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A North Carolina classical music radio station says it will not air the Metropolitan Opera's performances of "Dead Man Walking" (pictured) and five other productions over objections to content in the shows.
CNN  — 

A listener-supported, nonprofit classical radio station in North Carolina said it will not air six operas performed by New York’s renowned Metropolitan Opera this season over objections to content within the operas.

The choice from the 24-hour classical radio station, WCPE, comes during a season where the Metropolitan Opera has chosen to showcase new works outside of the typical opera canon and written by people who are less likely to be featured prominently in the opera world.

WCPE, which serves Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina, says it has aired performances by the Met for the last 35 years. But in a letter to listeners, Deborah Proctor, the station’s president, said six Met performances were deemed unsuitable for broadcast because they “are written in a non-classical music style (and) have adult themes and language.”

“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. “We must maintain the trust of listeners.”

In a statement shared with CNN, the Metropolitan Opera said this season’s performances do not violate federal broadcasting rules.

“Since we follow FCC guidelines regarding profanity and questionable language, we do not agree with WCPE’s plan to drop several of our scheduled broadcasts,” said Rebecca Kim, press director for the Met.

The Met’s broadcast season starts on December 9, and runs through June 8. Broadcasts are carried on hundreds of radio stations in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.

“The Met’s artistic mission is to present great opera, both new and classic, and we expect our participating radio stations to carry all of them,” Kim said.

But in its letter, WCPE said it found the opera “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X,” 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 also objected the opera, “El Niño,” which, according to the Met, “incorporates sacred and secular texts in English, Spanish, and Latin, from biblical times to the present day, in an extraordinarily dramatic retelling of the Nativity.”

The station said it objects, in part, to the “non-biblical sources (that) are used in the liberetto” of El Niño and vocalizations of “pain and mental agony.”

Four other operas ” Florencia en el Amazona,” “Dead Man Walking,” “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” and “The Hours,” will also not be aired on the station.

Last season, the station declined to air “Champion” from six-time Grammy Award winning composer Terence Blanchard. The opera tells the story of Emile Griffith, a five-time world boxing champion, who was closeted during much of his fighting career.

The station said they chose not to air “Champion” “because it contained vulgar language and a theme unsuitable for a general audience.”

WCPE is licensed out of Wake Forest, North Carolina, by the Educational Information Corporation, a nonprofit.