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Opera on WNED Classical

Enjoy complete performances of world famous operas from Verdi, Puccini, Mozart and many more Saturdays at 1pm.


For many years, radio broadcasts from "The Metropolitan Opera" have been a Saturday tradition in many American households. Met Opera broadcasts are usually performed live from Lincoln Center in New York City and can be heard from December through May on WNED Classical.    

The WFMT Radio Network Opera series complements the Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts, filling in the schedule to complete the year. From Milan to New York, Barcelona to Chicago, you'll have  a front-row seat to performances from some of the world’s greatest opera companies and performers.

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WFMT Radio Network Opera Series Overview

The 2021 WFMT Radio Network Opera Series, runs June 12 through November 27, 2021. This first set of operas included productions from Chicago, England, Sweden, and France, featuring exceptional casts and stunning performances.


The Opera Series continues in September with a set of two operas from Opera Southwest; Rossini’s Tancredi and Bottesini’s fantastical Ali Baba, a work that was lost for over a century, later reconstructed by Opera Southwest’s Artistic Director Anthony Barrese. A truly phenomenal piece of operatic history brought straight to listeners across the country!


Next up is Debussy’s stunningly gorgeous Pelléas et Mélisande, presented here by Rouen Normandy Opera, starring Adèle Charvet as Mélisande and Huw Montague Rendall as Pelléas under the direction of Pierre Dumoussaud.


LA Opera returns to the opera series with three fantastic performances. First up is Mozart’sThe Clemency of Titus (La Clemenza di Tito), starring Russell Thomas as Titus, with support from Elizabeth DeShong (Sesto) and Janai Brugger (Servilia). Then, it is trouble on the high seas: an excellent production of Benjamin Britten’s tale of humanity and misunderstood innocence Billy Budd. Closing out LA Opera’s suite is the audience-favorite La bohème (Puccini), with Marina Costa-Jackson as Mimi, Saimir Pirgu as Rodolfo, and a wonderful cast of singers sure to delight listeners everywhere.


Chicago’s Haymarket Opera Company returns for their second production in this year’s series, with Handel’s Orlando, starring Bejun Mehta in the title role, with Kimberly Jones (Angelica), Emily Fons (Medoro), Erica Schuller (Dorinda), and David Govertsen as Zoroastro. Jory Vinikour performs on harpsichord with the Haymarket Opera Ensemble led by Craig Trumpeter.


From Chicago we cross the Atlantic to hear a set of operas straight from the halls of Europe, courtesy of the European Broadcasting Union. Slovene National Opera presents Donizetti’sLa Fille du regiment from the Grand Hall of the Slovene National Theare, Maribor. Next, another audience favorite, the inimitable Vienna State Opera’s production of Carmen by Bizet with an all-star cast including Anita Rachvelishvili in the title role. Teatro Real, Madrid presents another of Britten’s masterworks with Peter Grimes, and then we hear Teatro dell’Opera, Rome’s production of Verdi’s beautifully-sung tale of romance and drama, Luisa Miller.


Closing out the 2021 Opera Series, we welcome Minnesota Opera with their commission of Kevin Puts’ Pulitzer-prize winning opera Silent Night, which tells the incredible story of the impromptu Christmas Eve cease-fire between allied and German forces in World War I. The music underscores the yearning, despair, and hope of the soldiers living in the trenches, standing as a powerful symbol and hymn to our common humanity.


WNED Classical Opera Broadcast Schedule | Saturdays at 1 pm

October 2 | La Clemenza di Tito (in Italian) / Mozart / LA Opera

LA Opera’s production of The Clemency of Titus. Credit: Cory Weaver

LA Opera returns to the opera series with three fantastic performances. First up is Mozart’s The Clemency of Titus (La Clemenza di Tito). A new production by Thaddeus Strassberger marked the company premiere of a masterpiece composed nearly simultaneously with The Magic Flute in the last months of Mozart’s short life. Strassberger’s scenic design was inspired by 19th-century Romantic-era paintings set in Rome’s Temple of Jupiter, the Roman baths, and Titus’ throne room. The production featured lavish costumes, including a gown worn by Vitellia which sported a 25-foot train, and lighting and projections that replicated the burning of Rome. With James Conlon on the podium, the production starred tenor Russell Thomas as Emperor Titus.



