BBC Radio 3 to broadcast every opera by Wagner, Verdi and Britten in 2013

As the home of classical music, BBC Radio 3 will make 2013 a year to remember for all opera lovers. For the first time in the station’s history we will be broadcasting in one year all the operas by Verdi, Wagner and Britten, three masters of the genre..."Roger Wright, Controller, BBC Radio 3 and Director, BBC Proms
Date: 04.01.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.56
Category: Radio 3
BBC Radio 3 celebrates three opera greats in their anniversary years: Wagner 200 / Verdi 200 / Britten 100.

BBC Radio 3 will broadcast the operas of Wagner, Verdi and Britten in 2013, showcasing over 140 hours of opera and allowing audiences the opportunity to hear the entire opera catalogues of the three composers in the anniversary year of their births.

Throughout the year Radio 3 will broadcast recordings from opera houses across the globe, including The Met, the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Vienna State Opera, La Scala and from the Aldeburgh Festival, among others. Saturday’s Opera On 3 will broadcast many of these recordings and live performances while much of the remaining opera programming will fall in Thursday’s Afternoon On 3 Opera Matinee slot. Around the composer anniversary dates, further programming will supplement the opera broadcasts with shows including Music Matters, The Essay, Sunday Feature, CD Review and Drama On 3 all delving into the work and lives of the three composers.

BBC Radio 3’s Verdi exploration begins on Sunday 6 January in the Sunday Feature slot with ‘Viva Verdi’, a programme dedicated to the composer’s work and its relationship to 19th-century Italian society. Professor Roger Parker explores Verdi’s so-called ‘Risorgimento’ operas and explodes some of the myths around the music. The feature includes contributions from, among others, conductor Sir Mark Elder, director Graham Vick and commentator Tim Parks. It marks the start of Verdi’s anniversary month, which continues with the broadcast of five of the composer’s operas (I Lombardi, I Verspri Siciliani, Simon Boccanegra, Il Trovatore and Un Giorno di Regno).

The first Benjamin Britten opera of the season is the acclaimed 2012 English National Opera production of Billy Budd (26 January). Further Britten highlights include Peter Grimes, live from Aldeburgh Festival (7 Jun) and a new jazz commission from Guy Barker for the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Guy Barker Big Band, which draws on a Henry James short story and features characters from Britten’s operas (12 June). Britten’s Gloriana will be broadcast live from the Royal Opera House (29 June) while a new drama by Mark Ravenhill, Britten’s Gloriana, follows the composer as he struggled to fulfil the original commission for the opera (Drama on 3, 30 June).

Live broadcasts of Wagner’s operas include Parsifal, with Jonas Kaufmann in the title role (2 March), Das Rheingold (6 April), Die Walkure (13 April), Siegried (20 April) and Gotterdammerung (11 May), all broadcast Live from the Met, as well as Lohengrin, broadcast live from the Welsh National Opera conducted by their Music Director Lothar Koenigs (26 May).

Every opera transmission will include an introduction which will further explore the themes and issues around each work. These BBC Radio 3 Opera Guides will be available to download free via the BBC Radio 3 website after each broadcast.

Roger Wright, Controller of BBC Radio 3 and Director, BBC Proms says: “As the home of classical music, BBC Radio 3 will make 2013 a year to remember for all opera lovers. For the first time in the station’s history we will be broadcasting in one year all the operas by Verdi, Wagner and Britten, three masters of the genre, as well as providing unique contextual programming and downloadable guides for each work.”

MC