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.

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.

Renée Fleming sings Richard Strauss

November 9, 2019

The names Fleming and Strauss have been synonymous now for decades, never more so than in the Four Last Songs. This program presents Renée Fleming’s 1995 version with the Houston Symphony Orchestra led by Christoph Eschenbach.

A Mahler Recital

November 2, 2019

Kathleen Ferrier and Dietrich Fischer‐Dieskau, two renowned Mahler interpreters of yesteryear, are heard in selections from the Rückert-Lieder and Songs of a Wayfarer. Certainly a feast for the ear and perhaps even for the soul.  

Devils and Demons For Halloween

October 26, 2019

And scary they are! Kwangchul Youn as the Devil bargains for Piotr Beczala’s soul in Faust. José van Dam sings the ‘Danse macabre’ of Saint-Saëns. René Pape is both seductive and evil as Rubinstein’s The Demon. There is more to hear…but only if you dare.

At the Midnight Hour

October 19, 2019

Karita Mattila braves the night in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades. Leontyne Price has a clandestine midnight rendezvous with Carlo Bergonzi in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera.


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.