A listener-supported, nonprofit classical radio station in North Carolina says it will now air the full season of New York’s renowned Metropolitan Opera, reversing an earlier decision not to broadcast six performances over objections to “adult themes and language” contained in the operas.
In August, the 24-hour classical music radio station, WCPE, sent a letter to listeners explaining why six Met performances had been deemed unsuitable for broadcast, citing language, adult themes and in one instance, objections to the use of non-Biblical texts.
But in a brief statement posted on social media Thursday, the station, which serves the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, said it has now decided to broadcast the entire 2023-2024 season after “hearing from our supporters, listeners and the public.”
“The staff and volunteers of The Classical Station are dedicated to our mission to make the world a better place by providing a restful refuge from the worries of the world, and by building a community for all, brought together by the shared love of Great Classical Music,” the station said.
The decision comes during a season where the Metropolitan Opera has chosen to showcase new works outside the typical opera canon and written by people who are less likely to be featured prominently in the opera world.
Deborah Procter, the radio station’s president, previously said she had objected to broadcasting the six operas to “maintain the trust of listeners.”
“We want parents to know that they can leave our station playing for their children because our broadcasts are without mature themes or foul language,” she said in the August letter.
But in a statement shared with CNN, the Metropolitan Opera said all performances follow FCC guidelines regarding profanity and questionable language.
WCPE will now broadcast “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X,” after previously saying it found the opera to be “unsuitable for a general audience” because it “addresses adult themes and contains offensive language.”
The opera, composed by Anthony Davis and staged by Tony-nominated director Robert O’Hara, brings an “operatic retelling of the civil rights leader’s life” and features a largely Black cast, according to the Met.
The station will also broadcast five other operas, “El Niño,” “Florencia en el Amazona,” “Dead Man Walking,” “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” and “The Hours,” despite previous objections.