The Making of Bel Canto: From Page to Stage

(Rochester, NY) – Immediately following The Lyric Opera of Chicago’s presentation of Bel Canto, airing Saturday, May 21 at 1 p.m. on Classical 91.5, WXXI presents The Making of Bel Canto: From Page to Stage, airing at 4:30 p.m. The hour-long special traces the creation of composer Jimmy López’s opera Bel Canto. The opera is based on a novel, adapted from actual events. The Making of Bel Canto: From Page to Stage, hosted by Bill McLaughlin, examines the unique challenges and opportunities that come with each adaptation. Listeners will meet all the principals through interviews with Renée Fleming, Jimmy López, Nilo Cruz, conductor Sir Andrew Davis, director Kevin Newbury, and others. The program features music from the premiere performances, as well as examples of the opera in development and other works by López.

More about the story of Bel Canto…..On the night of December 17, 1996, the residence of the Japanese Ambassador in Lima, Peru was seized by members of the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, an incident which seems even more terrifying today than it was in the last century. Some hostages were released over time, but the residence was occupied for over four months before the siege was ended in a government raid. In her novel Bel Canto, Pen/Faulkner Award winner Ann Patchett re-imagines these events, focusing not on the terror but on the personalities and relationships that develop between captors and captives.

With the character of Roxanne Coss, the opera world’s most revered soprano, Patchett introduces one significant dramatic element to her story. Ms. Coss had been hired to perform as a gift to the evening’s guest of honor, and her beautiful singing mesmerizes not only the invited guests but also the terrorists crouched in hiding. Taking cues from magical-realist themes, the opera shows the power of music to bridge gaps between language, culture, class, and ideology; the power of music to be the catalyst that allows relationships and bonds to form where even simple communication is otherwise difficult.



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WXXI Media Contact:

Kristin Tutino

Creative Services Department



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