Tuesday, May 31, 2005

No opera show today folks

My apologies - no live show at WHFR and no updated songs in the web radio blog. Very hectic week here, please check back in a day or so, thanks!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Parsifal with George London - Part 2

Part 2 today, 10am-1PM EST (-5 GMT) Listen Live by clicking the link to the right. You are welsome to leave your comments, requests, and suggestions here in the comments section.

Thanks, WOD

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

How do you get to be a radio host? Variety in programming at WHFR (long post, folks)

Andrea asked some good questions in the comments, so I'm answering them in a post instead of in the comments area:
"I read and understand the mission, but I'm wondering if students come up with their own shows based on genres they want to play? As long as there is variety?"
LOL!!!To answer your questions...yes and sort of.

We have to play a certain percentage of uncharted artists to fulfill our mission statement. There are some hosts who have been there for years...the host I am covering for tomorrow night, hosts an indie rock/comedy show he has been doing there for 17 years. So we are "students" but a few of us really stretch the semantics of the word.

When we take the training class, we are asked what our favorite format is. Not surprisingly, rock, jazz and blues are the top three. So the bulk of the programming is in those formats, and because some of those hosts are local "celebs", having been on the air so long, if they have to stop doing their show for an extended time period, the station tries to find someone in training who has a similar format so it doesn't jolt the listeners too much.

The downside to being a trainee is that when you first go on the air, you usually get the midnight-2AM time slot. Not for the person who holds down a day job. Most time slots are 2 hours, a few are 1 hour, and a very few - myself and a very popular hip-hop show on Sat night (Hi Zone guys!!) are 3 hours.

Ok, I'm rambling a bit, but back to the questions. so yes, we pick our own format, but if you have a format that is overexposed (indie rock, jazz/blues) in the current programming, you may wait a long time to get a show. And because the majority of people who enroll in the training are very young, often just out of high school, there is a lot of attrition in their ranks, so shows have a lot of turnover.

The bonus to our station really IS the variety factor. The video game show has one of the better hosts at the station, also the aforementioned "Lounge Act" on Wednesday nights, the Zone guys with hip-hop on Sat., we have bigband jazz, talk radio, and some very good syndicated programming, such as Harry Shearer's "Le Show" and the folk show "Mountain Stage".

Your second question touches on classical indirectly. I have mentioned here before that the Metro Detroit area lost its only 24-hour 7-day a week classical program more than 15 years ago. I am the only live host of a classical program in the area. One other station programs classical as well, for 4 hours a week.

The station manager realized that a large void was left unfilled and brought in satellite programming of classical through PRI (Public Radio International) for 60 hours a week. I have my show, and another show also plays some VERY avant-garde new classical that is a little too esoteris for my more traditional audience. At first the station tried to have current students host, but it didn't go over well. The languages you need to be able to announce in are fairly daunting - Italian, French and German are the basics. Spanish, Latin, Czech, and Russian are also regular staples, and with the large number of Asian recording artists, being able to announce names in any Asian languages helps. At that time, the student body didn't have anyone who was multi-lingual until I joined the staff.

I have to practice what I am announcing over and over, and still, sometimes...it falls flat. Or fun things like losing the internet connection JUST AS I WAS EXPLAING THE SYNOPSIS OF TODAYS OPERA. Yikes. More about that later.

Um, hey...did that answer your question? Sorry for the long, rambling post. :)

A regular day in the opera hood - Parsifal with George London

Todays show, which you can access by clicking the HERE, which will take you to the radio station Internet Stream, will be playing Parsifal, the following recording. 10 AM-1PM EST (-5 GMT)
Hans Knappertsbusch (cond) Marta Mödl (Kundry), Wolfgang Windgassen (Parsifal), George London (Amfortas), Ludwing Weber (Gunermanz), Hermann Uhde (Klingsor), Arnold van Mill (Tiruel). Chorus and Orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival (1951).

It is a safe assumption that I will have to break it up over 2 shows, this week and next week. Classical programming ends at 1PM on Tuesday at the station.
:) end of transmission, WOD

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Celebrate singer-songwriters on the radio blog to your right

