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.

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


October 12, 2019

Opera quartets from Don Giovanni, Fidelio, Faust, La bohème, and Rigoletto. Artists include Nina Stemme, Victoria de los Ángeles, Rita Gorr, Licia Albanese, Cesare Siepi, Carlo Bergonzi, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Nicolai Gedda, and Boris Christoff.

A Program For a Rainy Day

October 5, 2019

You will need an umbrella for this program with songs like ‘Stormy Weather’ sung by its composer, Harold Arlen, and Judy Garland singing ‘I Get the Blues When it Rains.’ Richard Strauss accompanies Hilde Konetzni in one his songs about the weather.  Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison are quite delighted about ‘The Rain in Spain’ from My Fair Lady, and ...

In Performance at Carnegie Hall

September 28, 2019

A treat for Wagner fans is this electrifying performance of Act I, Scene 3 from Die Walküre. Arturo Toscanini conducts the NBC Symphony Orchestra with soloists, Helen Traubel and Lauritz Melchior, in this 1941 NBC Radio broadcast from Carnegie Hall.

Lyric Opera 1969

September 21, 2019

A star‐studded season it was with Marilyn Horne in The Barber of Seville, Alfredo Kraus in I puritani, Anja Silja in Der fliegende Holländer, and Fiorenza Cossotto in Cavalleria rusticana.


September 14, 2019

Larry turns to movies and Broadway to explore a variety of relationships. Delightful tunes abound from Candide, Annie Get Your Gun, Gigi, Carousel, Kiss Me Kate, and more.

Four American Sopranos

September 7, 2019

Larry plays recordings by two well‐known sopranos of the past: Jeanette MacDonald and Anna Moffo. Then there are recordings by two of today’s most accomplished sopranos, Deborah Voigt and Sondra Radvanovsky.

Four American Tenors

August 31, 2019

We hear two tenors from the past, Richard Tucker and James King. Then two contemporary tenors, Lawrence Brownlee and Steven Costello.

Italian Opera in German

August 24, 2019

Guten Tag! At one time, opera-goers expected to hear performances in their own language! Who knew? Larry offers examples as sung in the German-speaking countries by Leonie Rysanek, Fritz Wunderlich, Erna Berger, and Pilar Lorengar.

Trouser Roles in Opera

August 17, 2019

Not men, but women wear the pants in a series of so‐called “trouser” roles. Teresa Berganza is Mozart’s Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, Joyce DiDonato is Bellini’s Romeo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Marilyn Horne is Mozart’s Sesto in La clemenza di Tito, and more.

Heard in “Live” Performance

August 10, 2019

An eclectic collection indeed! Marcella Sembrich sings at a 1903 Metropolitan Opera concert, Maria Callas is heard in the Lisbon Traviata, Ferruccio Furlanetto is the Prince in Eugene Onegin at the 2007 Salzburg Festival, the ‘Cat Duet’ by Rossini is purred by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Victoria de los Ángeles in London, and much more will be hear live in performance.

A Trip To Naples

August 3, 2019

Larry takes you to the San Carlo Opera in Naples for highlights from Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur. Cast includes Magda Olivero, Franco Corelli, and Naples’ favorite son, Enrico Caruso. There are also songs by Tito Gobbi, Mario Lanza, Richard Tauber, and Barbara Hendricks.


July 27, 2019

Delilah betrays Sampson, Radamès betrays his country in Aida, Lt. Pinkerton betrays Butterfly, and more. Among the betrayers and the betrayed are Christa Ludwig, Angela Gheorghiu, Maria Callas, Beniamino Gigli, James King, and Carlo Bergonzi.

Recalling the 1969 Moon Landing

July 20, 2019

Larry recalls a half century since humankind first walked on the moon. In this hour-long program, Anna Netrebko sings the ‘Song to the Moon’ from Rusalka. Also heard are Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna as unrequited lovers in a moonlit scene from Werther, Eileen Farrell sings ‘Fly Me to the Moon,’ and so much more.

A Program For Bastille Day

July 13, 2019

How better to celebrate this French holiday than with the sparkling and effervescent music of Jacques Offenbach? Celebrants include Beverly Sills, Richard Tauber, Joan Sutherland, Jussi Björling, and more.

Four Operatic Quintets

July 6, 2019

Operatic ensembles at their best from The Magic Flute, Un ballo in maschera, Carmen, and Die Meistersinger. Among the many artists heard are Victoria de los Ángeles, René Kollo, Shirley Verrett, Nicolai Gedda, and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.

A Program for Gay Pride Weekend

June 29, 2019

For a special one-hour program beginning at 4:30pm, Larry showcases the talents of gay composers Gian Carlo Menotti, Reynaldo Hahn, and Michael Tippett. Also featured are Peter Pears, Nathan Lane, Josephine Baker, Donald Gramm, and pianists, Earl Wild, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and more.

Death Scenes from French Opera

June 22, 2019

Dorothy Kirsten welcomes death in Thaïs. Franco Corelli as Don José murders Leontyne Price as Carmen. Over the top melodrama abounds as Feodor Chaliapin succumbs as Don Quichotte.

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.

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