Opera on WRTI

Saturday, 1 to 5 pm

Join us every Saturday throughout the year for opera broadcasts from some of the most well-known and beloved opera companies in America. The list includes live broadcasts of The Metropolitan Opera's entire Saturday Matinee season, and recorded performances—distributed by WFMT in Chicago—from recent seasons of Lyric Opera of Chicago, LA Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and the San Francisco Opera. You'll also hear recorded opera broadcasts of the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) on selected Sundays, and some other surprises throughout the year!

Coming up...


Saturday, October 22, 1 to 3:15 pm
Leoš Janáček: Jenůfa

Jenůfa: Malin Byström
Kostelnička: Karita Mattila
Laca Klemeň: William Burden
Steva Buryja: Scott Quinn

Synopsis and more!


Saturday, October 29, 1 to 3:30 pm
Stephen Sondheim: Sweeney Todd
Libretto: Hugh Wheeler

Sweeney Todd: Greer Grimsley
Mrs. Lovett: Luretta Bybee
Anthony Hope: Harry Greenleaf
Johanna: Emily Pogorelc
Tobias Ragg: Nicholas Nestorak
Judge Turpin: Peter Volpe
Beggar Woman: Patricia Schuman
Adolfo Pirelli: Christopher Bozeka
Beadle Bamford: Bille Bruley

Contribute here to support opera on WRTI throughout the year!

Ways to Connect

“Opera’s where my heart is,” said Rene Orth this January, and in June, Opera Philadelphia announced her appointment as its new Composer in Residence. She will be the sixth composer to hold that position and was chosen from a field of applicants from across the country.

In 1970, a young business school grad — and failed opera singer — named David Gockley landed a job as business manager of the Houston Grand Opera. After two years, at age 27, he moved up to general director.

Over the next 30 years, Gockley transformed the company into a hothouse for new and revived American opera. During his tenure in Houston, Gockley presented 35 world premieres, including John Adams' Nixon in China, Stewart Wallace's Harvey Milk, Leonard Bernstein's A Quiet Place, Mark Adamo's Little Women and three operas by Carlisle Floyd.

Shalimar the Clown is Salman Rushdie's eighth novel. Published in 2005, it tells the story of a young man who seeks revenge after he's jilted by the love of his life. There's intrigue, violence, and conflict between tradition and modern society — the sort of stuff that makes for grand opera.

Now, Shalimar the Clown is just that. Adapted by composer Jack Perla and Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Rajiv Joseph, the opera premieres tonight at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Rushdie says the novel sprang from one tragic image.

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. Anthony Barrese conducts Opera Delaware’s production of Hamlet on WRTI, Saturday, June 11th at 1 pm. Tune in!

It's not quite right to say the news came as a shock when the Metropolitan Opera announced Thursday that Yannick Nézet-Séguin would become the house's new music director, beginning in the 2020-21 season. He follows in the footsteps of James Levine, who said in April that he was stepping down after leading the Met for four decades.

After considerable speculation, the Metropolitan Opera announced today that Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will become its next music director, replacing longtime director James Levine. The Philadelphia Orchestra simultaneously announced that Nézet-Séguin has extended his tenure with the orchestra to 10 years, through the 2025-2026 season. Because of Nézet-Séguin’s previous commitments, the Met appointment will not be fully phased in until the Met’s 2020-2021 season.

We're kicking off the Lyric Opera of Chicago's nine-week broadcast season on Saturday, May 14th from 1 to 5 pm with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera buffa The Marriage of Figaro, composed in 1786. Join us as the resourceful Figaro gets ready to marry his lovely Susanna – and endeavors to get his fiancée to the altar with her virtue still intact!

The Shining was Stephen King's first hardback bestseller. Stanley Kubrick's film version was listed by no less than Martin Scorcese as one of the scariest horror films ever made. Now, the story is an opera — and its creators want it to be even more terrifying than the book or the movie.

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."

Join us on Saturday afternoon after the The Metropolitan Opera broadcast of Richard Strauss' ELEKTRA (at approximately 3 pm) to hear the mega-talented resident artists of the Academy of Vocal Arts sing Puccini! You'll hear two of the one-act operas from Il Trittico - GIANNI SCHICCHI AND IL TABARRO (the cloak).