January Highlights on WVIA-FM

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Sunday Concert Hall - Beethoven's 9th

Sunday, January 1st, 2pm

What better way to welcome 2017 than with a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Sir Georg Solti conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. The soloists are: Pilar Lorengar, Yvonne Minton, Stuart Burrows and Martti Talvela. Also featured, Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks.


Homegrown Music - Abby Ahmad


Tuesday, January 3rd, 9pm

Singer-songwriter Abby Ahmad is a Wilkes-Barre native who has had a musical career in the New York area as a performer and instructor. A dynamic vocalist, she has released two well-received albums under her own name including Curriculum. Lately, she has been turning toward a more bluesy influence in her band Fife and Drom, which also made an appearance on Homegrown Music. This an encore of an eclectic 2011 session with her band, most of whom would go on to be members of Fife and Drom. 


Metropolitan Opera - Nabucco


Saturday, January 7th, 1pm

The legendary Plácido Domingo brings another new baritone role to the Met under the baton of his longtime collaborator James Levine. Liudmyla Monastyrska is Abigaille, the warrior woman determined to rule empires, and Jamie Barton is the heroic Fenena. Dmitri Belosselskiy is the stentorian voice of the oppressed Hebrew people.

The success of Verdi’s third opera, a stirring drama about the fall of ancient Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar (Nabucco), catapulted the 28-year-old composer to international fame. The music and Verdi himself were subsumed into a surge of patriotic fervor culminating in the foundation of the modern nation of Italy. Specifically, the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves (“Va, pensiero”), in which the Israelites express their longing for their homeland, came to stand for the country’s aspirations for unity and that exciting era in Italian history, the Risorgimento, or “Resurgence.”


Sunday Concert Hall - San Francisco Symphony

Sunday, January 8th, 2pm

Anne-Sophie Mutter is featured in the Brahms Violin Concerto. Also the “Spring” Symphony of Schumann and music of John Adams. Michael Tilson Thomas conducts


Homegrown Music - Hilton Park


Tuesday, January 10th, 9pm

This is a folk-influenced trio, comprising a father and son (Bruce and Conor Hilton) and family friend (Gregg Pannier). In 2016, they released their third album Moments, which was featured on WVIA’s Mixed Bag. The southern Maine-based group paid WVIA visit and made their debut session for Homegrown Music with nice performances of their appealing original music. 


Metropolitan Opera - La Bohème


Saturday, January 14th, 1pm

The Met presents its spectacular Zeffirelli productio featuring Ailyn Pérez and Michael Fabiano as the young Parisian lovers at the center of the story. Susanna Phillips and Alessio Arduini also star. Carlo Rizzi 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.


Sunday Concert Hall - San Francisco Symphony

Sunday, January 15th, 2pm

Pablo Heras-Casado conducts a program that includes the Violin Concerto by Tchaikovsky featuring soloist Joshua Bell and two Chamber Symphonies, one by John Adams and one by Arnold Schoenberg.


Homegrown Music Concert Encore - Invert


Tuesday, January 17th, 9pm

Before the impending resumption of the Homegrown Music live concert series, series producer George Graham presents another encore a memorable past concert, with the first string quartet to be featured on the series. The now-defunct Invert turned the string quartet model on its head with two cellists, plus one violin and one viola. The cellists came from rock and fusion backgrounds, and the quartet’s music is energetic and improvisational. This concert originally broadcast live in 2008.


Metropolitan Opera - Roméo et Juliette


Saturday, January 21st, 1pm

When Diana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo starred opposite each other in Manon at the Met in 2015, the New York Times said, “the temperature rises nearly to boiling every time Damrau and Grigolo are on stage together.” Now they’re back as opera’s classic lovers, in Gounod’s lush Shakespeare adaptation. The production, by director Bartlett Sher, has already won acclaim for its vivid 18th-century milieu and stunning costumes during runs at Salzburg and La Scala. Gianandrea Noseda conducts the sumptuous score.

Perhaps the most enduringly successful of the many operatic settings of the world’s consummate love story, Roméo et Juliette is an excellent example of French Romanticism, a tradition that values subtlety, sensuality, and graceful vocal delivery over showy effects. In the opera there is a slight shift of focus away from the word games of the original play and a greater focus on the two lovers, who are given four irresistible duets, including a brief final reunion in the tomb scene that does not appear in the play.


Sunday Concert Hall - San Francisco Symphony

Sunday, January 22nd, 2pm

Music of the Viennese Classical period is featured in a Symphony by Haydn and the early Piano Concerto No. 9 of Mozart, “Jeunehomme” featuring soloist Igor Levit. Also two modern masterworks: Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements and the Symphony No. 7 of Jean Sibelius.


Homegrown Music - Cavage & Sudigala


Tuesday, January 24th, 9pm

The bluegrass duo of banjoist David Cavage and guitarist Josh Sudigala have been members of the acclaimed bluegrass group Hickory Project. They perform a collection of traditional and original music, showing their instrumental virtuosity in this all-new segment. 


Metropolitan Opera - The Barber of Seville


Saturday, January 28th, 1pm

Peter Mattei reprises one of his most compelling portrayals, that of the wily barber Figaro. The Met’s popular production of Rossini’s comedic jewel—performed in the full-length Italian version—also pairs bel canto stars Pretty Yende and Dmitry Korchak as the lovers Rosina and Count Almaviva, with Maurizio Benini conducting.

Rossini’s perfectly honed treasure survived a famously disastrous opening night (caused by factions and local politics more than any reaction to the work itself) to become what may be the world’s most popular comic opera. Its buoyant good humor and elegant melodies have delighted the diverse tastes of every generation for two centuries, and several of the opera’s most recognizable tunes have entered the world’s musical unconscious, most notably the introductory patter song of the swaggering Figaro, the titular barber of Seville.


Homegrown Music - Brazz Tree


Tuesday, January 31st, 9pm

It’s more string music on Homegrown Music with an encore of a distinctive duo featuring violinist Mazz Swift, classically trained and steeped in Celtic music, and guitarist Brad Hammonds, known for his percussive style. The duo was remarkably eclectic in their music with their original material, covers of traditional folk songs and a reinvention of a famous tune from the psychedelic era. This segment is an anthology of music from their two Homegrown Music sessions from 2007 and 2008.

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