Upcoming and Noteworthy

What's ahead on The Classical Network? Catch some of these great programs coming your way. Information on evening concert broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and other nationally broadcast performances can be found on our home page.

Amitava Sarkar

When Dallas Black Dance Theatre's Academy first created its Espresso Nutcracker in 2018, bringing together parts of the Tchaikovsky ballet with Duke Ellington's jazz-infused Nutcracker Suite, it quickly had to expand the production as venues sold out amid popular demand for tickets. This year it will continue its tradition with a virtual production, mixing video from past performances with newly recorded selections.

The Sunday Opera: Puccini's "Tosca" from La Scala

Nov 26, 2020

The tragic tale of famed singer Floria Tosca is the feature on this week’s Sunday Opera (11/29 3:00 p.m.) in a production of Puccini’s beloved opera from La Scala.  Set in Italy against the backdrop of the French Revolution and the onset of the Napoleonic Wars, Tosca (Anna Netrebko) unwittingly sets in motion the course of events that will eventually lead to her death as well as those of her lover Mario Cavaradossi (Francesco Meli), ruthless police chief Baron Scarpia (Luca Salsi) and escaped political prisoner Cesare Angelotti (Carlo Cigni). 

We’re celebrating a Broadway leading man on this week’s Dress Circle (11/29 7:00 p.m.) as we shine a spotlight on Brian Stokes Mitchell.  In this first segment, we’ll sample some of his performances on Broadway in the hits “Ragtime” by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and the revival of Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me Kate.”  We’ll also look at two concert versions of the musicals “South Pacific” by Rodgers and Hammerstein from Carnegie Hall and the Encores City Center production of the Jule Styne, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green musical “Do Re Mi.” 

The Lost Chord: November 29 - Fool's Paradise

Nov 26, 2020

Inspired by Brueghel’s painting “The Land of Cockaigne,” Knudage Rissager’s ballet, “Slaraffenland,” imagines a Promised Land “where roasted pigeons fly around in the air with knives and forks in their backs, and the streets are paved with marzipan and chocolate.”  A silly boy wanders into the country of King Sauce and becomes ill from overindulgence.  Along the way, he encounters Robin Hood, the Three Musketeers, Captain Fear, Fountains of Liqueur, Cigarettes, and the Candy Princess.  Conclude the long, gluttonous holiday weekend with a dose of musical tryptophan, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Some may think that the old saying “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” applies to piano teachers. Yet the fact is that some of the world’s most influential piano teachers happened to be great pianists and artists in their own right.

There’s more to Thanksgiving than turkey and football.  We’ll hear music from movies reflective of what’s best in human nature and most admirable in the American character, including selections from “The Cummington Story” (Aaron Copland), “Field of Dreams” (James Horner), “The Best Years of Our Lives” (Hugo Friedhofer), and “Lincoln” (John Williams); then count our blessings and aspire to do better, this Saturday at 6 pm.

A Tempo this week continues its look at how performing arts organizations are adapting their seasons, including holiday traditions, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Host Rachel Katz this Saturday (11/21 at 7 pm) speaks with Julie Diana Hench, executive director of the American Repertory Ballet, about how the ballet company has shifted lessons online and evaluated this year's season, and also with Marc Uys, executive director of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, whose virtual Holiday Pops concert performance includes a partnership with ARB for Nutcracker selections.

We’re heading to court on this week’s Sunday Opera (11/22 3:00 p.m.) with a double feature from Opera Delaware with their production of William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s “Trial by Jury” and Derrick Wang’s “Scalia and Ginsburg.”  “Trial by Jury” features Colin Doyle as Edwin, the man who is on trial for jilting Angelina (Anais Naharro-Murphy) because he’s found another.  Only a last minute inspiration by the Learned Judge (Ben Lowe) saves the case.  Wang’s piece looks at the unlikely friendship between Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Jennifer Zetlan) and Antonin Scalia (Brian Cheney).  They’re joined  by Ben Wager as The Commentator.  

Not all animated musicals come from the Disney Studios, and we’re going to look at four of them on this week’s Dress Circle (11/22 7:00 p.m.).  From an immigrant mouse to a famous cat and mouse team to bucolic animals telling an iconic American story to a beloved pair of misfits, we’ll hear songs from “An American Tail,” “Tom and Jerry the Movie,” “Tom Sawyer,” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”  We’ve planned another happy hour that we hope will incite some fond memories.

