Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Opera Hour

Several years ago, David Gockley, former general manager of San Francisco Opera, succeeded in negotiating the return of opera to the airwaves of San Francisco. We had a few telecasts and some years of monthly radio broadcasts on KDFC of SFO productions, mostly from the previous season but with occasional blasts from the past.

Alas, this seems to be coming to an end. We will now get a monthly one-hour show with Matthew Shilvock and Bill Leuth, call The Opera Hour. At least for now, the opera broadcasts are "on hold," according to San Francisco Opera; according to KDFFC, The Opera Hour "replaces" the monthly broadcasts.

I missed the first installment, which was last Sunday, Maybe 8, at 8 p.m. - if you heard it, I'm curious to hear what it was like. It remains to be seen what shape, exactly, this show will take; previews of upcoming works on the season? Anna Netrebko and Renee Fleming's greatest hits? A little Caruso for fun?

I am not particularly a fan of KDFC or Bill Leuth; even since the station's acquisition, the programming is of the Mozart in the Morning / one movement of a symphony / lightweight variety, with barely a nod to new or very old music, and little vocal music. I can imagine that the Sunday evening opera broadcasts weren't getting much in the way of an audience, because the time was bad and during much of the year they were competing with the Met's Saturday morning (local time) broadcasts).

I'm sure Matthew Shilvock will be an engaging host, because he is unfailingly enthusiastic, knowledgable, and good in front of an audience. Bill Leuth, despite his music degrees, is a radio announcer who has to push KDFC's particular brand.

I'm also still waiting to hear whether the show takes which case, I'll be asking for some Birtwistle.

SF Opera press release after the cut.


KDFC President Bill Lueth and San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock
Co-Host Monthly Opera Showcase

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (May 3, 2018) — On Sunday, May 6, at 8 p.m., Classical KDFC launches The Opera Hour, a new opera showcase created by KDFC President Bill Lueth and co-hosted by Lueth and San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock. Airing on the first Sunday of each month, The Opera Hour is a new chapter in the ongoing partnership between Classical KDFC and San Francisco Opera, replacing the broadcasts of complete San Francisco Opera performances. 

The Opera Hour welcomes longtime opera fans and the opera curious to discover the magic of opera. In each episode, Lueth and Shilvock will share new recordings of arias, duets and ensembles they are enjoying along with some of their favorites, honoring singers of the past. The hosts will highlight opportunities to hear great singing around the Bay Area and dig into the treasure trove of archival San Francisco Opera broadcasts. Additionally, Shilvock will take listeners backstage at the War Memorial Opera House and, with the help of special guests, share insights about this spectacular artform.

Lueth said, “Opera has some of the most beautiful and dramatic moments in all of classical music. Matthew and I want to share this music with a larger audience and invite more people to discover what makes opera so wonderful.”

Classical KDFC’s The Opera Hour can be heard on the FM dial at 90.3 (San Francisco), 89.9 (Wine Country), 92.5 (Ukiah-Lakeport), 104.9 (Silicon Valley), 103.9 (Santa Cruz and Monterey); on Comcast Cable 981; or online at

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