Click below to visit the archive of introductory podcasts hosted by Nicolas Reveles. These brief ‘conversations’ can be enjoyed by opera fans as well as those who are new to the art form. Informal yet informative, this is a great way to prepare to come see the operas during our season.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Opera's Game-Changers: Revolutions in an Art Form

With the opening of James Cameron's film Avatar last week, I started thinking about moments in opera history that were game-changing, that began revolutions in the art form.  Let's take a quick look!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Verdi: The Early Years

Nabucco might have been Verdi's first success, but it was his third opera.  What were the first two like?  And how about the two that followed that success in 1842?  Let's explore the operas of Verdi, the early years.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Making the Case for La Rondine, Puccini's "Operetta"

San Diego Opera is producing the evergreen standard "La boheme" by Puccini, an opera that all opera lovers know and love.  But what about one of his lesser known works?  Not terribly long ago, I discovered "La Rondine" and realize what a get this opera is.  Let me introduce it to you so that you can come to love it as much as I do!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Recitative Revisted: Defining Character

Maybe you haven't noticed, but recitative is treated differently in different  eras of opera history.  Earlier operas utilized harpsichord and other keyboard instruments to accompany recitative, later operas used the full orchestra.  But are operatic characters treated differently, even within the same opera?  Let's explore!

Monday, October 12, 2009

What On Earth Is The Concertato?

Impress your opera-loving friends with your newly found knowledge of one of the most exciting musical events in most standard repertory Italian operas and that even occasionally shows up in the French and German repertoire!  The Concertato…here it is.  Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask.  Free of charge.

Monday, October 5, 2009

German Opera Composers Before Wagner

You may well wonder: was there such a thing as a German opera composer before Wagner?  His works so outshone every other German composer within his lifetime that we tend to forget about people like Weber, Spohr, Nicolai, Lortzing and Marschner.  Who??

Monday, September 21, 2009

Great Arias from Operas You've Never Seen!

Now here's a sample of wonderful music from operas that I'm sure you've either never seen or never WILL see!  You'll hear music by such diverse composers as Cilea, Catalani, Auber, Thomas and...Rossini.  Enjoy this excursion into the unknown.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The "Other" Roles in 2010

Let's take a few minutes to listen to excerpts from our 2010 Season which feature the secondary principal singers, roles like Marcello, Ismaele, Mercutio and Germont.  You can have the greatest Rodolfo and Mimi in the world, but you'd better have a Marcello who can match them!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Just What Is A Leitmotif?

We've thrown this term around a lot in our podcast series.  It's time to define it and listen to some worthy examples from the operas of Richard Wagner.  It is summer, after all, with Ring festivals going on throughout the world!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Art of the Love Duet

Love duets are a part of just about every opera in the standard repertory, so much so that we don’t think about them much.  We just luxuriate in their beautiful melodies.  But there’s always a reason for those ebbs and flows of passion.  Let’s explore some of the love duets in the early periods of opera history and see what makes them tick!

Monday, June 29, 2009

La Traviata: The Real Violetta

The most fascinating aspect of Verdi’s La traviata is that the story is based on true events in the life of a real, 19th century French socialite, who had many aristocratic, well-connected and famous lovers, went through numerous fortunes and died of tuberculosis at the tender age of 23.  Who was this remarkable woman?  Listen to this week’s podcast to find out!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Romeo and Juliet: The Love Duets

One of the more unusual aspects of Charles Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet is the fact that the tenor and soprano who sing the two title roles have four (count ‘em, FOUR) love duets!  Let’s take a look at these duets and see what the challenges are in them for the singers as well as for the audience.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Nabucco: Verdi's First Success

Nabucco was Verdi’s third opera and his first true success.  But what was the measure of success in opera in 1840s Italy?  What were other composers doing at the time?  Who inspired Verdi?  Let’s explore this opera by placing it in the context of music and drama of that time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

La Boheme: Another Look

We've covered Puccini's masterpiece La boheme in our 2010 Season Podcast; but let's take a closer look.  The composer's sense of drama and his complete mastery of the use of melody make this an unforgettable work.  Here's our Director of Education, Dr. Nicolas Reveles, to give you an insight into what makes this opera tick! ► Watch Now

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Color of Rigoletto and Other Mysteries

And now for your semi-annual Italian lesson: the word is 'tinta', and it means 'color'.  Now that you know what it means to us, let's discover what it meant to composer Giuseppe Verdi, especially with regards to our next production, Rigoletto, opening this week!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rigoletto Sound-Alikes: The Verdi Baritone

Verdi's Rigoletto didn't just spring from nothingness: there were a number of baritone roles in his earlier operas that foreshadowed this brilliant creation.  Here are examples of two of them from Ernani and Macbeth.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Heard Any Early Verdi Lately?

As we look forward to San Diego Opera's production of Verdi's Rigoletto opening in March, let's take a quick tour of the operas that put Verdi on the operatic map!