Metropolitan Opera Radio (Sirius XM)
|Broadcast area||United States Canada|
|Frequency||Sirius XM Radio 74 DISH Network 6078|
|First air date||September 25, 2006|
|Class||Satellite Radio Station|
|Owner||Sirius XM Radio|
|Website||Met Opera Radio|
Metropolitan Opera Radio is an all-opera radio station on Sirius Satellite Radio channel 74 (previously 78) and XM Satellite Radio channel 74 (previously 79). Originally on channel 85, Met Opera Radio was shifted to channel 78 on June 24, 2008. It is also on Dish Network channel 6078. It carries live broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera three to four evenings each week during the opera season. In addition, throughout the day performances are presented from among the 1,500 recorded broadcasts in the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcast archives. The channel's host and announcer is Margaret Juntwait. The producer is Mary Jo Heath and William Berger is the writer and co-host. Jay David Saks is the audio director.
History and description
The channel was launched at 6:30 PM, September 25, 2006 the opening night of the Met season. The first broadcast was a live performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, conducted by James Levine, the Met's Music Director, and directed by Anthony Minghella. It starred Chilean soprano Cristina Gallardo-Domâs as Cio-Cio-San, tenor Marcello Giordani as Pinkerton, and baritone Dwayne Croft as Sharpless.
Metropolitan Opera Radio replaced the existing "Classical Voices" channel in the Sirius channel lineup. While opera-oriented, the "Classical Voices" channel also offered some choral music and art songs programming (such as German lieder and French Chansons). The new channel was launched as part of new Met general manager Peter Gelb's initiative to utilize technology to make the Met's performances more accessible to a wide audience. The channel was added to the XM lineup (replacing the existing "Vox" channel) on November 12, 2008, as part of the merger between Sirius and XM.
Three to four live broadcasts of operas from the Met are presented each week of the Met's performing season. The performances are hosted by Margaret Juntwait with co-host William Berger. During intermissions live interviews with performers and other opera professionals and experts are interspersed with background information and informal chat by the co-hosts.
During the rest of the broadcast week, many of the Met's historic archived broadcast tapes are presented. These have been collected and re-mastered by the Met's sound archive department. When presented on Sirius, the original commentaries are replaced by new introductions, which include short stories on principal performers and synopsis of each act, read by Juntwait. Of the Met's approximately 1500 archived broadcasts, Sirius's Met Opera Radio has presented over 570 in its first three years.
Each day up to seven full length archived broadcasts are presented, starting at 6:00 AM. The channel's weekly schedule includes approximately 12 or 13 different archive recordings which are broadcast in rotation at different starting times. These broadcasts are then repeated with time-span ranging from few months to well over a year. In between the complete operas, shorter pieces of studio-recorded vocal music are presented. None of these is ever interrupted except to accommodate the start of a live broadcast.
Sirius also provides the sound transmission for the Metropolitan Opera's live high-definition video opera presentations in movie theaters world wide. The traditional Metropolitan Opera Radio Network Saturday broadcasts are also presented on Sirius's Met Opera channel.
- "Sirius Channel Lineup" (PDF). 2011-05-02. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
- "XM Channel Lineup" (PDF). 2011-05-02. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
- Metropolitan Opera website "Who we are"
- Initially it was four, but with 2009/2010 season it was scaled down to just three, including Saturday matinee broadcasts when applicable.
- MetOpera archives (database)
Adam Wasserman, "Sirius Business", Opera News, December 2006