Opera on WRTI

Saturday, 1 to 5 pm

Saturday is always opera day at WRTI! We bring you top performances from some of the finest opera companies in the world, every week of the year.

You'll hear the full season from The Metropolitan Opera, and performances from the Academy of Vocal Arts, Lyric Opera of Chicago, LA Opera, San Francisco Opera, and more.

Coming up...

Saturday, October 10, 1 to 4 pm
San Francisco Opera
Gioacchino Rossini: CINDERELLA

Saturday, October 17, 1 to 3:30 pm
San Francisco Opera
Giacomo Puccini: LA BOHEME

Contribute here to support opera on WRTI throughout the year!

Ways To Connect

It’s an English opera composed in Hollywood by a Russian. Igor Stravinsky saw the paintings and engravings by the 18th-century William Hogarth, depicting the consequences of loose living and licentiousness, centered on the fictional Tom Rakewell.

The English W. H. Auden and the American Chester Kallman then created a libretto that introduced a new character, Nick Shadow—the Devil—who entices Tom with promises of happiness and money. Tom loses everything, and ends up, literally, in Bedlam, the insane asylum, with the faithful Anne Trulove by his side.

Join us for another broadcast in our series of operas from the Academy of Vocal Arts.  AVA Opera Theater is currently presenting Charles Gounod’s Faust, in a series of performances throughout the Delaware Valley. Additional performances are scheduled for Centennial Hall at the Haverford School, Haverford on May 5th, and Central Bucks East High School, Doylestown on May 9th. Listen on WRTI this Sunday, May 3, from 3 to 6 pm.


Eric Owens has come a long way from Philadelphia's Central High School. This once-fledging oboe player has evolved into a bass-baritone who has opera productions built around him. One is Opera Philadelphia's current Don Carlo, where he's singing the role of lonely, powerful King Philip, but took time to share trade secrets with The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns.

Metropolitan Opera Chorus Master Donald Palumbo knows voices, and how to instruct singers to protect them.

Palumbo says that all singers have to monitor their voices while rehearsing during the day. The goal, he says, is to insure singers are at their "freshest" and "most solid" for the evening performance.

Join us for The Metropolitan Opera's live broadcast of opera’s most enduring, tragic double bill. Marcelo Álvarez rises to the challenge of playing the dual tenor roles of Turiddu in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Canio in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. Eva-Maria Westbroek (Cav) and Patricia Racette (Pag) are the unlucky heroines, and George Gagnidze sings both Alfio and Tonio.

Ken Howard

Join us this Saturday for a rare revival of Dmitri Shostakovich’s searing drama Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, heard in an archived Met Opera performance from November. Shostakovich’s towering tragedy of adultery and murder stars the commanding dramatic soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek as the heroine who suffers the vicissitudes of her treachery. Brandon Jovanovich is her co-conspirator and lover, and James Conlon conducts. Saturday, April 18, 1 to 4:15 pm on WRTI.

Operagoers have a number of months to wait for the Jennifer Higdon/Gene Scheer opera, Cold Mountain, which premieres in Santa Fe in August, and then in February 2016 at Philadelphia's Academy of Music. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns caught a sneak preview at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, where singers and authors were interviewed and excerpts were performed.

"A fence is a very good thing."

Ken Howard

Join us on Saturday, April 11th for our weekly broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera - live from Lincoln Center. This week, it's Verdi's DON CARLO, with Yannick Nezet-Seguin on the podium.

Ferruccio Furlanetto first sang Philip with the Met in 2005, and then again in 2010 and 2013, and has portrayed the tormented monarch around the world. His other recent roles at the Met have included Silva in Verdi’s Ernani, and Jacopo Fiesco in Simon Boccanegra, which he will reprise at the Met next season.

Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center was filled with opera lovers - and some of the best-loved singers on the scene today - during BrAVA 2015, the Academy of Vocal Arts' 80th-anniversary celebration in late March. 

Christofer Macatsoris conducted the full AVA Opera Orchestra, in an evening of favorite arias and ensemble pieces featuring performances by AVA Alumni and resident artists.

WRTI brings you the magic of that evening on Sunday, April 12th 3 to 5 pm. Thor Eckert hosts. 

Marty Sohl

Join us for a live broadcast of Giussepe Verdi’s early opera Ernani. Met Music Director James Levine conducts his first company performances of the opera in more than 30 years, with Plácido Domingo as Carlo, King of Spain – a baritone part he has added to his vast repertoire this season.