Short notice, but at 1:30 today (NY time) you can watch Bellini‘s 1828 La Straniera live streamed from Vienna’s Musikverein. It’s actually a celebration of soprano Edita Gruberova‘s 45th anniversary of her first appearance on the operatic stage, so that’s cute, right? Any excuse for free opera works for me I guess. Be here at 1:30 for free opera.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pw9PewoM2I&w=350&h=300]
BBC Radio 3‘s weekly streaming opera offering this time is a Rossini rarity, Matilde di Shabran, which was apparently controversial enough to cause fights after its 1821 premiere, so check it out to see what all the fuss is about…
This performance is coming from the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy, which mounted the first production of Matilde di Shabran in 175 years back in 1996 and produced the accompanying short documentary. Italian with French subtitles, but still plenty of 90s datedness to enjoy even if you can’t understand.
Now, who exactly is this Catherine Cornaro when she isn’t starring in a dramatized, Italianized, operatic account of her life?
Image by Gentile Bellini
Well, to whet your appetite: she married at 14, to James II “The Bastard” of Cyprus, who died shortly after, leaving her acting regent, until her son was born, but then, oh WHOOPS, he died under, you guessed it, “suspicious circumstances”… That being said, the opera seems to deal with totally unrelated, possibly made-up(?), events… Donizetti had a thing for queens, but he was pretty big on fictionalizing too I guess.