February Highlights on WVIA-FM
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Metropolitan Opera - Rigoletto
Saturday, February 4th, 1pm
This, among the most-famous of operas, is based on a controversial play by Victor Hugo which tells of an outsider—a hunchbacked jester—who struggles to balance the dueling elements of beauty and evil that exist in his life. Rigoletto contains a wealth of melody, including one that is among the world’s most famous: “La donna è mobile.” All the opera’s solos are rich with character insight and dramatic development. The famous Act III quartet, “Bella figlia dell’amore,” is an ingenious musical analysis of the diverging reactions of the four principals in the same moment.
Michael Mayer’s hit production of Rigoletto places the action in a neon-bedecked Las Vegas in 1960. Stephen Costello is the womanizing Duke, Olga Peretyatko is the innocent Gilda, and Željko Lučić reprises his heartbreaking take on the tragic title role. Pier Giorgio Morandi conducts.
Sunday Concert Hall - San Francisco Symphony
Sunday, February 5th, 2pm
Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet is featured in Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety”. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas also conducts the Symphony No. 4 in G by Gustav Mahler.
Homegrown Music Concert - Steve Brosky and Neil Nicastro
Monday, February 6th, 8pm
After an extended hiatus, the monthly live Homegrown Music concert broadcast series resumes with a pair of singer-songwriters, each performing in a trio setting.
Steve Brosky is a talented veteran singer-songwriter and rock performer from the Allentown area, where he has won numerous Lehigh Valley Music Awards. He has just released a new album called Still. He’ll be performing songs from that recording and others with a trio, including his long-time musical colleague, guitarist extraordinaire Jimmy Meyer.
Neil Nicastro is a long-time Scranton-area musician who has been a key part of several groups who have appeared on Homegrown Music over the past 20 years, including Dick Fawcett, The Dharma Bums and The Five Percent. This time, he’ll be performing his own songs in a rock trio setting.
The two-hour radio-exclusive concert will be broadcast live on WVIA-FM, and streamed on wvia.org from the station’s Sordoni Theater.. WVIA’s members and listeners may also attend. are available on a first-come-first served basis.
Homegrown Music - Harmonious Wail
Tuesday, February 7th, 9pm
Not exactly native Homegrown, this jazzy Wisconsin trio has made numerous appearances in Northeastern Pennsylvania where they have won many fans with their distinctive sound with mandolin, upright bass and cardboard box percussion. They do creative arrangements of jazz standards and originals in this encore from 2015.
Metropolitan Opera - Carmen
Saturday, February 11th, 1pm
Bizet’s masterpiece of the gypsy seductress who lives by her own rules has had an impact far beyond the opera house. The opera’s melodic sweep is as irresistible as the title character herself, a force of nature who has become a defining female cultural figure. Carmen was a scandal at its premiere but soon after became a triumphal success and has remained one of the most frequently staged operas in the world.
French mezzo-soprano Clémentine Margaine stars as Bizet’s immortal Gypsy heroine. Tenor Marcelo Álvarez is her hapless soldier Don José, and newcomer Maria Agresta—a sensation in her debut in La Bohème last season—is the devoted Micaëla, who fights to save him. Dan Ettinger is on the podium.
Sunday Concert Hall - The Stradivarius of Singers: A Tribute to Leontyne Price
Sunday, February 12th, 2pm
One of the most renowned and beloved singers of the 20th century, American soprano Leontyne Price rose to superstardom at a time when African-American artists were only just beginning to achieve major recognition in the operatic world. Price, who turned 90 on February 10th, is celebrated by Roger Pines, broadcast commentator for Lyric Opera of Chicago, in a tribute covering her life and career in depth. In addition to representative recorded excerpts, the program features comments and reminiscences from numerous renowned American artists, among them Renée Fleming, Sondra Radvanovsky, Denyce Graves, and Eric Owens. From the WFMT Radio Network.
WVIA Black History Month Special - Paul Freeman: Perchance to Dream
Sunday, February 12th, 3pm
Conductor Paul Freeman grew up in segregated Richmond, VA with 11 siblings. Through talent, determination and a refusal to accept that a black American could not succeed as an orchestral conductor, he established an international career that led to the podiums of more that 100 orchestras, and 200 recordings. As Music Director of the Czech National Symphony and co-founder of the Chicago Sinfonietta he introduced audiences to the music of little-known Czech composers and the many treasures of black composers. This program focuses on the latter as we celebrate the life and art of this important American conductor. Larry Vojtko Hosts.
