WWFM Sunday Opera with Michael Kownacky

Sundays at 3 pm

Enjoy world-class productions from the world of opera featuring the great singers past and present performing in the world's great opera houses.

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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

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.

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

Vincenzo Bellini’s “Norma” from the Lyric Opera of Chicago is this week’s Sunday Opera (7/2 – 3:00 p.m.).  This excellent example of the Bel Canto genre tells the tragic story of the conflict between love and duty and features Sondra Radvanovsky as the Druid priestess Norma who has secretly loved and bore the children of the Roman governor Pollione (Russell Thomas).   When Pollione turns his affections to Norma’s assistant, Adalgisa (Elizabeth DeShong), the action is set in motion for a fiery conclusion.  The cast also includes Andrea Silvestrelli as Oroveso, Norma’s high priest fa

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.

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."   

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.  

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

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.

Many theatrical pieces have "interesting" scripts and librettos, and the first of our two operas on this week's Sunday Opera (5/14 at 3 pm) falls squarely into that category.  Bohuslav Martinu's incredibly atmospheric Julietta - A Dream Book tells the existential story of Michel (Ivo Zidek) who visits a seaside town in his dreams to find his obsession, Julietta (Maria Tauberova) only to keep losing her and finally deciding to remain trapped in his dreams in the hopes of eventually being with her.

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