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Thursday - Rob Cowan with Kasper Holten

With Rob Cowan. Including Musical challenge; Music in Time: Dow Partbooks; Artist of the Week: tenor Franco Corelli, featured performing music by Stefano Donaudy and Agustin Lara.

Rob sets the tone and mood of the day's programme with a range of music to intrigue, surprise and entertain.  

Take part in today's musical challenge: can you name the television show or film that featured this piece of classical music? 

Rob's guest this week is Kasper Holten, the departing Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Kasper's passion for opera began aged nine after hearing Bizet's Carmen and he went on to train with directors such as Harry Kupfer, John Cox and David Pountney. Aged 27 he was appointed Artistic Director of Royal Danish Opera, where he directed productions of Weber's Der Freischütz, Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre and Wagner's Ring Cycle; he held the position for 11 years. In 2011 he became the youngest ever Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where he has since directed Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and Szymanowski's Król Roger as well as overseeing successes such as George Benjamin's Written on Skin. As well as discussing his work as a director and his life, Kasper shares some of his favourite classical music.

Music in Time: Renaissance
Rob's in 16th-century Oxford exploring music preserved in the Dow Partbooks, some of the most important surviving music manuscripts from Elizabethan England, and a major source of music by William Byrd.

Double Take
Rob explores the nature of performance by highlighting the differences in style between two interpretations of Chopin's Grande valse brillante in E flat major, Op.18 - one by Arthur Rubinstein and one by György Cziffra.

Artist of the Week: Franco Corelli
Rob's Artist of the Week is the tenor Franco Corelli, one of the most famous and feted tenors of the 20th century. Growing up in Italy, Corelli was set to be a naval engineer like his father, but when a musical friend heard him sing, he was encouraged to attend a conservatoire. It wasn't completely plain sailing for Corelli, but he was determined, and even taught himself by listening to recordings of Enrico Caruso and Beniamino Gigli. He made his La Scala debut alongside Maria Callas and enjoyed a successful international career thereafter; he made over 250 appearances at New York's Metropolitan Opera alone. Corelli's repertoire included most of the major tenor roles in operas by composers such as Verdi, Puccini, Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Giordano, and Bizet - we'll hear Corelli in well-loved arias from Aida, Tosca, Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, Andrea Chénier and Carmen during the week, as well as popular arias such as Granada, and excerpts from Verdi's Requiem and Rossini's Petite messe solennelle.

Stefano Donaudy
Vaghissima sembianza
Franco Corelli (tenor)
Orchestra conducted by Rafaele Mingardo

Agustin Lara
Franco Corelli (tenor)
Orchestra conducted by Rafaele Mingardo.

3 hours

Music Played

  • Léo Delibes

    Coppelia Suite

    Orchestra: The Philadelphia Orchestra. Conductor: Eugene Ormandy.
    • SONY.
  • Massimiliano Neri

    Sonata Sesta a 5

    Ensemble: Caecilia-Concert.
  • Zoltán Kodály

    Intermezzo for string trio

    Ensemble: Dante Quartet.
  • Franz Schubert

    Tantum ergo, D962

    Singer: Barbara Bonney. Singer: Brigitte Poschner. Singer: Dalia Schaechter. Singer: Margareta Hintermeier. Singer: Jorge Antonio Pita. Singer: Andreas Schmidt. Orchestra: Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Conductor: Claudio Abbado.
    • DG.
  • Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber

    The Rosary Sonatas: The Agony in the Garden

    Performer: Andrew Manze. Performer: Richard Egarr.
  • Giuseppe Verdi

    La Forza del destino: Overture

    Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra. Conductor: Giuseppe Sinopoli.
    • DG.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Mazurka in C minor, Op.30 No.1

    Performer: Janina Fialkowska.
    • ATMA.
  • Kasper Holten's first Choice

    • Alban Berg

      Violin Concerto: Andante - Allegretto

      Performer: Isabelle Faust. Orchestra: Orchestra Mozart. Conductor: Claudio Abbado.
  • Kasper Holten's second Choice

    • George Benjamin

      Written on Skin: Scene 15

      Singer: Bejun Mehta. Orchestra: Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Conductor: George Benjamin.
      • NIMBUS.
  • Music in time: Renaissance

    • John Taverner

      Dum transisset Sabbatum I for 5 voices

      Choir: Alamire. Conductor: David Skinner.
      • OBSIDIAN.
  • Double take

    • Frédéric Chopin

      Grande valse brillante in E flat major, Op.18

      Performer: Arthur Rubinstein.
      • RCA.
    • Frédéric Chopin

      Grande valse brillante in E flat major, Op 18

      Performer: Georges Cziffra.
      • MEDICI ARTS.
  • Otto Nicolai

    The Merry Wives of Windsor

    Conductor: Christian Thielemann. Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic.
  • Artist of the week: Franco Corelli

    • Stefano Donaudy

      Vaghissima sembianza [Very charming image]

      Singer: Franco Corelli. Orchestra: Orchestra. Conductor: Rafaele Mingardo.
      • WARNER.
    • Agustín Lara


      Singer: Franco Corelli. Orchestra: Orchestra. Conductor: Rafaele Mingardo.
      • WARNER.
    • Giacomo Puccini

      Turandot: "Nessun Dorma"

      Singer: Franco Corelli. Choir: Metropolitan Opera Chorus. Orchestra: Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Conductor: Zubin Mehta.
  • Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka

    Fragments from the incidental music for Prince Kholmsky

    Orchestra: State Academic Symphony Orchestra of The Russian Federation. Conductor: Evgeny Fyodorovich Svetlanov.
  • Robert Schumann

    Dichterliebe, Op.48: songs 1-7

    Performer: Alfred Cortot.
  • Girolamo Nicolo Laurenti

    Violin Concerto in E minor, Lau 6

    Performer: Julia Schröder. Orchestra: Kammerorchester Basel.
  • Nikolai Girshevich Kapustin

    24 Preludes in Jazz Style Op.53: No.17

    Performer: Steven Osborne.

Musical Challenge: Heard on Screen

The film was Jean de Florette (1986) which uses music from Verdi's La Forza del destino


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Enter the Essential Classics Proms Competition 2019!

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