The Classical Station Reverses Course, Will Now Broadcast Entire Met Opera 2023-24 Season

By David Salazar
(Credit: Karen Almond)

Days after proclaiming to the world that it would not broadcast the entire Metropolitan Opera 2023-24 season, The Classical Station has reversed course.

The organization made a formal announcement on its website noting that “After careful deliberation, due consideration, and hearing from our supporters, listeners, and the public, The Classical Station has decided to broadcast the entire 2023-2024 season of New York Metropolitan Opera.”

The organization, via a letter from WCPE general manager Deborah S. Proctor, had previously noted that it did not want to present “Dead Man Walking,” “Florencia en el Amazonas,” “El Niño,” “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X” or “The Hours” because it found the content of the works to be offensive and not appropriate for children. The company cited themes of rape, violence, and suicide as reasons to avoid presenting those works, though in the case “Florencia en el Amazonas,” an opera in Spanish, there was no main reason given. The organization had also banned a broadcast from “Champion” last season due to “vulgar language” and “a theme unsuitable for a general audience.” Proctor, in an interview with NPR, even added that she wanted her programming to be “a safe refuge from the horrors of life… I have a moral decision to make here. What if one child hears this? When I stand before Jesus Christ on Judgement Day, what am I going to say?”

However, themes of the violence against women, suicide, exoticism, and rape didn’t seem to have the same resonance if they were presented in French or Italian, as Proctor proclaimed that the radio station would be ready to present “La Forza del Destino,” “Carmen,” “Roméo et Juliette,” “Turandot,” and “Madama Butterfly,” all operas that feature these themes  and other kinds of adult content.

The Met Opera had replied to The Classical Station’s banning of the operas by noting that in all agreements with broadcasts, the companies had agreed to present the full season.