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Classical Conversations

Intimate conversations with world-renowned musicians, here at the Classical WETA studios.

Classical WETA's on-air hosts interview prominent classical music performers, composers and artists in this series of intimate audio conversations recorded for

JFK Bronze Bust in the Kennedy Center Grand Foyer

SHIFT: Deborah Rutter on JFK

Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter on the significance of the Center named for JFK being co-presenter, with Washington Performing Arts, of the SHIFT Festival.

Susan Graham

"I always say that Jake takes your heart out of your chest and sort of massages it and squeezes it and loves it and wrings it out and puts it back." That's an excellent description of how one feels at the conclusion of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking now at Washington National Opera through March 11th. In 2000, renowned mezzo-soprano Susan Graham created the role of Sister Helen Préjean, the real-life nun whose memoir of her experiences with death-row convicts inspired a movie as well as this opera.  In the 17 years since its premiere, Dead Man Walking has been staged over 40 times.  This time around, Susan Graham plays the convicted killer Joseph De Rocher's mother.

Washington National Opera presents Dead Man Walking through March 11 at the Kennedy Center Opera House. Kate Lindsey plays Sister Helen Préjean; Michael Mayes is Joseph De Rocher; Susan Graham is Mrs. De Rocher. Francesca Zambello directs and Michael Christie conducts the Washington National Opera Orchestra. More information at

Antony Walker conducts Leonore

Antony Walker conducts Washington Concert Opera's performance of Leonore on March 5th.

Thomas Colohan

Thomas Colohan & Washington Master Chorale

Thomas Colohan on Washington Master Chorale's Time and Memory concert on March 5th.

Jennifer Higdon

New from Jennifer Higdon

Jennifer Higdon on her new piece for Washington Master Chorale, with text by Rumi, premiering March 5th.

Virginia Opera's Adam Turner and Weber's "The Marksman" (Der Freischütz)

Virginia Opera presents Carl Maria von Weber's ultra-romantic and rarely-heard (in this country) opera, The Marksman (Der Freischütz) at George Mason University's Center for the Arts February 4th and 5th.  Maestro Adam Turner discusses the riches of this seminal work which influenced later composers such as Berlioz and Wagner with its colorful orchestration and beautiful singing.  

Kevin Deas

Bass-Baritone Kevin Deas

Kevin Deas sings spirituals and arias in The Trumpet Shall Sound.

Gianandrea Noseda conducts NSO in "Portraits of America" Inauguration Weekend

National Symphony Orchestra Music Director Designate Gianandrea Noseda discusses the JFK inauguration commmemoration concert which he will conduct inauguration weekend at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.

Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy

Washington National Cathedral Director of Music Michael McCarthy talks with Classical WETA's Marilyn Cooley about the annual performances of Handel's Messiah.

Joyce El-Khoury and Michael Fabiano

Joyce El-Khoury and Michael Fabiano in WCO's Hérodiade

King Herod's lust for his step-daughter Salomé and her love for the prophet John the Baptist intertwine with Queen Herodias' fear and jealousy in Jules Massenet's dramatic masterpiece Hérodiade, presented by Washington Concert Opera on Sunday, November 20, 2016 at 6:00 pm.  Based on Flaubert's take on the biblical story, WCO's production features soprano Joyce El-Khoury as Salomé and tenor Michael Fabiano as John.  Classical WETA's Deb Lamberton caught up with them before rehearsal to talk about the music, the drama, and how the singers' 12-year-friendship enhances their onstage presence.