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 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


Saturday, October 29, 1 to 4 pm
Gioachino Rossini: The Thieving Magpie (in Italian)

Ninetta: Rachele Gilmore
Gottardo: Musa Ngqungwana
Fernando Villabella: Dale Travis
Giannetto: Michele Angelini
Pippo: Allegra De Vita
Isacco/Antonio: Brad Raymond
Lucia: Leah Hawkins
Fabrizio Vingradito: Calvin Griffin
The Magpie: Meg Gillentine


Contribute here to support opera on WRTI throughout the year!

Ways to Connect

The Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) is making a rare appearance at the Kimmel Center on January 26th to perform an opera that few have ever heard live - L'amore dei tre re - (The Love of the Three Kings.) The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns found out about the opera, and why AVA has been longing to perform it. 

Before Richard Strauss, before Richard Wagner, more than Hansel and Gretel, and even more than Mozart, the most German opera is, and always will be, Der Freischütz by Carl Maria von Weber.

Željko Lučić reprises his acclaimed performance of the title role in this electrifying production of Giuseppe Verdi's RIGOLETTO, set in 1960 in a Las Vegas casino. Piotr Beczala sings the licentious Duke and Nadine Sierra, in her Met debut, is Gilda, Rigoletto’s innocent daughter. Roberto Abbado conducts Verdi’s timeless tragedy. Nancy Fabiola Herrera sings Maddalena, and Dmitry Ivaschenko sings Sparafucile. Saturday, December 12, 1 pm on WRTI.

What's the longest-running continuous classical radio series in American broadcast history? The Metropolitan Opera's Saturday matinee broadcasts, launched in 1931! The 85th season of live Saturday broadcasts begins on December 5th with Puccini's LA BOHEME, followed by Verdi's RIGOLETTO on December 12th.

Lanz Ozier

Get ready to hear something very special! Originally premiered in 1865 in Genoa, and then performed again in 1871 in Milan, Franco Faccio’s Amleto (Hamlet) was thought lost for over 135 years. Opera Southwest Artistic Director Anthony Barrese spent nearly a decade in libraries and the Ricordi archives recovering the work from a microfilm of the composer's autograph. What resulted was The Amleto Project.

Does everything happen for the best? Not according to Voltaire’s satirical novella, which offers a dizzying display of human depravity, with a couple of natural disasters thrown in for good measure. Funny, fast-moving and philosophical, Candide includes such classic tunes as “The Best of All Possible Worlds,” “Glitter and Be Gay” and “Make Our Garden Grow.”

When the opera Appomattox premiered in 2007, it put on stage a piece of history that was more than 140 years old.

But creators Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton recently decided the story wasn't over.

When the Washington National Opera wanted to stage the opera, Glass said it needed a rewrite — to reflect what's happened in the U.S. since the premiere.

"In the last seven or eight years there have been profound and really horrific changes in the way this country understands itself," Glass says.

Join us to hear the Academy of Vocal Arts' current production of Mozart’s sublime tragic comedy Don Giovanni. Widely regarded as the first Grand Opera ever performed in Philadelphia, the opera debuted at The Chestnut Street Theater in 1818. This will be AVA’s seventh production of the opera since its AVA debut in 1986.

Critics and opera lovers alike think that this is the TOSCA to own. It's the Metropolitan Opera broadcast from April 7, 1962, and we're bringing it to you this Saturday, November 7 from 1 to 4 pm during WRTI's Annual Opera Day celebration. Check out Opera Day details here!

The all-star cast features Leontyne Price in the title role, in an electrifying performance of one of Puccini's most beloved operas. Kurt Adler conducts.

Philadelphia has a new semi-resident choral group: Seraphic Fire, the Florida-based ensemble that is now expanding its seasons to New York and Washington DC as well. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports on this rare export from the Sunshine State.