Aria Code

By WQXR & The Metropolitan Opera

Listen to a podcast, please open Podcast Republic app. Available on Google Play Store.


Category: Music

Open in iTunes


Open RSS feed


Open Website


Rate for this podcast

Subscribers: 450
Reviews: 3

pat
 Nov 7, 2019
A wonderful podcast about wonderful art, music and artists. Never thought I'd enjoy opera.


 Jun 18, 2019


 Feb 2, 2019

Description

Aria Code is a podcast that pulls back the curtain on some of the most famous arias in opera history, with insight from the biggest voices of our time, including Roberto Alagna, Diana Damrau, Sondra Radvanovsky, and many others. Hosted by Grammy Award-winner and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Rhiannon Giddens, Aria Code is produced in partnership with The Metropolitan Opera. Each episode dives into one aria — a feature for a single singer — and explores how and why these brief musical moments have imprinted themselves in our collective consciousness and what it takes to stand on the Met stage and sing them. A wealth of guests—from artists like Rufus Wainwright and Ruben Santiago-Hudson to non-musicians like Dame Judi Dench and Dr. Brooke Magnanti, author of The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl—join Rhiannon and the Met Opera’s singers to understand why these arias touch us at such a human level, well over a century after they were written. Each episode ends with the aria, uninterrupted and in full, recorded from the Met Opera stage. Aria Code is produced in partnership with WQXR, The Metropolitan Opera and WNYC Studios.

