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Opera Philadelphia’s latest new opera Breaking the Waves turned into one of the company’s big successes. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns considers how this story of a Scottish woman whose marital devotion takes her to a sordid end could be something to sing about.

This week, a new opera based on the popular but controversial Lars von Trier film, Breaking the Waves, opened in Philadelphia. With its potent combination of sex, religion and transgression, the subject matter seems ripe for operatic treatment.

Mat Hennek / DG

Unlocking the secrets in music is a joyful enterprise for pianist Helene Grimaud. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Grimaud’s approach to music and life. On Sunday, October 2nd at 1 PM on WRTI, Helene Grimaud performs Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 with The Philadelphia Orchestra.


This week’s Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert re-broadcast brings us a performance from early March, which saw the return to Philadelphia of pianist Hélène Grimaud, who performs a concerto close to her heart, the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2

Which recording of the famous aria "Quando m'en vo" also known as "Musetta's Waltz" is your favorite? Musetta sings the aria in the second act of Puccini's La Boheme. Please let us know in the comments section below!

Two Englishmen, Guy Wood and Robert Mellin, slipped it into the Great American Songbook just before it closed, just as rock rolled over sophistication. It begins from below, a slowly twisting Roman candle of a tune, and explodes in the top range of the singer, as the eyes of onlookers reflect the glory of what songs once were.

Many jazz pianists play tunes from the Great American Songbook, that beloved canon of standards from the early 20th century. But pianist Edward Simon has chosen to focus on another great collection of American standards for his newest album, Latin American Songbook.

Growing up in Venezuela, near the northern edge of South America, was an advantage for Simon. His early listening encompassed music from the north — Cuba and Puerto Rico — and also extended southward to the music of Chile, Brazil and Argentina.

Credit: Vahan Stepanyan

Michael Tilson Thomas is on the podium for this Sunday’s Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert re-broadcast from 1 to 3 pm on WRTI.

Born in North Carolina in 1926, saxophone player and composer John Coltrane spent over a decade in Philadelphia and then moved to New York. WRTI's Susan Lewis considers the impact of Coltrane, who expanded the boundaries of jazz with a wide range of styles.

While jazz giant John Coltrane was born and raised in North Carolina, and died in New York, he spent 15 years in Philadelphia. WRTI’s Susan Lewis looks at the role the city played in the career of this master sax player and composer, who would have turned 90 this month.

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The Great Migration

Bob Perkins hosts this series about the "giant steps" African Americans took from the South leading to changes in jazz.

Wednesdays from 12 to 3 pm

WRTI Arts Desk

Opera Philadelphia’s latest new opera Breaking the Waves turned into one of the company’s big successes. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns considers how this story of a Scottish woman whose marital devotion takes her to a sordid end could be something to sing about.

Mat Hennek / DG

Unlocking the secrets in music is a joyful enterprise for pianist Helene Grimaud. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on Grimaud’s approach to music and life. On Sunday, October 2nd at 1 PM on WRTI, Helene Grimaud performs Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 with The Philadelphia Orchestra.


Two Englishmen, Guy Wood and Robert Mellin, slipped it into the Great American Songbook just before it closed, just as rock rolled over sophistication. It begins from below, a slowly twisting Roman candle of a tune, and explodes in the top range of the singer, as the eyes of onlookers reflect the glory of what songs once were.

Born in North Carolina in 1926, saxophone player and composer John Coltrane spent over a decade in Philadelphia and then moved to New York. WRTI's Susan Lewis considers the impact of Coltrane, who expanded the boundaries of jazz with a wide range of styles.

While jazz giant John Coltrane was born and raised in North Carolina, and died in New York, he spent 15 years in Philadelphia. WRTI’s Susan Lewis looks at the role the city played in the career of this master sax player and composer, who would have turned 90 this month.

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