Skip to main content

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:


      • January 1 and 2Magic Flute 2008 (Mozart)

      • January 8 and 9Eugene Onegin, 2002 (Tchaikovsky) 

      • January 15 and 16Don Pasquale, 2006 (Donizetti) 

      • January 22 and 23Rigoletto, 2001 (Verdi) 

      • January 29 and 30: Abduction from the Seraglio, 2008 (Mozart) 

      • February 5 and 6: Beatrice and Benedict, 2008 (Berlioz) 

      • February 12 and 13: The Italian Girl in Algiers, 2012 (Rossini)

      • February 19 and 20: The Makropulos Case, 2002 (Janáček) 

      • February 26 and 27: Aida, 2007 (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. 

Rigoletto, 2001 (Verdi) 

This broadcast will be available until 3/8/21



Duke of Mantua 

Roberto Aronica 


Scott Scully 


Dmitri Hvorostovsky 

Countess Ceprano 

Kristin Reiersen 


Aaron Judisch 

Count Ceprano 

Joshua Winograde 

Count Monterone 

George Cordes 


Raymond Aceto 


Laura Claycomb 


Angela Niederloh 


Marie Lenormand 


Gustavo Hernandez 


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. 


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. 


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 


Norman Reinhardt 


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 


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. 


Eugene Onegin, 2002 (Tchaikovsky) 

This broadcast will be available until 2/22/21.



Zvetelina Vassileva 


Stephanie Novacek 


Katherine Ciesinski 


Angela Niederloh 


Raymond Very 

Eugene Onegin 

Bo Skovhus 


Aaron Judisch 


Joseph Evans 


Joshua Winograde 


Shane Dickson 

Prince Gremin 

Oren Gradus 



Houston Grand Opera Chorus 

Richard Bado, Chorus Master 

The Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Master Chair 


Houston Grand Opera Orchestra 

Robert Spano, Conductor  


Setting: Russia, the late 18th century 


Young and innocent Tatyana sings a dreamy duet with her lively sister Olga while their mother, Larina, chats with Tatyana's nurse, Filipyevna. Peasants return from the fields and present Larina with sunflowers. The older ladies notice that Tatyana looks pale, but she replies she is only absorbed in her book, with its story of lovers' troubles. Her mother tells her not to take her love stories too seriously, warning her that there are no real heroes in everyday life. Olga's fiance Lensky arrives with his good friend Onegin. Tatyana wants to disappear, but her mother insists the young men be entertained. Lensky makes a beeline for Olga, leaving Onegin to take Tatyana for a walk. The inexperienced Tatyana immediately falls head over heels for the worldly Onegin. That night, she is unable to sleep. Summoning all her courage, Tatyana composes a letter to Onegin, vowing her complete commitment to him and pouring her heart out on the page. As dawn arrives, she signs and seals the letter. Later, Tatyana enters in a state of agitation. She has seen Onegin approaching and is afraid of his response. Her worst fears are realized when Onegin admonishes her, telling her to use more self-restraint in the future. Love and marriage are not for him. He can love her only as a sister. Tatyana is devastated. 


ACT II, Scene 1 


It is Tatyana's birthday and her mother has arranged a dance in her honor. Onegin is there and bored to death. To liven things up, he decides to irritate his friend Lensky by flirting with Olga. When Olga noticeably flirts back, the hotheaded Lensky challenges Onegin to a duel the following morning. 


ACT II, Scene 2 

Lensky is the first to arrive. Onegin arrives late. Both men would prefer to resume their friendship, but things have gone too far-the formalities of the duel must be observed. The two measure off three paces, turn and fire. Onegin fires first and Lensky is killed. Onegin is overcome with anguish. 


ACT Ill 

Years later, the Prince and Princess Gremin are hosting a ball in St. Petersburg. Onegin is there, having spent the past several years wandering the country in an attempt to overcome his remorse and atone for the death of his friend. The hosts enter and Onegin instantly recognizes the Princess as Tatyana. Prince Gremin tells Onegin about the joy Tatyana has brought to his life and praises her as the most noble thing he has found in this immoral world. Tatyana recognizes Onegin and tries to avoid him by feigning exhaustion and asking to be taken home. At last, Onegin realizes that his one true love is Tatyana. It is his turn to write a letter. Upon receiving it, Tatyana consents to a visit. When Onegin arrives, he falls at Tatyana's feet and begs her to come away with him. She tries to be distant, suggesting he is merely attracted to the glamour of a love affair with the wife of a Prince. Finally, Tatyana yields to her love for Onegin and sinks into his arms. Regardless of her feelings for Onegin, however, Tatyana refuses to forsake her husband. Once again, she summons her courage and tells Onegin she cannot be with him. She makes the choice to remain with her husband, and rushes from the room. The curtain falls on Onegin, alone and distraught. 

