24 Feb-7 March 2004. Conducted by Stefan Anton Reck, directed by Mario Monicelli, with Natale De Carolis, Carmela Remigio, Laura Cherici, Simone Alberghini.

During the second half of March there will be three voice concerts at the Accademia Nazionale di S. Cecilia in Rome. The first is Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner (16, 19, 22 March). This opera is one of the musical highlights of all times: an idealised representation of romantic love, in which love and death are inseparably linked. But it is also a sort of public confession by Wagner, who put a great deal of his personal feelings from his stormy affair with Mathilde Wesendonk into the composition. The opera will be performed in concert form and conducted by Myung-Whun Chung. The title roles will be sung by Violetta Urmana (Isolde) and Stig Andersen (Tristan). Urmana has worked often with Riccardo Muti, and this performance shows how she has now passed from mezzosoprano to soprano parts.

The next concert is dedicated entirely to the music of Richard Strauss (27, 29, 30 March). Performances will include not only "Metamorphosen" and the dance of the seven veils from Salome, but also the "Vier Letzte Lieder". Strauss never heard these lieder performed, as they were found amongst his papers after his death. The proper order in which they should be performed is hotly contended, since Strauss left no instructions on the matter. It remains to be seen which order will be used in this performance, with Pinchas Steinber conductor, and Christine Brewer soprano.

The final concert in March goes from the serenity of Strauss to the pessimism of Franz Schubert, in a performance of Die Winterreise, a cycle of lieder set to poetry by Wilhelm Mller (31 March). A man, rejected by the woman he loves, flees through a winter landscape symbolic of the death of memory and hope. Baritone Thomas Hampson will be accompanied on the piano by Wolfram Rieger. Hamson is well known and an active performer abroad, but in Italy he is known mainly for his recordings. Paolo Di Nicola

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Address Teatro Regio, tel. 0118815241.

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Le nozze di Figaro by Mozart.

Teatro Regio, tel. 0118815241.