The Lost Chord: November 22 - Homebodies

Nov 19, 2020

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s hardly surprising our thoughts, memories, and desires would be full of home.   It’s a good time then to listen to John Fitz Rogers’ “Magna Mysteria,” a 2010 work that weaves together Latin biblical texts and poetic verse of the 6th century philosopher Boethius, elevating the idea of home – and the seeking of home – to a metaphorical or spiritual realm.  Also on the program will be Aaron Copland’s “Letter from Home,” of 1943-44.  In a year when reunions may be difficult, home is in our hearts, this Sunday at 10 pm.

On this week’s episode of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Virgil Thomson Award winning program Between the Keys, The Classical Network’s Artist-in-Residence Jed Distler “goes mazurk.” As in “mazurkas.”

“As longtime listeners know, I am obsessed by the Chopin Mazurkas,” says Distler. “And perhaps even more obsessed with the wide range of Mazurka playing on record, and with comparing different pianists in the same works.”

Joan Marcus

Picture Perfect Now on Saturday: Film Noir

Nov 12, 2020

In this season of long shadows, revisit the world of film noir, with music from “The Big Sleep” (Max Steiner), “Chinatown” (Jerry Goldsmith), “Miller’s Crossing” (Carter Burwell), and “Brute Force,” “The Killers,” and “The Naked City” (Miklós Rózsa).  Don your rumpled linen suit, draw the Venetian blinds, and play the sap for nobody, this Saturday at 6 pm.

As Covid-19 began its surge last March, American Ballet Theater quickly brought its education programs online, including dance instruction and ABTKids Daily - five days of content a week that brings ballet and related concepts to young audiences. That was followed during the ensuing months with other virtual programs from its dancers that kept the company engaged with its existing, and new-found, audiences.

The scene is ancient Gaul for this week’s Sunday Opera (11/15 3:00 p.m.) and the tragic love story of a Druid Priestess and her Roman consul lover in Vincenzo Bellini’s “Norma” from the Hamburg State Opera.  Marina Rebeka is the priestess Norma who breaks her vow of celibacy and has two children with the Roman invader, Pollione (Marcelo Puente), and after Pollione turns from Norma to the young priestess Adalgisa (Diana Haller), Norma confesses to her father Oroveso (Liang Li) and seals her fate.  

We’re featuring a sister-act on this week’s Dress Circle (11/15 7:00 p.m.) as we look at those Callaways, Ann Hampton and Liz with selections from their musical and solo recording careers.  Suggested by their recent concert and CD entitled Sibling Revelry, we’ll hear duets including something they call “The Huge Medley” and a song from Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along.”  

The Lost Chord: November 15 - Novel Inspirations

Nov 12, 2020

In Hermann Hesse’s “Steppenwolf,” the loner Harry Haller stumbles across a secret door, inscribed “MAGIC THEATER – NOT FOR EVERYBODY – FOR MADMEN ONLY.”  In “The Glass Bead Game,” the game itself, in which scholars strive to achieve perfection through a synthesis of the arts and sciences, is also described as a magic theater.  Explore this common thread in Hesse’s novels, with a concerto for horn and orchestra, “The Glass Bead Game,” by James Beckel, and “Music for a Magic Theater,” by George Rochberg.  Go mad for Hesse, this Sunday at 10 pm.

On this week’s episode of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Virgil Thomson Award winning program Between the Keys, The Classical Network’s Artist-in-Residence Jed Distler offers a program of Songs Without Words.

“Not Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words,” says Distler, “but rather a wide variety of pop songs, art songs, theater songs, movie songs and, well, all kinds of songs in solo piano transcriptions. We’ll run the gamut from Schubert and Duparc and Massenet to Radiohead, Lady Gaga and Lady Day. And actually there will be a Mendelssohn song in a Liszt transcription.”

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Idyllic communities can cast some long shadows.  Explore the dark underbelly of small-town life and the consequences of bucking conformity with music from “Peyton Place” (Franz Waxman), “Far from Heaven” (Elmer Bernstein), “Edward Scissorhands” (Danny Elfman), and “Kings Row” (Erich Wolfgang Korngold).  Good fences make good neighbors, this Saturday at 6 pm. 

NEXT WEEK: In the interest of balance, we’ll have film noir in the gritty city! 

