Opera After Dark

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Happy Holidays from Opera After Dark! We all love (or love to hate) a good holiday album. In this episode we discuss some of the most notable holiday albums by opera stars.
When you think about an opera about the Moon, does 20th-century music come to mind, or maybe the 21st? It turns out the first opera about space came way back in 1777. We hope you enjoy hearing about the Classical Era space opera, Il mondo della luna.
In the realm of classical music, there are few individuals as influential as Franz Joseph Haydn. Though not known for his operas, Haydn is the original master of the symphony and string quartet, and definitely lived an interesting life.
Haven't heard of José Maurício? Neither had we! But it turns out he was a prolific Brazilian composer of the Classical Era, with over 200 published works and a Requiem that got the attention of Europe's best composers.
In addition to his many accolades in the jazz world, Duke Ellington is another notable composer that tried his hand at opera. Though Ellington never finished his opera Queenie Pie, he definitely left us with some great tunes!
Who knew that the most popular opera from the 17th-century was about some guy named Jason?! Apparently Elspeth did. Before you start imagining an opera about a '90s frat boy, you should know this opera is actually based on a Greek myth and composed by the most successful composer of its era.
Opera After Dark is back for season 5!! And we're kicking things off by talking about the greatest ragtime composer of all, Scott Joplin. Don't worry, we're not abandoning our roots. In addition to being the king of ragtime, Mr. Joplin also composed for the operatic stage.
With Memorial Day upon us (USA) and Victoria Day (Canada) just passed, we are taking the opportunity to talk about Queen Victoria and her love of opera, which she shared with her husband Prince Albert.
In today's episode, we talk about opera composer/conductor, Carl Maria von Weber. He was revolutionary in developing the role of the modern conductor, but of course, his life was full of scandal as well....
COVID-19 is impacting the entirety of the world, not the least of which is the impact on the classical music community. In this episode, we take a look at some of the impacts on the opera world, and also talk about some moments throughout history in which opera faced and overcame crisis.
In this episode, we talk about the opera that Wagner considered his first "true" work - DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER! Or, The Flying Dutchman. Its got leitmotifs. Its got arias. Its got orchestral storms with lots of brass. Its got a love triangle, a curse, a ghost ship, a ghost captain, and a obsessive leading lady. What more could you want in an opera?
Most Opera After Dark episodes are recorded weeks in advance so you won't hear any mention of COVID-19 in today's episode, but please remember to support your local arts companies and artists during this crazy time. In the episode, we talk about the world's first, and perhaps only, tango opera: Maria de Buenos Aires. We hope you enjoy learning about this provocative piece by tango superstar Astor Piazzolla.
In this episode, we talk about one of Elspeth's favorite operas - the incredibly dramatic, over the top, ultimate French romantic work: WERTHER! The composer, Massenet, basically defined the music of the French Belle Époque, and he definitely made up for the lack of scandal in his personal life with the drama and emotions of Werther! And fun fact: this opera has a saxophone part.
In this episode, we talk about one of opera's greatest legends, the diva of all divas, and the experience of getting to see her holographic reincarnation perform with a live orchestra. The one and only Maria Anna Cecilia Sofia Kalogeropoulos... a.k.a. Maria Callas!
The beloved American Opera, Porgy and Bess, is having quite the season with sold out and added performances at the Met, and a wildly successful run at Cincinnati Opera. The Opera After Dark team traveled to Cincinnati last July to take in the company's magnificent production while learning more about the opera from some of the singers portraying its staring roles. We're thrilled to share the experience with you in this episode.
This episode is all about Prokofiev's THE FIERY ANGEL, one of the craziest opera plots we've talked about in a while! This opera has got it all, from Knights to sword fights to fortune tellers to a weird half time show with Faust and Mephistopheles, to a frenetic nun orgy! You read that right... it's a thing that actually happens in this opera.
In this episode, we delve deep into the life of the Russian wunderkind Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev! He wrote a ton of stuff, he moved around a lot, he was kind of child prodigy, he wrote protest music that people didn't realize until much later was actually protest music... and he really liked to play chess. There is more to Sergei than you might think!
In our second installment of song cycle episodes, we look at the work of the two Schus(sounds like "shoes"... but it actually "Schus"): Schumann and Schubert! Rob and Franz! These song cycles are super poetic, super romantic, and in some cases, pretty dark, tragic, creepy, or twisted. But the music is so beautiful! You'll see. Give it a listen - you won't be sorry!
In our first episode of the decade, we jump into one of our favorite sub-genres: the song cycle. Can you guess which beloved composer started this trend with the OG song cycle? Here's a hint: his name doesn't start with "Schu."
It's that time of year again, and we're happy to be bringing you some of our favorite holiday music from the operatic and classical repertoire. Get ready for those warm and fuzzy feelings, and Happy Holidays!
Tchaikovsky's last opera may not be as well known as some of his other works, but the Queen of Spades still packs a punch. Today, the OAD team fills you in on the best aspects of this Russian classic.
This week Kyle takes the reigns to talk about one of opera's most-loved phenomenons: the tenor high C. It wasn't always part of the opera world, but once it arrived, it changed things forever.
What a pleasure it is revisit the music of one of our favorite composers: Leos Janacek! If you like beautiful orchestration and cute animal stories (which should include everyone), The Cunning Little Vixen is definitely the opera for you.
Following our last episode all about Philip Glass, this episode goes deep into the third opera in his portrait trilogy: AKHNATEN! We talk about the music, the inspiration and creative process, the source material, the text of the libretto, the real historical Akhnaten (including theories that his whole family were aliens) and his very complicated family (hint: recent DNA testing reveals that the family tree is REALLY MESSY, involving Nefertiti, King Tut, half-sisters that are also wives, aunts that are also mothers, husbands that are also siblings of some kind, daughters that are also wives, etc. etc. etc.), and all kinds of other interesting stuff!
So many good things come out of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.... like minimalist opera! In this episode, we talk about the life and work of Philip Glass, and dig into the style of minimalism! He actually dislikes being labelled a "minimalist" composer - but it's helpful in understanding the historical context and impact of his work in the grand scheme of things. While it might not be everyone's jam, we advocate for giving it a chance - the music is pretty amazing!
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Podcast Details

Created by
Opera After Dark
Podcast Status
Sep 15th, 2016
Latest Episode
Oct 26th, 2020
Release Period
Avg. Episode Length
43 minutes

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