FROM WHITMAN TO WAGNER

For WNYC Radio, Elena executive-produced a number of music broadcasts and culture specials. Two of her favorites, worth a listen:

Arthur Rackham / Wikimedia Commons

Arthur Rackham / Wikimedia Commons

The Myth, The Passion, The Mania: hosted by Jad Abumrad

It might seem hyperbole to claim, as many Wagnerites do, that The Ring Cycle is 'The Greatest Work of Art Ever.' But the grandeur and power of this monumental work have permeated our culture from Star Wars to Bugs Bunny to J.R.R. Tolkien.

This piece includes the voices of Howard Shore, Oscar-winning composer of The Lord of the Rings, Playwright Tony Kushner, Joe Clark, technical director for the Metropolitan Opera, Alex Ross, music critic of The New Yorker magazine, Jungian Psychologist Laurie Layton Shapira, Seattle Opera director Speight Jenkins, Guitarist Gary Lucas, Fred Plotkin, Food & Opera Writer; Will Berger, author of Wagner without Fear, and John Rockwell, cultural correspondent for The New York Times. (March 2004)

Walt Whitman: Song of Myself: hosted by Carl Hancock Rux

One hundred fifty years ago, Walt Whitman published the first edition of Leaves of Grass, a collection of twelve poems that shattered existing notions of poetry and broke all existing conventions in terms of subject matter, language, and style. During Victorian times, Whitman broke taboos: he wrote about slaves, prisoners, prostitutes, sexuality, his love for men, and his vision for a utopian America. 

Walt Whitman: Song of Myself explores how a 36-year old freelance journalist and part-time house-builder living in Brooklyn created his outrageous, groundbreaking work that irrevocably altered the development of poetry—and literature—that followed. One of the nation’s first media hounds, he styled his image and his persona throughout his lifetime in search of fame and the broadest possible audience. He even hoped to heal a divided nation with this poetry, a lofty goal he would not reach. Despite never reaching a mass public during Whitman’s lifetime, his work’s tremendous impact is being felt a century and a half later. (November 2005)