Houston Grand Opera's 2003 production of Lehar's THE MERRY WIDOW from January 30 - February 16, 2003. Photo credit: San Francisco Opera, Ken Friedman.



Parisian partying at its turn-of-the-century grandest is the theme of Houston Grand Opera’s The Merry Widow. Sung in English, this operetta full of memorable waltzes features the “voice of an angel” (Houston Press): internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, who made her HGO debut this fall as Ariodante. Graham sings Hanna Glawari, the Merry Widow and heiress to millions. She is wooed by all the eligible bachelors in Paris, but has eyes only for her former beau Count Danilo, sung by Danish baritone Bo Skovhus, whose last HGO appearance (last year’s title role in Eugene Onegin) was “magnificent” and “mesmerizing” (Opera News).

American bass Dale Travis sings Pontevedrian ambassador Baron Mirko Zeta, desperate to keep Hanna’s wealth in their native country. Meanwhile, Zeta’s wife Valencienne, sung by HGO Studio soprano Laquita Mitchell (HGO debut), flirts with Camille de Rosillon, sung by American tenor Chad Shelton. Njegus, the baron’s assistant and co-conspirator in matching Danilo with Hanna, is sung by Jason Graae in his HGO debut, and Brooks Almy makes her HGO debut in the hilarious role of Praskovia. The cast is led by HGO Music Director Patrick Summers conducting the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Chorus, prepared by Chorus Master Richard Bado.

Lotfi Mansouri’s lavish production from San Francisco Opera by set designer Michael Yeargan, costume designer Thierry Bosquet, and lighting designer Scott Zielinski will be staged at HGO by director Stanley M. Garner with choreography by Peggy Hickey. The English translation is by Christopher Hassall.

Houston Grand Opera's 2003 production of Lehar's THE MERRY WIDOW from January 30 - February 16, 2003. Photo credit: San Francisco Opera, Ken Friedman.

Making a comeback after a twenty-year absence in Houston, The Merry Widow opens on Thursday, January 30, 2003, at 7:30 p.m. Further performances are on February 1, 7, 9m, 11, 14, and 16m, at 7:30 p.m. for evening performances and 2:00 p.m. for matinees (designated by “m”).

About the Opera: The Merry Widow debuted in Vienna in 1905 and was an instant hit, sparking an international fashion craze. Since then, it has been made into three Hollywood films and has remained one of the most popular operettas for generations, with beautiful tunes and lively dancing. Much of the action is set at Maxim’s, the hotspot of decadent Parisian nightlife at the turn of the century. The jovial music and romantic nostalgia make The Merry Widow an easy audience favorite. Operetta (light opera with an emphasis on spoken dialogue and song-and-dance numbers) was the immediate forerunner of the American musical; our English-language production and an updated libretto will ensure the audience does not miss a beat of this comedic, bubbly show.

About the Story: The beautiful, young Hanna Glawari (the show’s Merry Widow), has just arrived in Paris from Pontevedro to find a new husband. As heiress to millions, she makes quite a splash, but Baron Zeta, the local Pontevedrian ambassador, worries that the loss of her wealth will bankrupt their country if she marries a Frenchman. Zeta implores fellow Pontevedrian Count Danilo, Hanna’s former beau, to marry her, but Danilo avoids Hanna, refusing to join the horde of men wooing her for her money. However, once the truth is revealed that Hanna will lose her fortune if she remarries, Danilo is free to admit his love for her, and the crowd cheers the match.

Houston Grand Opera's 2003 production of Lehar's THE MERRY WIDOW from January 30 - February 16, 2003. Photo credit: San Francisco Opera, Ken Friedman.

About the Artists: Susan Graham (Hanna Glawari), called “America’s favorite mezzo” by Gramophone magazine, has garnered fame internationally for embracing vocal works both traditional and cutting-edge. In 2000, she created the character Sister Helen in San Francisco Opera’s world premiere of Dead Man Walking by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Terrence McNally. She gave “the performance of a lifetime” (USA Today), and the production was so successful that extra performances were added, and it was recorded for release by Erato. She also created the role of Jordan Baker in John Harbison’s opera The Great Gatsby at the Metropolitan Opera. Last season, Ms. Graham celebrated the tenth anniversary of her Met debut with performances of Mozart’s Idomeneo and also sang with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the opening performance of Seiji Ozawa’s final season featuring Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Later in the season, she took a recital tour through Paris, Berlin, London, Lisbon, and Amsterdam; reprised the role of Idamante in Idomeneo at the Opéra National de Paris (Garnier); and went to the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels for Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust under Antonio Pappano. Ms. Graham grew up in Texas but just made her Texas professional debut this fall in Houston Grand Opera’s Ariodante; the Houston Chronicle called her performance a “triumph” and called her a “sensation.”

