Opera on WCPE

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 WCPE 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.


Opera House Performances for Summer 2019


June 6

Le Temple de la Gloire

Rameau: Le Temple de la Gloire

In this world premiere recording of a 1745 opera, each act concerns a king attempting to enter the Temple of Glory.

June 13

Aureliano in Palmira

Rossini: Aureliano in Palmira

This highly fictionalized tale of the clash of Roman emperor Aureliano (Di Cesare) with Queen Zenobia of Palmyra (Mazzola) begins with a familiar overture.

June 20


Puccini: Tosca

Cavaradossi (Domingo) is arrested and tortured by police chief Scarpia (Milnes), who agrees to release him if Tosca (Price) will sleep with him. (From the Ruocchio Archives.)

June 27

El Gato Montes

Penella: El Gato Montés

In this 1916 zarzuela, a woman (Villarroel) stirs a fatal rivalry between a bullfighter (Domingo) and a bandit (Pons).

July 4

Show Boat

Kern: Show Boat

Magnolia (Von Stade) marries gambler Gaylord (Hadley) and moves with him to Chicago, where he deserts her and their daughter. Julie (Stratas) and her mixed-race husband Steve (Barton) are charged with miscegenation. Dock worker Joe (Hubbard) extols the wisdom of “Ol’ Man River.”

July 11


Gomes: Il Guarany

The Guaraní prince Peri (Domingo) rescues Cecilia (Villarroel) from the Spanish, who have planned to hand her over to the rival Aymoré tribe.

July 18


Flotow: Martha

Lady Harriet (Rothenberger) and her maid Nancy (Fassbaender), disguised as peasants, become servants of farmers Plunkett (Prey) and Lionel (Gedda). (From the Ruocchio Archives.)

July 25


Rossini: Elisabetta, Regina d'Inghilterra

Queen Elisabeth I (Caballé) is furious to discover that the earl of Leicester (Carreras) has secretly married Matilde (Masterson). When he refuses to give her up, the queen has Leicester imprisoned.

August 1

The Saint of Bleecker Street

Menotti: The Saint of Bleecker Street

Set in New York’s "Little Italy," a saintly young woman hears voices and sees angelic visions but her agnostic brother wants her hospitalized.

August 8

La Grande Duchesse

Offenbach: La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein

A grand duchess (Valentini-Terrani) promotes private Fritz (Allemano) to general, but he is engaged to Wanda (Di Censo) and has ideas of his own, forcing her to settle for foppish prince Paul (Plaza).

August 15

Der Freischutz

Weber: Der Freischütz

Kaspar (Wlaschiha), who has sold his soul to the devil, makes a deal with Max (Araiza) to obtain some magic bullets for use in a shooting contest for the hand of Agathe (Mattila). (From the Ruocchio Archives.)

August 22


Verdi: Falstaff

An opportunistic and comically unsuccessful seducer gets his comeuppance in this operatic adaptation of Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor.

August 29

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).

Bob prepares a synopsis of each opera which we email every Wednesday morning. Use the form below to subscribe to this informative newsletter.