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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Helen Lyons Brings Operatic Training To Mornings On 'VPR Classical'

Helen Lyons can be heard hosting mornings on "VPR Classical" weekdays between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Matthew Smith
Helen Lyons can be heard hosting mornings on "VPR Classical" weekdays between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Morning listeners to VPR Classical likely noticed a new voice on the air over the last month.

Helen Lyons, a classically-trained soprano who’s performed in genres from opera to chamber music in the U.S., Europe and Asia, joined VPR in February as the new morning host.

Lyons joined Vermont Edition to discuss studying and performing overseas and how she came back to Vermont.

"Germany is kind of where it's at for young singers," Lyons said of her performing career. "There's lots of work, lots of little houses, and I had the great fortune to sing for a couple of them."

For more than a decade Lyons split her time between living and performing abroad and working in the U.S.

"I really do love live performance," Lyons said, especially opera. "It kind of combines everything ... there's a visual element, there's terrific use of language, high drama and costumes. It's just so much fun, from so many different angles."

That performer's perspective is what she hopes to bring to listeners each morning on VPR Classical.

"That's why I love being live on the radio," she said. "I do feel as though I'm sitting in a room with a listener; it feels like a conversation with a friend."

That conversation with listeners, Lyons said, gives her a chance to share information and history about the music she queues up, as well as reflect on the music's emotional resonance.

Listen to the full interview with Helen Lyons above to hear more about her career, her return to Vermont in 2016, her approach to hosting and how she hopes to broaden listeners' classical experience with pieces from beyond the European canon.

Broadcast live on Monday, March 11, 2019 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
Matt Smith worked for Vermont Public from 2017 to 2023 as managing editor and senior producer of Vermont Edition.
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