Mike Harrah

Program Host

Mike Harrah is host of The Lyric Stage, which airs Sundays at 8 pm.

Mike doesn't know if he saw The Great Caruso 14 times when he was 13 or 13 times when he was 14, but hearing Mario Lanza and all of the other great singers in that movie jump-started an already nascent love of opera. This later led him to study voice and was followed by several seasons singing in the New York City Opera Chorus during the great Beverly Sills/Norman Treigle era in the late 60's and early 70's. He also appeared in regional opera performances in small roles and in the chorus on the same stage as Robert Merrill, James McCracken, Blanche Thebom, Roberta Peters and Placido Domingo – who sang the big roles. To have done this still dazzles him with a "is it really true?" feeling. Chance and fate were smiling.

Mike has thirty years of radio experience include several years of full-time hosting evening and afternoon classical music shows at the public radio station in Toledo, Ohio, and many years here at WWFM on a part-time basis and now hosting The Lyric Stage.

Along the way he has acted in stock, small regional theaters, television industrials and commercials, and made appearances on various network shows.  In a parallel life he has taught writing in Ohio and at Temple and Drexel Universities in Philadelphia. He published a young adult novel in the 1980's that HBO turned into a one-hour film. 

His favorite non-operatic musical works include lots of Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Mahler's Third Symphony. He still loves to hear Mario Lanza sing. His gift of song and his sound make him forget about any flaws in phrasing and technique.

Ways to Connect

The Lyric Stage presents Andre Gretry's one act L'epreuve Villageoise this week at 8 pm. This work is an example of what Gretry did best, which was write comic operas. It's a comedy of young love, old love, and jealousy that of course ends happily. Gretry lived from 1741 until 1813 during a time of tumult in France - a long period of tensions leading to revolution and finally dictatorship. 

The Lyric Stage presents Prokofiev's early student opera Maddelena, which wasn't produced until the 1980s because of the complexities of its singing roles. Tune in for an early glimpse at one of the 20th centuries great composers.

Giuseppe di Stefano was called the bad boy of opera for choosing an exuberant life style over of a complete dedication to his art. But many still say he was one of the great tenors of the twentieth century and his early recordings show us why.

The salon opera was a staple of the 19th century, and this week we have Pauline Viardot's one act Cendrillon. Based on Cinderella, it is more comic than tragic. She first presented it at her famous Parisian salon in 1904.

Three singers in the early prime of their careers, Ettore Bastianini, Renata Scotto and Alfredo Krause sing highlights from Verdi's Rigoletto in this 1960 Studio Recording.