April Highlights on WVIA-FM
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Metropolitan Opera - Fidelio
Saturday, April 1st, 1pm
Beethoven’s only opera—an ode to freedom, justice, and the human spirit—returns to the Met with a fine cast. Adrianne Pieczonka is Leonore, who, disguised as Fidelio, courageously fights for her husband Florestan’s freedom. Klaus Florian Vogt is Florestan, Greer Grimsley is Don Pizarro, and Falk Struckmann is Rocco. Sebastian Weigle conducts. Fidelio would command our respect for the sole reason of being Beethoven’s only complete opera. Beyond this, the opera’s unusual structure, glorious score, and life-affirming aura make it a unique experience. It has been called a hymn to freedom and human dignity. Formally a singspiel (with musical numbers separated by spoken dialogue), Fidelio had a long and complex gestation. Its uplifting spirit made it the obvious choice for several important productions marking the end of World War II, including the reopening of the Vienna State Opera in 1955.
Sunday Concert Hall - Deutsche Welle Festival Concert
Sunday, April 2nd, 2pm
This week we travel to Rolandseck on the Rhine River where an historic train station has been converted into a concert hall. The program includes chamber music for winds and strings by Mozart, Poulenc, Rossini and Janáček.
Homegrown Music - Anna Dagmar
Tuesday, April 4, 9pm
Encore of 2009 session by a classically trained singer-songwriter pianist.
Tristan und Isolde
Saturday, April 8th, 1pm
This new production by Mariusz TrelińskiIolanta is well served by a cast of outstanding Wagnerians: Nina Stemme as Isolde, Stuart Skelton as Tristan, Ekaterina Gubanova as Brangäne, and René Pape as King Marke, with Sir Simon Rattle conducting, in one of his rare appearances at the Met.
An “audacious new production… Compelling, vulnerable performances… from a strong cast, especially the astonishing soprano Nina Stemme… [Her Isolde is] outstanding... from steely rawness to melting warmth.” Stuart Skelton “sings with musical integrity and feeling.” Simon Rattle conducts with “impressively balanced clarity and richness, coolness and intensity, intelligence and impetuosity.”
—New York Times
Wagner’s breathtaking meditation on love and death holds a unique place in the opera world. Its music has astounded, infuriated, and inspired audiences since it was first heard, and the title roles are acknowledged as among the most extraordinarily demanding in opera. The vocal challenges, the sumptuous symphonic scale of the orchestral writing, and the mystical nature of the story, with its opportunities for creative visual design, make this awe-inspiring work a phenomenon of the repertory.
Sunday Concert Hall - WVIA Special
Sunday, April 9th, 2pm
The Church of Christ Uniting, Kingston, PA recently enlarged and enhanced their Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ. Minister of Music and organist Carl Ruck presented an organ rededication concert that included music of Bach, Handel, Ned Rorem, and Daniel Pinkham among others. Two talented young singers from Ithaca College are featured as well in music of Franck, Copland and Bernstein. WVIA’s Larry Vojtko was on hand to guide the afternoon of music and commentary. Erika Funke hosts.
Homegrown Music - Saso Sandic
Tuesday, April 11th - 9pm
A Slovenian native, Saso Sandic (pronounced “sasho sahnditch”) sounds like a thoroughly American rock singer-songwriter. In 2016 he released his debut album Alley Raven which received national airplay and critical praise. For his Homegrown Music debut, he enlisted the help of an impressive backing band: keyboard man Clifford Carter of James Taylor’s band, bassist Tony Garnier, who spent over a decade with Bob Dylan, drummer/percussionist Joe Bonadio, of Sting’s band, and guitarist and producer Oz Noy, who has worked with many artists over the years. The result is a memorable session.
Metropolitan Opera - Aida
Saturday, April 15th, 1pm
The Met’s monumental staging of Verdi’s grand opera is a dazzling backdrop for the star-crossed love story set amid the clash of ancient empires. Krassimira Stoyanova appears in the title role, the slave girl Aïda,who is secretly a princess. Violeta Urmana is the formidable Amneris, daughter of the Egyptian pharaoh, and Marco Berti is the hero Radamès, caught between them. Daniele Rustioni conducts.