Homegrown Music - Michi Egger
Tuesday, February 14th, 9pm
A blues guitar prodigy, Ms. Egger put in a remarkable appearance playing guitar with the Ann Kerstetter band at age 16. She has become a fine singer-songwriter in her own right. This session, from 2012, features the still-teenaged artists making her series debut with her own group, including her father Dave Egger on drums.
Metropolitan Opera - I Puritani
Saturday, February 18th, 1pm
Set in the English Civil War of Puritans (“Roundheads”) versus Royalists (“Cavaliers”), I Puritani is set against a background that was a universal idea and very familiar to Italians in Bellini’s time and, like many, bel canto operas explores with powerful results the relationship of civil strife and individual madness.
The art of bel canto will take center stage in Bellini’s lyrical jewel. The electrifying Diana Damrau is Elvira, gripped by madness and love; Javier Camarena, a sensation in his recent appearances in other bel canto works, takes on the role of her beloved and heroic Arturo; and Alexey Markov and Luca Pisaroni are the soldiers caught up in the English Civil War. Maurizio Benini conducts.
Sunday Concert Hall - WVIA Simply Grand Concert
Sunday, February 19th, 2pm
Cellist Andrew Rammon and pianist Naomi Niskala perform the Sonata No. 4 by Ludwig van Beethoven, the Sonata No. 1 of Johannes Brahms, and some of the Songs without Words by Felix Mendelssohn. Andrew is wrapping up his long tenure as Principal Cellist of the Williamsport Symphony. Naomi is an internationally-known concert artist. Both teach at Susquehanna University. Larry Vojtko hosts.
Homegrown Music - The Badlees
Tuesday, February 21st, 9pm
One of the most commercially successful and long-running bands from Northeastern PA, the Badlees have had a long association with Homegrown Music. This is an encore of a session from 25 years ago which showed their great songwriting and sound, including versions of some of their songs for which they became well-known.
Metropolitan Opera - Rusalka
Saturday, February 25th, 1pm
The only one of Dvořák’s operas to gain an international following (so far), Rusalka is in many ways a definitive example of late Romanticism.
It contains folklore, evocations of the natural and the supernatural worlds, and even a poignant interpretation of the idea of a love-death. The story has a strong national flavor as well as universal appeal, infused by the Romantic supernaturalism of Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué’s novella Undine and Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.
Kristine Opolais stars in the role that helped launch her international career, the mythical Rusalka, who sings the haunting “Song to the Moon.” Mary Zimmerman brings her wondrous theatrical imagination to Dvořák’s fairytale of love and longing, rejection and redemption. Brandon Jovanovich, Jamie Barton, Katarina Dalayman, and Eric Owens complete the all-star cast, and Mark Elder conducts.
WVIA Simply Grand Concert - Duo Montagnard
Sunday, February 26th, 2pm
Joseph Murphy, saxophone, Matthew Slotkin, guitar brought a varied program to the Sordoni Theater for Simply Grand Concert in September, 2016. Original works by regional composers were included in this program with a true Pennsylvania flavor. Mountain Songs by Robert Beaser, is a suite based on Appalachian folk tunes. Duo Montagnard also chose music by local and regional composers: Lisa Logrande, Hazelton, Girard Kratz originally from Wilkes-Barre, now in Philadelphia, Kirk O’Riordan, Easton, Dana Wilson, Ithaca NY, and Kevin Cope from Delaware. In addition these composers attended the concert and offered commentary on their work giving the audience a rare opportunity to better understand the creative process. Larry Vojtko hosts.
Homegrown Music - Heather Kropf
Tuesday, February 28th, 9pm
A fine pianist-singer-songwriter (and radio host) from Pittsburgh, Ms. Kropf released an album in 2015 called Chrysalis which was featured on WVIA’s Mixed Bag weekly album review. In one of her visits to Northeastern PA, Ms. Kropf put in a memorable session for Homegrown Music with some of her outstanding compositions and excellent, appealing vocals.