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L.A. Opera takes to the radio airwaves with 'Il Postino' and five other productions

May 19, 2011 |  6:30 am

Ilpostino "L.A. Opera on Air" begins its fifth season on classical music station KUSC-FM (91.5) this weekend, showcasing six productions from the company's 2010-11 season. First up is "Il Postino" (The Postman), featuring L.A. Opera General Director Placido Domingo in the lead role of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

"L.A. Opera on Air" will air Saturdays at 10 a.m. on KUSC, with simultaneous streaming on All six operas were recorded during performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Duff Murphy will host the series.

Commissioned by L.A. Opera, "Il Postino" was adapted by Daniel Catan from a 1994 Italian film of the same name that was based on Antonio Skarmeta's novel about a fictional friendship between Neruda and a young mail carrier. It had its world premiere last September. Catan, a resident of South Pasadena, died April 8 at the age of 62.

During the broadcast, Andrea Puente Catan, the composer's widow, will participate in a live chat on KUSC's website,, moderated by Christopher Koelsch, L.A. Opera's senior vice president and chief operating officer. The public is invited to join in the discussion and ask questions.

L.A. Opera is hosting a memorial for Catan on Monday at 6 p.m. at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. It is open to the public.

In his review of "Il Postino," Times music critic Mark Swed said that Domingo "has never had a role better tailored for him.... Domingo may too easily fall into overwrought melodrama in an aria about the political situation in Chile, but his beaming avuncular compassion, especially in his relationship with Mario, is pretty hard to resist."

Following "Il Postino" (which also is due to receive a television airing on PBS' "Great Performances" this fall), the rest of the "L.A. Opera on Air" schedule looks like this: "The Marriage of Figaro" (May 28),  "Lohengrin" (June 4), "Rigoletto" (June 11), "The Turk in Italy" (June 18) and "The Turn of the Screw" (June 25).

With the exception of "Lohengrin," the "L.A. Opera on Air" programs also will be getting airplay both  nationally and internationally through syndication by WFMT Radio Network, beginning in July.


Daniel Catan will be honored by L.A. Opera

L.A. Opera premieres 'Il Postino'

 An Appreciation: Daniel Catan, caring composer

--Lee Margulies

Photo: Cristina Gallardo-Domas and Placido Domingo in "Il Postino." Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times