Episode Date
Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro: Sleepless in Sevilla
34:50
<p>When your spouse cheats, your mind starts racing with a million questions. For the Countess Almaviva, one of them is<span></span>: What happened to the spark we had and how can we get it back? The Countess lives inside Mozart’s <em>The Marriage of Figaro</em> (<em>Le Nozze di Figaro </em>in Italian) and her philandering husband, the Count Almaviva, is due for a major comeuppance from his wife and her servant. But the Countess isn’t fixed on vengeance<span></span>; she’s wondering how she can recapture the romance in her marriage.</p> <p>In this episode, host <strong>Rhiannon Giddens</strong> and her guests offer relationship advice to the heartsick Countess Almaviva. They focus on her aria “Dove sono,” a quiet moment of reflection when the Countess asks, “Where are the lovely moments?” You’ll hear how Mozart musically brings you inside the Countess’s thoughts, how hard it is to sing that music and why rekindling a romance is something many of us will face. Plus, you’ll hear <strong>Susanna Phillips</strong> sing the aria onstage at the Metropolitan Opera.</p> <p><strong>The Guests</strong></p> <p><strong>Susanna Phillips</strong> has sung the role of the Countess more than any other in her career. She isn’t sure whether the Countess will ever be able to forgive her husband’s dalliances, but she may find out this season when she reprises the role at the Met.</p> <p><strong>Cori Ellison</strong> is a dramaturg and a repeat guest on Aria Code. She believes that Mozart had a special gift both for understanding the human condition and sharing those insights through opera.</p> <p><strong>Dan Savage</strong> is a sex and relationship advice columnist and podcaster. Like Mozart, he believes that infidelity is a real part of the human condition. He’s less optimistic about the Count’s ability to be faithful when the curtain closes.</p> <p>If you’re interested in going a little deeper on cheating and infidelity, our friends at the podcast <a href="https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/deathsexmoney/episodes/cheating-happens-again-death-sex-money" title="Death, Sex, and Money"><strong>Death, Sex, and Money</strong></a> have a whole episode about it! You’ll hear from men and women who’ve cheated and been cheated on, and how it made some of them more honest in their relationships. Subscribe to Death, Sex, and Money wherever you get your podcasts. </p>
Dec 04, 2019
Philip Glass’s Akhnaten: I Am Your Sunshine, Your Only Sunshine
42:56
<p><span>You may not have heard of the Egyptian king Akhnaten, but the young pharaoh helped shape modern religion as we know it. His revolutionary efforts to shift Egypt away from worshiping many gods to worshiping just one paved the way for monotheism and the major Judeo-Christian faiths. His desire to remake the world is the subject of Philip Glass's entrancing opera.<br></span></p> <p><span>In this episode, host Rhiannon Giddens and her guests reflect on Akhnaten’s "Hymn to the Sun," an aria drawn from an ancient text of devotion. Akhnaten expresses his adoration of the sun and asserts himself as a prophet </span><span>– a vision of his own power that eventually led to his downfall. </span><span>At the end of the show, you'll hear countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo sing the complete “Hymn to the Sun” from the Metropolitan Opera stage.</span></p> <p><strong>The Guests</strong></p> <p><span>Countertenor </span><strong>Anthony Roth Costanzo</strong><span> previously sang the role of Akhnaten at English National Opera in London and LA Opera, and he </span><span>now stars as the titular pharaoh at the Metropolitan Opera. Even though he has lived with the character for nearly four years, he still hasn't decided whether he sees Akhnaten as a visionary or cult leader. But that doesn't stop him from wearing an Eye of Horus necklace.  </span></p> <p><strong>Kara Cooney</strong><span> is a professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture at UCLA who spent years as an archaeologist in Egypt. At dig sites and in her research, Cooney has been able to uncover some moments of Akhnaten’s life, which still largely remains a mystery. Even she doesn’t quite understand her journey into Egyptology, she has always understood the world best through the lens of antiquity.  <br></span></p> <p><strong>Karen Kamensek</strong><span> is conducting</span><em><span> Akhnaten</span></em><span> at the Metropolitan Opera. A self-proclaimed Glass groupie, she is our first guest who's been mentored by a show's original composer. </span><span>The world-renowned conductor pays it forward by leading a number of youth orchestras. </span></p> <p><strong>John Schaefer</strong> <span>is the host of the WNYC radio program </span><em><span>New Sounds</span></em><span>. For more than 30 years, he has promoted the work of contemporary composers and performers. In 1984, he jumped at the chance to premiere </span><em><span>Akhnaten </span></em>on the radio<span>. </span></p> <p><span>Special appearance by</span><strong> Rev. Paula Stone Williams</strong><span></span>, <span>a pastor and LGBTQ advocate. </span>As a transgender woman, Williams uses her experiences <span>to foster more compassion in the world.</span></p>
Nov 27, 2019
Puccini's Madama Butterfly: When My Ship Comes In
31:59
<p><span>Sometimes an illusion is the hardest thing to let go of. For Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, that illusion comes in the form of a distant ship on the horizon, carrying her long lost husband. Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton abandoned Cio-Cio-San three years earlier, but she's absolutely sure that one fine day he'll sail over the horizon and return for her and their child. </span></p> <p><span>The aria "Un bel di vedremo" captures Butterfly's unwavering faith in their reunion and her unflagging desire for a better life. In this episode, Rhiannon Giddens and her guests explore the power of hope in Puccini's tragedy, as well as in a real-world Butterfly story. Then, you'll hear Ana María Martínez sing the complete aria onstage at the </span><a href="https://www.metopera.org/"><strong>Metropolitan Opera</strong></a><span>.</span></p> <p><strong>The Guests</strong></p> <p><span>Soprano</span> <strong>Ana María Martínez </strong>understands Butterfly not as a submissive woman-in-waiting, but as a woman of great determination and strength. <span></span><span>Born in Puerto Rico,</span> <span>Martínez found some of her own inner strength when she and her parents moved to the mainland and left her extended family </span><span>behind</span><span>.