Documentary: BBC Four’s ‘Opera in Italia’ with Antonio Pappano

BBC Four: Opera in Italia with Antonio Pappano

I’ve just watched this three-part documentary by BBC Four and I find it an excellent introduction to Italian opera. London-born Antonio Pappano travels to places like Verdi’s own villa, La Scala and all manners of other gorgeous Italian opera institutions to trace the life of Verdi and Puccini in the second and third hour-long episodes respectively “Viva Verdi” and “The Triumph of Puccini”, along the way getting such luminaries as Renee Fleming to sing Traviata, and Renata Scotto (yes, her!) to sing Puccini.

There are exciting excerpts from many of the operas – Pappano introduces them all with an easy knowledge and style that’s very infectious. Of course, knowing he’s Music Director of the Royal Opera House doesn’t hurt. The first episode,  “Beginnings” is a quick tour around the foundations of Italian opera, and his list of singers is similarly glittery: Juan Diego Florez, Joyce DiDonato, Danielle de Niese, Sarah Connolly and Diana Damrau.

Highly recommended, and I think even those not new to opera will have something to learn from this.

Here’s the BBC website:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00sjdmp

Beginnings

Youtube Link

Viva Verdi

The Triumph of Puccini

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