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June 2020
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Verdi Month

October affords us the opportunity to pay tribute to the other giant of the opera world whose 200th birthday we’re celebrating this year (that is, in addition to Richard Wagner): the Italian master, Giuseppe Verdi. We have been featuring all of his operas throughout the year on the Tuesday Night Opera (and that will take us a little into 2014), but a special focus on his genius will be your pleasure—and ours–throughout October. Expect some of the greatest Verdi singers and interpreters of the past as well as the present and lots of delightful surprises along the way. Viva Verdi!

Grapentine and the Three B*ars

Sherrill Milnes

…BARITONES, that is.

Giuseppe Verdi came on like Vesuvius, leveling tired formulas beneath a new soundscape; forever altering the vocal profession. By the close of Verdi’s incredible fifty-three-year output, singers were born to be specialists; with the quality of the voice (in addition to register) dictating repertoire.

On Tuesday morning (9:00 AM), Carl Grapentine brings you three legendary baritones

Verdi and Free Speech (not)


Verdi was a dissident and everyone knew it. He, like many Italians, resented foreign claims on the Italian peninsula. Verdi himself was born in a region controlled by the French crown; even Milan, home to the celebrated opera house La Scala was under French rule

Flashback: Marian Anderson Steps into History


On January 7, 1955 a glass ceiling shattered when Marian Anderson became the first African American singer to perform with the Metropolitan Opera. The famous American contralto sang “Ulrica,” the fortune teller in Giuseppe Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera. Less than a year later, Anderson sang on the recording

Un ballo in maschera – Libretto

conductor Dmitri Mitropoulos

The Tuesday Night Opera presents Giuseppe Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera (8:00 PM). Verdi was fascinated by the assassination of the Swedish king Gustavus III. Around that account he spun more…

Questions about Verdi by Bill McGlaughlin

Bill McGlaughlin

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi, we posed seven questions about the composer to various people (for Bill McGlaughlin, it was actually nine questions). Having differing opinions about the composer, we hope, will add dimension to one’s understanding of the Italian master

Seven Questions about Verdi

Carl Grapentine, host

[by Carl Grapentine] In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi, we posed seven questions about the composer to various people. The differing opinions seem to add more dimension to one’s understanding of the composer’s art, not less

Riccardo Muti: “It’s about terror, but…”

Tatiana Serjan, Luca Salsi and Riccardo Muti, photo by Todd Rosenberg

A week ago, Tatiana Serjan was dripping in decadence and depravity as Riccardo Muti’s Lady Macbeth, in the concert version of Verdi’s opera with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. This week, she’s had to recast herself with an entirely different dramatic intention. Where Verdi had indicated that Lady Macbeth be “rough, harsh, and gloomy

Questions about Verdi

"Arias and Songs" host Larry Johnson

“Arias and Songs” host Larry Johnson offers his take on Verdi: In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi, we posed a set of questions about the composer to various people. Opinions differ

Verdi in Pictures


Giuseppe Verdi was born in 1813, and lived all the way to 1901. His success as a composer, and cultural icon, as well as a political icon is well documented by photographers, newspaper illustrators and artists of his time.

What did Liszt have to Say About Verdi?

Virtuoso pianist, Valentina Lisitsa

[New Release of the Week] How does a titanic musician like Franz Liszt pay homage to another composer? Through his fingers, naturally. Another formidable pianist, one from our own time has a new CD of Liszt’s music. Yes, WFMT is hitting Verdi hard this week, but this CD is no exception: the music of Verdi thunders forth in this new release by Valentina Lisitsa