Today in 1778, La Scala Opera House opened in Milan, Italy. This famous venue replaced the Royal Ducal Theatre which had been destroyed by a fire two years earlier. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the luminaries who are most associated with La Scala, from Verdi to Toscanini.
The great American writer Flannery O'Connor passed away on this day in 1964. Find out how her writings influenced U2, PJ Harvey, and Bruce Springsteen on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1939, a letter was dated from the physicist Albert Einstein to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Einstein told Roosevelt that physicists had figured out how to make nuclear chain reactions. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the music inspired by the nuke.
It was on this day in 1929 that Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin'" was first performed at the premiere of "Connie's Hot Chocolates" in Harlem. On today's "A Day in the Life" we explore the ascendance of the tune and the several versions recorded in its debut year.
Today in 1969, an opera titled Help, Help, the Globolinks! had its United States premiere at the Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico. In the opera, creatures from another planet - called Globolinks - are invading earth. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we discover the power of music over marauding space invaders.
It was on this day in 1981 at 12:01 AM that MTV played its first music video. The song was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles. On today's "A Day in the Life", we explore the intersection between music and video.
Today in 1900, Don Redman was born in Piedmont, West Virginia. As a composer, arranger, bandleader, and woodwind player, Redman shaped the sound of jazz as we know it today. Learn more on today's "A Classical Day in the Life".
Billy Joel’s 10th studio album, The Bridge, debuted on this date in 1986, which features guest appearances by Cyndi Lauper, Ray Charles, and Steve Winwood. What do these musicians have to do with the title of the album? Find out today on “A Day in the Life.”
On this day in 1750, Johann Sebastian Bach died in Leipzig, where he spent the last 27 years of his life. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore Bach's role as a central figure of the Baroque.
On this day in 1941, the American playwright Eugene O’Neill presented his wife with the manuscript of Long Day’s Journey into Night. It would eventually become a successful theatrical production and a film staring Katharine Hepburn. Hear André Previn’s haunting soundtrack and learn how it contributes to the narrative action today on “A Day in the Life.”
Today in 1940 a certain rascally rabbit made his official debut. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore Bugs Bunny's life in music from Leopold Stokoski to Wagner.
Today in 1984 the film Purple Rain was released in US movie theaters. To what extent is it autobiographical about Prince’s rise to fame in Minneapolis? What does the title mean? Find out on today’s “A Day in the Life.”
On this day in 1788, the state of New York ratified the U.S. Constitution, becoming the 11th state to make its official entrance into the United States of America. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" we celebrate New York's contributions to the world of music.
It was on this day in 1943 that the English singer and songwriter Mick Jagger was born. On today's "A Day in the Life" we explore the beginnings of the Rolling Stones and discover that though time doesn't seem to exert an appreciable force upon the dance moves of the man, it does have a way of transforming the lyrics of some of his songs.
On this day in 1930, the Canadian singer Maureen Forrester was born. A contralto with an arrestingly rich voice, Forrester was one of the 20th century's leading vocalists. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", have a listen to her contributions to opera and the concert stage.
It was on this day in 1995 that American singer, songwriter, and civil rights activist Nina Simone fired a gun at two teenage boys playing in a pool next door to her house. On today's "A Day in the Life", we explore the career of Simone.
Today in 1977, "My Aim is True" - the debut album of a singer who called himself Elvis Costello - was released by Stiff Records in London. On today's "A Day in the Life", we explore the early career of the guy who used to be Declan MacManus.
Today in 1938, Caterina Jarboro became the first African-American to perform with an all-white opera company in the United States. Find out the special significance of the role that she played on today's "A Classical Day in the Life."
Today in 1989 the comedic film UHF, staring "Weird Al" Yankovic, had its premiere in the United States. Find out what you've been missing if you've never seen this cult classic on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1821 German composer, conductor, pianist, and critic, Carl Maria von Weber finalized his last will and testament. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the influence von Weber had on his contemporaries, including Wagner, Berlioz, and Chopin.
On this day in 1304, Petrarch — the Italian humanist, poet, and all-around VIP — was born. As a noted speaker, historian, classicist, diplomat, jet-setter, friend to royals, and Rome's poet laureate, Petrarch was one of the cultural bigshots 14th century Italy. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore Petrarch's influence in the realm of music.
Today in 1969, Apollo 11 landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon. Steve Hayward shares the music their travels inspired and the music that accompanied their epic journey on this episode of "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1834, the painter Edgar Degas was born in Paris, France. From an early age he maintained an interest in art, eventually becoming one of the major figures of the so-called impressionist school of painting. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore Degas' world of ballet, the movement and costumes of which inspired more than 1500 paintings by the artist.
Today in 1949, American singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist, Harry Belafonte, began his recording contract with Capitol Records. On today's "A Day in the Life", we explore his early career as an actor alongside Sidney Poitier and his first attempts in the music industry as a folk musician.
Today in 1946 the Catalan cellist, Pablo Casals, published an article titled "Why Franco Must Go." How did Casals use his musical standing to fight against General Franco's regime? Find out on this brief episode of "A Classical Day in the Life."