A 19th-Century Opera Making A 21st-Century Comeback

After a poor performance by a sick tenor, a 19th-century opera based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet languished in an Italian archive for over 130 years. But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, thanks to the curiosity and perseverance of a contemporary conductor, the work has new life.
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On this month’s Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday May 7th, 5-6pm, we continue our recent survey of the earlier American composers with a visit with George Whitefield Chadwick. It’s a revisit, too; on four previous occasions—from last month’s show all the way back to our third program in 2002—Chadwick has been turning up on Discoveries broadcasts.

What's the latest at WRTI? Kevin Gordon is now your new companion during the Afternoon Drive show, every weekday from 2 to 6 pm. Tune in and get to know Kevin! We're very excited to welcome him to our staff.

The late Eartha Kitt’s strength, vulnerability, and sensuality inspired singer/songwriter René Marie’s 2014 Grammy-nominated album, I Wanna be Evil, With Love to Eartha Kitt.  Marie knows firsthand the risks of setting a new course in life.  When she was in her 40s, she quit her day job at a bank to devote herself to singing and composing fulltime. It was a decision that was not without repercussions. And about a year later, her marriage ended.

Fort Worth Opera director Darren K. Woods was looking for a Fort Worth story to mark the company's 70th anniversary. Someone mentioned that they thought President Kennedy spent his last night in the city.

"And I went, 'Everybody would know that if that happened,'" he says. "So we Googled it and boy: There it was."

For a musician, the words “sanctuary,” “retreat,” and “haven” suggest attractive possibilities for creative expression. The Jazz Residency Program at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts isn’t based on the isolation these places evoke, but it does provide an environment conducive to a creative stream. The program is aimed at local jazz artists who can write music.

There are masterpieces of the studio, and certainly Sarah Vaughan left plenty of those behind. But the really crushing exhibitions from jazz musicians of her caliber come nightly, in clubs and concert halls, tossed off so repeatedly and seemingly casually that any given tune in any given set reeks of talent. Throw a dart at any one moment and there's probably something there.

Exploring Passover's Musical History

Apr 29, 2016

This week, Passover is being celebrated by millions of the Jewish faith. And while the Christian holiday of Easter has inspired Bach's Saint Matthew Passion and many other beloved classical works, Passover claims no famous pieces in the concert repertoire. WRTI's Debra Lew Harder explores why.

Barry Lively

The Choral Arts Philadelphia concert series, Bach@7, has a new modern name on its May 4th concert program: Andrew Lipke — a singer/guitarist better known at local pop music clubs — in his new oratorio titled The Plague. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports how contagious it might be. 

Jazz great Billie Holiday, who died at age 44 in 1959, was posthumously inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame on October 26th.  Lady Day would have turned 100 on April 7, 2015

One hundred years ago, a musician was born who took the world by storm, both with his violin and with his warmhearted humanity. Yehudi Menuhin was born April 22, 1916, in the Bronx to Russian immigrants. He began his career as an astounding child prodigy in velvet knee pants. But two men who knew him well — documentary filmmaker Bruno Monsaingeon and violinist Daniel Hope — maintain that as Menuhin grew older, he turned out to be far more than just another virtuoso.

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After a poor performance by a sick tenor, a 19th-century opera based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet languished in an Italian archive for over 130 years. But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, thanks to the curiosity and perseverance of a contemporary conductor, the work has new life. 


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, May 8th at 1 PM on WRTI, Helene Grimaud performs Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 with The Philadelphia Orchestra. 

The late Eartha Kitt’s strength, vulnerability, and sensuality inspired singer/songwriter René Marie’s 2014 Grammy-nominated album, I Wanna be Evil, With Love to Eartha Kitt.  Marie knows firsthand the risks of setting a new course in life.  When she was in her 40s, she quit her day job at a bank to devote herself to singing and composing fulltime. It was a decision that was not without repercussions. And about a year later, her marriage ended.

For a musician, the words “sanctuary,” “retreat,” and “haven” suggest attractive possibilities for creative expression. The Jazz Residency Program at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts isn’t based on the isolation these places evoke, but it does provide an environment conducive to a creative stream. The program is aimed at local jazz artists who can write music.

Exploring Passover's Musical History

Apr 29, 2016

This week, Passover is being celebrated by millions of the Jewish faith. And while the Christian holiday of Easter has inspired Bach's Saint Matthew Passion and many other beloved classical works, Passover claims no famous pieces in the concert repertoire. WRTI's Debra Lew Harder explores why.

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