February Highlights on WVIA-FM

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Il Trovatore

Saturday, February 3rd at 1pm

Sir David McVicar’s exhilarating production of Verdi’s thrilling depiction of life on the edge features Maria Agresta as the noble heroine, Leonora, Yonghoon Lee as the troubadour who loves her, Quinn Kelsey as his rival, and Anita Rachvelishvili as the Gypsy Azucena, whose bloodthirsty curse propels the story. Marco Armiliato conducts.

Verdi’s turbulent tragedy of four characters caught in a web of family ties, politics, and love is a mainstay of the operatic repertory. The score is as melodic as it is energetic, with infectious tunes that are not easily forgotten. The vigorous music accompanies a dark and disturbing tale that revels in many of the most extreme expressions of Romanticism, including violent shifts in tone, unlikely coincidences, and characters who are impelled by raw emotion rather than cool logic.


Deutsche Welle Festival Concert--Schwetzingen Festival


Sunday, February 4th at 2pm

This festival in southwestern Germany's Schwetzingen Palace cultivates the sound culture of the "Mannheim School," which was once so famous it drew Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart there. Here, one of Germany's fabulous radio symphony orchestras performs music from that exciting period leading to and including early classicism, giving vivid meaning to the concept of "Storm and Stress." Music of Haydn, Joh. Chr. Bach, C.P.E. Bach and both Wolfgang and Leopold Mozart will be heard.

Homegrown Music - Doerfel Family Bluegrass


Tuesday, February 6th at 9pm

Originally from Upstate New York, the Doerful Family toured and played together and were popular on the bluegrass festival circuit. At the time of this session ten years ago, members ranged from age 12 to 19. Since then, five of the siblings have gone electric as Fuel on Fire. We spotlight the band’s first-rate bluegrass with both original and traditional music. Encore from 2008.


L’Elisir d’Amore


Saturday, February 10th at 1pm

Pretty Yende debuts a new role at the Met with her first Adina opposite Matthew Polenzani, who enthralled Met audiences as Nemorino in 2013 with his ravishing “Una furtiva lagrima.” Bartlett Sher’s production is charming, with deft comedic timing, but also emotionally revealing. Domingo Hindoyan conducts.

L’Elisir d’Amore has been among the most consistently popular operatic comedies for almost two centuries. The story deftly combines comic archetypes with a degree of genuine character development rare in works of this type. Its ending is as much a foregone conclusion as it would be in a romantic comedy film today—the joy is in the journey, and Donizetti created one of his most instantly appealing scores for this ride.


Deutsche Welle Festival Concert


Sunday, February 11th at 2pm

Berlin Philharmonic in Baden Baden. Several years ago, Germany's most famous orchestra moved its Eastertime activities from Salzburg to Baden-Baden – and never looked back. As the era of Simon Rattle with the Berliners draws to a close, hear their sound alchemy with music from eastern Europe. Violinist Lisa Batiashvili is featured in music of Tchaikovsky and Dvořák’s Violin Concerto, and Sir Simon Rattle conducts Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra


Homegrown Music Jazz Concert - VIRGINIA MAYHEW and ESTEBAN CASTRO


Monday, February 12th at 8pm

WVIA’s monthly series of exclusive live radio concert-broadcasts features an evening of generation-spanning jazz.

Saxophonist and composer Virginia Mayhew has been leading her own ensembles for 25 years, and has performed in groups such diverse artists as Earl “Fatha” Hines and Frank Zappa. She also regularly appears with the Duke Ellington Legacy orchestra, led by Edward Kennedy Ellington II. Her debut recording as a leader was on Chiaroscuro Records in 1997. She will be joined in a duo with pianist Roberta Piket, a notable jazz artist in her own right, and who like Ms. Mayhew was a guest on the late Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz program. Ms. Piket’s most recent release was a tribute to McPartland.