“Who wouldn’t fall in love with Eugene Onegin in the person of Danish baritone Bo Skovhus?” asked the Dallas Morning News about Mr. Skovhus’s last role with Houston Grand Opera, 2001. He made his HGO debut in 1998 in the title role of Billy Budd and now assumes the role of Count Danilo, which he performed last season for San Francisco Opera in this same production of The Merry Widow. Other roles in American houses include Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro, San Francisco Opera), Yeletsky (Pique Dame, Lyric Opera of Chicago), and Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus, Metropolitan Opera). He made his operatic debut at the Vienna Volksoper in 1988 as Don Giovanni and was presented with the title of Kammersänger in 1997. He also performs in Vienna with the State Opera, the Musikverein, and the Konzerthaus, as well as in major opera houses in Europe, America, and Japan. His operatic repertoire also includes Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Wolfram in Tannhäuser, Oliver in Capriccio, Barber in Die Schweigsame Frau, and title roles in Wozzeck and Hamlet. Mr. Skovhus is considered one of today’s foremost interpreters of lieder and has appeared in recital with the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and at the Schubertiade Feldkirch, Wigmore Hall, and La Scala, among others.

American tenor Chad Shelton (Camille de Rosillon) made his international debut as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Australian Opera and his European debut as Mitch in André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire at Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg, both under the baton of Patrick Summers. While an artist with the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Mr. Shelton created the role of Laurie for the 1998 world premiere of Mark Adamo’s Little Women, later reprising the role in the 2000 revival that was telecast on PBS’s Great Performances and released on CD by Ondine. Other appearances with HGO while in the Studio include roles in Macbeth, Billy Budd, Arabella, Carmen, Mefistofele, Madame Butterfly, La Traviata, Tales of Hoffmann, Orfeo, The Elixir of Love, and Tristan and Isolde. He returned to Houston to sing Janek in The Makropulos Case in 2001. This season, he will add two new roles to his repertoire: Alfredo in La Traviata in his Arizona Opera debut and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni in his Opera Colorado debut.

Young soprano Laquita Mitchell (Valencienne), a first-year artist in the HGO Studio, was the first place winner in last year’s Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers and also won the Audience Choice Award. She received a bachelor of music degree from Westminster Choir College and completed her master of music degree and the professional studies program at the Manhattan School of Music, where she sang Violetta in La Traviata, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus and Female Chorus in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia, conducted by Julius Rudel. Other roles include Micaela in Carmen, Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte. This past summer, she was a member of San Francisco Opera's Merola Program where she sang the role of Mimì in La Bohème. Ms. Mitchell is the recipient of the Hugh Ross Award and the 2000 Panasonic Harmony Award. She made her Alice Tully Hall debut and has performed in recital in Italy. A native of New York, Ms. Mitchell is making her Houston Grand Opera debut.

American bass-baritone Dale Travis (Baron Mirko Zeta) was last seen in Houston as the Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlo in 2001. A former artist in San Francisco Opera's Merola Program, he has sung more than 25 roles for SFO, including Dulcamara (The Elixir of Love, which he also sang in Houston in 2000), Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte), Frank (Die Fledermaus), Quince (A Midsummer Night's Dream), the Sacristan (Tosca), Pistola (Falstaff), Haly (The Italian Girl in Algiers), and Alidoro (La Cenerentola). He has also worked with the New Israeli Opera, Washington Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and the Berlin Komische Opera, among others. This season, Mr. Travis will make his Italian debut in Genoa as the Foreman in Jenufa in March and will debut at the Metropolitan Opera in William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge as Lewis, the role he created for the opera’s premiere at the Lyric of Opera of Chicago and which was recorded on New World Records. Other appearances in Chicago include roles in Billy Budd, La Boh?me, Il barbiere di Siviglia, The Rake’s Progress, Die Zauberflöte, Peter Grimes, and Le nozze di Figaro.

American actor Jason Graae (Njegus) has starred on Broadway in A Grand Night for Singing, Falsettos, Stardust, Snoopy, and Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? Off-Broadway credits include Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh, for which he received a Drama Desk Nomination, Forever Plaid, All in the Timing, Olympus on My Mind, and more. Last season, he was featured as Marcellus in The Music Man at The Hollywood Bowl, and Moonface in the acclaimed revival of Anything Goes! Also in Los Angeles, he played Houdini in the U.S. premiere of Ragtime, played twins with David Hyde Pierce in The Boys from Syracuse, and was featured in Forbidden Broadway Y2KLA! for which he won a Los Angeles Ovation Award. TV appearances include the recurring role of Dennis on this season’s Six Feet Under on HBO and other roles on Hidden Hills, Friends, Frasier, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Providence, and Caroline in the City. This past year, Mr. Graae has been touring with Jerry Herman in Hello, Jerry! and has been performing his own award-winning one man show nationally. His discography includes his two solo CDs You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile and Jason Graae LIVE at the Cinegrill. Mr. Graae is making his HGO debut as Njegus, which he performed recently at Los Angeles Opera.