The Magic Flute, 2008 (Mozart) 

This broadcast will be available until 2/15/21.



Eric Cutler 

First Lady 

Kristin Clayton 

Second Lady 

Maria Markina 

Third Lady 

Jamie Barton 


Patrick Carfizzi 

Queen of the Night 

Albina Shagimuratova 


Jon Kolbet 


Rebekah Camm 

Three Genii 

Liz Kaufman 


Joan Stewart Scheirman 


Laura Smolik 

Speaker of the Temple 

Chen-Ye Yuan 


Raymond Aceto 


Alicia Gianni 


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


Houston Grand Opera Orchestra 

Steven Sloane, Conductor 

Act I 

Pursued by a giant serpent while hunting, the young prince Tamino collapses in terror. Three Ladies, attendants of the Queen of the Night, kill the monster and run to tell their mistress about the handsome young stranger. Tamino regains his wits, but hides as he hears someone approaching. It is the Queen's bird-catcher, Papageno; he claims it is he who killed the serpent, but the Three Ladies return and padlock his mouth for lying. They give Tamino a portrait of the Queen's daughter Pamina, who is being held captive by the evil sorcerer Sarastro, and Tamino is immediately smitten. The Queen of the Night appears, calling on Tamino to rescue her daughter. To protect Tamino on this mission, the Three Ladies provide him with a magic flute and the company of the unwilling Papageno, to whom they present a set of magic bells. Three Genii appear and guide the pair to their destination. Inside the domain of Sarastro, the head of a secret religious order, Pamina has fled from-and been recaptured by-Sarastro's chief slave MonostatosMonostatos runs in fright at the sight of the outlandish Papageno, who tells Pamina that her rescuer is close by. Meanwhile, the Three Genii show Tamino the gates to the temples of Reason, Nature and Wisdom. Turned away from the first two, Tamino is greeted at the third by a priest, the Speaker of the Temple, who tells him that Sarastro is not the villain Tamino believes him to be. Learning that Pamina is still alive, Tamino joyfully plays the magic flute and hearing Papageno pipe a reply, hurries off to find his companion. Once again Monostatos and his crew are in pursuit of Pamina, but Papageno renders them harmless by playing his bells. With great fanfare, the dreaded Sarastro arrives, and Pamina apologizes for running away, explaining that she did so because Monostatos demanded her love. Sarastro tells Pamina she will eventually be set free but warns her against her mother. When T amino appears, Pam ina immediately recognizes him as the rescuer promised by Papageno. Their tender embrace infuriates Monostatos, who at Sarastro's command is led away to be punished. Tamino and Papageno are led by the priests into the temple to be purified. 

