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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Silence, Please!

August 11, 2018

Two operatic calls for silence. One by Rita Gorr in Verdi’s Aida with Leontyne Price. The other for the finale of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger with Ben Heppner, José van Dam and more with the Chicago Symphony led by Sir Georg Solti.

Scenes from Russian Opera

August 4, 2018

Dmitri Hvorostovsky and supporting cast give us a scene from Prokofiev’s War and Peace. Then the duet between Marina and Dmitri from Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov is sung by Evelyn Lear and Nicolai Gedda.

Tenors, Tenors, Tenors

July 28, 2018

And what tenors they are! From today and yesteryear we hear Jonas Kaufmann, José Carreras, Fritz Wunderlich, Ian Bostridge, Jussi Björling, George Thill, and Juan Diego Flórez.

The Art of Renata Tebaldi

July 21, 2018

Conductor Arturo Toscanini said she had the voice of an angel. Judge for yourself as Tebaldi sings arias from Italian operas and a song by Rossini.

The Art of Josephine Baker

July 14, 2018

Arriving in France as one of the many Americans in Paris in the 1920s, La Belle Josephine, as she was called, became a national treasure for the French for half a century.

Scandinavian Singers, Scandinavian Songs

July 7, 2018

Songs by five Scandinavian composers will be heard sung by Kirsten Flagstad, Jussi Björling, Karita Mattila, Bo Skovhus, Anne Sophie von Otter and Solvieg Kringelbotn.

Things that Crawl, Swim, and Fly

June 30, 2018

Fish swim, butterflies float, snakes slither, bees sting, and worms crawl in a most unusual program. Immersed in nature are Kathleen Battle, Gérard Souzay, Christa Ludwig, John McCormack, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Felicity Lott, and more.

A Program for Gay Pride Weekend

June 23, 2018

In this special one-hour tribute to the LGBTQ community, we give recognition to various composers including Tchaikovsky, Copland, and Menotti. You’ll also hear an aria from the 2017 opera Fellow Travelers, about two men who meet in McCarthy-era Washington. We nod to Broadway with Jerry Herman’s La Cage aux Folles and the film version of Victor/Victoria.

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.