The Classical Station offers two wonderful opportunities each week to hear the best in opera: Thursday nights at 7 p.m. and Saturday afternoons at 1:00 p.m. from December through May. The Opera House has been a regular Thursday night feature on The Classical Station since April of 1980. On Saturday afternoons from December through May we broadcast the Metropolitan Opera Saturday afternoon matinees.

Robert Chapman

The late Al Ruocchio hosted Opera House from 1980 until his death in 2007. On December 4th, 2008, Bob Chapman became only the third host in the history of the WCPE Opera House, succeeding Robert Galbraith. Bob is an experienced opera singer himself, and continues to use his wealth of experience and talents to bring the very best works of opera to our listeners with his show. Bob describes the story of each week's opera in his weekly Opera House Newsletter. To receive your personal copy, use the sign up form at the bottom of this page. Bob emails his newsletter on Wednesday mornings. Click on the link on each opera title below to read Bob's synopsis for that opera.


Winter 2019-2020


December 5

Gounod: Roméo et Juliette
Frère Laurent (Van Dam) secretly marries Roméo (Kraus) and Juliette (Malfitano), despite their families’ opposition—with deadly results.

December 12

Beethoven: Fidelio
Disguised as a man, Leonore (Voigt) rescues husband Florestan (Heppner) from prison, where he’s being held by Don Pizarro (Von Kannen).

December 19

Donizetti: L'Elisir d'Amore
Nemorino (Alagna) loves Adina (Devia), who falls instead for the swaggering soldier Belcore (Spagnoli); Nemorino tries a fake love potion sold by the charlatan Dr. Dulcamara (Praticó). (From the Ruocchio Archives.)

December 26

Humperdinck: Hänsel und Gretel
Sent to pick strawberries by their mother, the children Hänsel (Seefried) and Gretel (Rothenberger) are captured by a witch (Höngen) in this classic German fairy tale.

January 2

Bernstein: West Side Story
In this 1950s update of the Romeo and Juliet story, a young Puerto Rican woman, Maria (Te Kanawa), tragically falls in love with a "real" American, Tony (Carreras).

January 9

Donizetti: La Fille du Régiment
Marie (Sutherland) was "adopted" as a girl by a Tyrolean grenadier regiment and is romantically pursued by a suspected spy named Tonio (Pavarotti).

January 16

Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur
Adriana (Tebaldi) falls for a count, Maurizio (Del Monaco), and competes with Princess de Bouillon (Simionato). (From the Ruocchio Archives.)

January 23

Massenet: Cendrillon
In this retelling of the Cinderella story, Fairy Godmother (Welting) arranges for Lucette (Von Stade) to attend a royal ball where she meets Prince Charming (Gedda) over the objections of her stepmother, Madame de la Haltière (Berbié).

January 30

Mozart: Don Giovanni
Libertine Don Giovanni (Ramey), aided by servant Leporello (Furlanetto), tries to seduce Donna Anna (Tomowa-Sintow) but kills her father the Commendatore (Burchuladze), who ultimately takes the Don to Hell.

February 6

Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera
Riccardo (Bergonzi) is in love with Amelia (L. Price), wife of his best friend Renato (Merrill). Fortune teller Ulrica (Verrett) tells Riccardo he'll be killed by the next man to shake his hand.

February 13

Loesser: The Most Happy Fella
Middle-aged Napa Valley vintner Tony (Weede) makes a mail-order marriage proposal to Rosabella (Sullivan), who mistakenly thinks she's marrying Tony's handsome young foreman, Joe (Lund).

February 20

Puccini: Madama Butterfly
Butterfly (Freni), a teenaged Japanese geisha, naively marries an American navy officer, Pinkerton (Pavarotti), despite warnings by her servant Suzuki (Ludwig) and American consul Sharpless (Kerns). (From the Ruocchio Archives.)

February 27

Rossini: Le Comte Ory
In the castle of countess Adèle (Jo), whose absent husband is on a Crusade, the licentious Count Ory (Aler), his page Isolier (Montague), and their followers dress up as nuns to seduce the women and raid the wine cellars.

Bob prepares a synopsis of each opera which he emails every Wednesday morning. Use this form to subscribe to this informative newsletter.