Thursday Night Opera House

portrait of Bob Chapman, host of Opera House

Bob Chapman

Grand Opera: A Sound Delight

The Classical Station offers two wonderful opportunities each week to hear the best in opera: Thursday nights at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday afternoons at 1:00 p.m. eastern from December through May. The Thursday Night 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.

Al Ruocchio hosted the Thursday Night Opera House from 1980 until his death in 2007. On December 4, 2008, Bob Chapman became the third host of the Thursday Night Opera House, succeeding Robert Galbraith. Bob is an opera singer who continues to use his wealth of experience and talents to bring the very best works of opera to our listeners with his show.

Fall 2021

September 2
Frank 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).

September 9
Arrigo Boito: Mefistofele
Based on Goethe’s magnum opus, the Devil, Mefistofele (Ramey), bets God that he can successfully ensnare the elderly Faust (Domingo) by matching him with the young Margherita (Marton).

September 16
Camille Saint-Saëns: Samson et Dalila
Samson (Domingo) leads a successful Hebrew revolt against the Philistines. Prompted by the High Priest of Dagon (Fondary), Dalila (Meier) robs Samson of his power by cutting off his hair.

September 23
Georges Bizet: Carmen
Naïve soldier Don José (Domingo) falls for the free-spirited Carmen (Troyanos), helps her escape from jail, goes AWOL, and joins her in a smuggling gang, only to lose her to the bullfighter Escamillo (Van Dam). (From the Ruocchio Archives.)

September 30
Vincenzo Bellini: Il Pirata
Deprived of his estates, Gualtiero (Marti) turns to piracy. Learning that his beloved Imogene (Caballé) has married his enemy Ernesto (Cappuccilli), he kills the latter—and Imogene goes mad.

October 7
Karl Goldmark: Die Königin von Saba
Although engaged to Sulamith (Kinces), Assad (Jerusalem), the favorite of King Solomon (Sólyom-Nagy), has fallen in love with the Queen of Sheba.

October 14
Benjamin Britten: Albert Herring
Unable to find a suitable May Queen, Lady Billows (Barstow) and her committee select Albert (Gillett) as May King. At his coronation, Sid (Finley) and Nancy (Taylor) spike Albert’s lemonade.

October 21
Giuseppe Verdi: Rigoletto
After Gilda (Sutherland), daughter of court jester Rigoletto (Milnes), is seduced by the Duke of Mantua (Pavarotti), the aggrieved father puts out a contract on the duke’s life. (From the Ruocchio Archives.)

October 28
Fall Membership Drive
Bob Chapman and Elizabeth Elliott play arias, ensembles, and choruses as you pledge your
support for the Thursday Night Opera House.

November 4
George Frederic Handel: Faramondo
King Faramondo of the Franks (Fortunato) is a lifelong rival of Gustavo (Castaldi), leader of a tribe called the Cimbrians. Pawns in their personal enmity are the king’s sister Clotilde (Baird) and Gustavo’s daughter Rosimonda (Lane).

November 11
Nancy Van de Vate: All Quiet on the Western Front
Benjamin Britten: War Requiem
American-born Austrian composer pays tribute to the sufferings in war of ordinary soldiers. British composer juxtaposes war poems with the Mass for the Dead.

November 18
Giacomo Puccini: Manon Lescaut
On her way to a convent, Manon Lescaut (Freni) falls in love with Des Grieux (Domingo). Seduced by the wealth of Geronte (Rydl), she leaves Des Grieux, but they are eventually reunited and deported. (From the Ruocchio Archives.)

November 25
Mark Adamo: Little Women
Louisa May Alcott’s tale of growing up in New England after the Civil War features Joyce DiDonato as Meg.

Summer 2021 Listings

June 3
Giuseppe Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera
Riccardo (Peerce) is in love with Amelia (Milanov), wife of his best friend Renato (Merrill). Fortune teller Ulrica (M. Anderson) tells Riccardo he’ll be killed by the next man to shake his hand.

June 10
Johann Strauss: Der Zigeunerbaron
Pig farmer Zsupán (Berry) wants Barinkay (Protschka) to marry daughter Arsena (Lindner), who prefers Ottokár (Finke), while Barinkay falls in love with Saffi (Várady).

June 17
Charles Gounod: Mireille
Mireille (Freni) loves Vincent (Vanzo), but her father, Ramon (Bacquier), wants her to marry Ourrias (Van Dam). (From the Ruocchio Archives.)

June 24
Giachino Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Jack-of-all-trades Figaro (Gobbi) skillfully helps Count Almaviva (Alva) win the hand of Rosina (Callas), the ward of old Bartolo (Ollendorff).

July 1
Carlisle Floyd: Susannah
Mark Scearce: Kitty Hawk
Daniel Thomas Davis: Family Secrets
In Susannah, an innocent woman (Studer) is victimized by a small-minded rural community. In Kitty Hawk, Wilbur (D. Schmidt) and Orville (M. Morgan) Wright attempt to become the first to fly an aircraft. In Family Secrets, a singer (A.E. Moore) describes how secrets define us and our sense of place.

July 8
Charles Gounod: Roméo et Juliette
Frère Laurent (Van Dam) secretly marries Roméo (Alagna) and Juliette (Gheorghiu), despite their families’ opposition—with deadly results

July 15
Gaetano Donizetti: L’Elisir d’Amore
Nemorino (Alagna) loves Adina (Devia), who falls instead for the soldier Belcore (Spagnoli); Nemorino tries a fake love potion sold by the charlatan Dr. Dulcamara (Praticò). (From the Ruocchio Archives.)