Welcome back to another Sunday and new music in the radio blog to your right. Remember that it POPS UP so you can listen to music while you visit other sites or read through this one.
A shorter selection, and NON-OPERATIC (except for the closing piece, which is as always Wagner) this week. We are celebrating singer-songwriters who WOD thinks are worth a listen to vocally.
First up? Tom Jones. Yes, that Tom Jones who in my humble opinion, could have had a classical career if he wanted it. We hear him with the band Portishead, in a cover of the old folk tune, "Motherless Child". Welsh vibrato, baby.
2 - The Bobs with Ladysmith Black Mombazo (sp?) in a cover of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". The Kings Singers aren't the only ones out there doing good a capella. Think it's easy? Try it sometime.
3 - The Sweetest Embrace - the most evil "breakup" song ever written, and featuring Nick Cave the goth king of depressing, Leonard Cohen, Canada's Musical Poet Laureate, and Barry Adamson, who is an undiscovered genius writing songs that should be film soundtracks. Oh wait, he's done a couple of those. Vocally, it doesn't get much darker than this.
4 - Stephen Sondheim - The Ballad of Booth : from his musical theater piece titled "Assassins" - a musical about Presidential assassins of all things. I firmly beleive that Sondheim is America's leading opera composer. Don't argue with me about this, you'll lose. This is an edited version, both for length and language. In the original, there are long stretches of dialogue and some fairly non-PC references. John Wilkes Booth was an actor and the assassin of President Lincoln. I first heard this sung by an opera singer, and really wish I had a recording of that version. Sorry about the levels, folks. I'll see if I can fix it.
5 - Surprise, by Liz Larin. A bit of a tangent jump after the Sondheim, but Liz Larin should be right up there with Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos when it comes to female singer-songwriters. A wonderful unique jazz-tinged vocal style as well. Go visit her here, she has a new album out. This cut is from her last album, "The Story of O-Miz". Puts on a great live show, writes her own stuff - what's not to like?

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Death of Classical Music? - open discussion

The following article gives food for thought about the state, goals, and outlook for classical music today.
True, the "death knell" has been sounding for some time now - is it really rattling its last few breaths? I would like to hear from those of you who are regular listeners AS WELL AS casual listeners. As a radio host, it is my job to bring peopl what they want to hear - do people even WANT to hear classical anymore?

Use the "trills" link below this text to comment. Thanks and welcome if you are new, and welcome back if you are a returning visitor.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Playtime for What's Opera, Doc?

Ok, I had to join the gang over at Bucky Four Eyes when they decided to break out the "create your own South Park character" game.  Audio here.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Tuesday live show - Conclusion of Ariadne auf Naxos, and webstats

Hi all-
Tuesdays 10AM show will include the conclusion of last weeks broadcast of Ariadne auf Naxos - to listen live, just click on the link to the right that says "Listen Live".
Hey, a quick note about this site - just so you know, you can chat with me by clicking on the "trills" link below each entry. I would love to know who my listeners/visitors are...I can see you in my stats, and I know some of you, but someone in Nappannee, Indiana spends a LOT of time here, and doesn't say hi.
C'mon, say hi. :)

Placido gets a "nose" job - CNN News

Here is the LINK
It is only available in RealPlayer, sorry. Don't blame me, blame CNN. This is the synopsis of the story:Opera star has 'nose' job (2:36)

Placido Domingo is getting a bigger 'nose' for his role Cyrano de Bergerac at the Metropolitan Opera. CNN's Jeanne Moos explains (May 4)

Why is this a big deal? Well, for opera singers "the mask" is everything. Without getting into a huge technical discussion (email me or use the comments below if you REALLY want to know) it is the part of the face around the nose and mouth that resonates as you sing. Singers can actually FEEL this sensation, and it often helps them determine if the sound is "placed" correctly. For Placido Domingo to wear a prosthetic is a great risk, a risk of the "how cool" variety.
Rock on with your bad self, PD.

As you can see, WOD has had a bit of a facelift - thank the way cool owner of Soundque for letting me do web design stuff on company time.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

New opera music on the blog - and more about me - long post today

Hi all, it is Sunday, which means new music in the radio blog to your right. THIS WEEK'S THEME - lesser-known arias, with a few exceptions, cause I was hurting to hear me some Bryn Terfel.
We have Dolora Zajick weighing in with some phenomenal Mussorgsky, Ezio Pinza with "Vecchia Zimarra" (aka The Coat Aria) Jose Cura sings from Puccini's Edgar, and Ruth Ann Swenson from Meyerbeer's "Les Huguenots". All in all, a fun mix, with some old standards thrown in there for the "newbies".
Remember that the blue radio player to you right POPS UP so you can surf other websites while you listen. By why would you want to? :)
So I promised more about me, your host, WOD.
I have been getting emails asking if the recordings you are hearing are my show. Actually, no, those are just an extra treat - to listen to my show, look to the right, where it says LISTEN LIVE, and click on that link Tuesday from 10AM-1PM EST or -5 GMT, "What's Opera, Doc?" will play live streaming from the radio station at WHFR.FM, 89.3.
Another question is - do you do this for a living? Or, you should do this for a living. (I like those, so keep 'em coming) Nope, its ALL volunteer, listeners. I do this cause I like the music, and I want to bring it to the youngins. (laughs) Classical music is in an odd place right now, and since I am young myself, I want to let people know that its "not just for blue hairs anymore".
It also doesn't prevent you from listening to other music, which I do all the time. Here is a link to another type of music that WOD listens to on occasion.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Dearborn Symphony - WHFR will be there! - TONIGHT, May 6th - 8pm

WHFR will have a table in the lobby - come say hello. :)
Dearborn Symphony Orchestra
Dearborn, MI 48123
Phone: (313) 565-2424
Ford Community & Performing Arts Center

John Corigliano Elegy for Orchestra
Johannes Brahms Concerto for Violin
Carolyn Huebl, violin
Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 5
TONIGHT, May 6th - 8pm

Cuteness alert!!
Hamster Opera

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Tamino's serpent? Why...yes! Thats it!

