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Ben Heppner to Host Saturday Afternoon at the Opera


CBC Radio 2's Saturday Afternoon at the Opera has a new host.

Ben Heppner, one of Canada's - and the world's - most celebrated dramatic tenors, will take over the mic of the long-standing show starting on September 7. 

Heppner is known for shining in the most difficult operatic roles, especially those in the Wagnerian repertoire, and has won multiple Juno and Grammy awards throughout his career. This radio hosting gig marks yet another challenge for the acclaimed star, one that will allow him to share his passion for his art with fans.  

"It is an honour to be a part of the CBC Music family, and to be the new host of Saturday Afternoon at the Opera," Heppner said in a statement. "CBC has always exposed Canadians to a wide variety of music, and Saturday Afternoon at the Opera allows listeners to immerse themselves into the rich culture and sounds of opera with the brilliant recordings that are broadcast. I can't wait."

CBC Music caught up with Heppner in studio for a chat about his new role. Watch this video where he remembers his first radio (rescued from "trash heap oblivion"), and answers a frequently asked question about his life on the stage: 

And have a look at this interview where Heppner reveals his top three picks for opera duets to CBC Music's Julie Nesrallah:

For many, Ben Heppner is a household name. But for those unfamiliar with this Canadian opera power house, we'd like to give you a taste of just a few of his famous roles. 

1. Heppner is renowned worldwide for his interpretation of the doomed lover, Tristan, in Richard Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde. Here he performs on stage at New York's Metropolitan Opera:  

2. Heppner performs a song from another of Wagner's operas, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg:

3. In this video, Heppner belts out one of the best-known tenor arias in all opera, "Nessun dorma," from the final act of Giacomo Puccini's Turandot:

4. Finally, watch Heppner perform this song from Hector Berlioz's opéra comique, Béatrice et Bénédict:

New episodes of Saturday Afternoon at the Opera with Heppner hit the airwaves beginning September 7. You can listen to the show on Saturdays at 1 p.m. ET on CBC Radio 2.   

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