Viva Verdi

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Episode 2 of 3

Duration: 1 hour

Three-part series tracing the history of Italian opera presented by Antonio Pappano, conductor and music director at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The series features sumptuous music, stunning Italian locations and some of the biggest names in opera as contributors.

The second episode focuses on Verdi, whose operas are central to Pappano's conducting repertoire and the backbone of the international opera scene. It shows how Verdi's music was influenced by composers such as Bellini and particularly Donizetti, whose gothic masterpiece Lucia di Lammermoor is explored with the help of soprano Diana Damrau.

Pappano looks at six of Verdi's most famous works - Nabucco, Rigoletto, Don Carlo, Otello, Falstaff and La Traviata, the last of which Pappano rehearses and conducts at the Royal Opera House with the starry cast of Renee Fleming, Joseph Calleja and Thomas Hampson.

Pappano travels to Le Roncole in northern Italy where Verdi was born amidst a turbulent political environment, and politics became a major influence on Verdi's operas in later life. He conducts Va Pensiero from Nabucco at a vast open-air concert in Naples, a chorus which was to become a powerful symbol of political unity for the Italian people.

  • Photo: Antonio Pappano

    Photo: Antonio Pappano

    Conductor Antonio Pappano traces the history of Italian opera for BBC Four.

  • Photo: Don Carlo

    Photo: Don Carlo

    Erik Halfvarson plays the grand inquisitor and Ferruccio Furlanetto takes the role of Philip II in Don Carlo for The Royal Opera.

  • Photo: La Traviata

    Photo: La Traviata

    A scene from act II of La Traviata starring Renee Fleming as Violetta at The Royal Opera.

  • Opera on the BBC

     Opera on the BBC

    This programme is part of a major new collection of programmes across the BBC celebrating opera through the eyes of the world's leading singers, conductors, directors and opera enthusiasts.

    Go to the Opera on the BBC website


Antonio Pappano
Flavia Rittner
Flavia Rittner
Executive Producer
Sue Judd
Executive Producer
Peter Maniura


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