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South Carolina Public Radio brings you coverage of Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, SC, May 25 through June 10, with reports throughout the day on the artists, events, and organizers of both Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto.Listen to Performance Today and Sonatas and Soundscapes each week day for previews of upcoming performances and guest interviews.

U.S. Premiere of Donzietti Opera at Spoleto Sets 19th Century Drama in Facist Italy

Amanda Woodbury and Valdis Jansons in the US premiere of Donizetti's Pia de' Tolomei.
William Struhs
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Amanda Woodbury and Valdis Jansons in the US premiere of Donizetti's Pia de' Tolomei.
Lidiya Yankovskay
Credit The Dallas Opera
Lidiya Yankovskay

Lidiya Yankovskaya is the music director of Chicago's Opera Lyric Theater. At Spoleto Festival USA she is  conducting the U.S. premiere and Spoleto production of Donizetti's Pia de Tolomei. She talks with Jeanette Guinn about the opera, its production, and about learning her craft, as well as the joy she finds in opera.

In this production an episode from Dante’s Purgatorio is recast in pre-World War II Tuscany. This 19th-century opera by Donizetti—whose Lucia di Lammermoor and Maria Stuarda so resonantly portray women in turbulent circumstances—the title character suffers dire consequences due to her husband’s jealousy. A collection of fine Italian paintings pepper breathtaking sets and sharp costumes that evoke 1930s Europe, the visual complement to lush arias and orchestral writing performed by the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra. This opera's high drama, devastating plot, and enveloping score tick all the boxes for lovers of tragic opera.