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The Sunday Opera: George Frideric Handel's "Jephtha" from Music of the Baroque

The Sunday Opera heads to Illinois for this week’s program (10/22 3:00 p.m.) that begins with one of Handel’s oratorios: the biblical tale of “Jephtha” featuring a production by Music of the Baroque conducted by Dame Jane Glover.

In a nutshell, Jephtha (David Portillo) heads off to war to lead the Israelite army against the Ammonites, under whose rule they have suffered for 18 years. As he leaves, he promises God that he will sacrifice the first living thing he sees upon his return if he is victorious. Unfortunately, that first living thing is his daughter, Iphis (Lauren Snouffler), who lovingly runs out to meet her victorious father.

True to his word, he begins to sacrifice her, but an angel (Katelyn Lee) appears who tells Jephtha that God finds human sacrifice abhorrent, so Iphis can live, but she must remain a virgin and dedicate herself to serving God.

The remainder of the cast includes Clara Osowski as Storge, Jephtha’s wife, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as Hamor, the young man in love with Iphis, and Neal Davies as Zebul, Jephtha’s brother who recalls Jephtha from exile so that he can liberate the Israelites.

We’re once again changing things up after the opera when host Michael Kownacky will be bringing you a historic performance of Wilhelm Furtwangler’s powerfully brooding Symphony No. 2 in E minor in a live recording from 1954. Eugen Jochum planned to lead the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in a celebration for the composer Furtwangler, but it became a memorial for him with Furtwangler’s death just a few days before the performance.

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.
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