Arizona Opera

May 13th, 20th, and 27th at 12

Opera fans, May 13th, Classical KNAU begins a series of broadcasts you won’t want to miss: Three Sunday afternoons with Arizona Opera. And what a cast of characters: An international superstar, a rotund drunkard and a story from the Old West.

We’ll open this short season with a party.

In 2017, Arizona Opera, originally the Tucson Opera Company, celebrated its 45th anniversary season with a series of events and concerts.  Since its very first production of Rossini’s Barber of Seville, which opened the 1976/77 season, the company has mounted over 180 fully-staged productions, including that most rare spectacular: Wagner’s Ring cycle—and it has done that twice! On this Sapphire Anniversary Gala Performance, the internationally-celebrated mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade leads us through a short tour of opera with selections from Mozart, Puccini, Wagner and many others.

Sunday May 20th we present Falstaff, the last of Verdi’s 28 operas but only his second comedy. A boorish knight (who could seriously use an exercise program) schemes to obtain additional drinking money by attempting to simultaneously seduce two wealthy wives. This is seldom considered a good plan.

Concluding the trio of performances by Arizona Opera May 27th is a world-premiere of Arizona composer Craig Bohmler’s New Riders of the Purple Sage.  Based on the classical western novel by Zane Grey and set among the sweeping vistas and massive canyons of the southwest, we’ll hear the story of Jane Withersteen and her battle to overcome persecution by members of her church.

Broadcasts of Arizona Opera air at noon May 13th, 20th, and 27th on all the stations of Classical KNAU including our online service at