One in this educational public affairs series that traces the origins and development of the American musical theater and examines the careers and contributions of the creative artists who have made the musical a native American art form. In an informal workshop setting, New York City high school students meet the composers, lyricists, and performers who have shaped the American musical and question them about their work. This program examines the career of Roberta Peters, whom host Earl Wrightson describes as the Metropolitan Opera's leading coloratura soprano. This tape starts after the beginning of the program. Peters describes the events leading up to her "surprise" debut at the Met in "Don Giovanni"; the influence of her mentor Jan Peerce; and her many years of preparation in the fields of voice, languages, and ballet before actually appearing on stage. Questions from the audience lead her to discuss her feelings about operatic training in the United States and in Europe, to recall the influence of studying for the opera over her teenage years, and to elaborate on the difference between coloratura and lyric sopranos. Next, she identifies the roles she played in publicity stills that include the Queen of the Night in "The Magic Flute," Gilda in "Rigoletto," Lucia in "Lucia di Lammermoor," the title character in "Lakme," and Rosina in "The Barber of Seville." Peters then outlines the plot of Gian-Carlo Menotti's new opera, "The Last Savage," in which she will star, and describes the honor recently bestowed on her by students across Europe. After mentioning her recent recording of the songs from "West Side Story," she sings two songs from that album, "Tonight" and "I Feel Pretty." Peters closes by answering more questions from the audience about her choice not to pursue a career on the Broadway stage, her current training regimen, and the roles she will be performing in the near future. The CBS Orchestra ends the program with the waltz from Gounod's "Romeo and Juliet."

(This program contains minor technical problems. This represents the best copy of this program currently available to The Museum.)

Cataloging of this program was made possible by a grant from the GRAMMY Foundation.


  • DATE: November 17, 1963 Sunday 11:30 AM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:27:31
  • COLOR/B&W: B&W
  • CATALOG ID: T:56585
  • GENRE: Music
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Music - Analysis, appreciation
  • SERIES RUN: WCBS (New York, NY) - TV series, 1959-1965


    • Ned Cramer … Producer
    • Ethel Burns … Associate Producer
    • Herb Benton … Production (Misc.), Production Supervisor
    • Anthony Farrar … Director
    • Leonard Bernstein … Composer
    • Charles Gounod … Composer
    • Alfredo Antonini … Conductor
    • CBS Orchestra, The … Music Group
    • Earl Wrightson … Host
    • Roberta Peters … Guest, Singer
    • Gian-Carlo Menotti
    • Jan Peerce