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.

Inge Borkh at 100

September 23, 2017

German soprano Inge Borkh turned 100 earlier this year. Larry celebrates her centenary with “In questa reggia” from Puccini’s Turandot and the “Final Scene” from Richard Strauss’ Salome.

Maria Callas ‐ Gone Now For Forty Years Today

September 16, 2017

Gone but hardly forgotten after four decades, La Divina is heard in arias that recall her unique artistry. Besides La Vestale, Norma, and Tosca, we hear Callas accompanying herself in her final recording, “Ah, Perfido!” by Beethoven.

Vivaldi’s Magnificat

September 9, 2017

Sacred music is heard in a program consisting of the Magnificat by Antonio Vivaldi. Riccardo Muti conducts the New Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus with soloists Teresa Berganza and Lucia Valentini Terrani.

A Program for Labor Day

September 2, 2017

A tribute to workers everywhere that features three government ministers, a flower seller, a fashion designer and even a smuggler. Cecilia Bartoli, Lucrezia Bori and Katherine Hepburn are heard among others.

Remembering Nicolai Gedda

August 26, 2017

The late Swedish tenor is fondly remembered in arias from some of his operatic roles from Carmen, Cosi fan Tutte, Faust and Vanessa. Then there will be a superb rendition of Dein ist mein ganzes Herz from Lehar’s The Land of Smiles.

Five Wagnerian Tenors

August 19, 2017

Five tenors who are all acclaimed for their Wagner interpretations. Listen and enjoy Lauritz Melchior, Jon Vickers, Jess Thomas, Ben Heppner and Jonas Kaufmann.

Music of the American West

August 12, 2017

We begin on horseback in the Grand Canyon then on to California for Puccini’s Fanciulla del West. Colorado is next for The Ballad of Baby Doe. We ride the range with cowboys and end up with a salute to Texas.

The Art of Giulietta Simionato

August 5, 2017

Simionato and Callas sang Norma in Lyric Opera’s first season in 1954. Becoming a valued member of the company she sang Carmen, Rosina and Amneris among numerous roles until 1961. A voice that must be heard!

First the Music then the Words

July 22, 2017

Itzhak Perlman plays the Meditation from Thais followed by the opera’s final scene sung by Dorothy Kirsten and Robert Merrill. Then Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise is performed by the London Symphony led by Andre Previn then sung by Anna Moffo.

A Program for Bastille Day

July 15, 2017

Let’s celebrate the holiday with a program of French opera and song. A highlight will be the Air de Lia from Debussy’s L’Enfant Prodigue sung by Victoria de los Angeles. Other artists include Gerard Souzay and Joan Sutherland.

Songs by Stephen Sondheim

July 9, 2017

Broadway’s master composer and lyricist is heard in his musicals Sweeney Todd, Follies, Into the Woods and Company among others. Singers include Angela Lansbury, Len Cariou, Carol Burnett, Jason Alexander, Barbra Streisand and more.

Arias from the Age of Bel Canto

July 1, 2017

Enjoy a Bel Canto spectacular with Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Horne, Placido Domingo, Maria Callas, Giuseppe di Stefano and Leopold Simoneau in selections from operas by Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti.

A Program For Gay Pride Weekend

June 24, 2017

Larry will present a special one hour broadcast beginning at 4 PM to celebrate Gay Pride Weekend in Chicago. Expect to be entertained as well as informed hearing recordings by gay and lesbian composers and singers who have made significant contributions to American and European culture over a century and more ranging from Leonard Bernstein to Cole Porter and Jake ...

The Art of Anna Netrebko

June 17, 2017

A tribute to the Russian Diva includes an excerpt from Prokofiev’s War and Peace as well as arias by Mozart, Puccini and Verdi and a song by Rimsky-Korsakov.

Gustav and Alma Mahler

June 10, 2017

Larry offers a sampling of recordings by eminent Mahler interpreters Maureen Forrester, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Kathleen Ferrier, and Fritz Wunderlich, as well as an unexpected and hilarious tribute to Alma Mahler.

Operatic Mad Scenes

May 27, 2017

So-called “mad scenes” have been long been a staple of opera , and were especially so during the bel canto era of Donizetti and Bellini. Larry offers two later examples. Natalie Dessay sings Ophelia’s mad scene from Hamlet and Philip Langridge descends into madness as the title character in Peter Grimes.

Robert Merrill at 100

May 20, 2017

Larry recalls the great American baritone for his 100th birthday anniversary. We will hear him in his most prominent Verdi roles as well as the Toreador in Carmen and the title role in the Barber of Seville.

A Program of Russian Opera

May 13, 2017

A collection of gems from operas by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Rachmaninoff featuring Galina Vishnevskaya, Mariusz Kwiecień and Miliza Korjus. The highlight will be the Coronation Scene from Boris Godunov with Boris Christoff.

Remembering Roberta Peters

May 6, 2017

This retrospective honors an artist who made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1950 at age 20 and remained there for the next 35 years. We hear her in some of her signature roles as Rosina in the Barber of Seville, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, the page boy in A Masked Ball, the Queen of the Night in ...

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