Father Lee’s analyses and commentaries on operas
Father Lee had been writing print articles, published in magazines (such as the Met Guild’s OPERA NEWS since 1968), and program notes (such as that for the Bayreuth Festival since 1970) for 16 years before the Met Opera’s radio producer, Richard Mohr, invited him to join his panel of live “on air” Texaco Opera Quiz contestants in 1983 – and his team of Intermission Features analysts one year later, in 1984.
Once admitted to Richard Mohr’s radio teams, for the next 23 years Father Lee became unquestionably the most popular member of both groups of experts.
In addition to his 48 broadcast analyses of operas for the Met, he appeared on 75 “second intermission” Texaco Opera Quizzes from the Met. (He was also a panelist on another 23 intermission quizzes on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s radio program: “Saturday Afternoon at the Opera”.)
In addition, Father Lee was commissioned to produce 11 90-minute CD commentaries by the Met Opera Guild.
(1) For his first 10 seasons as an intermission analyst (1984 to 1993) on the Metropolitan Opera’s Saturday afternoon live radio broadcasts, Father Lee’s intermission talks were delivered in a form called “MUSICAL and DRAMATIC ANALYSES” – (a.k.a “OPERA NEWS on the AIR”), pioneered by such luminaries as Boris Goldovsky, George Jellinek and John Culshaw.
These broadcast talks are generally delivered “at the piano” and are about 20-25 minutes long.
In those ten seasons, he delivered 29 MADAs, the texts of 23 of which were published in his book “FIRST INTERMISSIONS” (1995, revised and enlarged 2002, 2004).
With help from my friends, with particular thanks to Dr Miguel Lugo, I have been able to find all but 1 of his 29 talks in this series, so far.
If you know of someone who has a copy of the missing one – (the Faust MADA from 1990) – please contact me.
(2) For his final 12 seasons (1994 to 2006) Father Lee delivered 16 more broadcast intermission talks – not MADAs, but a new form called “DISCUSSION COMMENTARIES” … in that they were loosely linked to, although still inspired by, the Opera of the day. These are also mostly about 20 minutes long.
So far, I have been able to find 10 of these 16 talks in audio format. Six to go …
If you know of a copy of his talks entitled : “REMEMBERING 1940” (1999), “BJOERLING, LEHMANN, MELCHIOR” (2000), “WAGNER and the GREEKS” (2004), “WAGNER and the LAST 100 YEARS” (2004), “RICHARD STRAUSS, his PAULINE and the ALLOMATIC” (2005), or “FORZA, VERDI’S OPERA MADE Of IDEAS” (2006) – please let me know.
In his final year at the Met, 2005-06, he experimented with 3 short “ON-LINE FEATURES” – (on Die Zauberflote, Fidelio and Pelleas et Melisande) – all of which were in the later “Discussion Commentaries” format – all of which I have – and which are here included in the NATIONAL STYLES segments below.
The texts for most of his “Discussion Commentaries” can be found in his book (1998, 2000).
(3) Father Lee also produced 11 longer talks (generally over an hour) for the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s series called “TALKING ABOUT OPERA”. These were not “broadcast” talks, but more extensive, in-depth lectures in CD format, and included his selection of extensive excerpts from recordings, with orchestra.
All 11 of his contributions to this landmark project are reproduced here – with the kind permission of Mr. Paul Gruber, the Guild’s Executive Director, Program Development.
his 22 talks on
(also check in his
- DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE (21m) - on-line feature 2006
- DIE ZAUBERFLOTE (1hr 34m) - Guild CD 1990
- FIDELIO (17m) - on-line feature 2006
- FIDELIO (1hr 35m) - Guild CD 1990
- DER FLIEGENDE HOLLANDER (20m) - Met MADA 1989
- TANNHÄUSER (20m) - Met MADA 1987
- LOHENGRIN (26m) - Met MADA 1985
- LOHENGRIN (1hr 18m) - Guild CD 1997
- DAS RHEINGOLD (28m) - Met MADA 1988
- DAS RHEINGOLD (24m) - Met MADA 1989
- DIE WALKÜRE (22m) - Met MADA 1989
- SIEGFRIED (22m) - Met MADA 1989
- GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG (22m) - Met MADA 1989
- TRISTAN UND ISOLDE (1hr 15m) - Guild CD 1998
- DIE MEISTERSINGER 1 (36m) - Met MADA 1985
- DIE MEISTERSINGER 2 (19m) - Met MADA 1985
- PARSIFAL 1 (24m) - Met MADA 1986
- PARSIFAL 2 (22m) - Met MADA 1986
- PARSIFAL 3 (20m) - Met MADA 1992
- ELEKTRA (22m) - Met MADA 1984
- DER ROSENKAVALIER (16m) - Met MADA 1993
- DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN (19m) - Met MADA 1989
his 11 talks on
(also check in his
- IDOMENEO (18m) : Met MADA 1991
- IDOMENEO (1hr 12m) : Guild CD 2009
- DON GIOVANNI (1hr 31m) : Guild CD 1997
- RIGOLETTO (19m) : Met MADA 1987
- SIMON BOCCANEGRA (23m) : Met MADA 1986
- UN BALLO IN MASCHERA (23m) : Met MADA 1991
- DON CARLO (21m) : Met MADA 1992
- AIDA (13m) : Met MADA 1989
- OTELLO (20m) : Met MADA 1988
- LA BOHEME (17m) : Met MADA 1991
- TURANDOT (23m) : Met MADA 1992
his 9 talks on
(also check in his
- FAUST (1hr 13m) : Guild CD 2004
- LES TROYENS (19m) : Met MADA 1984
- ROMEO et JULIETTE (1hr 15m) : Guild CD 2005
- LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN (27m) : Met MADA 1988
- MANON (25m) : Met MADA 1987
- PELLEAS ET MELISANDE (15m) : Met MADA 2005
- PELLEAS ET MELISANDE (1hr 34 m) : Guild CD 1994
- DIALOGUES des CARMELITES (1hr 16m) : Guild CD 2002
his 16 DISCUSSION COMMENTARIES
- 1994 - WALT WHITMAN and OPERA (Lucia di Lammermoor) : 18m
- 1995 - The REQUISITE MIRACLE (La Traviata) : 12m
- 1996 - A FIGURE as OLD as COMEDY (Falstaff) : 17m
- 1997 - WHOLLY DIFFERENT REASONS (Un Ballo in Maschera) : 18m
- 1998 - The CASE for WAGNER (Lohengrin) : 15m
- 1998 - A MAN for ALL CENTURIES (Le Nozze di Figaro) : 13m
- 2001 - The DEVIL'S MOTIF (Carmen) : 14m
- 2001 - WAGNER and the WONDER of ART (Die Meistersinger) : 14m
- 2003 - PLACES in the HEART (Jenufa) : 12m
- 2003 - FAUST after FAUST : 11m