The Philadelphia Orchestra on WRTI 90.1: Joyce DiDonato, Chausson, Respighi, Wagner, and More!

Aug 5, 2019

Join us on Sunday, August 11th at 1 PM on WRTI 90.1 as one of the biggest stars in the opera world today joins Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphians for a performance of Ernest Chausson’s Poéme de l’Amour et de la Mer. Joyce DiDonato is a multiple Grammy winner, and winner of the 2018 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera.

Ms. DiDonato made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2015 at Carnegie Hall, but this performance marks her subscription debut with the Orchestra. It's a program that moves from medieval German legend, to the magical world of Jorge Luis Borges, to the monuments of Rome.

Ethereal, shimmering strings, playing in the highest register, evoke the Holy Grail in Richard Wagner’s Prelude to the opera Lohengrin, one of the most mysterious and luminescent works of the 19th century. The celebrated strings of the Philadelphia Orchestra will shine in this work!

American composer Mason Bates returns to The Philadelphia Orchestra for this concert with the Anthology of Fantastic Zoology, based on the Jorge Luis Borges book of the same name. Eleven movements performed without a break evoke both mythological and newly imagined creatures in what Bates calls a “psychedelic bestiary.”

After intermission, French composer Ernest Chausson’s Poème de l’amour et de la Mer (Poem of Love and the Sea), for voice and orchestra, sets poems by Chausson’s friend Maurice Bouchor about love, death, and the sea. The piece owes a considerable debt to Wagner’s music, and includes an orchestral interlude between the Ms. DiDonato's two vocal sections, “Water Flower” and “The Death of Love.”

The concert concludes with Ottorino Respighi’s colorful Fountains of Rome, the first in a trilogy of works he composed honoring the Eternal City, and the piece that won him international fame.

During intermission, WRTI’s Debra Lew Harder has a conversation backstage with Joyce DiDonato, and Susan Lewis gets some thoughts from Yannick.

That’s Sunday, August 11th from 1 to 3 PM on WRTI 90.1 and streaming at Listen again on August 12th at 7 PM on WRTI HD-2.


Wagner: Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin

Bates: Anthology of Fantastic Zoology


Chausson: Poéme de l’Amour et de la Mer, Op. 19                                                                               

Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano

Respighi: Fountains of Rome

The Philadelphia Orchestra                                                                                                                                Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor

Gregg Whiteside is producer and host of the Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcasts, every Sunday at 1 PM on WRTI 90.1, streaming online at, and on our mobile app! Listen again on Mondays at 7 PM on WRTI HD-2