Select a Date

December 2014
S M T W T F S
« Nov    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

WFMT

Johan Botha on Saturday’s Met

Johan Botha with Amanda Majeski and Dmitry Ivashchenko in Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg"

South African opera singer Johan Botha is a regular at Lyric Opera of Chicago. In recent years, he’s sung Walther in “Die Meistersinger” and opened Lyric’s season last year as Otello. He’s been Lohengrin, and comes back to Chicago in February as Tannhäuser. The 49-year-old heldentenor is made for these heftier roles. The heldentenor is a voice type that can sing comfortably

Daniil Trifonov Live from Carnegie Hall

Daniil Trifonov, c. Dario Acosta

With an exclusive recording contract on Deutsche Grammophon, and engagements with the world’s top orchestras, one would think Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov was beyond taking piano lessons. He’s not. That is, he’s not one to miss opportunities to grow and expand his abilities, which are formidable, in spite of a hectic touring schedule. Composition is an important area of expression

Hear Philip Glass Quartet LIVE

American composer Philp Glass

Performers often comment on the intimate, introspective, and profound nature of the string quartet. Philip Glass says: “In an odd way, string quartets have always functioned like that for composers. I don’t really know why, but it’s almost impossible to get away from it. It’s the way composers of the past have thought and that’s no less true for me

Director Mike Nichols and WFMT

Award-winning director and writer Mike Nichols

Today the world is remembering the life and work of writer and director Mike Nichols, who died suddenly on Wednesday at the age of 83. In a career that spanned over six decades, he won nine Tony Awards and an Academy Award for Best Director for the 1967 blockbuster “The Graduate.” Around the offices of WFMT, Mike Nichols is remembered for being among the pioneering forces in the early days of this radio station

The Language of Pierre Boulez

Pierre

Just about everyone in the classical music world holds Mr. Boulez in the highest esteem, though some might add to that a hint of perplexity. Barbara Jepson in The Wall Street Journal put it this way,”[He is a] pioneering composer of thorny modernist works.” She then argues “Why Pierre Boulez’s Répons Is a Masterpiece.”

Lyric Opera Timeline: the First 60 Years

The interior of Chicago's Civic Opera House

In 1952, a student singer named Carol Fox got to chatting with her vocal coach, Nicola Rescigno, and insurance man Lawrence Kelly about ways to sustain an opera company in Chicago – a series of previous attempts had ended in bankruptcy. They agreed, if they were to attempt such a venture, they would need to marshal community support – and what better way to recruit supporters than to show them an opera? In February 1954

WFMT’s Lyric Opera Weekend

Stars gather at the Civic Opera House to celebrate Lyric's 60th in an unforgettable concert

In February of 1954, Lyric Opera founders Carol Fox, Nicola Rescigno, and Lawrence Kelly launched the first production, hoping it would inspire opera lovers to step forward and offer financial and community support for an opera company in Chicago – it did. Rescigno conducted two performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni with Nicola Rossi-Lemeni as the Don, and Eleanor Steber

Esa-Pekka Salonen, iPads, and Turning 50

Esa-Pekka Salonen, c. Benjamin Suomela

He was hailed as a wunderkind when he seized the reigns of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at 34, half the age of other prominent conductors. Many observed that his boyish good looks made him seem even younger, but the people of Los Angeles quickly discovered this much-hyped maestro to be an intense and serious musician.

Stephen Paulus (1949-2014)

paulusstephen

Fans are mourning the loss of American composer Stephen Paulus who died on Sunday at the age of 65. Paulus wrote works for many American artists and ensembles, including Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the Cleveland and Minnesota Orchestras, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Singers were particularly drawn to his treatment of the human voice, which garnered commissions from Deborah Voigt, Samuel Ramey, Thomas Hampson

Chicago’s Incubator for Opera Singers

Ryan Opera Center bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba as "Don Giovanni"

Richard Ollarsaba, who was the “cover” for Don Giovanni star Mariusz Kwiecien, got the call at 10:00 am: “Mr. Kwiecien will not be able to sing today. You’re on.” He had four hours until curtain.

“The instant I got the call, adrenaline shot through my system, but after the initial shock I immediately went into work mode and the only thing I could tell myself was ‘Just do your job’