This grandest of grand operas features an epic backdrop for what is in essence an intimate love story. Set in ancient Egypt, Aïda never loses sight of its three protagonists: Amneris, the proud daughter of the pharaoh; her slave, Aïda, who is the princess of the rival kingdom of Ethiopia; and Radamès, the Egyptian warrior they both love. Few operas have matched Aïda in its exploration of the conflict of private emotion and public duty.
Sunday Concert Hall - Chicago Symphony
Sunday, April 16th, 2pm
For Easter we hear Handel’s Messiah conducted early music specialist Bernard Labadie. Duain Wolfe prepared the Chicago Symphony Chorus and the soloists are: Lydia Teuscher, soprano; Allyson McHardy, mezzo-soprano; Jeremy Ovenden, tenor; and Kyle Ketelsen, bass-baritone.
Homegrown Music - Jabberpony
Tuesday, April 18th, 9pm
A rather short-lived group from New Jersey, Jabberpony featured fine songwriting and the ethereal vocals of Sarah Schoendienst in this 2001 session.
Metropolitan Opera - Eugene Onegin
Saturday, April 22nd, 1pm
Tchaikovsky’s setting of Pushkin’s timeless verse novel is presented on the Met stage in Deborah Warner’s moving production, starring Anna Netrebko as Tatiana and Peter Mattei in the title role. Alexey Dolgov sings the role of Lenski, and Robin Ticciati conducts.
Tchaikovsky’s many moods—tender, grand, melancholy—are all given free rein in Eugene Onegin. The opera is based on Pushkin’s iconic verse novel, which re-imagines the Byronic romantic anti-hero as the definitive bored Russian aristocrat caught between convention and ennui; Tchaikovsky, similarly, took Western European operatic forms and transformed them into an authentic and undeniably Russian work. At the core of the opera is the young girl Tatiana, who grows from a sentimental adolescent into a complete woman in one of the operatic stage’s most convincing character developments.
Sunday Concert Hall - Deutsche Welle Festival Concert
Sunday, April 23rd, 2pm
Recorded at the Philharmonie, Cologne Teodor Currentizis conducts the ensemble MusicAeterna in music of Rameau, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in the Piano Concerto No. 2 of Shostakovich with pianist Alexander Melnikov, and the SW German Radio Symphony in the Symphony No. 15 of Shostakovich, and the stunning Violin Concerto of Alban Berg featuring soloist Patricia Kopatschinskaja.
Homegrown Music - Three Imaginary Boys
Tuesday, April 25th, 7pm
A first-rate melodic rock band from the Wyoming Valley, the group includes two brothers and serve up original music influenced by the British Invasion, with their own new touches. This is an encore of their 2013 Homegrown Music debut session.
Metropolitan Opera - The Flying Dutchman
Saturday, April 29th, 1pm
New Met star Michael Volle sings the title role of Wagner’s ghostly sailor damned to wander the seas in search of the love that will set him free, under the baton of the exciting Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Amber Wagner is Senta, whose love he seeks. The powerhouse cast also includes Dolora Zajick, Ben Bliss, Franz-Josef Selig, and Jay Hunter Morris as Erik, returning for the first time after his memorable portrayal of Siegfried in Wagner’s Ring.
Der Fliegende Holländer is the earliest of Wagner’s operatic creations to remain in the repertory. The two lead roles represent archetypes the composer would return to, in one form or another, in most of his later works: the “otherworldly stranger” and the woman who sacrifices herself for his salvation. The work’s unearthly ambience is impressive but only one aspect of it: both the world of nature and of the supernatural are magnificently evoked in the score.
Sunday Concert Hall - WVIA Simply Grand Concert
Sunday, April 30th, 2pm
Pianist Dr. Charisse Baldoria celebrates her Filipino heritage in a varied program of piano music that includes pieces by composers from and inspired by Southeast Asia and Spain. On the program selections from the Java Suite by Leopold Godowsky, the Fantasia Baetica by Spanish composer Manuel de Falla and music of contemporary New Zealand composer Gareth Farr, plus the Ballades Nos. 1 and 4 of Frederic Chopin. Recorded in WVIA Sordoni Theater. Larry Vojtko hosts.