COMPOSER: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

LIBRETTO: Caterino Mazzolà

VENUE:  Dorothy Chandler Pavilion 




Titus: Russell Thomas

Vitellia: Guanqun Yu

Sesto: Elizabeth DeShong

Servilia: Janai Brugger

Annio: Taylor Raven

Publio: James Creswell


ENSEMBLE: LA Opera Orchestra

CHORUS: LA Opera Chorus

CONDUCTOR: James Conlon

October 9 | Billy Budd / Britten / LA Opera

LA Opera’s production of The Clemency of Titus. Credit: Cory Weaver

Based on the novella by Herman Melville, the Benjamin Britten’s maritime masterpiece follows an innocent naval recruit who joins the crew of the H.M.S. Indomitable, helmed by a noble captain. But one commanding officer’s dark desires cause a tragic turn of events for the beloved young sailor…and himself.

James Conlon conducts a stellar cast—led by Liam Bonner, Richard Croft and Greer Grimsley—in a production directed by Francesca Zambello.



COMPOSER: Benjamin Britten

LIBRETTO: E. M. Forster and Eric Crozier

VENUE:  Dorothy Chandler Pavilion 




Billy Budd: Liam Bonner

Capt. Edward Fairfax Vere: Richard Croft

John Claggart: Greer Grimsley               

Mr. Redburn: Anthony Michaels-Moore

Mr. Flint: Daniel Sumegi

Lt. Ratcliffe: Patrick Blackwell 

Red Whiskers: Greg Fedderly

Arthur Jones: Museop Kim

Donald: Jonathan Michie

Dansker: James Creswell

Bosun: Craig Colclough

Novice: Keith Jameson

First Mate: Paul LaRosa

Second Mate: Daniel Armstrong

Novice’s Friend: Valentin Anikin

Maintop: Vladmir Dmitruk

Squeak : Matthew O’Neill

Cabin Boy: Rory Hemmings

Gunner’s Mate: Steve Pence

Hurt Salior: Todd Strange

Sailor with Earring: Gabriel Manro


ENSEMBLE: LA Opera Orchestra

CHORUS: LA Opera Chorus

CONDUCTOR: James Conlon


October 16 | La bohème (in French) / Puccini / LA Opera

LA Opera’s production of La bohème

LA Opera presents one of opera's most beloved classics, Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème. Conducted by James Conlon, the company's Richard Seaver Music Director, this fresh take on Puccini's classic is the creation of Barrie Kosky, one of Europe’s most inventive stage directors. Mr. Kosky first wowed Angelenos with his sold-out productions of The Magic Flute, in the animation-driven staging which returns later this season.   

A not-completely-traditional production keeps the opera’s original 19th-century setting with a few surprises along the way, telling the story with raw emotional immediacy.



COMPOSER: Giacomo Puccini

LIBRETTO: Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa

VENUE:  Dorothy Chandler Pavilion 




Mimi: Marina Costa-Jackson

Rodolfo: Saimir Pirgu

Musetta: Erica Petrocelli

Marcello: Kihun Yoon

Colline:  Nicholas Brownlee

Schaunard: Michael J. Hawk

Alcindoro: Patrick Blackwell

Parpignol: Robert Stahley


ENSEMBLE: LA Opera Orchestra

CHORUS: LA Opera Chorus

CONDUCTOR: James Conlon

October 23 | Orlando (in English) / Handel / Haymarket Opera Company

Jupiter's eagle and golden cup

Handel’s magic opera Orlando transports us to the medieval world of chivalry and sorcery in an epic psychological battle between love and war. The crusader Orlando has abandoned his glorious deeds in unrequited love for the beautiful princess Angelica. But her passion for the prince Medoro pushes Orlando to the brink of insanity. Don’t miss this exotic feast for the ears and eyes! Pastoral poetry, wizardry, and baroque opulence fuse together in a stunningly beautiful amalgam of musical invention.

Orlando was among Handel’s most avant-garde creations, exploring themes of heroism, love, and insanity through experimental musico-dramatic forms which were considered to be extremely modern at its 1732 premiere.

Haymarket Opera Company welcomes superstar countertenor Bejun Mehta in the title role (Orlando), alongside Kimberly Jones (Angelica), Emily Fons (Medoro), Erica Schuller (Dorinda), and David Govertsen (Zoroastro). HOC’s founder and artistic director, Craig Trompeter leads the acclaimed Haymarket Opera Orchestra, featuring Grammy-nominated harpsichordist Jory Vinikour.

