opera

Seventy-five years ago, on April 9, 1939, as Hitler's troops advanced in Europe and the Depression took its toll in the U.S., one of the most important musical events of the 20th century took place on the National Mall in Washington. There, just two performers, a singer and a pianist, made musical — and social — history.

Over the weekend, soprano Kristine Opolais sang her heart out — and died twice.

Friday evening she had sung the lead in Puccini's Madama Butterfly. It was her debut in that role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. It was a big deal. Opolais was so excited about it that she stayed up until five the next morning.

Seattle Opera Photo/Rozarii Lynch

If your eyes roll back in your head when you hear the word "opera," maybe you should talk to Sue Elliott. She's the education director at Seattle Opera, and her passion for her subject is obvious. And contagious. Just get her talking about Giuseppe Verdi's classic opera "Rigoletto."

Flickr Photo/Alec Schueler


What Caused Henrietta Lacks’ Aggressive Cancer? Researchers Now Know
The New York Times bestseller “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” tells the story of a young woman who died from aggressive cervical cancer and her amazing immortal cells which have been reproduced since 1951. A new study by the University of Washington has pieced together what caused her cancer, called “a perfect storm of what can go wrong in a cell.” We talk with study author Jay Shendure.

Art Of Our City: Cartoonist Ellen Forney
Ellen Forney is an award-winning cartoonist and illustrator. Her work has been published by Fantagraphics and appears regularly in the pages of The Stranger. Forney has just published a graphic memoir. “Marbles:  Mania, Depression, Michaelangelo and Me” chronicles Forney’s diagnosis with bipolar disorder, and her long journey to finding mental balance.

Sleep Less, Eat More?
Scientists have known for a long time that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain. A new study sheds light on why. The study in Nature Communications finds that lack of sleep causes people to crave unhealthy, high-calorie foods like potato chips and makes it harder for people to control their impulses. We talk with study co-author Matthew Walker of the University of California.

How Wagner Came To America
This month, opera lovers from around the world will flock to McCaw Hall to take in Seattle Opera’s internationally acclaimed production of Richard Wagner’s “Ring of the Nibelungen.” But where did a music lover go in the 1890s to take in some world-class Wagner? Would you believe Coney Island? Cultural historian and Wagner expert Joseph Horowitz tells KUOW’s Dave Beck the story of Laura Langford, the Brooklyn newspaper editor, suffragist, clairvoyant and Wagner disciple who founded a series of outdoor Wagner concerts at the famed Coney Island amusement park.