Student Innovation & Creativity Showcase for Lansing Community College

Radio Opera – The Predecessors to Showtunes on the Radio

From Menotti to Stephen Schwartz, show tunes have been a staple of American Music since the turn of the 20th Century.

Before the days of film and television, many households gathered around the radio to listen to radio shows that ranged from comedy, drama, and of course, opera. Radio Operas became extremely popular in the mid-1920s as a cheap form of entertainment.

When the Great Depression hit in 1929, millions across America turned to the radio as a way to escape the trying times.

When the depression came to a close in 1933, the love for radio shows stayed. Gian Carlo Menotti composed “The Old Maid and the Thief” in 1939, and it has since become one of the most beloved radio operas of all time.

Here, Lansing Community College Baritone Matthew R. Ross brings to life the music of Menotti for a new generation. Here he performs Bob’s Aria “When the Air Sings of Summer”, the conclusion of the first act of the drama.

Bob is a drifter who was taken in by Miss Todd and Laetitia, has been kept away from the outside world in fear that he is an escaped convict that matches his description. He considers freedom, and how he misses it, as he packs his bags to leave.

Faculty or Staff Sponsor: Jon Ten Brink

Author: Matthew R Ross

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