WFMT Radio Network Opera Series Overview

Please Note: Approximate timings for each opera can be found on the program pages for each opera company. Click on the link on the right-hand side of the opera company program page titled “Cast List and Broadcast Information”. Please also be aware that these timings are approximate due to the fact that some operas will only be performed and recorded soon before they release. For exact timings, please consult the PRX page for the Opera Series by clicking on the PRX logo on the right-hand side of the screen.

The 2019 WFMT Radio Network Opera Series begins in May with a stellar array of recent productions from London’s Royal Opera House. Presented in partnership with the European Broadcasting Union and the BBC, the line-up from Covent Garden includes parts one to three from Wagner’s Ring – Das Rheingold, Die Walküre and Siegfried – performed under the baton of Sir Antonio Pappano in October 2018. Hear two powerhouse voices make their Royal Opera debuts – Swedish bass-baritone John Lundgren singing Wotan/Wanderer and Australian tenor Stuart Skelton as Siegmund. Plus, 2018 Birgit Nilsson Prize-winner soprano Nina Stemme sings Brünnhilde.

The series continues in June with Verdi, including a handsome Renaissance production of the tragic Simon Boccanegra, a star-studded La forza del destino with soprano Anna Netrebko as Leonora and tenor Jonas Kauffman as Don Alvaro, and the delightfully comical Falstaff with a celebrated cast led by Sir Bryn Terfel and Ana María Martínez. Also, there’s an opportunity to catch Tchaikovsky’s secret-filled The Queen of Spades and Covent Garden’s first production of Britten’s Billy Budd in almost two decades, directed by Deborah Warner. Rounding out this nine-title run is Giordano’s French Revolution-set opera, Andrea Chénier, featuring American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky as Maddalena de Coigny and acclaimed tenor and Covent Garden regular, Roberto Alagna in the title role.

The Opera Series continues through the summer with productions presented in partnership with Rai, Italy and the European Broadcasting Union, featuring performances from the Rossini Opera Festival, Teatro dell’Opera (Rome), and La Scala (Milan). First, from the Rossini Opera Festival, comes one of the less performed works of Rossini – Adina. This broadcast features New Orleans-native, soprano Lisette Oropesa, in the title role and her festival debut in Pesaro. Next up, the myth of Orpheus in three acts – Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, from the stage of Teatro Costanzi in Rome, with conductor Gianluca Capuano leading the Rome Opera Orchestra. In the title roles are two Italian artists, countertenor Carlo Vistoli and Mariangela Sicilia. Our trio of Italian titles concludes with Verdi’s Attila – a broadcast from the opening night of La Scala’s 2018-19 season with conductor Riccardo Chailly at the podium, and sought-after Russian bass, Ildar Abdrazakov, in the title role opposite Spanish soprano Saioa Hernández in her La Scala debut as Odabella.

The series continues with encore broadcasts from Lyric Opera of Chicago, featuring stunning performances of Bellini’s Norma with a title-role performance by Sondra Radvanovsky and a cast that includes Elizabeth DeShong as Adalgisa, Russell Thomas as Pollione and Andrea Silvestrelli as Oroveso. Also in store is Mozart’s delightful The Magic Flute, featuring Kathryn Lewek’s stratospheric Queen of the Night, followed by the breathtaking bel canto of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, with the thrilling Albina Shagimuratova opposite Piotr Beczała’s celebrated Edgardo. The series continues with French favorite Massenet’s Don Quichotte starring the incomparable Ferruccio Furlanetto. Don’t miss Ana María Martínez’s role debut as Tatiana opposite Mariusz Kwiecień in the title role of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, just before Lyric’s broadcasts conclude with the mighty Les Troyens by Hector Berlioz, starring powerhouse artists Susan Graham, Brandon Jovanovich, and Christine Goerke.

