Front Row Center

FRIDAYS FROM 7-9 P.M. ON CLASSICAL 101

Each week Christopher Purdy will draw together a program of exciting vocal favorites and unexpected discoveries, featuring both legendary singers of the past and today’s singers of note. You’ll hear opera excerpts, treasures from the song repertoire and highlights from recent releases — all with Christopher’s distinctive wit and passion.

Note: Because Front Row Center features music from historic, brand-new and personal collections, we're unable to provide a comprehensive playlist on our website. If you have questions about what you're hearing or would like to learn more about a show, please call us at 614-292-9678 or email classical101@wosu.org.

Ways to Connect

germanuncut77 / Flickr

Montserrat Caballe has died, and there are no more grand divas left.

Marty Sohl / Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD presentations, beamed into cinemas worldwide, begins a new season Saturday, Oct. 6. Anna Netrebko stars in the title role of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida.

Despite being one of the first and oldest forms of popular music, opera sometimes struggles to connect with 21st century audiences. However, Anthony Roth Costanzo is breaking down the genre's stodgy stereotype and making opera more accessible — taking his distinctive sound to the masses, from a sixth-grade classroom in the Bronx to NPR's own Tiny Desk.

DiBlasio Photography / catco.org

It's a torrid late-summer day as I type these lines. I equate the cooler weather and the longer evenings with opening nights!

Columbus looks forward to plenty of first nights in the next several weeks, as the new arts season begins.

Wikimedia Commons

My OCD tendencies were satisfied when I decided to make this list of artists for whom 2018 is a significant anniversary.

White Studio / The New York Public Library Digital Collections

The next time you see a magpie in the sky, I hope you'll remember Four Saints in Three Acts.

black-and-white photo of a young Leonard Bernstein at a piano, marking a score
Al Ravenna / Library of Congress

If all you know of Leonard Bernstein is the thrilling music from West Side Story, you’re in for an eye-opening summer.

Bernstein was a groundbreaking composer, conductor, mentor and educator. At a time when classical music was often spoken of in measured, reverent tones, Bernstein was passionate, outspoken and sometimes controversial.

facebook.com/OhioSongProject

My point of entry for a love of vocal music, back when Mozart was alive, tended to be bloody, loud, flashy operatic melodrama.

Warner Classics

It wasn't as if Leonard Bernstein was looking for work.

By 1953, at the age of 35, Bernstein had already created two Broadway hits and had been on top of the conducting game since his last-minute debut with the New York Philharmonic (a broadcast, yet) 10 years earlier.

leonard bernstein in royal blue shirt holding conducting wand
Allan Warren / Wikimedia Commons

On Oct. 22, 1983, the Metropolitan Opera threw an all-day bash celebrating its 100th birthday.

Tracey Nolan / Wikimedia Commons

When I was young and obnoxious, I had very little use for any music that approached large commercial success.

black-and-white photo of soprano Birgit Nilsson in front of a mirror
Svenskt Pressfoto / Wikimedia Commons

Born May 17, 1918, Birgit Nilsson was an extraordinary Swedish soprano.

If you're looking for the best date-night cuddle soundtrack, if you need an outlet for your own joy, passion and despair — or if you just want to have a great time, join me Friday nights at 7 for Classical 101's Front Row Center.

It's a new program, hosted by yours truly, all about opera and more.