BBC Radio 3 is taking the Discovering Music show off-air in a bid to save money, and extending coverage of Strauss during the 150th anniversary year of his birth.
Opera On 3 will include every opera by Strauss in 2014, starting with two recordings made at the Royal Opera House: Capriccio starring Renée Fleming on Saturday 4 January and Elektra conducted by Andris Nelsons on Monday 6 January.
Roger Wright, Controller of BBC Radio 3 commented: “As the home of classical music, Radio 3 is proud to bring our listeners every operatic work by this remarkable composer through our new Opera On 3 slots, leading up to a special weekend around the actual anniversary of the composer’s birth. This is the sort of bold public service programming for which Radio 3 is known for and follows a successful run of Verdi, Wagner and Britten opera scheduling in their anniversary years for 2013. There is no other station which offers complete operas in the UK.”
Instead of commissioning Discovering Music, music context will be covered throughout the rest of the schedule. The station says it is ‘taking a break’ from the show so it is expected to return.
Also, Night Waves is becoming Free Thinking all year round and is being reduced from airing four days a week to three.
Roger Wright: “Although we have had to make tough decisions in order to make savings in line with the rest of the BBC, by broadcasting Free Thinking over three days rather than four and taking a break from commissioning Discovering Music, we have protected the unique and ambitious range of the station’s live music – its classical, world music, jazz and arts content – whilst reducing our overall volume output.
“Free Thinking consolidates our two strong arts and ideas brands – Free Thinking and Night Waves – which have been delivered with such success by the same production team. In continuing to evolve the Radio 3 schedule, we have sought to provide the best value for money for the licence fee payer and the most distinctive offering for our audience. From every Strauss opera to a topical world music series and boundary pushing drama – Radio 3 remains a home for passionate minds everywhere.”