Peter Fox Smith

Host, A Passion For Opera

Peter has been part of VPR since 1977, launching Saturday Afternoon at the Opera the first week VPR began broadcasting. Opera has always been one of Peter's passions. As a young boy visiting his paternal grandparents, he was treated to impromptu concerts by touring stars of the Metropolitan Opera performing with his grandmother. He is author of A Passion For Opera: Learning To Love It: The Greatest Masters, Their Greatest Music, released in 2004 by Trafalgar Square Publishing.

As a student at Harvard, Peter's doctoral thesis was on Wagner. An appointment at Dartmouth College allowed him to pursue his three passions: athletics, academics and the arts. He coached Dartmouth's women's cross country running team, taught opera courses to freshmen through master candidates and produced an annual arts concert for many years.

Peter lives in North Pomfret, pursuing his additional passions of horses and canoeing.

Peter Fox Smith Official Website

Ways to Connect

We continue our exploration of Prokofiev's War and Peace with excerpts from Part 2.

Listen Saturday, May 27 at 12 noon.

Peter Fox Smith gives us a splendid introduction to Part One of Prokofiev's masterpiece War and Peace. Included in the casts are Galina Vishnevskaya, Gregam Gregoriam, and Nicolai Gedda.

Listen Saturday, May 20 at 12 noon.

Renée Fleming

May 11, 2017

This Saturday, May 13, marks the final Metropolitan Opera broadcast performance by Renée Fleming, who will be heard in her signature role of the Marschallin in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier. On A Passion for Opera we present a tribute to this iconic soprano, featuring music by Mozart, Dvořák, Gounod, Tchaikovsky, and Richard Strauss.

Listen Saturday, May 13 at 12 noon.

Love Duets

May 3, 2017

Love duets in opera do not always lead to happy relationships. We hear a few such duets, from operas as diverse as Manon Lescaut, The Tales of Hoffmann, and Boris Godunov.

Listen Saturday, May 6 at 12 noon.

Il corsaro

May 2, 2017

What is wrong with Verdi's Il corsaro? Excerpts with Montserrat Caballé, Jessye Norman, and José Carreras will provide a happy answer.

Lucrezia Borgia

Apr 18, 2017

In the 19th century, Donizetti's most popular opera was not Lucia di Lammermoor but rather Lucrezia Borgia. We hear selections from a landmark recording that features Montserrat Caballé, Shirley Verrett, and Alfredo Kraus.

Listen Saturday, April 22 at 12 noon.


Apr 11, 2017

Maria Callas is largely responsible for the re-kindling of interest in Cherubini's masterpiece Medea in the twentieth century. We hear excerpts from her November 6, 1958 performance in Dallas and from a 1989 recording in the original French.

Listen Saturday, April 15 at 12 noon.

Mystery Excerpts

Apr 4, 2017

We hear four mystery opera excerpts (to be identified afterward) - plus a special visit from Anna Russell.

Listen Saturday, April 8 at 12 noon.

April 1 Delights

Mar 28, 2017

We celebrate this special day with a variety of musical excerpts featuring such artists as Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Feodor Chaliapin, Maria Galvany, The King's Singers, The Comedian Harmonists, Anna Russell, and Florence Foster Jenkins.

Listen Saturday, April 1 at 12 noon.

Trial By Jury

Mar 17, 2017

Trial by Jury was the first successful collaboration by Gilbert & Sullivan; The Gondoliers was the last of the successful Savoy operas. We'll hear a 1995 recording of Trial by Jury (with Richard Suart as the Learned Judge) and a vintage recording of excerpts from The Gondoliers (with Martyn Green as the Duke of Plaza-Toro).

Listen Saturday, March 25 at 12 noon.


Mar 14, 2017

We hear excerpts from Rimsky-Korsakov's most popular opera, Sadko, featuring the voices of Vladimir Galusin and Gegan Grigorian.

Listen Saturday, March 18 at 12 noon.

Don Carlo

Mar 7, 2017

We hear music from Verdi's Don Carlo, which had its premiere on this date in 1867.

Listen Saturday, March 11 at 12 noon.

Daniel-François Auber was once an immensely popular composer. We sample music from his opera Le domino noir.

Listen Saturday, March 4 at 12 noon.

La scala di seta

Feb 21, 2017

We hear excerpts from La scala di seta (The Silken Ladder), a one-act comic opera by the 20 year old Gioachino Rossini.

Listen Saturday, February 25 at 12 noon.


Feb 16, 2017

In celebration of Black History Month, we hear excerpts from Scott Joplin's opera Treemonisha. And we honor the life of tenor Nicolai Gedda, who died last month at the age of 91.

Listen Saturday, February 18 at 12 noon.

February operatic premieres include Verdi's I Lombardi, Handel's Serse and Rodelinda, and Massenet's Werther. We'll hear excerpts from these operas.

Listen Saturday, February 11 at 12 noon.

We hear selections from three operas that had their premieres during the first week of February: Charpentier's Louise, Rossini's Semiramide, and Verdi's Otello.

Listen Saturday, February 4 at 12 noon.


Jan 24, 2017

We honor Mozart's January 27th Birthday with a program of excerpts from some of his early operas - plus a remembrance of American coloratura soprano Roberta Peters, who died recently.

We concentrate on Act III of Tosca, and we consider the kinship of Puccini's three major soprano roles, Mimì, Tosca, and Butterfly.

Listen Saturday, January 21 at 12 noon.


Jan 11, 2017

We hear excerpts from one of the most popular of all operas, Puccini's Tosca, with such singers as Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, Tito Gobbi, and Ruggero Raimondi.

Listen Saturday, January 14 at 12 noon.