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In a strange coincidence that mirrors the implausibility of many opera plots, 2013 is shared as a birth year by two of the titans who define Grand Opera: Giuseppe Verdi (1813—1901) and Richard Wagner (1813–1883).
From the elephants and tombs of Aïda, to Shakespeare's outscale heroes, to the epic romances of Gilda and Violetta, Verdi's dramas are larger than life.
Best known among Wagner's operas are the four episodes of the Ring Cycle: a saga based on the misdeeds of the Norse gods, with vocal writing that requires almost superhuman powers of singers.
Since the 1800s, the works of these two men have been continuously in the repertoire of the world's opera houses—though in the case of Wagner, only the most ambitious opera companies dare to stage his largest work.
To kick off the celebration NEC piano majors perform works by and paraphrases of these two opera titans by Franz Liszt and Michael Finnissy.
Franz Liszt: La lugubre gondola II
Wagner-Liszt: Spinning Song from The Flying Dutchman
Verdi-Liszt: Rigoletto: paraphrase de concert
Verdi-Michael Finnissy: Fragment: “Cielo pietoso, rendila a questo core” from Simon Boccanegra (Act 2)
Verdi-Michael Finnissy: Fragment from La Traviata
Verdi-Liszt: Miserere du Trovatore
Wagner-Liszt: Isoldes Liebestod
Richard Wagner: Album Leaf for Frau Betty Schott
Richard Wagner: Arrival at the Black Swans’
Wagner-Liszt: Elsas Traum and Lohengrins Verweis
Verdi-Finnissy: “Ma pellegrina” from La Forza del Destino
Shaoai Ashley Zhang
Verdi-Finnissy: “O cieli azzuri” from Aida
Shaoai Ashley Zhang
Wagner-Liszt: The Solemn March to the Holy Grail from Parsifal
Wagner-Liszt: Tannhäuser Overture