FEATURED ARTIST: Sun Choi FEATURED ARTIST: Sun Choi FEATURED ARTIST: Sun Choi FEATURED ARTIST: Sun Choi FEATURED ARTIST: Sun Choi

August 23, 2017

Posted on February 16, 2017

The art of bel canto will take center stage in Bellini’s lyrical jewel. The electrifying Diana Damrau is Elvira, gripped by madness and love; Javier Camarena, a sensation in his recent appearances in other bel canto works, takes on the role of her beloved and heroic Arturo; and Alexey Markov and Luca Pisaroni are the soldiers caught up in the English Civil War. Maurizio Benini conducts. I Puritani was the final work from Vincenzo Bellini, the great Sicilian exponent of the bel canto style of opera. It was written specifically for the talents of four of the best singers of its day, and the opera’s success depends almost entirely on the vocal abilities (and artistic sensibilities) of the performers. In our time, Maria Callas was catapulted to international stardom by a series of performances in I Puritani in 1949 at Venice’s La Fenice. The opera is set in the English Civil War of Puritans (“Roundheads”) versus Royalists (“Cavaliers”). While taking many liberties with history, it is set against a background that was a universal idea and very familiar to Italians in Bellini’s time. The bel canto composers explored with powerful results the relationship of civil strife and individual madness. The program airs at 10 am Saturday February 18