Act II 

Inside the temple, Sarastro and the priests warn Tamino and Papageno of the trials that lie before them. If they successfully complete the trials, they will attain wisdom; Tamino will be united with Pamina as his reward, and Papageno likewise will be rewarded with a beautiful wife. As the trials begin, Tamino and Papageno are sworn to silence. The Three Ladies appear to the men, seeking to sway them from their purpose, but Tamino firmly resists. Monostatos, finding Pamina asleep in the temple garden, tries to steal a kiss but is driven off by the wrathful Queen of the Night, who demands that her daughter murder Sarastro. Monostatos, who has overheard everything, threatens to kill Pamina unless she submits to him, but Sarastro arrives just in time and restrains him. Papageno encounters an old woman who claims to be his sweetheart, but when he asks her name, she disappears. Pamina has followed the sound of the flute and found Tamino; she tries to talk to him, unaware of his vow of silence. Not understanding why he refuses to speak to her, she leaves, heartbroken. The priests praise Isis and Osiris for Tamino's faithfulness to his vows. Sarastro tells Tamino he must undergo two more dangerous trials. Pamina is brought in. The lovers are told they must part so Tamino can complete his trials, but are reassured that they will meet again. Papageno, who has failed his initiation, pleads only for a glass of wine. As he plays his bells and sings of his wife-to-be, the old woman reappears, who, upon his promise to be faithful, turns into the pretty Papagena. The Speaker of the Temple separates them, however, telling Papageno he is not yet worthy of a wife. In a palm garden, Pamina is about to end her life with the dagger her mother gave her to kill Sarastro. The Genii stop her and lead her to Tamino, who is guarded by two men in armor and is about to undergo the trial of the elements. Vowing to stay at the side of her beloved, Pamina triumphantly leads him through fire and water, protected by the music of the magic flute. Papageno, believing himself forsaken, attempts to hang himself but he, too, is saved by the Genii. The Genii instruct him to play his magic bells. When he does so, Papagena appears. Monostatos has joined forces with the Queen of the Night and her Ladies. They storm the Temple, but their plan to kill Sarastro is foiled by a tempest. Sarastro, Tamino and Pamina, hailed by the Brotherhood, celebrate the victory of light over darkness. 

Cunning Little Vixen, 2007 (Janáček) 

This broadcast will be available until 2/8/21.



Hector Vásquez 


Meredith F. Flores 


Alina Slavik 


Jon Kolbet 


Allan Lawerence 

Young Vixen 

Ekaterina Gorlova 

Forester’s Wife/Owl 

Jennifer Root 

Vixen Sharp-Ears 

Lisa Saffer 

Lapák, the Dog/Woodpecker 

Maria Markina 


Laurie Lester 


Albina Shagimuratova 


Alicia Gianni 

Chochholka, The Hen 

Rebekah Camm 


Ryan McKinny 


Bradley Garvin 

Pasek, the Innkeeper 

Beau Gibson 

Fox Golden-Stripe 

Fiona Murphy 


Liam Bonner 

Pasek’s Wife 

Tamara Wilson 


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 


Act I 

Scene 1-How they caught the Vixen 

The Forester appears in a clearing of the forest and sits down to rest. As he dozes, a cricket cavorts with a grasshopper and a mosquito. A young vixen is fascinated by a little frog, which leaps onto the Forester in fright. Waking up, the Forester catches the Vixen and drags her off to his farm.  

Scene 2-The Vixen in the Forester's farmyard 

 The Forester's wife is annoyed by the Vixen's arrival. Lapák, the Dog, attempts to console the unhappy Vixen by favorably comparing her lot with his own. The Vixen confesses to inexperience in love, but she recalls the volatile relationship of a starling couple in the forest. Two boys, Frantík and Pepík, bother the Vixen so much that she bites the latter. When she attempts to run away, the Forester catches her and ties her up. When night falls, the Vixen dreams of freedom and love. The Hens have no pity for the Vixen, since she doesn't have to work as they do, laying eggs. She castigates them for their slavish devotion to the Rooster, and exhorts them to rebel. Her diatribe infuriates the Rooster, whom she attacks. She then creates chaos before managing to escape. 

Act II 

Scene 1-The Vixen finds a home 

The Vixen mocks the Badger. Joined by other forest animals, she escalates her teasing until the Badger finally stomps off in disgust. The delighted Vixen then takes possession of the Badger's luxurious home.  

Scene 2-Evening at Pásek's tavern 

At Pásek's tavern, the Forester plays cards with the Schoolmaster and the Parson. The Forester teases the Schoolmaster about his bad luck with women. In turn, the Schoolmaster mentions the Vixen, having heard that things didn't go well when the Forester brought her home. The Forester angrily declares that her departure is a good riddance. 

Scene 3-On the way home 

Trudging home from the tavern, the drunken Schoolmaster is suddenly reminded of Terynka, a girl he loved years ago and still loves. The Vixen overhears him as she hides among the sunflowers. Mistaking her for Terynka, the Schoolmaster rushes to embrace the Vixen and falls. The Parson appears, also recalling an old love. He sees the Vixen's eyes glowing in the dark. When he and the Schoolmaster hear the Forester in the distance, each runs off. A second later, shots are heard and the Forester appears, chasing after the Vixen.  

