2009-10 Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts Announced - Lyric Opera of Chicago

2009-10 Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts Announced

Press Release Letterhead
For Immediate Release:
Thursday, August 27, 2009


Lyric Opera of Chicago and 98.7WFMT
name new host and commentator for
The Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts

98.7WFMT program host George Preston and
Lyric dramaturg Roger Pines
to anchor the live broadcasts,
Lisa Flynn to produce features

 “Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park” free concert
and all eight operas of the Lyric Opera of Chicago 2009-10 season
can be heard live locally on 98.7WFMT
and nationally/internationally through
 www.wfmt.com via
The Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts

2009-10 season to be rebroadcast locally, nationally & internationally
in May-June 2010 by The WFMT Radio Network

William Mason, general director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Steve Robinson, general manager of 98.7WFMT, are pleased to name the new host and commentator for The Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts.

Beginning with the live broadcast of the “Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park” free concert on Fri., Sept. 11, 98.7WFMT’s afternoon drive-time program host George Preston and Lyric’s dramaturg Roger Pines will serve as host and commentator respectively of this season’s Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts. 98.7WFMT’s late-morning host Lisa Flynn will produce features and interviews throughout the season for the Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts.

The free preseason concert and all eight operas of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 55th season will be carried live locally on radio 98.7WFMT and nationally/ internationally through WFMT’s enhanced live streaming service at www.wfmt.com.

Says Mason, “Although we were deeply saddened at the passing of Norman [Pellegrini, Lyric’s previous broadcast host], we are very pleased that host George Preston, who has already made his mark in Chicago since his arrival at WFMT, will team up with commentator Roger Pines, Lyric’s remarkable dramaturg. Their combined knowledge and passion for opera will uphold the tradition these opening-night broadcasts represent, and will be a boon to our dedicated listeners.”

“Norman will, indeed, be missed but I’m confident George and Roger will do justice to the passion, love and knowledge he brought to the broadcasts,” says Robinson. “I’m also delighted that Lisa Flynn will continue her presence on the broadcasts as producer of the features and interviews we’ll hear throughout the season. WFMT’s partnership with Lyric Opera is one of our longest and most rewarding traditions and I know the coming season will be a stellar addition to this proud history.”  

The company’s annual gift to the city, the Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park concert, will be broadcast live on Friday, September 11. The broadcast begins at 7:15 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

All eight operas in Lyric’s 2009-10 season are being broadcast live on their opening performances. Preston and Pines will introduce the opera broadcasts, which start with live commentary and taped interviews at the times shown below. Their base of operations will be the newly dedicated Norman Pellegrini Broadcast Booth on the 6th floor of the Civic Opera House, home to Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Classical radio legend Norman Pellegrini (1929-2009) hosted the Lyric broadcasts from 1971 through the 54th season, which concluded in March of this year. Lois Baum served as co-host and producer for 33 years, and Lisa Flynn co-hosted for the past two years. Flynn, the 9 a.m.-noon program host for 98.7WFMT, will host many of the Lyric broadcast intermission features throughout the season.

Tosca /Puccini — Sat., Sept. 26 5:45 p.m.
Faust/Gounod — Mon., Oct. 5 7:15 p.m.
Ernani/Verdi — Tue., Oct. 27  7:15 p.m.
Katya Kabanova/Janáček — Sun., Nov. 22   1:45 p.m.
The Merry Widow/Lehár — Sat., Dec. 5 7:15 p.m.
The Elixir of Love/Donizetti — Sat., Jan. 23 7:15 p.m.
The Damnation of Faust/Berlioz — Sat., Feb. 20 7:15 p.m.
The Marriage of Figaro/Mozart — Sun., Feb. 28 1:45 p.m.

Lyric Opera’s full 2009-10 season will be rebroadcast on eight consecutive Saturdays in May and June of 2010.

The Matthew Bucksbaum Family is the generous sponsor of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Bucksbaum Family Broadcasts, with generous matching funds provided by The Crown Family and Richard P. and Susan Kiphart.

The Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts are produced by Mark Travis. WFMT’s program director Peter Whorf is managing producer, and WFMT’s general manager Steve Robinson is executive producer.

George Preston joined WFMT in late March as program host, 3:00-7:00 p.m. Preston came to 98.7WFMT from WNYC, New York’s flagship public radio station, where he most recently served as music director for the past six years, supervising the music staff and producing a wide array of live concert broadcasts, festivals, and specials (including performances by the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and London Symphony Orchestra, among others). From 2000-2003 Preston hosted and produced WNYC’s overnight music program, including weekly opera broadcasts and live post-performance artist interviews.

