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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A Valentine’s Day Program for Lovers

February 16, 2019

Romance in in the air with duets from Show Boat and West Side Story, plus other love songs. Artists include Celine Dion, Jerry Hadley, Frederica von Stade, Eileen Farrell, Jimmy Durante, George Thill, and more.

Night Songs

February 9, 2019

As a follow up to last week’s program, “Morning Songs,” Larry ventures into the night with Plácido Domingo, Anna Moffo, Thomas Hampson, Beverly Sills, and Alfredo Kraus singing pieces from Donizetti to Cole Porter.

Morning Songs

February 2, 2019

The day begins with the Awakening Scene from Strauss’s The Egyptian Helen, sung by Leontyne Price. The morning continues with Die Meistersinger, The Mikado, Oklahoma!, and much more. Artists include The King’s Singers, René Kollo, Bryn Terfel, and Jonas Kaufmann.

French Arias and Songs

January 26, 2019

Vocal selections with a distinctive French flair will be sung by Victoria de los Ángeles, Luciano Pavarotti, Diana Damrau, José van Dam, and Bryan Hymel.

Brünnhilde and Siegfried in Love

January 19, 2019

Happy moments in Wagner? Enjoying it while it lasts are Kirsten Flagstad and Set Svanholm in Siegfried, and Astrid Varnay and Wolfgang Windgassen in Götterdämmerung. If you are a Wagner fan, this program is definitely for you!

Some Singers from Wales

January 12, 2019

Long known for its rich singing tradition, Wales has given us numerous superb artists. Heard today will be Geraint Evans, Margaret Price, Bryn Terfel, Gwyneth Jones, Richard Lewis, and David Lloyd.

American Musical Theater

January 5, 2019

The Overture to Cole Porter’s Anything Goes kicks off 2019. Glynis Johns sings, “Send In the Clowns,” from A Little Night Music, and Bette Midler greets the new year with, “Hello, Dolly!,” amongst much more to be heard in this all-Broadway program.

A Program for New Year’s Eve

December 29, 2018

New Year’s Eve and operetta are an unbeatable combination. Strauss, Lehár, and more are heard by artists who know this genre well. They are Fritz Wunderlich, Brigitte Fassbaender, Nicolai Gedda, Anneliese Rothenberger, Simon Keenlyside, and Erica Köth. Shall we waltz?

A Program for the Holidays

December 22, 2018

The holiday season is upon us! Wishing us joy this year are Kiri Te Kanawa, Bryn Terfel, Kirsten Flagstad, Fritz Wunderlich, the Choir of Trinity School, and Il Volo.

The Art of Ettore Bastianini

December 15, 2018

Larry explores the all too brief life and career of this superb Italian baritone. He will be heard in some of his greatest roles from Don Carlo, La bohème, Andrea Chénier, and La Traviata.

For the Children

December 8, 2018

The holiday season is always about children and the child that lives within us. We will hear lullabies by Kathleen Battle, Boris Christoff, Marilyn Horne, and Ian Bostridge. The prayer from Hänsel und Gretel is sung by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Elisabeth Grümmer. The Vienna Boys Choir sing a chorus from Bizet’s Carmen as well.

Remembering Montserrat Caballé

December 1, 2018

Larry offers a one‐hour memorial tribute beginning at 4pm to one of the most outstanding voices of our time. This master of legato and pianissimo will be heard in prominent roles from Norma, Aida, Louise, and La Traviata as well as selections from Spanish zarzuelas.

Puccini, Puccini, Puccini

November 24, 2018

Truly a feast for Puccini fans. It would be enough just hearing Renée Fleming and Jonas Kaufmann in La rondine or Victoria de los Ángeles and Jussi Björling singing the love duet from Madama Butterfly. There’s more as well sung by Licia Albanese, Franco Corelli and Maria Callas.

Heroes and Heroines in Opera

November 17, 2018

Wagner’s Valkyries bring slain heroes to Valhalla. Christa Ludwig is Fidelio who does whatever is necessary to save her husband. Enrico Caruso is the Spanish hero, El Cid, and Jon Vickers as Rhadames leads the Egyptians to victory in Verdi’s Aida.

Early Twentieth Century Opera in Chicago

November 10, 2018

We go back in time when opera was performed at the Auditorium Theatre from the beginning of the twentieth century to the opening of the Civic Opera House in 1929. Some of the greatest stars of their time will be heard such as Mary Garden, Tito Schipa, Edith Mason, Feodor Chaliapin, Amelita Galli‐Curci and Pol Plançon.


November 3, 2018

Lost in their dreams are Kirsten Flagstad, Jussi Björling, Renée Fleming, Jonas Kaufmann, and more.

Food for Thought

October 27, 2018

A tasty treat for all! The Robert Shaw Chorale takes us to a clambake, Fanny Brice cooks breakfast, the Crab Man and Strawberry Woman from Porgy and Bess offer food for sale, a little boy named Oliver wants more to eat, and there is a tribute to Julia Child.

The English Songbook

October 20, 2018

A survey of songs by Vaughan Williams, Delius, and Purcell among others; sung by Bryn Terfel, Kathleen Ferrier, Ian Bostridge, Alice Coote, David Daniels, Felicity Lott, Simon Keenlyside, Anne Murray, and more.

Larry’s Favorite Records

October 13, 2018

Once again, Larry shares some of his favorites. Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne sing from Bellini’s Norma. Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings Rachmaninoff. Sondra Radvanovsky is heard in an aria by Dvořák and Jussi Björling sings a song by Tosti.

Six American Sopranos

October 6, 2018

Six sopranos from the past and present are heard. They are Eileen Farrell, Edith Mason, Christine Brewer, Kitty Carlisle, Renée Fleming and Eleanor Steber.