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The Philadelphians on WRTI 90.1: Tovey Conducts Amahl and the Night Visitors, Young Person's Guide

Pete Checchia/Philadelphia Orchestra
A scene from the performance of Amahl and the Night Visitors conducted by Bramwell Tovey

Conductor, composer, pianist, and narrator Bramwell Tovey makes his return to the Philadelphia Orchestra broadcast on WRTI 90.1 on Feb. 17 at 1 PM and WRTI HD-2 on Feb. 18 at 7 PM. He brings a first-ever Philadelphia Orchestra performance of the complete one-act opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors, a work that Gian Carlo Menotti composed for a nationwide TV audience in 1951.

Singing the role of Amahl’s mother is mezzo-soprano Renée Tatum, who makes her Philadelphia Orchestra debut with this performance; boy soprano Dante di Maio, who sang the role of the Shepherd Boy in last season’s Philadelphia Orchestra performance of Tosca, is Amahl; and the three kings are tenor Andrew Stenson, bass-baritone Brandon Cedel, and bass David Leigh, as Kaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, respectively.

Rounding out the cast, bass Kirby Traylor, in the role of the Page, returns to The Philadelphia Orchestra as a member of the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir.

The concert opens with William Walton’s Crown Imperial, a coronation march composed for the crowning of George VI, the father of the present queen, Elizabeth II.

Then a marvelous work by Benjamin Britten, the Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Henry Purcell – better known as The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, presented with narration by Maestro Tovey. It still serves as an introduction for listeners, of all ages, to the instruments of the orchestra.

WRTI's Bliss Michelson chats backstage with mezzo-soprano Renée Tatum.

During intermission, WRTI’s Bliss Michelson interviews Renée Tatum, and Susan Lewis speaks backstage with Bramwell Tovey.

Don’t miss it, Sunday, Feb. 17 from 1 to 3 pm on WRTI 90.1 and streaming at wrti.org!

Read detailed program notes from the concert here.


Walton: Crown Imperial

Britten: Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra                                                                                  Bramwell Tovey, narrator


Menotti: Amahl and the Night Visitors                                                                                   

Dante DiMaio, boy Soprano (Amahl)

Renée Tatum, mezzo-soprano (his Mother)

Andrew Stenson, tenor (King Kaspar)

Brandon Cedel, bass-baritone (King Melchior)

David Leigh, bass (King Balthazar)

Kirby Traylor, bass (The Page)

The Philadelphia Symphonic Choir (Shepherds and Villagers)

The Philadelphia Orchestra

     Bramwell Tovey, 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 WRTI.org, and on the WRTI mobile app!Listen again on Mondays at 7 pm on WRTI HD-2.

Gregg was the host of WRTI's morning drive show from 2012 until his retirement from WRTI in January, 2021. He began producing and hosting The Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert broadcasts in 2013, joining the Orchestra in Hong Kong for the first-ever live international radio broadcasts from that island in 2016, and in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for two historic broadcasts in 2018. You can still hear Gregg as host of the Orchestra broadcasts every Sunday and Monday on WRTI.