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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Joins WFMT on Monday for Opera and the Law

The Supreme Court justice will be joined by singers from the Ryan Opera Center for a live studio performance.

Yes, it’s me, the RBG   Photo: John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune

The Notorious RBG is coming to Chicago airwaves next week. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will join WFMT host Lisa Flynn on Monday to discuss opera and the law, as well as share some of her favorite arias. The program will start at 10 a.m. on Monday on 98.7 WFMT, with brief clips reairing that night on Chicago Tonight.

Ginsburg, an outspoken opera fan, will be joined by members of the Ryan Opera Center, who will present excerpts from Carmen, Das Rheingold, Billy Budd, Dead Man Walking, and The Pirates of Penzance—all operas with legal scenes. 

It sounds random—a Supreme Court justice joining a Chicago radio station for a midday show—but it all goes back to Ginsburg’s son James, who founded Cedille Records, a classical music label, in Chicago in 1989. The justice is in town to present an award to Sage Foundation president Melissa Sage Fadim at the label’s fifth annual Soirée Cedille on Sunday night.

“I knew that she was in town because she’s presenting an award at Cedille Records,” says WFMT program director David Polk. “We asked if she was going to stay in town another day.” The justice agreed.

“She will be in the studio [in North Park]. She’ll be here for two hours, and for the first hour she’ll be presenting recordings that she enjoys, and the second hour she will be talking about opera and the law.”

It’s not the first time Ginsburg has spoken about law and opera—not even the first time for Chicago audiences. In 2012 she weighed in on the cases of The Magic Flute and Faust during a panel at the annual meeting of the American Bar Association.

“The opera and the law lecture she has done versions of it elsewhere,” Polk says, “[but] I don’t know if she’s ever done it on the radio before.”

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