Opera Stories provides a perfect introduction to the drama, characters and spectacle of opera. Each of these five programmes tells the story of a single opera, bringing the drama and emotion of the plot vividly to life. Charlton Heston narrates each programme from, as closely as possible, the original location stipulated by the composer, giving great insight into the featured productions from La Scala, Milan, and Arena di Verona.
Arena di Verona productions of:
Aida (Verdi) with Maria Chiara, Fiorenza Cossotto and Nicola Martinucci
The marvellous blend of human emotion and grand spectacle are portrayed from the majestic pyramids of Egypt where Aida is torn between duty to country and her love for Radames.
Otello (Verdi) with Kiri Te Kanawa, Vladimir Atlantov and Piero Cappuccilli
The background to Shakespeare’s story is told from Venice, then from castle battlements and Desdemona’s bedchamber, where Otello, consumed by jealousy, destroys his wife. (Filmed in Morocco)
Il Trovatore (Verdi) with Rosalind Plowright, Franco Bonisolli and Giorgio Zancanaro
This plot involves witchcraft, deceit and passion, moving swiftly from mountainous gypsy camps to spectacular palaces, in which Heston recreates 15th-century Spain.
Tosca (Puccini) with Eva Marton, Ingvar Wixell and Giacomo Aragall
Heston takes us to Rome to explain the political and religious turmoil in which the opera is set, and to the battlements of the Castel Sant Angelo where Tosca dramatically takes her own life.
La Scala, Milan production of:
Ernani (Verdi) with Placido Domingo, Mirella Freni, Renato Bruson and Nicolai Ghiaurov
This 16th-century tale of romantic jealousy, deceit, inner conflict and conspiracy to murder is told from an impressive Spanish castle and the sweeping plains of Aragon.