Arias and Songs

Saturdays at 4:30 pm
Arias and Songs

Enjoy recording collector and host Larry Johnson’s vast library of vocal music.

Arias and Songs celebrates great singers of the past and present, from Maria Callas and Jussi Björling to Renée Fleming and Jonas Kaufmann. Each week, recording collector and host Larry Johnson spins a wonderful web of opera, operetta, Broadway tunes, art songs—even vintage pop. Expect the unexpected as Larry guides you through the range and nuance of vocal artistry, with some programs tied to local performances, as well.

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Creator Recordings

June 15, 2019

Larry presents truly historic recordings that include the first Lt. Pinkerton, Giovanni Zenatello, in Madama Butterfly. Then the first Marchallin in Der Rosenkavalier, Margarethe Siems. In Verdi’s first Falstaff, Victor Maurel is heard and Richard Tauber in Lehar’s The Land of Smiles conducted by the composer.

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

June 8, 2019

Lions, tigers, and bears are feared by Dorothy and her friends in The Wizard of Oz. This zoological program acknowledges not only lions, tigers, and bears, but also seals, dogs, swans, and more. Among those dropping by the zoo are Marilyn Horne, John McCormack, Kirsten Flagstad, and Peter Pears.

The Art of Claudia Muzio

June 1, 2019

This superb Italian soprano from the first half of the twentieth century is heard is some of her greatest roles in Tosca, Andrea Chénier, as well as a Chicago favorite, La traviata. There are songs also by Licinio Refice and Arturo Buzzi-Peccia.

The Art of Reynaldo Hahn

May 25, 2019

The fascinating life and career of this French composer, conductor, accompanist, singer, and voice teacher will be explored in recordings by Victoria de los Ángeles and Maggie Teyte. Hahn will be heard performing his own songs and some delightful Offenbach as well.

A Program of Prayers

May 18, 2019

Larry offers operatic prayers from Cavalleria rusticana and Der Freischütz. Then Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria,’ ‘Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow,’ and the cowboy prayer, ‘Home on the Range.’ Artists include Angela Gheorghiu, the Robert Shaw Chorale, Elisabeth Grümmer, and John Charles Thomas.

The Art of Jessye Norman

May 11, 2019

Larry presents the magnificent voice of Jessye Norman in some of her greatest roles from Ariadne auf Naxos, Dido and Aeneas, Tannhäuser, and more. A must for her fans will be her rendition of ‘Amazing Grace.’

Historic Figures in Opera

May 4, 2019

So many to choose from. We hear Spain’s El Cid sung by Plácido Domingo, Joan of Arc by Eileen Farrell, Mary Queen of Scots by Joyce DiDonato, and Mark Antony by Vanni‐Marcoux.

A Trip to London

April 27, 2019

Our first stop is Covent Garden for an aria from one of its greatest stars, Nellie Melba. Rex Harrison observes how the English speak in My Fair Lady. Noël Coward sings “London Pride” and we enjoy the melodic wit of Gilbert & Sullivan.

Fire and Music

April 20, 2019

A combustible combination as René Pape singing “Wotan’s Farewell” and “Fire Music” from Die Walküre. Régine Crespin witnesses the burning of Troy in Les Troyens. Larissa Diadkova sees her mother burned at the stake in Il trovatore.

A Trip to Sicily

April 6, 2019

There is nothing like a Sicilian curse! Carlo Bergonzi gets one he won’t forget from Fiorenza Cossotto in Cavalleria rusticana. Victoria de los Ángeles and Giuseppe Di Stefano are heard in songs. Also, there will be an offer you can’t refuse as we pay our respects to The Godfather.

Happy Endings

March 30, 2019

Beethoven’s Ode to Joy from his Symphony No. 9 is the centerpiece of this program. Herbert Von Karajan conducts. Also heard will be the finale of Verdi’s Falstaff with Bryn Terfel, and of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice with Shirley Verrett and Anna Moffo.

Operas You Have Never Heard Of

March 23, 2019

Are you familiar with Donizetti’s Rita? How about Meyerbeer’s Emma di Resburgo? Rubinstein’s Néron? Hear these and more operatic rarities sung by Juan Diego Flórez, Joyce DiDonato, Enrico Caruso, Diana Damrau, and Jonas Kaufmann.

The Art of Shirley Verrett

March 16, 2019

Larry recalls this superb American mezzo‐soprano in some her greatest Verdi roles including Macbeth, Don Carlo, and Un ballo in maschera. There is also a La Gioconda duet with Montserrat Caballé and a cradle song by Montsalvatge.

Shadows and Fog

March 9, 2019

Venture into a twilight world with Natalie Dessay singing the “Shadow Song” from Meyerbeer’s Dinorah. Peter Pears delves into the Foggy, Foggy Dew and Fred Astaire enjoys A Foggy Day in London Town. All alone, Judy Garland offers a heartfelt “Me and My Shadow.”

All in the Family

March 3, 2019

Close personal and professional relationships are explored. We recall those of Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge; Galina Vishnevskaya and Mstislav Rostropovich; Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears; and Roberto Alagna and his brothers.

First the Music, Then the Words

February 23, 2019

Larry explores this theme once again. Both a vocal and non‐vocal version of familiar music is performed. A Puccini aria, a song about love by Poulenc, and a traditional Welsh song will be heard by Jessye Norman, Jonas Kaufmann, and the King’s Singers.

A Valentine’s Day Program for Lovers

February 16, 2019

Romance in in the air with duets from Show Boat and West Side Story, plus other love songs. Artists include Celine Dion, Jerry Hadley, Frederica von Stade, Eileen Farrell, Jimmy Durante, George Thill, and more.

Night Songs

February 9, 2019

As a follow up to last week’s program, “Morning Songs,” Larry ventures into the night with Plácido Domingo, Anna Moffo, Thomas Hampson, Beverly Sills, and Alfredo Kraus singing pieces from Donizetti to Cole Porter.

Morning Songs

February 2, 2019

The day begins with the Awakening Scene from Strauss’s The Egyptian Helen, sung by Leontyne Price. The morning continues with Die Meistersinger, The Mikado, Oklahoma!, and much more. Artists include The King’s Singers, René Kollo, Bryn Terfel, and Jonas Kaufmann.

French Arias and Songs

January 26, 2019

Vocal selections with a distinctive French flair will be sung by Victoria de los Ángeles, Luciano Pavarotti, Diana Damrau, José van Dam, and Bryan Hymel.

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