When I was growing up and listening to WFLN, 95.7 FM in the Philadelphia area, after the end of the Metropolitan Opera's Saturday season broadcasts, WFLN would air recordings of operas on Saturday afternoons to keep opera on the radio throughout the year. Here in the St. Louis area, KFUO, 99.1 FM did the same. Sadly, both stations are gone.
So, in a modest attempt to keep Saturday opera broadcasts alive on terrestrial radio from the St. Louis area, KWUR will be airing 8 weeks of opera recordings, starting this coming Saturday, May 21 and continuing through Saturday, July 9, starting at 11 AM. As luck would have it, these recordings are all recent releases from Sony Classical and are remastered archive recordings of past Metropolitan Opera performances and broadcasts. All of the recordings feature the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, of course, and 7 of the 8 also feature the Metropolitan Opera Chorus (the exception is the opera on July 2, for those who don't already know). The schedule is as follows, with the principal artists and the conductor:
Saturday, May 21: Rossini, Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville). Lily Pons (Rosina); Giuseppe di Stefano (Count Almaviva); Giuseppe Valdengo (Figaro); Salvatore Baccaloni (Dr. Bartolo); Jerome Hines (Don Basilio); Alberto Erede, conductor (live performance from December 16, 1950; Sony Classical 88697 80462 2)
Saturday, May 28: Mozart, Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). Roberta Peters (Susanna); Lucine Amara (Countess Almaviva); Mildred Miller (Cherubino); Regina Resnik (Marcellina); Cesare SIepi (Figaro); Kim Borg (Count Almaviva); Ezio Flagello (Don Bartolo); Gabor Carelli (Don Basilio); Erich Leinsdorf, conductor (live performance from January 28, 1961; Sony Classical 88697 85310 2)
Saturday, June 4: Beethoven, Fidelio. Birgit Nilsson (Leonore/Fidelio); Laurel Hurley (Marzelline); Jon Vickers (Florestan); Oskar Czerwenka (Rocco); Hermann Uhde (Don Pizarro); Giorgio Tozzi (Don Fernando); Karl Böhm, conductor (live performance from February 13, 1960; Sony Classical 88697 85309 2)
Saturday, June 11: Gounod, Roméo et Juliette (Romeo and Juliet). Bidú Sayão (Juliette); Mimi Benzell (Stéphano); Jussi Björling (Roméo); John Brownlee (Mercutio); Nicola Moscona (Friar Laurence/Frère Laurent); Emil Cooper, conductor (live performance from February 1, 1947; Sony Classical 88697 80465 2)
Saturday, June 18: Puccini, La bohème. Licia Albanese (Mimi); Laurel Hurley (Musetta); Carlo Bergonzi (Rodolfo); Mario Sereni (Marcello); Norman Scott (Colline); Clifford Harvuot (Schaunard); Thomas Schippers, conductor (live performance from February 15, 1958; Sony Classical 88697 80463 2)
Saturday, June 25: Puccini, Tosca. Leontyne Price (Tosca); Franco Corelli (Cavaradossi); Cornell MacNeil (Scarpia); Norman Scott (Angelotti); Ezio Flagello (Sacristan); Kurt Adler, conductor (live performance from April 6, 1962; Sony Classical 88697 80468 2)
Saturday, July 2: Wagner, Die Walküre (The Valkyrie). Birgit Nilsson (Brünnhilde); Leonie Rysanek (Sieglinde); Christa Ludwig (Fricka); Phyllis Brill (Gerhilde); Gwendolyn Killebrew (Waltraute); Louise Pearl (Schwertleite); Carlotta Ordassy (Ortlinde); Clarice Carlson (Helmwige); Barbro Ericson (Siegrune); Rosalid Hupp (Rossweisse); Joann Grillo (Grimgerde); Jon Vickers (Siegmund); Karl Ridderbusch (Hunding); Thomas Stewart (Wotan); Berislav Klobucar, conductor (live performance from February 24, 1968; Sony Classical 88697 85308 2)
Saturday, July 9: Wagner, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg). PIlar Lorengar (Eva); Shirley Love (Magdalene); James King (Walther von Stolzing); Theo Adam (Hans Sachs); Benno Kusche (Beckmesser); Loren Driscoll (David); Ezio Flagello (Pogner); Thomas Schippers, conductor (live performance from January 15, 1972; Sony Classical 88697 85304 2)
Any questions or comments, feel free to post on the blog or drop me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thanks for reading.