Indulge in 'Aida'

Verdi’s evergreen favorite “Aida” returns to San Diego Opera this weekend in a production designed by fashion icon Zandra Rhodes.

Get a look behind the scenes as cast and crew prepare to mount the grandest of grand operas with UCSD-TV’s “Opera Spotlight,” premiering tonight (April 19) at 9pm. (The video will be available online April 22 at this link, where additional broadcast dates and times are also available.)

How about getting to know the production’s cast and creative team, including Ms. Rhodes? Just watch “Stars in the Salon,” featuring a lively panel discussion hosted by Nick Reveles.

Or perhaps you need a primer on the opera which many consider to be Verdi’s greatest work? If so, watch “OperaTalk! with Nick Reveles.”

Now how’s that for operatic indulgence?

Who's Behind That 'Murder in the Cathedral?'

This week, San Diego Opera is busy is preparing for a murder, set to take place Saturday night when their production of  Ildebrando Pizzetti’s “Murder in the Cathedral” takes the stage. Based upon the drama by American poet TS Eliot, the story revolves around the 1170 murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket by henchmen of King Henry II in Canterbury Cathedral.

In UCSD-TV’s presentation of “Stars in the Salon,” premiering tonight (Marchy 26) at 8pm and online now, host Nick Reveles joins the cast and artistic team behind the new San Diego Opera production to discuss the intricacies of this unjustly-negelected masterwork.

Then check out “OperaTalk!” where host Nick Reveles provides a guided historical tour of the work, including its basis in Eliot’s play, the development of musical themes, and Pizzetti’s melding of words and music for maximum dramatic effect.

Before you head to the theater to enjoy the show, make sure to tune in Friday, March 29 at 9pm for the premiere of UCSD-TV’s behind-the-scenes documentary, “Opera Spotlight.”

Want to catch up on San Diego Opera’s season so far? Check out our Opera video archive!

Samson and Delilah: The Production – and Passion – of a Grand Opera

Epic passion, massive sets, bravura arias, large choral numbers and the famous “Bacchanale” dance.

It’s all preparing to unfold this Saturday, February 16 when San Diego Opera’s production of Camille Saint-Saens’ grand opera, “Samson and Delilah,” takes the stage.

How does such a large-scale production come together? Find out tonight (Feb 15) at 9pm during UCSD-TV’s “Opera Spotlight,” which goes behind-the-scenes of the staging process, including rehearsals, interviews with the talent and creative team, and more. (The half-hour program will also be available online by Monday, Feb. 18.)

In the meantime, take a peek at rehearsals with this short production update, or settle in for a conversation with the stars and creative team about the opera’s history, the challenges of designing, staging and performing the work, and the inspirations which Camille Saint-Saens drew upon in composing his dramatic masterpiece on Stars in the Salon. Finally, dive into the story of the Philistine temptress who pits her wiles, and her sex, against the superhuman strength of the mighty Hebrew warrior on OperaTalk!

Let's Talk Murder in the Cathedral

The 1170 murder of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral by followers of King Henry II shook Christian Europe to its foundation, and set off reverberations still felt today. The nefarious deed also inspired two 20th Century works of art, the verse play by T.S. Eliot and Ildebrando Pizzetti’s opera, “Murder in the Cathedral.”

San Diego Opera is staging its production of Pizzetti’s work this Spring, so UCSD-TV and San Diego Opera’s Nick Reveles want to make sure you know what it’s all about. In this edition of “San Diego OperaTalk,” Reveles offers a guided tour of “Murder in the Cathedral,” including its basis in Eliot’s play, the development of musical themes, and Pizzetti’s melding of words and music for maximum dramatic effect.

Watch “San Diego OperaTalk!: Murder in the Cathedral” tonight (12/6) at 10pm on UCSD-TV, or online now. And make sure to tune in to UCSD-TV in January when we’re back with new episodes of “Opera Spotlight” and “Stars in the Salon,” which take you behind the scenes of San Diego Opera‘s 2013 season!

Daughter of the Regiment Gets the OperaTalk! Treatment

Though war doesn’t immediately come to mind as fertile ground for levity, there have been many stage and film comedies with a military setting: Mr. Roberts, Operation Petticoat, Dr. Strangelove, MASH, and Stripes, to name but a few.  This is definitely not the case in opera, where war is usually presented as a grim backdrop to drama and hilarity does not ensue.

Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment (La Fille du Régiment) is that rare and lively exception to this rule, a musical soufflé about a rambunctious tomboy who is adopted by a group of soldiers.  Set in the waning days of World War II in San Diego Opera’s production, it has everything you want in a comic opera – farcical plot, star-crossed young lovers, larger-than-life characters, scheming relatives, rousing numbers for the chorus, a plethora of vocal gymnastics (including the famous nine high Cs for the tenor) and, of course, a happy if improbable ending.

In this new edition of San Diego OperaTalk!, premiering tonight (Oct. 23) at 8pm (and online now), Nick Reveles explains it all to you in his inimitable style, including the opera’s origins and the historic role of women in the military.  Who knew war could be so much fun?

Watch Daughter of the Regiment – San Diego OperaTalk! with Nick Reveles tonight at 8pm or online now.