The world of opera is ever expanding and constantly pulling in new listeners. But some folks out there just can get past the sound of the classically trained voice. If you’re one of these people, then the BBC Concert Orchestra is your new best friend. On “Opera without Words” conductor Leonard Slatkin leads them in orchestral versions of classics from Leoncavallo, Verdi, Mozart and more.
Many of the great opera composers weren’t just creating music that put the voice on a pedestal. To these composers, the drama was as tightly associated with the orchestra as it was with the prima donna. One of the great masters of this lush instrumental illustration was the great Giacomo Puccini. Here we hear the masterpiece “Nessun dorma” from “Turandot.”
Our quick pick this week is a more than an afterthought. Mark O’Connor’s “variations on Appalachia Waltz”, which he titles “Americana Symphony” is a new American standard in the tradition of Aaron Copland. Marin Alsop directs the Baltimore Symphony in this world premiere recording which also includes O’Connor’s sixth concerto, “Old Brass.”