London’s Royal Opera House takes us back to ancient Rome through Handel’s “Agrippina” on this week’s Sunday Opera (11/8 3:00 p.m.).  The ruthless Agrippina (Joyce DiDonato) works her wiles to ensure that her son Nerone (Franco Fagioli) will become the next emperor.  By pitting her henchmen Pallante and Narciso (Andrea Mastroni and Eric Jurenas) against her husband Claudio (Gianluca Buratto) and his chosen successor Ottone (Iestyn Davies), she places Nerone on the throne where he will become one of the most infamous of Rome’s emperors.   

The pandemic has curtailed many activities, but nothing can stop Ted from his quest for CDs.  We’ll be featuring some of his recent acquisitions on this week’s Dress Circle (11/8 7:00 p.m.) from solo recordings by Liz Callaway, Maria Friedman, and Barbara Cook to collections of the works of Martin and Blane and George Gershwin to songs from the soundtrack to the animated feature “The Road to Eldorado,” we’ll have yet another diverse hour of some excellent performances. 

The Lost Chord: November 8 - Fall of the Leif

Nov 5, 2020

It’s autumn in the North countries, as well as in the Nordic soul.  Test your limits. not only for lengthening shadows, but also on gratuitous vowels, with music by Danish composer Rued Langgaard – his Symphony No. 4, “Fall of the Leaf” – and Finnish master Einojuhani Rautavaara – “Autumn Gardens,” the composer’s meditation on beauty in nature and the transience of life.  The shadows lengthen and the days grow short, even as the names grow long, this Sunday at 10 pm.

With Election Day and its aftermath just ahead of us, The Classical Network’s Artist-in-Residence Jed Distler reflects on where we are in 2020 by offering a single, uninterrupted work on this week’s episode of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Virgil Thomson Award winning program Between the Keys: Frederic Rzewski’s monumental set of variations based on Sergio Ortega’s iconic song of resistance: The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, performed by pianist Corey Hamm.

It’s all about hauntings and specters for Halloween.  Tune in, if you dare, for otherworldly music from “The Uninvited” (Victor Young), “Beetlejuice” (Danny Elfman), “Poltergeist” (Jerry Goldsmith), and “Ghostbusters” (Elmer Bernstein). The bridge is out… you’ll have to spend the night, this Saturday at 6 pm.

Arts and cultural organizations in Princeton have struggled this past year in the midst of the pandemic, cancelling concerts, exhibits and other in-person activities, but many are working hard to ensure that they continue to promote and support the arts and bring programs to the public. This Saturday (10/31 at 7 pm) on A Tempo, host Rachel Katz visits with the new Executive Director of the Arts Council of Princeton, Adam Welch, who joined the council in August.

Unrequited love that leads to tragedy is the theme for this week's Sunday Opera (11/1 3:00 p.m.) in a production of Jules Massenet's "Werther" from London's Royal Opera House. The poet Werther (Juan Diego Flores) falls in love with the charming Charlotte (Isabel Leonard) during a Christmas ball they attend, but she is betrothed to Albert (Jacques Imbrailo) because of a promise she made to her mother on her mother's deathbed.  When they return to Charlotte's house, Werther tries to declare his love for Charlotte, but is interrupted by the news that Albert has returned, and Werther is despondent.  Over the course of a year, Werther writes of his love to Charlotte, but she is happily married, and once again, on Christmas Eve, she tells Werther that she cannot be with him, and he leaves, determined to commit suicide.

Happy November!  We're kicking-off the month on this week's Dress Circle (11/1 7:00 p.m.) as we usually do with selections from some of the musicals that opened in New York this month, and we are, once again, covering over 100 years of theatre history.  Our earliest musical represented is "The Red Petticoat," a 1912 hit, and our most recent musical is the 2018 sensation "The Prom."  

The Lost Chord: November 1 - Liszt of Saints

Oct 29, 2020

A charismatic showman who became one of Europe’s most famous performers, Franz Liszt turned his back on the concert stage at the age of 35.  He devoted himself to composition, teaching, and championing others’ music.  He never accepted payment from his students, emerged from retirement only for charitable causes, and eventually took minor orders in the Catholic Church.  For All Saints’ Day, sample from two works inspired by Liszt’s fascination with saints – the oratorios “The Legend of St. Elisabeth” and “St. Stanislaus.”  Add them to your Liszt, this Sunday at 10 pm.