There’s a Straniera in my House

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]

Here’s a compilation of Gruberova singing some Straniera arias to get you ready.  You can apparently find full performances of La Straniera with Gruberova on YouTube, in case you miss the live stream.

aka, Beauty and Heart of Iron

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…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3khDPul1OE8&w=350&h=300]

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.

… Cyprus had Royalty?

Not very Halloweeny, but a rare enough offering that it shouldn’t be missed…  BBC Radio 3 has Gaetano Donizetti‘s 1844 opera Caterina Cornaro streaming for a week, here.

Now, who exactly is this Catherine Cornaro when she isn’t starring in a dramatized, Italianized, operatic account of her life?

Caterina Cornaro, by Gentile Bellini

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.