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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Plácido Domingo’s 50th Anniversary at the Met

September 29, 2018

His seemingly never‐ending career is highlighted with selections from Otello, Don Carlo, and Adriana Lecouvreur, which was his debut role. His native Spain is recalled with a song from a zarzuela.

Kirsten Flagstad Sings Wagner

September 22, 2018

Long acknowledged as one the greatest Wagnerian voices of the twentieth century, the Norwegian soprano will be heard in Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung.

Opera Singers of Spain

September 15, 2018

Larry presents seven Spanish singers in opera and song. They are Montserrat Caballé, José Carreras, Teresa Berganza, Alfredo Kraus, Victoria de los Ángeles, Plácido Domingo, and Conchita Supervía.

Two Courtesans, Two Queens, and a Princess

September 8, 2018

Five women with, shall we say, unusual professions. Working hard are Renata Scotto, Shirley Verrett, Hermione Gingold, Rita Streich and Joyce DiDonato.

Play Gypsy, Dance Gypsy

September 1, 2018

Gypsies have long been a favorite topic for composers. Hear delightful and melodic songs and arias sung by Leontyne Price, Conchita Supervia, Fritz Wunderlich, Angela Gheorghiu, Renata Tebaldi and more.

Leonard Bernstein’s 100th Birthday Tribute

August 25, 2018

Larry explores the life of this endlessly fascinating musician. You will hear him as a conductor, composer, and accompanist. The program features him conducting Maria Callas at La Scala and Marilyn Horne at the Metropolitan Opera, to selections from his various Broadway musicals – which certainly includes West Side Story!

One Theme, Multiple Operas

August 18, 2018

Two La bohèmes, two Fausts and two Manons are heard in this program. Sorting out the differences are Renée Fleming, Nicolai Gedda, Victoria de los Ángeles, Anna Netrebko, Boris Christoff, Anna Moffo and Angela Gheorghiu.

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.