WFMT Press Room

For Immediate Release:

December 14, 2006

The Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts continue Friday, December 15 at 7:15 pm on 98.7WFMT with Lyric Opera of Chicago's live opening-night performance of Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss, Jr.

Upcoming live Lyric broadcast dates and WFMT Radio Network national syndication rebroadcast dates also announced.

The Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts continue this Friday, December 15 on 98.7WFMT with the delightful marital mix-up comedy Die Fledermaus by Viennese waltz king Johann Strauss, Jr.

The broadcast, hosted by Norman Pellegrini, Lisa Flynn, and Lois Baum, will start at 7:15 p.m. with 15 minutes of live commentary and taped interviews. The live broadcast of the sixth opera in Lyric Opera of Chicago's 52nd season commences at 7:30 p.m. The opera is sung in German. Additional commentary and taped interviews will air during the operetta's two intermissions.

Lyric Opera of Chicago returned to the airwaves on Oct. 21 with the live opening-night performance of Salome by Richard Strauss (no relation to J. Strauss, Jr.), thanks to a major grant of principle funding that was made by The Matthew and John Bucksbaum Families and General Growth Properties to support the resumption of Lyric Opera's local and national radio broadcasts, which had ceased following the 2001-02 season for lack of funding.

A condition of the $2-million grant is that Lyric raise an additional $2 million from other sources directly in support of the broadcasts. The Bucksbaum Family grant and matching funds guarantee the broadcasts at least through the 2011/12 season.

The broadcasts will reach a total audience of more than 10 million listeners annually through the live in-season local broadcasts and nationally syndicated postseason rebroadcasts available through other stations. In addition to Salome, Verdi's Il trovatore and Gounod's Roméo et Juliette have been broadcast live this season on Nov. 4 and Nov. 20 respectively.

Airing this Friday, December 15, the most popular Viennese operetta, Die Fledermaus ("The Bat," 1874) is the masterpiece of Johann Strauss, Jr., the immortal "Waltz King." Abundant amorous intrigues unfold through the three-act comedy. At the center of the story are the glamorous Gabriel and Rosalinde von Eisenstein (baritone Bo Skovhus and soprano Andrea Rost), whose suspicions of each other's infidelity lead to hilarious complications, engineered by Gabriel's devious friend Falke (baritone Martin Gantner/Lyric debut) – who is exacting merry revenge on Eisenstein for having left Falke asleep and drunk on a park bench costumed as a bat, making him the laughingstock of passersby the next day. Also figuring in the high-jinks are the Eisensteins' vivacious chambermaid, Adele (soprano Marlis Petersen/Lyric debut); Rosalinde's old flame the opera singer Alfred (tenor Bonaventura Bottone); the blasť Prince Orlofsky (mezzo-soprano Alice Coote); Frank, the prison warden (baritone Andrew Shore); and Gabriel's bumbling lawyer, Dr. Blind (tenor Dennis Petersen). Asher Fisch conducts, with stage direction by Bruce Donnell. Set and costume designs are by Ulisse Santicchi. Christine Binder is lighting designer. Donald Palumbo is chorus master, and Daniel Pelzig is choreographer. Die Fledermaus is the Julius Frankel Foundation production. The revival is generously made possible by Mr. & Mrs. Dietrich M. Gross.

Additional live Chicago-area Lyric Opera broadcasts on 98.7WFMT this season are Puccini's Turandot Jan. 26, Mozart's Così fan tutte Feb. 10, and Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites Feb. 23. All broadcasts begin at 7:15 p.m., and will include live commentary and recorded interviews by Pellegrini, Flynn, and Baum before the performance begins and during the intermissions.

Turandot will be in the midst of its second run (with a slightly different cast) when it is broadcast live, and the third performance of Dialogues of the Carmelites will be the one broadcast.

The 2007 local rebroadcast dates and national syndication release dates for The Matthew and John Bucksbaum Families and General Growth Properties Lyric Opera Broadcasts are as follows:

Turandot/Puccini (May 12)
Iphigénie en Tauride/Gluck ( May 19)
Salome/R. Strauss (May 26)
Il trovatore/Verdi (June 2)
Roméo et Juliette/Gounod (June 9)
Die Fledermaus/J. Strauss, Jr. (June 16)
Così fan tutte/Mozart (June 23)
Dialogues of the Carmelites/Poulenc (June 30)

The WFMT Radio Network will make these opera programs available for broadcast by other radio stations around the country via satellite uplink. The programs may not be broadcast before the dates listed above. Each station chooses its own broadcast date and time. The stations may broadcast each opera from WFMT's live satellite feed on the release date, or they may downlink and store each opera for future broadcast.

It is expected that The Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts will be heard in at least 226 markets nationally, with some possible carriage in Europe, according to Steve Robinson, senior vice president for radio, WFMT.

For more information about Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2006-07 season (including cast lists for each broadcast), please go to For more information about the Lyric Opera broadcasts and all programming on 98.7WFMT, Chicago's classical experience, please visit

Magda Krance
Lyric Opera of Chicago
(312) 332-2244

Jack Zimmerman
Lyric Opera of Chicago
(312) 332-2244

WFMT Media Contact:
Holly H. Gilson
98.7WFMT and the WFMT Radio Network
(773) 509-5424