Monday, 3 September 2007

Give Us Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, Not Opera Light

First let me say that I used to enjoy Richardson's Roundup, which ran on CBC's Radio One for seven years. Bill Richardson made something quite delightful out of a show which the CBC seemed to intend originally as a dumping ground for previously-run items. His off-beat sense of humour and his cultural knowledge created an eclectic pot pourri which, I believe, had terrific ratings.

But on Saturday I turned him off after a few minutes: that was his first shot as official host of Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, and he didn't play an opera but a concert of opera excerpts. Come on, Bill, if I want to listen to "best-of" programming like that, I have many other choices. But a whole opera on a Saturday afternoon, followed by intelligent comments and more music! Only SATO offered that.

Maybe wiser heads will prevail, and the CBC Radio Two will go back concentrating on serious music. I fear not, however. The CBC brass seems to think it will attract a younger audience by dumbing down the programming, by giving us Opera Light and excerpts of this and that. Haven't they seen that in markets where an all-classical station competes with Radio Two (or its Radio Canada equivalent Espace Musique) the all-classical station is the one with the solid audience? Don't they understand that the support opera is getting these days (see all the tributes to the late Richard Bradshaw) means that people want to hear more, not less?

There's a "contact us" feature on the SATO web site. Why not let them know what you think.


BlastFurnace said...

Done. I can't believe they actually got Sad Goat to host the show. Rick Phillips would have been a far better choice -- but of course, he does Sound Advice .

Mary Soderstrom said...

Good. Now if we can get others to do the same.

The problem goes deeper than SATO, unfortunately. Jurgen Gothe was fun when he was the only one doing mixed-genre programming, but to have Peter Togni, for example, do Music Light is a waste...and often a bore.

And actually when it comes to hosts for music programs, I have great hopes for Peter Phao, who was a guest host on SATO this summer. He was at McGill, studying music when my daughter was there, and I know him to be an extremely knowledgeable, resourceful young man. Rather surprising too--at that time he was singing counter tenor and looking as stocky as a sumo wrestler. When he began singing it was a great fun to see the astounded expressions on the face of members of the audience who didn't know him.



Emily said...

(Forgive me if this comment is several months after the original post, but what the hey.)
Hey, I'm a young person, and I am repelled by CBC 2's new programming. I liked the old CBC! Now I never listen to CBC 2 anymore.