John Birge Feature Archive

Mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux is back in the Twin Cities for the Minnesota Opera's production of Rossini "The Italian Girl in Algiers." The Alaskan native stopped by Minnesota Public Radio to sing a couple Neapolitan songs. (11/09/2007)
The bizarre secrets and infidelities of the guests on the Jerry Springer TV show are confessed through song in the Minneapolis Musical Theatre production of "Jerry Springer - The Opera." (10/17/2007)
One of Twin Cities pianist Roderick Phipps-Kettlewell's most important influences is the sound of the human voice. During a visit to Minnesota Public Radio, he spoke with classical music host John Birge and demonstrated how he makes the piano sing. (09/24/2007)
The story behind the creation of Verdi's opera, "A Masked Ball," is just about as interesting as the drama on stage. Verdi expert Philip Gossett says the political climate of 19th century Europe made government censors nervous about an opera based on the assassination of a king. (09/21/2007)
A new Twin Cities Public Television documentary of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's recent European tour is an intimate look at the people behind the music. (09/14/2007)
The Twin Cities' Metropolitan Ballet company is staging Agnes de Mille's original choreography to Aaron Copland's "Rodeo." Paul Sutherland worked with the legendary choreographer for many years and is teaching the dancers to act like cowboys. (06/20/2007)
At the time mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux was growing up in Alaska, she wasn't much of an opera fan. When her mother tuned in the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts, she'd turn on the vacuum cleaner to drown out the sound. Now Genaux performs in operas and recitals around the world including, this weekend, the St. Paul Summer Song Festival. (06/08/2007)
In its current productions, Theatre de la Jeune Lune uses operatic music by Mozart to tell subversive stories with a political point of view. Although the narratives are different, the two productions maintain the integrity of Mozart's music, as the cast demonstrates in our studios. (05/16/2007)
The Minnesota Opera has cast a man to play the part of a male character in Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro." What's the big deal about that, you ask? Well, Mozart set the character's part in a high vocal register; it's traditionally sung by a woman. (05/01/2007)
VocalEssence is celebrating the wide-ranging creative output of composer William Bolcom with the two-week festival "Illuminating Bolcom." Artistic Director Philip Brunelle describes Bolcom as the quintessential American composer. (04/24/2007)
For its debut as Skylark Opera, the former North Star Opera company is staging Kurt Weill's 1949 musical tragedy, "Lost in the Stars," which is set in South Africa. In a Minnesota Public Radio studio session, members of the cast sing selections and discuss the musical's contemporary relevance. (03/23/2007)
It's been more than 35 years since her Metropolitan Opera debut, but mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade says she's still learning how to use her voice. Von Stade is in the Twin Cities for a Schubert Club recital with her friend and colleague, bass Samuel Ramey. (02/28/2007)
Composer Hannibal Lokumbe says being in the presence of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks has affected everything he does. Lokumbe's oratorio honoring Parks is the centerpiece of the annual "Witness" concert by the Twin Cities choral group VocalEssence. (02/22/2007)
The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra's newest "artistic partner" is a French pianist who's also collaborating with the Berlin Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall. Pierre-Laurent Aimard is making his debut in his newest role with the SPCO this week. (02/16/2007)
The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra is taking four junior high school students along on its European tour. They earned their places on the trip by promising to share their experiences when they come back home. (01/19/2007)