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

Jacques Offenbach’s charming setting of stories by E.T.A. Hoffmann will be on air for this week’s Sunday Opera (8/13 – 3:00 p.m.).  This performance from the Los Angeles Opera stars Vittorio Grigolo in as Hoffmann and Kate Lindsey as Nicklausse and The Muse of Poetry.  Nicolas Teste appears as the four foils in Hoffmann’s life, Lindorf, Coppelius,  Dapertutto, and Dr.

A ”songbook” of the Broadway works by Frank Wildhorn will air this Sunday (8/13 - 7:oo p.m.) on The Dress Circle.  Broadway audiences first heard the music of Wildhorn in 1997 when he added three songs, with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, to the stage version of “Victor/Victoria” after the death of Henry Mancini.  Within two years, his first complete show and biggest hit “Jekyll & Hyde,” with book and lyrics by Bricusse, would be the talk of Broadway and go on to run for 1543 performances.

To borrow a few lines from the musicals, “It’s too darn hot,” “We’re having a heat wave,” and “Ain’t it awful the heat; ain’t it awful?” which is why there are so few Broadway openings in the months of July and August: It was simply too hot for both cast and audience.  Shows closed for the summer or moved to a “summer home” somewhere in the country until the heat broke.  Shows were even performed in mostly open-air spaces on rooftops to “beat the heat.”  Because there were fewer shows during the sumer, we combine the openings from July and August so that we can still feature a varied menu o

The late South African tenor Johan Bohta excels in the title role in Wagner’s “Tannhauser” in this week’s Sunday Opera (7/30 3:00 p.m.).  This 2015 performance from the Lyric Opera of Chicago which follows the poet / knight Tannhauser’s struggle between the love of the worldly pleasures in abundance in Venusberg and the emotional love he finds with Elisabeth also includes Amber Wagner as Elisabeth, Michaela Schuster as the jealous Venus, Gerald Finley as another poet Wolfram, and John Relyea as Elisabeth’s uncle Landgraf.  Sir Andrew Davis conducts the Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus and Orch

It’ll be a bit of nostalgia on this week’s Dress Circle (7/30 – 7:00 p.m.) as we take our first look at a series of CDs published under the title The Smithsonian American Songbook.  This program will look at songs by a variety of composers and lyricists such as Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Frank Loesser, E.Y.

Mozart’s much loved “Don Giovanni” is this week’s Sunday Opera (7/23 - 3:00 pm).  This performance of the story surrounding the nefarious doings and ultimate punishment of the licentious Don Juan comes from the 2015 season of the Lyric Opera of Chicago.  Mariusz Kwiecien reprises his performance in the title role from the previous season, and he is joined by Kyle Ketelsen as Leoporello, Marina Rebeka as Donna Anna, Ana Maria Martinez as Donna Elvira, and Andrea Churchman as Zerlina with Sir Andrew Davis conducting the Lyric Opera Chorus and Orchestra.  After the opera, join Michael Kownacky

Beginning with Memorial Day in May, many communities enjoy a summer of a variety of parades, and this week’s Dress Circle (7/23 – 7:00 pm) will be looking at some of the parades featured in a variety of musicals including a desire to be included from “Anyone Can Whistle,” the parade of humanity found in “Grand Hotel,” the one and only Macy’s parade in “Here’s Love,” a wedding parade in “Flower Drum Song,” and an anthem to life from “Hello, Dolly!” along with many more familiar and unfamiliar shows.  Don’t forget to join us on Face Book and at our website www.DCSRO.com.  You’ll also find rec

Performances from The Lyric Opera of Chicago continue this week (7/16 3:00 p.m.) with their production of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” featuring Mariusz Kwiecien as Onegin.  Joining him will be Ana Maria Martinez as Tatyana, Charles Castronovo as Lensky, Alisa Kolosova as Olga, and as Prince Gremin, Dmitry Belosselskiy.  Alejo Perez conducts the Lyric Opera Chorus and Orchestra.  Tchaikovsky’s music will also be featured after the opera when Michael Kownacky will conclude the program with the Manfred Symphony, Op. 58 performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Ricardo Chailly.

The Dress Circle this week (7/16 7:00 p.m.) will feature the second program in our series celebrating the life and talents of George Gershwin.  Along with selections from musicals such as “Lady Be Good!”, “Oh, Kay,” and “Funny Face” as well as the films “Delicious” and “The Goldwyn Follies” which was the last film for which Gershwin wrote songs before his death.  Join us for some familiar and unfamiliar music from this American original, and don’t forget to look for webcasts of programs you may have missed.

One of the world’s best known and best loved operas will be featured on this week’s Sunday Opera (7/9 – 3:00 p.m.) when the recent Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” will air.  Anita Rachvelishvili is the Carmen, and her Don Jose is Chicago regular Brandon Jovanovich.  Also included in the cast are Eleonora Buratto as Micaela and Christian Van Horn as Escamillo.  The production’s conductor is Ainars Rubikis.  After the opera, join Michael Kownacky for more music of Bizet including his charming Symphony in C major written, and discarded, when he was seventeen and

Pages