Scene 4-The Vixen's courting and love 

The Vixen is lazing away the summer evening when a handsome Fox approaches her. As they get acquainted, she tells the Fox about her previous life at the Forester's and boasts of her independence. The Fox leaves her to find some dinner, but soon returns, hiding in order to observe the Vixen as she admits to herself that she loves him. He woos her with increasing passion, proclaiming his love before taking her home. Having witnessed this romantic encounter, the Owl gossips with the Jay about the 

Vixen. When the Vixen emerges with the Fox, he announces his intention to marry her. The wedding ceremony is performed by the Woodpecker. 

Act Ill 

Scene 1-The Vixen's marriage and death 

In the forest, Harasta, a poultry dealer and poacher, is singing a folk song when he encounters a dead rabbit. He is about to take the rabbit when he is interrupted by the Forester, whom he informs of his own upcoming marriage to Terynka. When questioned by the Forester, he swears that he is not poaching. The two conclude that it was the Vixen who killed the rabbit. The Forester sets a trap for her. The Vixen and the Fox appear with their children. Seeing the trap, the Fox warns his wife to be cautious. Harasta approaches, and the Vixen taunts him defiantly. Realizing that her coat will make a nice muff for Terynka, Harasta shoots and kills the Vixen. 

Scene 2-Pásek's tavern 

The Forester tells the Schoolmaster that he tried to track down the Vixen but found her den deserted. The Schoolmaster sadly informs him that this very day Terynka is to be married to Harasta. Pásek's wife adds that the girl now has a new muff. The Forester offers sympathy to the Schoolmaster. After paying his bill, the Forester departs, admitting that his dog Lapák is getting old, just like himself and his friends. 

Scene 3- In the forest 

The Forester arrives at the same spot where he first spied the Vixen. He remembers it from years ago when he walked there with his bride. Rejoicing in the beauty of the forest, he anticipates the return of spring. After having only just fallen asleep, he suddenly awakens when one of the Vixen's children appears, looking exactly like her mother. Reaching out for her, he catches instead a tiny frog, who stammers that the frog the Forester remembers from years before was his grandfather. 

Don Carlos, 2012 (Verdi) 

This broadcast will be available until 2/1/21.


A Forester 

Mark Diamond 

Elisabeth de Valvois 

Tamara Wilson 

Don Carlos 

Brandon Jovanovich 


Lauren Snouffer 

Count Lerme 

Boris Dyakov 

The Spirit of Chales V 

Oren Gradus 


Scott Hendricks 

Princess Eboli 

Christine Goerke 

Philippe II 

Andrea Silverstrelli 

Royal Herald 

Scott Quinn 

A Celestial Voice 

Brittany Wheeler 

The Grand Inquisitor 

Samuel Ramey 

Countess Aremberg 

Judith Irvington 

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 

The opera is set in France and Spain, around 1560. 


The forest of Fontainebleau 

Don Carlos, the Infante of Spain (heir to the throne), is betrothed to the French princess Elisabeth de Valois, and has come to France incognito, because Spain and France have been at war for many years. Elisabeth, watched from afar by Carlos, gives alms to some peasants and assures them that her marriage will bring peace. When Elisabeth and her page Thibault become lost, Carlos presents himself to her as a Spanish diplomat, and agrees to protect her while Thibault goes for help. Carlos shows her a portrait of her betrothed: she recognizes him and they declare their love. Their idyll is brief: Thibault returns, greeting Elisabeth as Queen and announcing that Henry II has now promised his daughter to Carlos’s father, King Philippe of Spain. Count Lerme, a Spanish envoy, confi rms the offer of marriage, but insists it must be Elisabeth’s choice. Elisabeth agrees to sacrifice herself for the good of her people. Carlos is left in despair. 


Scene 1: The monastery of Saint-Just, Spain 

The tomb of the Emperor Charles V dominates the chapel. A dark figure approaches the altar and laments the vanity of human pride and ambition. Carlos hears the voice and recognizes in it the spirit of his dead grandfather. His friend, Rodrigue, Marquis of Posa, has returned from Flanders with deputies representing the Flemish people, and tells Carlos of their oppression under Spanish rule. Carlos confesses that he still loves Elisabeth, now his father’s wife. They watch while Philippe and Elisabeth go into the monastery. Rodrigue inspires Carlos to join him in liberating the Flemish people.  

