Peter Allen (US broadcaster)

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Peter Allen (born September 17, 1920), is an American broadcaster and radio announcer based in New York City. He is especially noted for his 29 years as announcer for the Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera.

Biography[edit]

Peter Allen was born in Toronto, Canada. His name at birth was Harold Levey. He later moved with his parents to Cleveland, Ohio. Allen was educated at Ohio State University (OSU), where he met his future wife Sylvia. Sylvia Allen was an artist and the sister of the Broadway actor Paul Lipson. Peter began his radio career at the OSU station, WOSU, and also worked for a commercial station in Columbus. The couple then moved to New York City where Allen began his long tenure as announcer at WQXR radio in 1947. His connection with the Metropolitan Opera began in 1973 when he served as the backup for Milton Cross who had been announcing the Met's Saturday afternoon broadcasts since their inception in 1931. In 1975, after Cross's sudden death, Allen took over as announcer for the Met and continued in the job until 2004. The smooth, intelligent delivery and warmth of Allen's on-air persona endeared him to millions of opera listeners during his long tenure at the Met. Allen retired in May 2004 after 29 seasons and was succeeded by Margaret Juntwait.

Allen was noted for his ability to improvise live on air as the occasion required; most famously, he extemporized for close to an hour during a January 23, 1988 broadcast of Giuseppe Verdi's Macbeth to cover the long intermission caused by the suicide of Bantcho Bantchevsky in the audience.

In addition to his live radio career, Allen recorded a popular series of spoken analyses and introductions to the four operas of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen and other operas. Several popular books about opera published for the Metropolitan were also edited and introduced by Peter Allen.

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