for later that evening in the garden. Pasquale reads the letter in shock; he sends for Malatesta. Dr. Malatesta arrives to find a grim and heartbroken Pasquale. They plan to spy on Sofronia's secret assignation and catch her unknown lover. Ernesto, in disguise, plays the role of Sofronia's lover and sings a mock serenade to her. Suddenly, Pasquale and Malatesta jump out to confront the lovers. Ernesto escapes; Sofronia insists to her enraged husband that no one else has been with her. Malatesta takes charge. Pretending to Pasquale that he has a scheme that will result in Sofronia's permanent departure, he calls for Ernesto. He tells Sofronia that another woman will be moving in to share the house, since Ernesto is to wed NorinaSofronia isn't at all pleased with this and the delighted Pasquale gives his blessing to Ernesto's wedding. Too late, he discovers he has been duped. Nevertheless, he is so happy to be rid of his shrewish wife that he gives his blessing to the new union and everyone joins in singing the joyful finale. 

 

Thank You

Performing artists, stage directors, and choreographers are represented by the American Guild of Musical Artists, the union for opera professionals in the United States.

Orchestral musicians are represented by the Houston Professional Musicians Association, Local #65-699, American Federation of Musicians.

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