Scene 2: Outside the monastery 

Queen Elisabeth rejoins Princess Eboli and other ladies of the court. Rodrigue brings the Queen a private note from Carlos, which tells her that she must trust the bearer. Rodrigue urges Elisabeth to grant Carlos an audience, while Eboli, in aside, reveals her love for Carlos and her belief that he loves her in return. Elisabeth consents to Rodrigue’s request and dismisses her ladies. Carlos asks Elisabeth to obtain the King’s permission for him to leave for Flanders. She agrees and bids him farewell. He is overcome with emotion and declares his love for her. Confused and angry, she rejects him and he runs off in despair. King Philippe arrives and, finding the Queen unattended, punishes her by ordering her best friend and lady-in-waiting, Countess Aremberg, to return to France. Elisabeth bids the Countess a tearful farewell and reproaches Philippe for distrusting her. The court leaves, but Philippe bids Rodrigue to remain. Invited to speak freely, Rodrigue appeals to the King on behalf of the Flemish people. Struck by Rodrigue’s honesty, Philippe confides his suspicions about his wife and son. He appoints him as his personal counselor, but warns him to beware of the Grand Inquisitor.  


Scene 1: The Queen’s gardens 

On the eve of Philippe’s coronation, a masked ball is underway. Elisabeth has left early and given Eboli her mask so that the Princess can return to the ball in her place. Seeing this as a chance to approach Carlos, Eboli has written him a note asking him to meet her. Carlos mistakes Eboli for Elisabeth and declares his love. When she realizes his impassioned words were not meant for her, she warns him that Rodrigue is spying on him for the King. Rodrigue appears and threatens to silence her. Eboli determines to take revenge by exposing Carlos’s love for the Queen. Worried that Carlos will be arrested, Rodrigue asks him for any incriminating political papers he may be carrying, and, after a moment’s hesitation, Carlos entrusts the papers to his friend. 

Scene 2: The plaza before the cathedral in Valladolid 

On coronation day, the people gather to witness an autodafé, (act of faith), a burning of heretics held to celebrate the coronation and keep the populace in fear. Suddenly Carlos presents to his father the Flemish deputies, who beg for mercy on behalf of their nation. Philippe refuses and is supported by the clergy while the people urge him to show mercy. Carlos demands to be made regent of Flanders. When Philippe refuses, Carlos draws his sword and threatens him. Rodrigue disarms Carlos; Philippe grants Rodrigue a dukedom in reward and bids the festivities begin. 


Scene 1: Philippe’s study in the Escorial Palace 

Philippe sits alone in the middle of the night, lamenting his marriage to a woman who does not love him. Eboli brings him a jewel box belonging to Elisabeth, which she leaves with Philippe. The Grand Inquisitor arrives, and the King asks him whether he will be forgiven if he condemns his son to death. The Inquisitor recommends death for Carlos and demands that Rodrigue be handed over to the Inquisition, but the King refuses. Elisabeth enters, distressed to fi nd her jewel box stolen, and agitated to fi nd that her husband has opened it. Philippe draws from it a portrait of Carlos. He accuses her of adultery and strikes her down. Fearing he has killed her, he calls for help. Eboli and Rodrigue answer his summons. Eboli begs the Queen’s forgiveness for stealing the jewel box and confesses that she is in love with Carlos but has been rejected by him. In love with Carlos herself, Elisabeth is deeply sympathetic. Overheard by Philippe, Eboli then confesses to Elisabeth that she has been the King’s mistress. Eboli is given the choice of going into exile or entering a convent.  

Scene 2: Carlos’s prison cell 

Rodrigue visits Carlos in his prison cell to bid him farewell. He knows he will be killed because he has deliberately incriminated himself in order to save Carlos’s life. He entreats Carlos to continue their mission to save the Flemish people. Rodrigue is then assassinated by the Inquisition. As he dies, he tells Carlos that Elisabeth will meet him one last time at the monastery of Saint-Just. The King comes to return Carlos’s sword, seeking reconciliation with his son. Carlos bitterly rejects him and reveals that Rodrigue died to save him. Philippe is stricken with remorse. A bell signals an uprising. A crowd, including the disguised Eboli, storms Rodrigue’s funeral to demand Carlos’s freedom. Secretly, Eboli leads Carlos to safety as the Grand Inquisitor quells the mob and seals his political accord with the King. 


