Metropolitan Opera hires new host of weekly radio broadcasts

Posted on: September 21, 2021

“When the Metropolitan Opera’s international radio series resumes this season, the voice of its new host will sound familiar to Philadelphians,” writes Peter Dobrin in Tuesday’s (9/21) Philadelphia Inquirer. “Debra Lew Harder … is leaving Temple [University] radio station [WRTI] to become only the fifth host in the history of the Met radio broadcasts…. ‘It’s a little unexpected, honestly,’ said Harder… Her tryout involved several rounds of interviews, reading a synopsis of La bohème and conducting an impromptu interview on Verdi’s Requiem. A pianist with doctorates in both music and medicine, Harder is host of WRTI’s Midday Classics and creator, producer, and host of Saturday Morning Classical Coffeehouse…. The [Metropolitan Opera] series has had only a few announcers since its start: Milton Cross from 1931 to 1975; Peter Allen until 2004; Margaret Juntwait through 2015; and Mary Jo Heath, who retired … last season. Harder will host the Saturday radio matinees … as well as twice-weekly broadcasts on SiriusXM. Her debut is Sept. 27 with Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, which opens the Met’s 2021-22 season. Harder said she’s looking forward to playing a part in presenting a genre she has loved since she was a child.”