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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Solti conducts Strauss

June 16, 2018

Solti distinguished himself as a notable Strauss interpreter in the world of opera and as conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Selections will be heard from Arabella, Der Rosenkavalier and Ariadne auf Naxos. Singers include Régine Crespin, Leontyne Price, Yvonne Minton, Helen Donath, Lisa Della Casa, and Hilde Gueden.

Larry’s Favorite Recordings

June 9, 2018

Often asked for his personal favorites, Larry shares a few choices sung by Maria Callas, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Bidu Sayao, Alfredo Kraus, and Leontyne Price.

Fathers, Daughters, Mothers, Sons

June 2, 2018

Duets from Verdi’s Il Trovatore and Simon Boccanegra explore these complicated relationships. The parents are Fiorenza Cossotto and Piero Cappuccilli. Their adult children are Mirella Freni and Carlo Bergonzi.

Birgit Nilsson’s One Hundredth Birthday Anniversary

May 19, 2018

This Swedish soprano was without doubt one of the greatest interpreters of Wagner and Strauss in the twentieth century. The highlight will be the Final Scene from Salome along with an aria from Lohengrin and a song by Sibelius.

Coffee, Tea, Beer, or Wine?

May 12, 2018

The bar is open. It’s your choice and served by Jerry Hadley, Joan Morris, Carlo Bergonzi, Ella Fitzgerald and more.

The Merry Month of May

May 5, 2018

May is the theme with folk songs, Broadway selections, and operetta as sung by Julie Andrews, Robert White, Anna Moffo, Sergio Franchi, and Lawrence Tibbett.

A One Hundredth Birthday Anniversary Tribute to Astrid Varnay

April 28, 2018

This Swedish‐American soprano and one the finest Wagnerian interpreters of the twentieth century will be heard in two of her finest roles. First we hear Dich teure Halle from Tannhauser then the Immolation Scene from Gotterdammerung.

French Operas Duets

April 21, 2018

It is all things French today with three magnificent duets. They are the Flower Duet from Lakme with Mady Mesple and Danielle Millet, the Pearl Fishers Duet with Jonas Kaufmann and Ludovic Tezier, and the St. Sulpice Scene from Manon with Anna Moffo and Flaviano Labo.

First the Music, Then the Words

April 14, 2018

Larry explores this theme once again with a non‐vocal version of a familiar melody followed by a vocal one. Artists include Giuseppe De Stefano, Morton Gould and His Orchestra, Fred Astaire, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Joan Morris, William Bolcum, Mischa Maisky, and Mario Lanza.

Can There Ever Be Enough Mozart?

April 7, 2018

Certainly NOT! Delighting the heart and soul are selections from six Mozart operas. Artists include Fredericka Von Stade, Teresa Berganza, Gottlob Frick, Pilar Lorengar, Gabriel Bacquier, Lucia Popp and Edita Gruberova. A must hear indeed for Mozart fans.

A Program Sung in Latin

March 31, 2018

Selections will be heard from religious works by Charpantier, Rossini, Verdi and Bruckner as well as Orff’s Carmina Burana and a choral work from the film The Lion in Winter. Among the various artists will be Cecilia Bartoli, Luba Orgaosova and Jussi Bjoerling.

Here Comes the Sun

March 24, 2018

Here is a program filled with sunshine for a March day. Franco Corelli sings O sole mio plus arias from Rigoletto, Romeo and Juliet and May Night. Also spreading sunshine are Karita Mattila, Piotr Beczala, Renata Scotto, Carlo Bergonzi and Nicolai Gedda.

Songs of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff

March 17, 2018

A program of heartfelt and passionate songs by two of Russia’s finest composers. The recordings are by Dimitri Hvorostovsky, Anna Netrebko, Galina Vishnevskaya, Nicolai Gedda, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Boris Christoff and Eileen Farrell.

Lyric Opera’s Faust

March 10, 2018

The bill comes due and the devil gets Faust’s soul in this program of highlights from Gounod’s opera. Caught in the devil’s trap are Victoria de los Angeles, Alfredo Kraus, Joan Sutherland, Boris Christoff, Franco Corelli, and Nicoli Ghiaurov.

Lyric Opera’s I Puritani

March 3, 2018

Larry offers highlights from this rarely heard Bellini masterpiece. Bel canto specialists include Maria Callas, Montserrat Caballe, Franco Corelli and Giuseppe Di Stefano.

Arias & Songs Goes to the Movies

February 24, 2018

Larry explores the first decade of movies with sound, the “talkies,” beginning with The Blue Angel from Germany in 1929 starring Marlene Dietrich to Judy Garland in 1939 in a song deleted from The Wizard of Oz. Others vocals are by Fred Astaire, Mae West, Bing Crosby, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.

The Art of Paul Robeson

February 10, 2018

Recordings will be heard by this American bass and civil rights activist who openly supported the Spanish Civil War, gave concerts in the Soviet Union and was blacklisted during the McCarthy Era. Among the songs will be spirituals and selections from Jerome Kern’s Showboat in which Robeson sang in the London premiere.

The Art of Marian Anderson

February 3, 2018

One of America’s great voices, this contralto from Philadelphia endured much discrimination and had to find acceptance in Europe. Eventually she would break the color barrier at the Metropolitan Opera in 1955 opening the door to generations of African American artists.

Remembering Franz Schubert

January 27, 2018

Larry presents a program for Schubert’s Birthday. Celebrants include Jesse Norman, Dietrich Fischer‐Dieskau, Benita Valente and Ian Bostridge.

A Coloratura Spectacular

January 20, 2018

Vocal pyrotechnics abound with high Cs, trills and singing techniques that leave you breathless. At their best are Joan Sutherland, Alfred Deller, Lucia Popp, Sigrid Onegin and Magda Olivero.