Michael Kownacky

Program Host

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.

You can also hear Michael, along with his The Dress Circle co-host, on JazzOn2, every Wednesday evening from 7pm, eastern, for Strike Up the Band, a program celebrating the big bands and dance bands of jazz.

Ways to Connect

Performances from the Lyric Opera of Chicago continue this Sunday (6/25 - 3:00 pm) with Mozart's perennial favorite battle of Good vs. Evil, "The Magic Flute."  The cast from Chicago includes Christiane Karg as Pamina, Matthew Polenzani as Tamino, Adam Plachetka as Papageno, and Kathryn Lewek as The Queen of the Night.  Also appearing are Christof Fischesser as Sarastro, Diana Newman as Papagena, and David Govertsen as the Speaker.  Rory MacDonald will conduct the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

It's going to be a Glee-ful program this Sunday (6/25 - 7:00 pm) as The Dress Circle takes a look at the six seasons of the wildly popular series dedicated to high school choral singing, "Glee."  The show ran for 121 episodes and included over 728 music performances by its talented cast as well as some of the biggest names from the worlds of Broadway and pop music.   Joining regular cast members like Matthew Morrison, Lea Michele, and Naya Rivera you'll hear performances by Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth in songs from Broadway and Hollywood.

Miguel Cervantes' illustrious hero will be tilting at windmills this Sunday, 6/18, at 3 pm.  Jules Massenet's "Don Quichotte" from the Lyric Opera of Chicago will star Feruccio Ferlanetto in the title role with Clementine Margaine as his Dulcinee, and Nicola Alaimo as Sancho.  Sir Andrew Davis will be leading the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus.  After the opera, host Michael Kownacky will continue the Massenet afternoon with a gorgeous ballet version of "Manon" compiled from pieces in Massenet's catalogue by Leighton Lucas (and Hilda Gaunt) with no music from Massenet's "Manon."   

On The Dress Circle this Sunday (6/18 ) at 7:00 pm, we'll be inviting you to get up and dance as we look at ballets and dances from Broadway musicals.    Included will be "La Princess Zenobia" from "On Your Toes" as well as The Sadie Hawkins Ballet from "Li'l Abner" and The "Havana scene" from "Guys and Dolls."  More Richard Rodgers music will be featured through ballets from "Carousel" and "Oklahoma!" as well.  Put on your dancing shoes, and join us for a happy hour of music from the stage.

Detail of "The Trojan Horse" by Henri Paul Motte

Sunday, June 11 at 3:00 pm:  This week's Sunday Opera will feature the Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Hector Berlioz's epic "Les Troyens."   This grand opera is based on Virgil's "Aeneid," and the libretto begins with the Trojan Horse and the fall of Troy and continues through to Dido's death and the impending destruction of Carthage.  

The Dress Circle on Sunday, June 11 (7 pm) will be featuring selections from five musicals that have played at London's Royal National Theatre.  Included will be Judi Dench in Sondheim's "A Little Night Music," Frank Loesser's "Guys and Dolls" with Julie Covington and Ian Charleson, Lerner and Loewe's "My Fair Lady" Starring Martine McCutcheon and Jonathan Pryce, Leonard Bernstein's "Candide," and Maria Friedman in "Lady in the Dark" by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin.  Also included will be selections from "Oklahoma!" featuring Hugh Jackman and Peter Poylcarpou.

  This week, we're delving into one of our favorite topics: American Musicals Performed in Foreign Languages. After we begin with "Schlittenfahrt," we'll turn to some other familiar songs sung in Dutch, German, French, Italian, and Japanese. Some of the shows included are BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, MAN OF LA MANCHA, THE DESERT SONG, SWEET CHARITY, GREASE, and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and more.

Sir Andrew Davis conducts the Lyric Opera of Chicago as we present the first in this year's broadcast series, featuring Wagner's Das Rheingold. Tune in Sunday at 3 pm.

Cast:
Wotan: Eric Owens
Alberich: Samuel Youn
Loge: Štefan Margita
Fricka: Tanja Ariane Baumgartner
Fasolt: Wilhelm Schwinghammer
Fafner: Tobias Kehrer
Erda: Okka von der Damerau

May 21st
Fred Astaire's remarkable career lasted seven decades, and along the way, he performed with a great many partners. 

This week, we'll take a look at just a few of them in a program called "Fred Astaire in Duets." Several of those partners included are:  Adele Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, and Jane Powell. Join us to see who else got included!  

Our Sunday Opera this weekend takes you to Russia for music by Mikhael Glinka. Enjoy a full performance of A Life for the Tsar, followed by dances from Ruslan and Lyudmila. Michael Kownacky is your host for this afternoon of opera.

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