Welcome to the weekend of Bayreuth's opening. Before citing today's chief offerings, just want to remind you all, first and foremost, that Pierre Boulez will be conducting tomorrow's Parsifal, starting this year's series of annual "live" broadcasts from the summer festival at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, the oldest continuous festival dedicated to one composer's works for the lyric stage. The performance starts at GMT 1355/EDT 9:55AM tomorrow, Sunday, July 25th. Heard in the principal roles are Endrik Wottrich, Michelle de Young, Robert Holl and Alexander Marco-Buhrmester. Full details are available on our Bayreuth page.
For today, Saturday, Wagner aficionados needn't wait for tomorrow's Parsifal to enjoy the "Meister". Starting almost immediately, we can savor Ward Marston's superb restoration of a true piece of history: Covent Garden's 1936 performance of Tristan und Isolde under Fritz Reiner, with the timeless pairing of Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior.
Live from Salzburg, Purcell's King Arthur is heard under Nicolaus Harnoncourt, with a cast that includes Barbara Bonney. On the NPR World of Opera series, from Houston, is Verdi's Rigoletto, with Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Laura Claycomb. You'll also have a chance to hear Verdi "in the workshop": his original Ballo in Maschera, entitled Gustave III, with dozens of unfamilar sequences heard by the public for the first time. More Verdi as we hear Bryn Terfel and Krassimira Stoyanova in his Falstaff.
From Munich, a Handel masterpiece, his Saul, starring Alastair Miles, Rebecca Evans and David Daniels under Ivor Bolton. An unusual opportunity to hear Piccinni's Finte Gemelle: it's always intriguing to hear something from Gluck's leading rival in Paris. Gluck is also heard from today, with his Parnaso confuso, composed before his great reforms. Another mainstay in Paris, of a few generations later, was Giacomo Meyerbeer, whose Dinorah can be heard today with Deborah Cook in the title role. For those who may have missed it, you have another chance to catch this season's Covent Garden Faust, with Alagna, Gheorghiu, Terfel and Keenlyside. Another important rerun today will be Weber's Oberon in its original English version, starring Griffey, Flanigan and Neill. From the world of Russian Opera, Valery Gergiev leads a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's Mlada.