Great Opera in Columbus This Saturday

Licia Albanese as Mimi in Puccini's La Boheme(Photo: The Metropolitan Opera)
Licia Albanese as Mimi in Puccini's La Boheme(Photo: The Metropolitan Opera)

Gotcha!

Who was it who called opera “a vulgar and irrational entertainment?’ Either Voltaire or Rossini. Sounds more like Rossini, who wrote over thirty operas.

Let’s all be vulgar and irrational this weekend. Classical 101 presents two opera by Puccini, this Saturday at 1 pm. It’s the season finale of Saturday On Stage. I wanted to go out with a bang.

The Metropolitan Opera has been on the air since Christmas day 1931. WOSU/Classical 101 has broadcast the Saturday matinees live from the Met since 1947. These broadcasts run December through May. No sense competing with football season of a Saturday afternoon.

We resume our broadcasts on December 8.

But first we’ll hear two operas by Puccini. The Met has begun making its archival broadcasts going back 80 years available commercially. This Saturday we’ll hear two of them.

La boheme everyone’s favorite two hanky weeper of a beautiful opera. Broadcast on February 15, 1958, this performance features Carlo Bergonzi, Licia Albanese, Mario Sereni and Norman Scott with Thomas Schippers conducting. Schippers was a stunning wunderkind and was Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony at the time of his death in 1977. Bergonzi, my favorite tenor, an aristocrat of an artist, is still with us, in his 90s. Albanese is 101 and appears annually at the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Gala. She’ll give you a wonderful high C, too if you ask nicely.

Then we’ll hear Tosca, as broadcast from the Met on April 7, 1962.

Leontyne Price caught a big break when she sang Tosca on the NBC Opera Theater in 1955. Her home state of Mississippi refused to carry the telecast. Miss Price herself said “A Black Tosca! Who could imagine such a thing!”

Hear it and believe it with Price and Franco Corelli at the Met, April 7, 1962

Wanna hear more?  You know you do. Listen Saturday, December 1 at 1 pm on Classical 101 and enjoy.

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