Creative producer Chase Hopkins is joined by film director Garry Grasinski, Grammy-nominated audio engineer Mary Mazurek, costume designer Stephanie Cluggish, lighting designer Lindsey Lyddan, stage coach Sarah Edgar, and Chicago artist Zuleyka V. Benitez whose original scenic artwork is projected throughout.



COMPOSER: George Frideric Handel

LIBRETTO: Carlo Sigismondo Capece

VENUE: Haymarket Opera Company 

PRESENTING COMPANY: Haymarket Opera Company



Orlando: Bejun Mehta

Angelica: Kimberly Jones

Medoro: Emily Fons

Dorinda : Erica Schuller

Zoroastro: David Govertsen


ENSEMBLE: Haymarket Opera Orchestra

HARPSICHORD: Jory Vinikour

CONDUCTOR: Craig Trumpeter

October 30 | La Fille du régiment (in French) / Donizetti / Slovene National Opera

La Fille du régiment

The 2021 WFMT Radio Network Opera Series continues with Slovene National Opera’s production of Donizetti’s comedic two-act masterpiece La fille du regiment. This performance features Petya Ivanova in the role of Marie and Martin Sušnik in the role of Tonio, with support from Irena Petkova as the Marquise of Berkenfield and others. Simon Robinson conducts the SNG Maribor Symphony and Chorus.



COMPOSER: Gaetano Donizetti

LIBRETTO: Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges

VENUE: Grand Hall, Slovene National Theatre, Maribor




Marie: Petya Ivanova

Tonio: Martin Sušnik

Sergeant Sulpice: Jaki Jurgec

Marquise of Berkenfield: Irena Petkova

Hortensius: Dušan Topolovec

A Corporal: Sebastijan Čelofiga


ENSEMBLE: SNG Maribor Symphony Orchestra

CHORUS: SNG Maribor Opera Chorus

CONDUCTOR: Simon Robinson

November 6 | Carmen (in French) / Bizet / Vienna State Opera


Vienna State Opera, one of the most influential and historically important opera houses in the world, brings an exceptional performance of Bizet’s Carmen starring the inimitable Anita Rachvelishvili in the title role alongside a stellar cast. Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducts the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

The Vienna Opera House is a marvel, with a deep history that touches the very core of Austrian and European classical music. The structure of the opera house was planned by the Viennese architect August Sicard von Sicardsburg, while the inside was designed by interior decorator Eduard van der Nüll. It was also impacted by other major artists such as Moritz von Schwind, who painted the frescoes in the foyer, and the famous “Zauberflöten” (“Magic Flute”) series of frescoes on the veranda. Neither of the architects survived to see the opening of ‘their’ opera house: the sensitive van der Nüll committed suicide, and his friend Sicardsburg died of a stroke soon afterwards.

On May 25, 1869, the opera house solemnly opened with Mozart’s DON JUAN in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth. The popularity of the building grew under the artistic influence of the first directors: Franz von Dingelstedt, Johann Herbeck, Franz Jauner, and Wilhelm Jahn. The Vienna opera experienced its first high point under the direction of Gustav Mahler. He completely transformed the outdated performance system, increased the precision and timing of the performances, and also utilized the experience of other noteworthy artists, such as Alfred Roller, for the formation of new stage aesthetics.

This opera is brought to you through the European Broadcasting Union, by way of the Austrian radio organization Österreichischer Rundfunk.



COMPOSER: Georges Bizet

LIBRETTO: Henri Meilhac & Ludovic Halévy

VENUE: Vienna State Opera




Carmen : Anita Rachvelishvili

Don Jose: Piotr Beczała

Escamillo: Erwin Schrott

Micaëla : Vera-Lotte Boecker

Frasquita: Slávka Zámečníková

Mercédès: Szilvia Vörös 

Zuniga: Peter Kellner 

Moralès: Martin Hässler 

Le Remendado: Carlos Osuna

Le Dancaïre: Michael Arivony


ENSEMBLE: Vienna State Opera Orchestra

CHORUS: Vienna State Opera Chorus

CONDUCTOR Andrés Orozco-Estrada

November 13 | Peter Grimes (in English) / Britten / Teatro Real, Madrid

Peter Grimes

Teatro Real, Madrid, presents Benjamin Britten’s opera Peter Grimes, starring Allan Clayton in the title role alongside Maria Bengtsson as Ellen Orford and a fantastic cast. Ivor Bolton conducts the Teatro Real Orchestra and Chorus.