July 22
Giuseppe Verdi: Nabucco
Fenena (Obraztsova), daughter of King Nabucco of Babylon (Manuguerra), is in love with Ismaele (Luchetti), the nephew of the king of Jerusalem, while Fenena’s half-sister Abigaille (Scotto) is also in love with him.

July 29
Richard Wagner: Tannhäuser
Seduced by Venus (Baltsa), the knight Tannhäuser (Domingo) takes part in a minstrel contest for the hand of Elisabeth (Studer), the daughter of the landgrave Hermann (Salminen).

August 5
Ambroise Thomas: Hamlet
The Danish prince Hamlet (Hampson) reacts badly to the marriage of his mother Gertrude (Graves) to his uncle Claudius (Ramey), who murdered Hamlet’s father to gain the throne. The prince’s girlfriend Ophélie (J. Anderson) goes mad and drowns herself.

August 12
Pyotr Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin
Sophisticated Onegin (Kang) rebuffs country gal Tatyana (El-Khoury); jealous Lenski (Barry) is killed in a duel with Onegin, who has flirted with his fiancée Olga (Svede) in North Carolina Opera’s January 2016 performance.

August 19
Gaetano Donizetti: Don Pasquale
Pasquale (Bruscantini) wants to marry to prevent nephew Ernesto (Winbergh) from inheriting his estate. Malatesta (Nucci) suggests his sister Norina (Freni), who’s in love with Ernesto. (From the Ruocchio Archives.)

August 26
Jacques Offenbach: La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein
A grand duchess (Valentini-Terrani) with an eye for attractive young men promotes Private Fritz (Allemano) to general, but he’s engaged to Wanda (Di Censo) and has ideas of his own, forcing her to settle for Prince Paul (Plaza).

Winter 2020–21 Listings

December 3
Puccini’s Tosca
Tosca (Freni), a singer, gives herself to the Roman police chief, Scarpia (Ramey), to save her painter boyfriend, Cavaradossi (Domingo).

December 10
Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust
An aged philosopher, Faust (Lewis), sells his soul to the devil, Méphistophélès (Terfel), in exchange for another shot at youth, then seduces the beautiful Marguerite (Von Otter).

December 17
Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto
Paolino (Davies) is secretly married to Carolina (Auger), younger daughter of Geronimo (Fischer-Dieskau). (From the Ruocchio Archives.)

December 24
Christmas Eve at the Opera House
Sacred Christmas music performed by past- and present-day opera stars.

December 31
J. Strauss’s Die Fledermaus
Eisenstein (Kmentt) accepts Falke’s (Berry) invitation to a party; wife Rosalinde (Gueden) is visited by an old flame, Alfred (Zampieri); maid Adele (Köth) goes to the party of Prince Orlofsky (Resnik).

January 7
Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen
A clever, sharp-eared fox known as the Vixen (Watson) learns about life while on short adventures with other wildlife and a few humans.

January 14
Verdi’s Don Carlo
Don Carlo (Sylvester) is engaged to Elisabetta (Millo), but his father Filippo II (Furlanetto) marries her instead. Rodrigo (Chernov) tries to reconcile father and son but the Grand Inquisitor (Ramey) forces the king to assassinate him.

January 21
Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann
A poet, Hoffmann (Domingo), is inspired by three muses (Gruberová) but several villains (Bacquier, Morris, Diaz) conspire against him. (From the Ruocchio Archives.)

January 28
Mozart’s, et al., Der Stein der Weisen & Der Wohltätige Derwisch
First performed in 1790 and 1791, The Philosopher’s Stone and The Beneficient Dervish are pastiches—with music by Mozart, Henneberg, Schack, Gerl, and Schikaneder—that anticipate The Magic Flute.

February 4
Rossini’s Otello
Otello (Carreras) is in love with Desdemona (Von Stade), who’s been promised by her father, Elmiro (Ramey), to Rodrigo (Fisichella). Iago (Pastine) tells Otello that she’s been unfaithful.

February 11
Bernstein’s On the Town & West Side Story
On a 24-hour leave in New York City, three sailors (Garrison, Ollmann, Hampson) meet and connect with three women (Von Stade, Daly, McLaughlin). In a modern Romeo and Juliet story, a Puerto Rican woman, Maria (Te Kanawa), falls in love with a “real” American, Tony (Carreras).

February 18
Bellini’s Norma
A Druid priestess, Norma (Callas), is in a love triangle with her best friend, Adalgisa (Ludwig), and the father of her children, Pollione (Corelli). (From the Ruocchio Archives.)

February 25 Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande
After meeting Mélisande (Ewing) while hunting in the forest, Prince Golaud (Van Allen) marries her and then introduces his new wife to his half-brother, Pelléas (Le Roux)—and they promptly begin an adulterous relationship.

Opera House Newsletter

Bob describes the story of each week’s opera in his weekly Opera House Newsletter, e-mailed each Wednesday morning. Use the sign up form below to join the mailing list.

See previous quarters’ programming for Thursday Night Opera House.

Masthead photo: Puccini’s La Bohème by Evan Zimmerman and the Metropolitan Opera