Next up in the Opera Series are fantastic performances from LA Opera, including The Clemency of Titus and Carmen. (Please note that the listings have changed from when they were originally published–please check the LA Opera page on our website). After LA Opera, enjoy three fantastic performances by Handel from Music of the Baroque in their Opera Series debut: the captivating oratorios Judas Maccabaeus and Israel in Egypt, and his pastoral opera Acis and Galatea. This fall, OperaDelaware presents an exciting line-up including Puccini’s Il trittico (The Triptych), his trilogy of three one-act operas. First up, hear the pairing of Puccini’s first two acts, Il Tabarro (The Cloak) and Suor Angelica. The third and final act, Gianni Schicchi, is then coupled with a comic sequel, Michael Ching’s Buoso’s Ghost, in which we follow the Schicchi characters in a continuing story packed with drama and laughs. OperaDelaware’s broadcasts conclude with Anthony Barrese’s widely-celebrated 21st century recreation of Franco Faccio’s Amleto.

Following these performances, Edo de Waart and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra present a semi-staged version of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, a special initiative of Maestro de Waart from late in his tenure as music director, featuring the stunning soprano Joélle Harvey alongside Douglas Williams in the title role.

And last but not least, the 2019 WFMT Radio Network Opera Series wraps up with two remarkable productions from Opera Southwest: the New Mexico state premiere of Bellini’s Norma, and a much-awaited performance of Giovanni Bottesini’s little-known work, Alì Babà.  A comic opera in four acts, Alì Babà is based on the story of Alì Babà and the Forty Thieves and had virtually disappeared from opera houses over the last century and more, despite having been described as having “made its mark” in those first performances conducted by Bottesini himself in January 1871 at London’s Lyceum Theatre. Music director, Anthony Barrese, leads Opera Southwest in championing this long overlooked work, said to be modeled after Rossini.

The WFMT Radio Network Opera Series is designed to complement the Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts, filling out the year from May through November. The 2019 Opera Series releases on May 18, 2019, and will last until November 30, 2019.


Royal Opera House (Presented in partnership with the BBC and the European Broadcasting Union)

May 18                                    Falstaff / Verdi / Royal Opera

May 25                                    Das Rheingold / Wagner / Royal Opera

June 1                                      Die Walküre / Wagner / Royal Opera

June 8                                      Siegfried / Wagner / Royal Opera

June 15                                    Simon Boccanegra / Verdi / Royal Opera

June 22                                    The Queen of Spades / Tchaikovsky / Royal Opera

June 29                                    La forza del destino / Verdi / Royal Opera

July 6                                       Billy Budd / Britten / Royal Opera

July 13                                     Andrea Chénier / Giordano / Royal Opera


Operas from RAI, Italy (Presented in partnership with Rai and the European Broadcasting Union)

July 20                                    Adina / Rossini / Rossini Opera Festival (Pesaro)

July 27                                    Orfeo et Euridice / Gluck / Teatro dell’Opera (Rome)

August 3                                 Attila / Verdi / La Scala (Milan)


Lyric Opera of Chicago

August 10                                Norma / Bellini

August 17                                The Magic Flute / Mozart

August 24                                Lucia di Lammermoor / Donizetti

August 31                                Don Quichotte / Massenet

September 7                            Eugene Onegin / Tchaikovsky

September 14                          Les Troyens / Berlioz


LA Opera

September 21                        Carmen / Bizet

September 28                        The Clemency of Titus / Mozart


Music of the Baroque

October 5                                Judas Maccabaeus / Handel

October 12                              Israel in Egypt / Handel

October 19                              Acis and Galatea / Handel



October 26                              Il Tabarro; Suor Angelica / Puccini

November 2                            Gianni Schicchi; Buoso’s Ghost / Puccini; Ching

November 9                            Amleto / Faccio


Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

November 16                          Marriage of Figaro / Mozart


Opera Southwest

November 23                          Norma / Bellini

November 30                          Ali Baba (1871) / Bottesini


Category: Operas
Duration: 2-hour / Varies by Opera
Frequency: Flexible
Availability: 05/18/2019 - 11/30/2019

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