This season, HGO Music Director Patrick Summers (Conductor) will lead his third HGO world premiere, The Little Prince, as well as conduct Lucia di Lammermoor and La Traviata, featuring Renée Fleming’s long-awaited role debut as Violetta. Last season, Maestro Summers conducted HGO’s season-opener Rigoletto, The Abduction from the Seraglio, and a new Francesca Zambello production of Of Mice and Men, which he conducted first in Bregenz, Austria, to outstanding international acclaim. He conducted HGO’s world premieres of Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree (2000) and Tod Machover’s Resurrection (1999, released on CD by Albany) and led the 1999-2000 remountings of Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas (just released on the Albany label) and Mark Adamo’s Little Women (released on CD by Koch/Ondine and telecast nationally on PBS/WNET’s Great Performances). As a conductor in great demand, Mo. Summers recently led Lucia di Lammermoor at the Metropolitan Opera and is the principal guest conductor of the San Francisco Opera. He conducted the European premiere of André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire with the Opéra National du Rhin and, last year, he made his United Kingdom debut conducting a new James MacDonald production of Rigoletto for the Welsh National Opera, which toured and was telecast live on BBC. Mo. Summers’ recent discography includes Bel Canto featuring Renée Fleming and the Orchestra of St. Luke's.

After 14 years at the helm of the San Francisco Opera, Iranian-born Lotfi Mansouri (Production) is now general director emeritus. In his 40-year association with that company, he directed over 60 productions and established an exchange with the Kirov Opera. Under his direction, SFO commissioned works such as The Dangerous Liaisons, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Dead Man Walking; the company also taped six productions for telecast and video. Mr. Mansouri gained early directorial experience at Zurich Opera, where he was resident stage director from 1960 to 1966; in 1965, he started working with Geneva Opera, where he was head stage director from 1966 to 1976. During this period, his international career took off, and he directed productions at La Scala, Vienna State Opera, Venice, Rome, Naples, Chicago, Santa Fe, Houston, and New York. In 1976, he was named general director of the Canadian Opera Company (Toronto), where he directed 30 new productions, established a young artist program, and pioneered the use of surtitles. Among Mr. Mansouri’s previous productions staged in Houston are The Daughter of the Regiment (1973), Lucrezia Borgia (1974), The Girl of the Golden West (1976), Andrea Chenier (1977 and 1992), Anna Bolena (1986), Boris Godunov (1986), and La Rondine (1988).

Stanley M. Garner (Director) works as both a performer and director. His 1990 directorial debut, a critically acclaimed Le nozze di Figaro for Connecticut Opera, resulted in several more productions with the company, including Don Pasquale, L’elisir d’Amore, Il barbiere di Siviglia, The Merry Widow, Faust, and La Traviata. Other directing credits include a new production of The Merry Wives of Windsor for Florida State Opera, Die Zauberflöte for Seattle Opera and Los Angeles Opera, La Traviata and Aida for Tulsa Opera and Orlando Opera, Tosca, Rigoletto, La Traviata, and Romeo et Juliette for Augusta Opera, and Faust for Toledo Opera. In addition, he was associate director for Stephen Wadsworth’s highly-acclaimed production of Wagner’s Das Ring der Nibelungen for Seattle Opera and for Franco Zeffirelli’s new production of Pagliacci starring Plácido Domingo for Los Angeles Opera. Mr. Garner’s portrayal of Lamont Rook in the Mozart/Weber double bill of The Impresario/Abu Hassan for Washington Opera was lauded by the Washington Times and Washington Post, and he made his international debut as Pasha Selim in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail for L’Opéra de Montreal in Quebec. Most recently, he appeared in London as the Duke of Monmouth in the U.K. tour of No Heart for a Kingdom.

