Michael Kownacky

Program Host

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.

You can also hear Michael, along with his The Dress Circle co-host, on JazzOn2, every Wednesday evening from 7pm, eastern, for Strike Up the Band, a program celebrating the big bands and dance bands of jazz.

Ways to Connect

Quite often, a composer's name is forgotten although his songs are cherished for a long time; Hugh Martin is one of those composers, and on tonight's program, we'll sample some of his well-known and lesser-known work from film, TV, and stage through shows like MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, HANS BRINKER, LOVE FROM JUDY, and HIGH SPIRITS.

Jacques Offenbach's opera The Tales of Hoffmann was his last work and was left incomplete at the time of his death.  As a result, it is often staged with many changes that are against Offenbach's wishes.  On this week's Sunday Opera at 3 pm, we'll be looking at this wonderful score as it was meant to be produced and featuring a stellar cast lead by Francisco Araiza as Hoffmann, Samuel Ramey as all four of Hoffman's evil foils, Anne Sofie von Otter as The Muse / Niklausse, Eva Lind as Olympia, Jessye Norman as Antonia, and Cheryl Studer as the treacherous Giulietta.

This week's program will once again wax nostalgic as we remember Gordon MacRae through his work in films like CAROUSEL, OKLAHOMA!, THREE SAILORS AND A GIRL, TEA FOR TWO, and BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVERY MOON along with some of his pop recordings.  

Children performers are essential for many shows, and we'll be taking a look at some of these young actors through shows such as OLIVER!, ANNIE, FUN HOME, MATILDA,  FLOWER DRUM SONG, and SCHOOL OF ROCK.

This week's Sunday Opera (3 pm) will be taking two looks at operas with a connection to Gertrude Stein.  The first is The Mother of Us All, an opera about Susan B. Anthony by Virgil Thomson with a libretto by Stein that features Mignon Dunn in the title role along with James Atherton, Philip Booth, Batyah Godfrey, and the Santa Fe Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Raymond Leppard, cond.  The second is a 21st century work by Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek titled "27" which looks at Stein's life with Alice B. Toklas in Paris, starring Stephanie Blythe and Elizabeth Futral.

  If the old adage is right, and "April showers bring May flowers," we're in for some pretty bad allergic reactions in the upcoming months. To assuage that, we'll begin April with some pleasant music from some of the shows that opened this month including: FOLLIES, BARNUM, STEEL PIER, CHESS, WAITRESS, A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN and more.

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