A native of West Virginia, Preston holds music degrees from Oberlin Conservatory, New England Conservatory, and Boston University. His broadcast career began 26 years ago (in October) at WXCR, Safety Harbor, Florida, a commercial classical station serving the Tampa Bay market. (A highlight of that time was interviewing Luciano Pavarotti in Chicago prior to the tenor’s concert appearance in Florida.) Preston also worked at WBUR in Boston for 11 years as a program host and producer, music director, and assistant program director.

A former singer and actor, Preston performed operatic roles including Papageno/The Magic Flute, Figaro/The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville, Mercutio/Romeo and Juliet, and Demetrius/A Midsummer Night’s Dream; venues included Boston Lyric Opera, Longwood Opera, and OperaUnMet, all in Boston. He also worked in regional theater, musical theater, and summer stock throughout the Northeast, and portrayed Orgon /Tartuffe on tour with the National Theater Company.

“As a former singer and a lifelong opera fan, I could not be more thrilled to be associated with Lyric Opera of Chicago in this way,” says Preston. “I’ve listened to the broadcasts with great enjoyment and respect for a long time, and hope to live up to the proud tradition.” Preston and his family live in Wilmette.

Roger Pines, one of the top opera scholars in the U.S., is dramaturg at Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he joined the staff in 1995. He is heard on 98.7WFMT’s annual OPERATHON broadcast fundraiser for Lyric Opera, moderates Lyric’s acclaimed Discovery Series panel discussions with the season’s leading artists, delivers several of the free pre-performance lectures, conducts the majority of Lyric’s podcast interviews, and is a frequent guest lecturer for Lyric’s Chapters and other organizations regionally. Pines edits the company program and contributes to other Lyric publications. Previously he was director of education at San Diego Opera. He has also held positions at The Dallas Opera and Glimmerglass Opera.

Pines’s writing includes numerous articles and reviews for leading American and British publications; among them are Opera News, Opera, International Record Review, and The Times (London), as well as opera-company programs including the Metropolitan Opera and the major companies of San Francisco, Washington, Houston, and San Diego. His program notes have appeared in CD booklets for five major labels, most recently for Deutsche Grammophon’s reissue of Beverly Sills’s Norma recording and Decca discs by Renée Fleming, Juan Diego Flórez, and Jonas Kaufmann. Many of Pines’s more than 30 projected-titles translations have been rented by companies throughout North America.

A New York State native, Pines is a frequent judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and regularly undertakes repertoire research and counseling for internationally prominent artists. Last season he made his fourth appearance as a panelist on the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts’ “Opera Quiz.” He holds a B.A. in music and European studies from Amherst College and an M.A. in business from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He also studied at the University of Sussex (England) and the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst (Vienna, Austria).

Says Pines, “I’m a child of the Met broadcasts, having begun listening to the legendary Milton Cross when I was nine years old. When I discovered Lyric’s national broadcasts, that was how I got to know what this company was all about: by listening not just to the music, but also to how the performances were enhanced by Norman Pellegrini and his colleagues. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with George Preston on these extraordinary broadcasts.” Pines is a Chicago resident.

Mark Travis became producer for The Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts in April, prior to the spring rebroadcasts of Lyric’s 2008-09 season. He is a producer for 98.7 WFMT and the WFMT Radio Network. He produced the inaugural season of the The New York Philharmonic This Week in 2004-05, and during the 2003-04 season was the producer for the monthly New York Philharmonic Live! radio broadcasts, syndicated by the WFMT Radio Network. Since joining WFMT in 1999, he has written and produced specialty programs for local and national broadcast, including the highly successful Berlin Philharmonic broadcasts, and has produced a number of commercial recordings for labels such as RCA/BMG, Naxos, Sony, and Bis. An accomplished singer and classical guitarist, Travis has also written and produced a syndicated radio series of broadcasts by L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, among numerous other projects. He is also a producer/ host of the New York Philharmonic Podcast, which previews upcoming programs through musical selections as well as interviews with guest artists, Orchestra musicians, and experts. He holds degrees in voice and media studies from Northern Illinois University, where he had leading roles in several opera and musical productions.

Lisa Flynn has been a program host and producer for WFMT since 1991. She presents The New Releases on Sunday mornings and has hosted many programs for the WFMT Radio Network, including “War Letters” (which won the 2002 Peter Lisagor Award), a series of live broadcasts from Salzburg to celebrate Mozart’s 250th birthday, and concerts by the Berlin Staatskapelle with conductor Daniel Barenboim.