Dallas native Michael Yeargan (Set Designer) is an associate professor of stage design at the Yale School of Drama and works extensively in Broadway, opera, and regional theaters. Work on Broadway includes Terrence McNally’s Bad Habits and The Ritz, Andrei Serban’s productions of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Seagull, and Happy Days with Irene Worth at the Public Theater, Hay Fever with Rosemary Harris, Athol Fugard’s A Lesson from Aloes, and Fascinatin’ Rhythm. He designed Martha Clarke’s An Uncertain Hour and Vers la Flamme for Lincoln Center and the recent Off-Broadway play with music, Dinah Was. Opera credits include the world premieres of Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree (Houston Grand Opera), The Great Gatsby (Metropolitan Opera), Central Park (Glimmerglass and New York City Opera), A View from the Bridge (Lyric Opera of Chicago), and A Streetcar Named Desire and Dead Man Walking, both for San Francisco Opera. Mr. Yeargan also works extensively in America’s regional theaters.

Thierry Bosquet (Costume Designer) has created the sets and costumes for over seventy-five operas and ballets at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels. A native of Belgium, he has also designed the sets and costumes for over fifty operas, ballets and dramas in France, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, South America, Australia and the United States. Recent credits include Grétry's Zémire et Azor for the 30th Festival delle Nazioni in Città di Castello; Rigoletto and Otello in Liège; La Belle Hélène for Canadian Opera Company; Capriccio in Washington, D.C.; Louise for San Francisco Opera; as well as Werther, Die Zauberflöte, The Mikado and La Traviata for the New York City Opera. Mr. Bosquet is making his Houston Grand Opera debut.

American lighting designer Scott Zielinski has designed lighting for theater, opera and dance companies. New York theater work includes Broadway’s Topdog/Underdog as well as productions for the Lincoln Center, Playwrights Horizon, Classic Stage Company, Circle Repertory, and Vineyard Theatre. Regional credits include the Guthrie Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, Arena Stage, Harford Stage, American Repertory Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre, Berkeley Repertory, Old Globe, Seattle Repertory, Alliance, and Dallas Theater Center. International credits include the National Theatre of Great Britain, Edinburgh Festival, Theatre Neumarkt (Zurich), Sommertheater Festival (Hamburg), In Transit (Berlin), Asian Arts Festival, TheatreWorks (Singapore), and Fukuoka (Japan). Dance credits include Kennedy Center Modern Dance Festival, American Dance Festival (with Twyla Tharp), American Ballet Theatre, National Ballet of Canada, and Canada Dance Festival. Opera credits include productions for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Minnesota Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, Berkshire Opera, and Prince Music Theatre. HGO audiences have seen his work in the 1996 productions of La Bohème and Four Saints in Three Acts, and in HGO’s concurrent production of Lucia di Lammermoor.

American choreographer Peggy Hickey works in theater, opera, film, and television. Her most recent credits include La Cenerentola for Pittsburgh Opera and Turandot and The Merry Widow for Los Angeles Opera, where she has worked extensively, including Pagliacci with director Franco Zeffirelli, Carmen, Otello, Don Giovanni, and Le nozze di Figaro. Other opera credits include Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Santa Fe Opera, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, the Savonlinna Opera Festival (Finland), and the Canadian Opera Company (Toronto). Ms. Hickey choreographed Houston Grand Opera’s production of Hansel und Gretel (designed by Maurice Sendak) at the Lincoln Center for Juilliard, a production which also aired on Live from Lincoln Center on PBS. She is a two-time recipient of the Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Choreography for Brigadoon and On the Twentieth Century for the renowned Goodspeed Opera House. Her film and television credits include The Brady Bunch Movie; General Hospital on ABC; and The New Pollution video by Beck, for which she won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Choreography. Ms. Hickey’s work at Houston Grand Opera was last seen in La Bohème (1996).

With last season’s Samson and Delilah, Richard Bado celebrated his 100th production as chorus master for Houston Grand Opera. Mr. Bado, who is also HGO’s head of music staff, made his professional conducting debut in 1989 leading HGO’s acclaimed production of Show Boat at the newly restored Cairo Opera House, and has conducted performances of La Bohème, Rigoletto, Così fan tutte, Aida, The Tales of Hoffmann, The Magic Flute, and Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah at HGO. He has conducted at La Scala, the Opéra National de Paris, the New York City Opera, the Edinburgh Festival, the Wolf Trap Opera Company and in Tokyo. An accomplished pianist, he appears regularly in recital with Renée Fleming, and has accompanied Cecilia Bartoli, Ramon Vargas, Denyce Graves, Nathan Gunn and Marcello Giordani. This season, Maestro Bado conducts orchestra concerts with Renée Fleming in Ft. Lauderdale and Montreal. He has served on the faculty of the Aspen Opera Theater Center and on the music staff of the Metropolitan Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, and the Chautauqua and Wolf Trap Operas.

