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10 Shows to Hear This December on WVIA Radio


COTA Coverage

WVIA Radio to present recorded coverage of the 2022 Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts starting December 5. The 44th annual non-profit all-volunteer festival took place in September with music from two venues, the main outdoor stage and from the legendary Deer Head Inn in the Poconos town of Delaware Water Gap. WVIA will be presenting 10 hours of music from this two-day festival.

The station has been presenting annual coverage of COTA since 1997, and this year's festival includes sets by The Skip and Dan Wilkins Quintet, Carolyn Leonhart, Adam Niewood, Nancy & Spencer Reed, Marko Marcinko's Organik Vibe Trio, The Jim Ridl Trio, vocalist Najwa Parkins and many others.

Produced and hosted by George Graham, WVIA's coverage will be heard from 7 to 8 PM Monday through Friday December 5-9 and December 12-16 during WVIA's All That Jazz.


L’elisir d’amore

Saturday, December 3rd, 1pm 
The WFMT Opera Series comes to a close with Donizetti’s fabulous L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love) with Serena Gamberoni in the role of Adina alongside Francesco Meli as Nemorino, Liu Songhu as Belcore, Enzo Capuano as Dr. Dulcamara, and Ma Min as Ganeta. This production from China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts is conducted by Pier Giorgio Morandi.

Since its world premiere at the Teatro Cannobiana, Milan in 1832, L’Elisir d’Amore has been among the most consistently popular operatic comedies for opera lovers. 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.

Pittsburgh Symphony

Sunday, December 4th, 2pm.
It’s a trip through the solar system as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra plays The Planets by Gustav Holst featuring the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. Finnish guest conductor, John Storgårds, introduces us to music by a composer from his homeland in a performance of Moonlight on Jupiter by Väinö Raitio. Plus, the orchestra’s principal horn, William Caballero plays Mozart’ Horn Concerto No. 4.


Kevin Puts' The Hours

Saturday, December 10th, 1pm 
Renée Fleming makes her highly anticipated return to the Met in the world-premiere production of Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Kevin Puts’s The Hours, adapted from Michael Cunningham’s acclaimed novel. Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and made a household name by the Oscar-winning 2002 film version starring Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman, the powerful story concerns three women from different eras who each grapple with their inner demons and their roles in society. The exciting premiere radiates with star power, with Kelli O’Hara and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato joining Fleming as the opera’s trio of heroines. Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will be on the podium to conduct Puts’s poignant and powerful score.

The Ballad of the Brown King and Other Music for Christmas by Black Composers

Sunday, December 11, 2pm
Dr. Louise Toppin, a noted performer and scholar who specializes in the concert repertoire of African American composers, presents the world premiere recording of Margaret Bonds’s The Ballad of the Brown King. With a libretto by Langston Hughes, this Christmas cantata which focuses on Balthazar, the dark-skinned king who journeyed to Bethlehem to witness the birth of Jesus Christ, is beautifully interpreted by New York City-based The Dessoff Choirs and Orchestra, soloists soprano Laquita Mitchell, mezzo-soprano Lucia Bradford and tenor Noah Stewart, led by Malcolm J. Merriweather. The special will also include music for the season selected by Dr. Toppin.


Verdi’s Rigoletto

Saturday, December 17th, 1pm 
A dramatic journey of undeniable force, Rigoletto was immensely popular from its premiere at the Teatro La Fenice in 1851, and remains fresh and powerful to this day. The story, based on a controversial play by Victor Hugo, tells of an outsider—a hunchbacked jester—who struggles to balance the dueling elements of beauty and evil that exist in his life. Written during the most fertile period of Verdi’s artistic life, the opera resonates with a universality that is frequently called Shakespearean.

Speranza Scappucci conducts this performance that features Lisette Oropesa as the damsel in distress Gilda, Aigul Akhmetshina as the saucy Maddalena, Stephen Costello as the womanizing, insensitive Duke of Mantua, John Relyea as the villain Sparafucile, and in the demanding title role, Luca Salsi.

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: The Duke’s music rises with urgency and impatience, Gilda’s droops with disappointment, Rigoletto’s remains measured and paternal, while the promiscuous Maddalena is literally all over the place. In the context of the opera, the merely lovely music becomes inspired drama.

A BTE Christmas Carol

Sunday, December 18, 2pm
Charles Dickens’ classic Yuletide tale comes to WVIA as an audio novel performed by members of the Bloomsburg Theater Ensemble. This adaptation by veteran BTE member James Goode brings this beloved Christmas ghost story to life.


The Magic Flute

Saturday, December 24th, 1pm 
The Met’s abridged, English-language version of Mozart’s magical fairy tale is a classic holiday treat for audiences of all ages. A cast of standouts comes together to bring the charming story and enchanting music to life, led by tenor Ben Bliss as the courageous Tamino and soprano Joélle Harvey as the virtuous Pamina. Joshua Hopkins is the lovable lout Papageno, alongside Aleksandra Olczyk as the fearsome Queen of the Night and Soloman Howard as her nemesis, the wise Sarastro. Duncan Ward conducts.

The Magic Flute is a sublime fairy tale that moves freely between earthy comedy and noble mysticism. It was written for a theater located just outside Vienna with the clear intention of appealing to audiences from all walks of life. The story is told in a singspiel (“song-play”) format characterized by separate musical numbers connected by dialogue and stage activity, an excellent structure for navigating the diverse moods, ranging from solemn to lighthearted, of the story and score. It was first performed September 30, 1791, just several weeks before Mozart’s untimely death.

Messiah Sing-Along 2022

Sunday, December 25, 2pm
The tradition continues as the Arcadia Chorale and soloists invite the audience to perform in the Christmas section of the famous Handel oratorio as well selections from Parts 2 and 3. This year recorded at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Scranton. Matthew Rupcich conducts.


Met Debuts On The Air

Saturday, December 31st, 1pm
Highlights of artists making their Metropolitan Opera debuts during live broadcasts.