If there exists a before and after in British opera, then this is measured from the opening of Peter Grimes at Sadler’s Wells in London in June 1945. Greeted as the most important English opera since the time(s) of Henry Purcell, the success of the work was decisive in the evolution of Britten’s operatic talent and consolidating him as the composer who was to become an undisputed reference point of the 20th century.

Based on a poem published in 1810 with a more ethnographic than dramatic focus, Britten constructed a somber parable about the conflict between the masses and the individual. The maritime atmosphere, the crudity of people’s lives and passions, and the complex, impenetrable personality of the protagonist come together in a tragedy that ferments and explodes in the din of silence and hearsay; a tragedy which is immediately forgotten and gives way to the self-righteousness of everyday lives and the movement of the sea itself. After the recent success of Billy Budd, opera and theatre director Deborah Warner returns to the Teatro Real to premiere this coproduction between the Royal Opera House Covent Garden of London, the Opéra National de Paris (or the Paris Opera) and the Teatro dell’Opera of Rome. 



COMPOSER: Benjamin Britten

LIBRETTO: Montagu Slater

VENUE: Teatro Real, Madrid 

PRESENTING COMPANY: Teatro Real, Madrid 



Peter Grimes: Allan Clayton

Ellen Orford: Maria Bengtsson

Captain Balstrode: Christopher Purves

Auntie: Catherine Wyn-Rogers

Bob Boles: John Graham-Hall

Swallow: Clive Bayley

Mrs. Sedley: Rosie Aldridge

Rev. Horace Adams: James Gilchrist

Ned Keene: Jacques Imbrailo

Hobson: Barnaby Rea

First Niece: Rocío Pérez

Second Niece: Natalia Labourdette


ENSEMBLE: Teatro Real Orchestra

CHORUS: Teatro Real Chorus


CONDUCTOR: Ivor Bolton

November 20 | Luisa Miller (in Italian) / Verdi / Teatro dell'Opera, Rome

Luisa Miller

Rome Opera presents a stunning performance of Verdi’s Luisa Miller, starring Roberta Mantegna in the title role, alongside Michele Pertusi as Count Walter, Antonio Poli as Rodolfo, and Daniela Barcellona as Federica. Michele Mariotti conducts the Rome Opera Orchestra and Chorus from the stage of Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera.



COMPOSER: Giuseppe Verdi

LIBRETTO: Salvatore Cammarano

VENUE: Teatro dell'Opera, Rome 

PRESENTING COMPANY: Teatro dell'Opera, Rome



Count Walter: Michele Pertusi, 

Rodolfo: Antonio Poli

Frederica: Daniela Barcellona

Wurm: Nahuel di Pierro

Miller: Roberto Frontali

Luisa: Roberta Mantegna

Laura: Irene Savignano

Peasant: Rodrigo Ortiz 


ENSEMBLE: Rome Opera Orchestra

CHORUS: Rome Opera Chorus

CONDUCTOR: Michele Mariotti

November 27 | Silent Night (in English) / Puts/ Minnesota Opera

Silent Night

The 2021 WFMT Radio Network Opera Series concludes with MN Opera’s production of Kevin Puts’ Silent Night, conducted by Courtney Lewis. Performed in 2018, MN Opera’s international sensation makes its homecoming, honoring the centennial of World War I’s conclusion. Recounting a miraculous moment of peace during one of the bloodiest wars in human history, Scottish, French, and German officers defy their superiors and negotiate a Christmas Eve truce. The Pulitzer Prize-winning music underscores the yearning, despair, and hope of the soldiers living in the trenches. Silent Night masterfully juxtaposes the bombastic sounds of war with serene songs from home, and stands as a heartfelt hymn to our common humanity.



COMPOSER: Kevin Puts

LIBRETTO: Mark Cambell

VENUE: Ordway Center, MN




Anna Sørensen: Karin Wolverton

Nikolaus Sprink: Miles Mykkanen

Lt. Audebert: Edward Parks

Lt. Horstmayer: Joshua Jeremiah

Lt. Gordon: Christian Thurston

Jonathan Dale: Christian Sanders

Kronprinz: Stephen Martin

Father Palmer: Troy Cook

William Dale: Charles Eaton

Ponchel : Andrew Wilkowske

British Major: Nicholas Davis

General Audebert: Wm. Clay Thompson

Madeleine Audebert: Danielle Beckvermit


ENSEMBLE: Minnesota Opera Orchestra

CONDUCTOR: Courtney Lewis