Houston Grand Opera's 2003 production of Lehar's THE MERRY WIDOW from January 30 - February 16, 2003. Photo credit: San Francisco Opera, Ken Friedman.

Performance Dates:

Thursday, January 30, 2003 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 1, 2003 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, February 7, 2003 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 9, 2003 at 2:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 11, 2003 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, February 14, 2003 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 16, 2003 at 2:00 p.m.

Performance Summary

All performances of Houston Grand Opera’s production of Lehár’s The Merry Widow are held in the Wortham Center’s Brown Theater, Texas at Smith, Houston, TX.

Sung in English with English surtitles.

Ticket Information:
· Single tickets for The Merry Widow, starting at $15 (inclusive of all city surcharges), are now on sale.
· Tickets are available at 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
· General information and tickets are available by phone at 713-228-OPERA or 1-800-62-OPERA 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, and 12 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. (Sunday hours start January 5.)
· Tickets are available at the HGO Box Office (in the lobby of the Wortham Theater Center) 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 12 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. (Sunday hours apply only on performance days.)
· Student and senior citizen rush tickets are $10 and $25 (depending on seat location – one ticket per ID) and go on sale at 12:00 noon the day of performance, subject to availability. Tickets are sold until curtain but must be purchased in person. To check availability of student and senior rush tickets, please call (713)-228-OPERA or 1-(800)-62-OPERA the day of the performance.
· Disabled access and TDD: 713-228-OPERA or 1-800-62-OPERA; Descriptive Services: 713- 546-0230.
All performances of The Merry Widow are held in the Wortham Center's Brown Theater, Texas at Smith. The Merry Widow is sung in English, with English surtitles provided by BMC Software.

The SBC Southwestern Bell Pre-Curtain Lecture Series takes place thirty minutes before each performance. Guest speakers present a twenty-minute informal lecture on the sixth floor of the Grand Foyer. These lectures, free and open to all ticket holders, are intended to enhance the audience's enjoyment by preparing them for the production they are about to attend.

Houston Grand Opera will present Behind the Music, a post-performance discussion series. Behind the Music is a unique opportunity for audiences to meet and talk with members of the creative team.

The Wortham Theater Center features wheelchair access to both theaters, with a choice of seating locations and ticket prices. An infrared listening system, underwritten by Pennzoil-Quaker State Company, is available and free of charge at all performances. Please call HGO’s Customer Care Center at 713-228-OPERA or 1-800-62-OPERA for details. Descriptive services for persons with vision loss are available with 48-hour advance reservations. Call HGO Education and Outreach at (713) 546-0230 for details.

The Brown Theater features the exclusive OperaVision system in the side Grand Tier and Balcony. OperaVision, funded by a generous grant from the Bill and Sara Morgan Family Foundation, offers patrons a better view of the surtitles and provides special close-up shots of the action on stage captured by a team of cameramen.

Single tickets for The Merry Widow, starting at $15 (inclusive of all city surcharges), are now on sale. Tickets are available on the website at and by telephone at 713-228-OPERA or 1-800-62-OPERA 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, and
12 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. (Sunday hours start January 5.) Tickets are available at the Houston Grand Opera Box Office (in the lobby of the Wortham Theater Center) 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 12 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. (Sunday hours apply only on performance days.)

Student and senior citizen rush tickets are $10 and $25 (depending on seat location, one ticket per ID) and go on sale at 12:00 noon the day of performance, subject to availability. Tickets are sold until curtain but must be purchased in person. To check availability, please call 713-228-OPERA or 1-800-62-OPERA the day of the performance. For weekend performances, call the Friday before the performance to check availability.

For general information, call Houston Grand Opera at 713-228-OPERA or
1-800-62-OPERA 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, and 12 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. (Sunday hours start January 5.)

The Humphreys Foundation and ExxonMobil are the Guarantors for The Merry Widow.

Since its inception in 1955, Houston Grand Opera has swiftly moved from a small regional organization into an internationally renowned opera company. With David Gockley as its general director, HGO has widened its circles, both in repertoire and in reach. The company has a reputation for commissioning and producing new works (26 world premieres and six American premieres since 1973) as well as a reputation for reaching out to new audiences. HGO has toured extensively, including trips to Japan, Italy, Egypt and France, and the company is the only opera company to have won a Tony, two Grammies and two Emmy awards. HGO has an eye on the future of opera too, launching not only the acclaimed Houston Grand Opera Studio (a program designed to train young singers for major careers) but also the Community Connections Initiative (a multi-pronged program aimed at educating and developing new audiences). Houston Grand Opera's entire season is broadcast nationally over National Public Radio's World of Opera.