In 2016, fifteen-year-old Esteban Castro was the First Prize winner in the Parmigiani Montreux (Switzerland) Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition during the summer of 2016, the youngest ever to participate in the festival competitions. He put in a very impressive performance at the 2017 Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts. Now we are pleased to welcome this up-and-coming jazz star to the Homegrown Music series. He will be performing a solo set.

As usual WVIA’s members and listeners are invited to be part of the studio audience in Sordoni Theater at the station’s Public Broadcasting Center headquarters. Reservations are free on a first-come-first-served basis. Reserve seats here. Note: start time 8:00 PM.


Homegrown Music - 56 Men


Tuesday, February 13th at 9pm 

A first-rate melodic rock quartet from the Philadelphia area, 56 Men (named after the number of people who signed the Declaration of Independence) traces their origins go back to the 1980s. They recently released an EP called Holy Hannah, and they perform some music from that and other original material in an encore of their 2016 session.




Saturday, February 17th at 12pm

Met Music Director Designate Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts Wagner’s transcendental score, in François Girard’s remarkable production, a mystical theatrical journey. Tenor Klaus Florian Vogt, renowned across Europe, returns to the Met following his appearances in the 2016–17 season as Florestan in Fidelio. Evelyn Herlitzius is Kundry, and Peter Mattei and René Pape bring back their highly praised interpretations of Amfortas and Gurnemanz, respectively.

Wagner’s final opera is a musical journey unlike any other. The composer preferred to call his mature works “music dramas” to distinguish them from “conventional” opera, but he set Parsifal even further apart by naming it a Bühnenweihfestspiel, a “festival play for the consecration of a stage”—the stage in question being that of the Bayreuth Festival House. The opera tells the tale of a young man who is destined to renew a brotherhood of knights charged with guarding the relics of Christ’s last days. The psychological, mythical, and mystical possibilities of such a story are obvious, and Wagner’s accomplishment results in an air of reverence that surrounds this piece.


Deutsche Welle Festival Concert--Opera Gala


Sunday, February 18th at 2pm

A program of vocal fireworks: favorite arias sung by rising stars on the scene. And all for a good cause: the German AIDS Foundation – one for which these artists give their all. Arias by Verdi, Bizet, Donizetti, Mozart, Puccini and more are featured.


Homegrown Music - Timothy Zieger


Tuesday, February 20th at 9pm

Northeastern Pennsylvania singer-songwriter Timothy Zieger makes his Homegrown Music debut with a collection of melodic original acoustic songs, performed with a quartet including his wife Abigail and family friends Seth and Sarah Mitchell.


La Bohème


Saturday, February 24th at 1pm

The world’s most popular opera returns in Franco Zeffirelli’s classic production, with a series of exciting casts. Angel Blue, Anita Hartig, and Sonya Yoncheva is the fragile Mimì, with Michael Fabiano as the poet Rodolfo. Northeastern PA native, Paul Plishka, makes a cameo appearance in the roles of  Benoit and Alcindoro. Marco Armiliato conducts.

La Bohème, the passionate, timeless, and indelible story of love among young artists in Paris, can stake its claim as the world’s most popular opera. It has a marvelous ability to make a powerful first impression and to reveal unsuspected treasures after dozens of hearings. At first glance, La Bohème is the definitive depiction of the joys and sorrows of love and loss; on closer inspection, it reveals the deep emotional significance hidden in the trivial things—a bonnet, an old overcoat, a chance meeting with a neighbor—that make up our everyday lives.


Deutsche Welle Festival Concert--Mariinsky Theater Orchestra


Sunday, February 25th at 2pm

In its current form, one of Russia's oldest orchestras is a credit to star maestro Valery Gergiev, who leads it at the Beethovenfest in Bonn. This one is a real sound treat. The program features Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, and also includes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 and the Prelude to Lohengrin by Wagner


Homegrown Music - Bella Ruse


Tuesday, February 27th at 9pm

This distinctive and often delightfully quirky husband/wife duo performs original material that sounds as if came out a time warp from early in the last century, with often amusing lyrics, and unconventional instrumentation such as a kazoo and a manual typewriter. Encore from 2012.

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