The monastery of Saint-Just 

Elisabeth prays at the tomb of Carlos’s grandfather, the Emperor Charles V. She remembers her first meeting with Carlos at Fontainebleau and her subsequent tragic life in Spain, and vows to dedicate herself to God. Carlos, resolved to carry on Rodrigue’s fight in Flanders, comes to say goodbye. She blesses his mission, and they agree to love each other forever as if they were mother and son, promising to be reunited one day in Paradise. Philippe and the Grand Inquisitor arrive and confront Carlos and Elisabeth with accusations of heresy and adultery. A double sacrifice is required. The King hands his son and his wife over to the Inquisition for execution. As Carlos is killed, the spirit of Charles V awakes once more and receives his grandson into a better world.

Barber of Seville, 2004 (Rossini) 

This broadcast will be available until 1/25/21.





Joshua Hopkins 

Count Almaviva 


Richard Croft 



Earle Patriarco 



Joyce DiDonato 

Dr. Bartolo 


John Del Carlo 



Amy Cofield 

Don Basilio 


Vladimir Ognovenko 



Nikolay Didenko 



William Hardy 



Michael Ewer 

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 

Act I 

Count Almaviva has fallen in love with a young girl, Rosina, and has followed her to the musty house where she is kept sequestered from the world by her old guardian, Dr. Bartolo, who wishes to marry her. Accompanied by his servant Fiorello and some musicians, Almaviva serenades her but gets no response. The barber Figaro appears, and promises to help Almaviva for a suitable reward. Serenading Rosina again, the Count pretends to be a poor man named Lindoro because he wants her to love him for himself, not for his wealth. Rosina tries to answer him, but she is suddenly pulled away from the window. Figaro comes up with an idea: Almaviva should gain entry into Bartolo's house by pretending to be a soldier billeted there. Rosina, stirred by this most attractive voice, determines to find its owner. Her guardian Dr. Bartolo enters with the music master Don Basilio, who warns him that Count Almaviva is his rival for Rosina's hand. Bartolo decides to marry Rosina at once, but Figaro overhears and warns her. Suddenly Almaviva, disguised as a drunken soldier, bursts in demanding to be quartered there. A loud quarrel ensues. As a curious crowd forms outside, police try to take the troublemaker into custody, but he confides his identity to the Sergeant, who lets him go. Pandemonium breaks out. 


Act II 

Bartolo suspects the intruder was a spy sent by Almaviva, who once again appears in disguise, this time as "Don Alonso," a music teacher substituting for a sick Basilio. Don Alonso tells Bartolo that he is staying at the same inn as Almaviva and has found a letter from Rosina. He offers to tell Rosina that Almaviva is cheating on her with another woman. Reassured, Bartolo allows "Alonso" to give Rosina her singing lesson. Bartolo observes the lesson until Figaro arrives to shave him. Figaro manages to steal the key to the upstairs balcony; Rosina recognizes Lindoro and he proposes to her. Basilio himself appears, and the sham threatens to unravel. Quickly the Count bribes him to play sick and rushes him out of the house. Figaro distracts Bartolo while the lovers make their plans to elope, but Bartolo is suspicious and sends for Basilio. learning that "Alonso" is a fraud, the doctor sends Basilio to fetch a notary at once so he can marry his ward that very evening. Calling Rosina, he shows her a note, saying lindoro has received her and plans to win her for his master, Almaviva. Rosina is angry and agrees to marry Bartolo; 

she reveals that Figaro and Lindoro plan to come that night and take her by way of the balcony. Bartolo goes for the police. Figaro and Almaviva come in through the window, only to be spurned by Rosina, who accuses Lindoro of wooing her for Almaviva. "Lindoro" reveals his real identity and Rosina is delighted, but Figaro urges them to hurry. They prepare to escape but realize that Bartolo has thwarted their plan. Basilio enters with the notary, but is dismissed with another bribe from the Count, who joins 

Rosina in signing the marriage contract. Bartolo surprises them but is too late to intervene. Rosina is free at last; young love has won the day. 


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.

Cookie Notice

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience on our site.

To find out more, view our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Back To Top Back to top