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Radio

Carlos Kleiber, A Reclusive Genius

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“Carlos has a genius for conducting, but he doesn’t enjoy doing it. He tells me, ‘I conduct only when I’m hungry’. And it’s true. He has a deep-freeze. He fills it up and cooks for himself and when it gets down to a certain level, then he thinks ‘Now I might do a concert’.” That

Tales from the Trenches with Recording Engineer Mary Mazurek

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“I had to move my equipment twice due to leaks in the ceiling.” In honor of Engineer Appreciation Day, all of the WFMT engineers responded to a little in-house survey. WFMT audio engineer Mary Mazurek offers some particularly colorful recollections.

Engineer Appreciation Day

Engineer Eric Arunas chats with artists Anna Deveare Smith and Joshua Roman

Friday is Engineer Appreciation Day on WFMT, honoring a group of professionals who are as essential to a broadcast as the musicians themselves. After all, a performance can only be heard if a skilled individual properly captures it.

Butterfly: “Not to Be Missed”

Stefano Secco and Patricia Racette, c.Dan Rest

At least, that’s what The New York Times said of Patricia Racette’s Madama Butterfly in 2008. In the aftermath, it’s not surprising Lyric Opera would engage her for their production, even if she could only do half the run. It’s one of those cases of an artist forming a union with a part that transcends everything one knew about the opera; like peering into a precious gem, giving it a quarter turn, and seeing something

Backstage Exclusive: Patricia Racette as Butterfly

Patricia Racette as Madama Butterfly

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Madama Butterfly opens (again) on Saturday night starring Patricia Racette and Stefano Secco. Listen to an exclusive interview with Ms. Racette who laughs about the challenges of live performance.

Long Live Champagne

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Strauss waltzes were the ultimate party mix; the kind of song set one would imagine for Cinderella in glittering gemstones and long, white gloves. It was a hundred years later in 1939 (and a dark time in Vienna) when Clemens Krauss started a tradition: an annual concert of these 19th century dances to celebrate

Video Exclusive: Conductor Talks Kids and Music

Ward Stare, photo by Suzy Gorman

Most careers take twists and turns; Ward Stare’s career has been more like Formula 1 auto racing. He went from playing principal trombone in the Lyric Opera Orchestra to being one of the company’s go-to conductors (debuting in last season’s production of Hansel and Gretel), all before the age of 30

Video Exclusive: Lyric’s Violetta Goes Searching for Callas

Maria Callas

Some of the most zealous opera fans are the ones using the stage entrance. Recently, Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka stopped by the office of Lucy Lindquist at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Lindquist is wardrobe mistress; Rebeka was seeing about her costumes for Violetta, as the lead in Verdi’s La traviata. Rebeka recalls her jaw hitting the floor when she noticed the headpiece. Lindquist explained, “It was worn by Maria Callas

Video Exclusive: An American Prince Charming

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[LIVE Broadcast, Tuesday at 7:15] Johann Strauss Jr.’s Die Fledermaus has a fairy tale quality (although it’s most decidedly adult). Set in the perfumed world of Imperial Vienna, the maestro in the middle for Lyric’s production is the dashing, young American Ward Stare.

No Abridged Verdi

Party scene from "La traviata"; photo by Todd Rosenberg

When Lyric Opera of Chicago opens its production of La traviata on Wednesday evening, there will be music that has never been heard in that opera house before. In its thirteen previous runs at Lyric Opera, starting with the inaugural season in 1954, La traviata has always been staged with cuts to the score. There’s been a resurgence of interest