Arias and Songs

Saturdays at 4:30 pm

The Chagall ceiling of Opéra Garnier in Paris (Photo: Lin Padgham, CC BY 2.0, cropped, via Flickr)

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.

The player below features a continuous three hour loop of the most recent Arias and Songs episodes to be joined in progress.

Sutherland in Song

March 28, 2020

Hear one of the 20th century’s greatest voices in a recital of songs by Paolo Tosti, Luigi Arditi, and operettas by Michael Balfe and Noël Coward.

American Wagnerian Sopranos

March 21, 2020

Three American sopranos sing Wagner: Deborah Voigt, Jessye Norman, and Helen Traubel are heard in Die Walküre, Der fliegende Holländer, and Tristan und Isolde.

A Program For St. Patrick’s Day

March 14, 2020

Sláinte! Both familiar and unfamiliar Irish songs are performed by Bryn Terfel, Kiri Te Kanawa, The King’s Singers, John McCormack, and Patrick Ball with his Celtic harp.

Verdi Rarities

March 7, 2020

Larry explores some of the more obscure Verdi operas and a song. Montserrat Caballé and Michael Fabiano are heard in Attila, Il corsaro, and I due Foscari along with a song by Licia Albanese.

Jonas Kaufmann Sings Operetta

February 29, 2020

Another side of this highly versatile tenor is presented. Kaufmann has had a life‐long love of operetta. This week, hear him lavish the same attention he gives to Wagner, Puccini, or Massenet in the works of Strauss, Lehár, Kálmán, and Zeller.

The Art of Leonie Rysanek

February 22, 2020

This renowned Viennese soprano is heard in two of her most acclaimed Verdi roles: Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello and her 1959 Met debut role as Lady Macbeth.

A Program for Valentine’s Day

February 15, 2020

It’s all love songs for this special day. Featured artists include Franco Corelli, Anna Moffo, Jussi Björling, Joan Sutherland, Thomas Hampson, and Dorothy Kirsten.

Contraltos

February 8, 2020

Over the last century, the vocal category known as the “contralto” has become a rarely heard, if not an endangered species. This week we hear a few of the highly accomplished contralto women of the past including Maureen Forrester, Ernestine Schumann‐Heink, Marian Anderson, and more.

X, Y, and Z

February 1, 2020

Operatic arias and songs all connected to the last three letters of the alphabet. Heard are Beverly Sills, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Xenia Belmas, and Kathleen Ferrier in music by Handel, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, and Rimsky-Korsakov.

First the Music, Then the Words

January 25, 2020

An instrumental version preceding a vocal version of familiar selections will be heard from Samson et Dalila, The Chocolate Soldier, as well as a song by Debussy. Featured artists include Renée Fleming, James Galway, Marilyn Horne, Hilde Gueden, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet.

Toscanini and Wagner

January 18, 2020

Truly electrifying performances by renowned Wagner conductor, Arturo Toscanini, with the NBC Symphony. Selections from Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung are heard with soloists soprano, Helen Traubel and tenor, Lauritz Melchior.

Opera in English

January 11, 2020

Let’s return to a time when opera-goers expected to hear and see operas in their native language. Artists include Eleanor Steber in Così fan tutte, Kathleen Ferrier in Orfeo ed Euridice, Joan Hammond and Charles Craig in Aida, and more.

2020 Looks Back to the 1920s

January 4, 2020

A century later and it’s the ‘Roaring Twenties’ once again! Celebrate a new decade dancing the Charleston to Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra, recall Charles Lindbergh’s historic flight across the Atlantic Ocean to Paris, hear the comic artistry of Fanny Brice and Eddie Cantor, and more.

Waltzes for New Year’s Eve

December 28, 2019

Put on your dancing shoes! Bring in the new year with Arias and Songs in an all-waltz program. Featured selections include Cristina Deutekom singing a Strauss waltz, the Boston Pops Orchestra play waltzes from Lehar’s The Count of Luxembourg, Julie Andrews asking, “Do I Hear a Waltz” by Richard Rodgers, and Lucine Amara coquettishly singing ‘Musetta’s Waltz’ from La bohème.

A Program for the Holidays

December 21, 2019

A holiday collection of religious and secular favorites sung by Kiri Te Kanawa, Robert Shaw Chorale, Kathleen Ferrier, Richard Tauber, and more.

The Musicals of Jerry Herman

December 14, 2019

Larry recalls three smash hits from the Broadway stage by Jerry Herman. We hear selections from Mame, La Cage aux Folles, and as a special tribute to the late Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly!

Remembering Jessye Norman

December 7, 2019

The late American diva is heard in a special one‐hour tribute. Hear dramatic soprano Jessye Norman in some of her greatest roles, including arias by Mozart, Purcell, Wagner, Strauss, and a rendition of the classic ‘Amazing Grace.’

Verdi’s La Forza del Destino

November 30, 2019

Highlights from this program include a lot of drama involving a brother seeking revenge against the man who killed his father. The man is also in love with his sister, which makes for endless complications in a story of a love that just cannot be. Soloists are Renata Tebaldi, Mario del Monaco, and Ettore Bastianini.

Birgit Nilsson Sings Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer

November 23, 2019

The Swedish soprano is heard in 1957 at the beginning of her international career. Excerpts include a duet with Hans Hotter. A must for Nilsson fans!

When To Say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ To Love

November 16, 2019

Well, the answer is sometimes ‘yes’ and sometimes ‘no’ for the operatic characters in Carmen, Manon, and La traviata. Facing this quandary are Diana Damrau, Piotr Beczała, Maria Callas, Nicolai Gedda, and Renata Scotto.

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