Friday, October 2, 2020

Opera on Broadway

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from October 31, 2014. It can be found in our archives at


Our Podcast Vault selection this week feeds a thematic arc on our podcasting channel this week which I called “Operation Opera”.

Two of the titles released this week featured works by George Gershwin, a composer who is usually associated with musicals and with the famous New York theater district, Broadway.

One of the works we shared - Blue Monday - was included in a revue and the other, Porgy and Bess, was a daring attempt to put on a "grand opera". Even though Porgy is now staged by major operatic companies, its premiere was on Broadway, not the Met.

The post that originally accompanied today's share explored the opera phenomenon in the context of accessibility, and the pair of operas composed in the mid-1940s by Menotti are fine examples of this attempt to bring together the medium of opera and access to an audience that is less familiar with the same medium.

The bonus clip, another short opera by the same composer, attempts the same experiment with the radio audience. The Old Maid and the Thief is a short 14-scene opera composed expressly for radio, exploring a contemporary theme, in a language familiar to listeners. The chosen performance is the original feed from the NBC company, with the introduction (and synopsis) of the time.

I think you will (still) love this music too.

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