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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Songs of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff

March 17, 2018

A program of heartfelt and passionate songs by two of Russia’s finest composers. The recordings are by Dimitri Hvorostovsky, Anna Netrebko, Galina Vishnevskaya, Nicolai Gedda, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Boris Christoff and Eileen Farrell.

Lyric Opera’s Faust

March 10, 2018

The bill comes due and the devil gets Faust’s soul in this program of highlights from Gounod’s opera. Caught in the devil’s trap are Victoria de los Angeles, Alfredo Kraus, Joan Sutherland, Boris Christoff, Franco Corelli, and Nicoli Ghiaurov.

Lyric Opera’s I Puritani

March 3, 2018

Larry offers highlights from this rarely heard Bellini masterpiece. Bel canto specialists include Maria Callas, Montserrat Caballe, Franco Corelli and Giuseppe Di Stefano.

Arias & Songs Goes to the Movies

February 24, 2018

Larry explores the first decade of movies with sound, the “talkies,” beginning with The Blue Angel from Germany in 1929 starring Marlene Dietrich to Judy Garland in 1939 in a song deleted from The Wizard of Oz. Others vocals are by Fred Astaire, Mae West, Bing Crosby, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.

The Art of Paul Robeson

February 10, 2018

Recordings will be heard by this American bass and civil rights activist who openly supported the Spanish Civil War, gave concerts in the Soviet Union and was blacklisted during the McCarthy Era. Among the songs will be spirituals and selections from Jerome Kern’s Showboat in which Robeson sang in the London premiere.

The Art of Marian Anderson

February 3, 2018

One of America’s great voices, this contralto from Philadelphia endured much discrimination and had to find acceptance in Europe. Eventually she would break the color barrier at the Metropolitan Opera in 1955 opening the door to generations of African American artists.

Remembering Franz Schubert

January 27, 2018

Larry presents a program for Schubert’s Birthday. Celebrants include Jesse Norman, Dietrich Fischer‐Dieskau, Benita Valente and Ian Bostridge.

A Coloratura Spectacular

January 20, 2018

Vocal pyrotechnics abound with high Cs, trills and singing techniques that leave you breathless. At their best are Joan Sutherland, Alfred Deller, Lucia Popp, Sigrid Onegin and Magda Olivero.

Remembering Dimitri Hvorostovky

January 13, 2018

Larry will offer a tribute to the late Russian baritone who passed away in November, 2017.

Highlights from Lerner & Loewe Musicals

January 5, 2018

Picture: Stanley Holloway (center) as Alfred P. Doolittle from the Broadway presentation of My Fair Lady. Selections from three highly successful Broadway musicals by Lerner & Loewe bring in the New Year. Julie Andrews, Richard Burton, Robert Goulet, Stanley Holloway and more will be heard in Brigadoon, My Fair Lady and Camelot.

New Year’s Eve in Vienna

December 30, 2017

The champagne will flow as Anna Moffo, Thomas Hampson and Jerry Hadley sing Johann Strauss. Simon Keenlyside honors Franz Lehar. Andre Rieu plays the theme from the film The Third Man and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf salutes Vienna, the city of dreams.

A Program for the Holidays

December 23, 2017

Larry offers four settings of the Ave Maria sung by Leontyne Price, Jeanette MacDonald, and Carol Vaness. Paul Robeson will sing two carols recalling the Nativity.

Two Sleepwalkers

December 16, 2017

“Out, out damned spot” sings Leontyne Price as Lady Macbeth as she sleepwalks with blood on her hands. Maria Callas as Amina in La Sonnambula awakes from her nocturnal rambling to find that love conquers all.

Lyric Opera’s Turandot

December 9, 2017

Another Prince tries his luck hoping to solve Turandot’s three riddles as Puccini’s masterpiece returns to Lyric Opera. Hear spectacular excerpts sung by Jussi Bjoerling, Renata Tebaldi, Montserrat Caballe, Jose Carreras, Jonas Kaufman and Joan Sutherland.

The Art of Rosa Ponselle, part 2

December 2, 2017

An exploration of the life and art of this American diva continues noting the glory years at the MET when she became one of the greatest Norma’s of the twentieth century. She then surprises her public and retires at age forty never to sing on stage again.

The Art of Rosa Ponselle, part 1

November 25, 2017

She was one of the finest soprano voices our country has produced. Amazingly she came out of vaudeville, had never sung an opera yet made her debut at the MET with Enrico Caruso in an opera she had never even heard of. A story that must be told!

Lyric Opera’s “The Pearl Fishers”

November 18, 2017

Longtime audience favorite, the Pearl Fishers’ duet will be sung by Jerry Hadley and Thomas Hampson. Other selections from Bizet’s opera are sung by Janine Micheau, Enrico Caruso and Placido Domingo.

Lyric Opera’s “Die Walküre”

November 11, 2017

Jon Vickers and Gre Brouwenstijn reprise their 1960 Lyric Opera debut roles in Act I of Die Walkure which coincides with this second opera of Wagner’s Ring Cycle currently being presented by Lyric.

A Cole Porter Program

October 21, 2017

The legendary Broadway composer well served in recordings made famous by his contemporaries Fred Astaire, Mary Martin, Artie Shaw and Ella Fitzgerald. Mr. Porter will also accompany himself in one of his songs.

Lyric Opera’s Rigoletto

October 14, 2017

The Court Jester returns to Lyric Opera of Chicago. Highlights will be heard by Daniela Dessi, Carlo Bergonzi, Dietrich Fischer‐Dieskau and Renata Scotto. Rigoletto’s solo scene will be sung by the great Verdi baritone Leonard Warren.