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, 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: Operas from the BBC and the European Broadcasting Union

June 23:  Lessons in Love and Violence / G. Benjamin / Royal Opera

June 30: Macbeth / Verdi / Royal Opera

July 7: The Return of Ulysses / Monteverdi / Royal Opera & Roundhouse

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Ways to Connect

Grab your tissues and join us to hear one of Giacomo Puccini’s most beloved operas! Filled with beautiful arias, La Boheme is one of the composer’s most frequently performed and recorded operas. The performance we’ll hear is considered by many the finest recording of the work ever made—the 1956 La Boheme conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham.

The Philadelphia region is rich with music schools training the next generation of artists. South-African bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana, a 2014 graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts, and a 2013 winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, stands out and already has a busy international performance schedule.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin is now years into his series of Mozart opera recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, the latest being The Marriage of Figaro. But with so many recordings already on the market, The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns asks what place can this one claim.



“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!

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