A poster on opera-l (Hi Ariane) made the creative leap and called my tat "Tamino's serpent". I love the idea!!

"Zu Hilfe! Zu Hilfe! Sonst bin ich verloren,
Der listigen Schlange zum Opfer erkoren"

Damn straight, people.

On Sunday - in her honor - all music from Die Zauberflote.
While I am at it - time to give props, kudos, compliments to Ariane, who is the author of A Young Person's Guide to the Opera
This book is "an easy-to-read, entertaining book which explains the often-complicated stories of the great operas."

We are all about that at What's Opera, Doc? Anyone who brings this music to children?
Get thee to her website!
Better yet, how about I interview her?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Self Portrait day pic - yes, its opera-related

Ok, for all of my "normal" radio listeners, TECHNICALLY this is a blog, not a website, so I caved and agreed to participate in SPD, otherwise known as Self Potrait Day, where a LOT of people on the Internet post a portrait of themselves, usually themed.
I couldn't do the Dooce "How To Annoy Me Thing", because I need to make this opera-related. Although techinically, opera annoys a LOT of people, so...I guess it fits the theme. ; )
My theme, of course, is opera.
Anyone out there in listener-land who can tell what opera manuscript I am viewing will get an actual picture of me, and not just my hand. For those of you who can identify what ACT it is that I am reviewing, I will send you a brand-spanky new classical CD. Anyone who goes for the triple threat and can tell which version of the opera gets a box set.
Ready to play?


Day Late and a Dollar Short? 1984 as an opera?

Um, me thinks I liked the Jerry Springer opera better. And If I remember correctly, didn't the film version of 1984 TANK? And it was much more timely when it was released, oh, say, in 1984. Well, we will see, but WOD is highly skeptical.
Link to the news article HERE

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Who's your favorite composer in opera?

On opera-l there is a "whats your favorite opera" thread going on - I decided I had to post the current results BY COMPOSER, which are still being tallied. NOTE: There are roughly 3,000 members on the list.

For those who are interested, incidentally, here's how the list broke
down by major composers (with more than one opera) through 11:15 p.m.

64.5 Verdi
47.0 Wagner
45.0 Mozart
36.0 Puccini
30.5 R. Strauss
11.0 Bellini
9.5 Britten
9.5 Handel
8.0 Rossini (not including the lister who named "any five by
8.0 Berlioz
5.0 Donizetti
5.0 Menotti

Monday, May 02, 2005

Tuesdays live radio show - Ariadne auf Naxos with Leotyne Price, Tatiana Troyanos

Live on the air tomorrow, and not related to the radio blog to your right. (did you know it pops UP?
I have been on a vinyl kick recently, and will be playing the entire Ariadne auf Naxos by Strauss, featuring Leontyn Price, Tatiana Troyanos, Edita Gruberova, Walter Berry and Rene Kollo. The London Philharmonic w/Sir Georg Solti conducting.
Playing vinyl is always a treat, [heavy sarcasm] because of the evil crossfader that they put in. The hip hop guys love it, and it is basically the bane of my existence.
I really love the warm sound of vinyl, so it should be fun. :)

As always, 10AM-1PM, EST live Internet stream at http://www.whfr.fm


Sunday, May 01, 2005

radio annoucers

Hi all there has been a lot of discussion on the opera-l list recently about the newish Metropolitan Opera broadcast host, Margaret Juntwait. I posted this on the list, and decided to repeat it here:

There's been a lot of chat about Juntwait sounding, tired, ill, stressed, dull, schoolmarmish, usw.

As a host who also does a program that runs 3 hours, sometimes it is physically taxing to speak for long periods of time on the air - it is very difficult to keep the voice sounding "fresh".

I admire her and all other hosts for the hard work that they do - am I in her league? By no means, but I am still on the air.

I have to read PSA's (public service annoucements), station breaks, local concert annoucements, new releases, opera synopsis for each act, and forward and back announcing everything played.

Its a lot of work folks, and some weeks I sound like Tallulah Bankhead, I'm so raspy.

Remember that its a job like any other, and sometimes we all have bad days. I tear myself apart somedays when my Italian seems to desert me completely - I spend a few hours every week planning my playlist and practicing everything I have to announce, only to have it desert me once the "on air" light is on.

Maybe it time to post a photo of the studio.

New music in the radio blog - Opera duets

New Music!! In the radio blog to the right and lower down if you scroll.
The names of the selections are hosed - I don't know what's wrong with the code, so if you want to know what something is, write me and I will tell you.
Grrrr!!! Must fix - music gremlins must be back.