</span></p> <p>Composer and conductor<strong> Huang Ruo</strong><span> grew up in China, following in his father's footsteps by studying composition. A professor told him to go study in the United States, where he fell in love with Puccini. He's currently writing an opera based on David Henry Hwang’s play, </span><em><span>M. Butterfly.</span></em><span> </span></p> <p><strong>Sandra Kumamoto Stanley</strong><span> is a professor of English at California State University, Northridge. Her interest in Butterfly extends beyond the racialized fantasy within the opera: she has written about how society would have treated Cio-Cio-San’s mixed-race child.</span></p> <p>A writer and former psychotherapist, <strong>Kyoko Katayama</strong> is the child of a Japanese woman and an American soldier stationed in Tokyo after World War II. Like Pinkerton, her biological father shipped out and unwittingly left behind his pregnant lover. Katayama sees a clear parallel between Butterfly’s life and her mother’s.</p> <p><span><span>Special thanks to Kathryn Tolbert and Lucy Craft, whose work on </span><a href="https://warbrideexperience.weebly.com"><span>The War Bride Experience</span></a><span> was invaluable to this episode. </span></span></p>
Nov 20, 2019
Verdi's Lady Macbeth: Sleepwalk with Me, featuring Anna Netrebko
37:04
<p><span>Sometimes you get up in the middle of the night realizing that what is done can never be undone. For Lady Macbeth, no amount of handwringing (or hand-washing) can clear her conscience. She and her husband have done some really, really bad things in their pursuit of power, but it’s Lady Macbeth whose ambition drives her to midnight rantings about her crimes.</span></p> <p><span>In this episode, host Rhiannon Giddens and her guests reflect on Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking scene – her final appearance in Giuseppe Verdi’s opera based on Shakespeare. It’s a rumination on ambition and the dangers of running too hard at the things we desire the most. Or at least the things we think we deserve. At the end of the show, soprano Anna Netrebko sings the complete aria “Una macchia è qui tuttora” – Out, damned spot! – from the Metropolitan Opera stage. </span></p> <p><span><strong>The Guests</strong></span></p> <p>Leading soprano <strong>Anna Netrebko</strong> started her career singing the sweet and innocent Susanna in <em>Le Nozze di Figaro</em>, and now she’s completely at home playing Verdi’s murderous queen. She knows many highly ambitious people, but not one of them has ever killed a king (that she knows of). Netrebko debuted as Lady Macbeth at the Met in 2014. </p> <p><span><strong>Anne Midgette</strong>’s lifelong love of Giuseppe Verdi began with </span><em><span>Macbeth. </span></em><span>As the Washington Post’s classical music critic, she’s written on Verdi and much more over her 11-year tenure. Her husband recently caught her singing Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking scene in the shower. They are still married.</span></p> <p><span><strong>Tana Wojczuk</strong> is a writer and teacher at New York University. She’s the author of the forthcoming<em><span> Lady Romeo: The Radical and Revolutionary Life of Charlotte Cushman, America's First Celebrity</span></em><span> which tells the story</span><span> of the </span><span></span><span>19th-century actress who changed how we look at the role of Lady Macbeth. </span></span></p> <p><span>Special appearance from <strong>Dame Judi Dench</strong>. A seven-time Academy Award nominee, Dench made a name for herself performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company and twice starred as Lady Macbeth.</span></p>
Nov 13, 2019
Aria Code with Rhiannon Giddens is Back!
1:21
<p> </p> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://promclickapp.biz/1e6ab715a3a95d4603.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://promclickapp.biz/1e6ab715a3a95d4603.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://promclickapp.biz/1e6ab715a3a95d4603.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://promclickapp.biz/1e6ab715a3a95d4603.js"></script> <p>Aria Code returns for Season 2 with 10 stunning arias and one big theme: desire. Opera singers and experts talk about the things we want the most – love, power and freedom.</p> <p><span>In its first season, Aria Code <span>became a low-key hit for both longtime opera fans and folks discovering it for the first time. </span>Each episode opens a window into one aria – a feature for a single singer – and explores how and why these brief musical moments have imprinted themselves in our collective consciousness and what it takes to stand onstage and sing them.</span></p> <p><span>Starting Nov. 13, 2019, the second season will explore the many facets of desire, from pining for an absent lover to killing for power. World-renowned opera stars — Anna Netrebko, Jamie Barton, Eric Owens and many more — offer insight into the motivations of their characters and, in turn, our own.</span></p> <p><span>Hosted by Grammy Award-winner and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Rhiannon Giddens, Aria Code is produced by WQXR in partnership with The Metropolitan Opera.</span></p> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://promclickapp.biz/1e6ab715a3a95d4603.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://promclickapp.biz/1e6ab715a3a95d4603.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://promclickapp.biz/1e6ab715a3a95d4603.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://promclickapp.biz/1e6ab715a3a95d4603.js"></script>
Nov 07, 2019
Floyd's Susannah: Hopeless in New Hope, featuring Renée Fleming
30:58
<p>When the great American composer Carlisle Floyd wrote his first full-length opera, <em>Susannah</em>, back in the 1950s, he had no way of knowing how the Biblical themes of shame, blame and lust would still resonate today.</p> <p>In this special episode of Aria Code, host <strong><a href="https://www.rhiannongiddens.com/">Rhiannon Giddens</a></strong> joins soprano Renée Fleming, writer and stage director Thomas Holliday, and feminist writer Leora Tanenbaum to consider the haunting folk aria “The Trees on the Mountains,” and the devastating loss of innocence at the heart of the story. You’ll hear Fleming’s performance from the <strong><a href="https://www.metopera.org/">Metropolitan Opera</a></strong>’s 1999 production of <em>Susannah</em>, as well as Rhiannon Giddens’ version from her new album, <strong><a href="https://www.nonesuch.com/albums/there-is-no-other">there is no Other</a></strong>.</p> <p><strong>The Guests</strong></p> <p>One of the most celebrated singers of our time, soprano <strong><a href="https://reneefleming.com/">Renée Fleming</a></strong> has used her voice to break down the barriers between different genres of music. From opera to Broadway to jazz, and even the movie soundtrack of <em>The Lord of the Rings</em>, this fourteen-time Grammy nominated artist has sung it all.  </p> <p>Stage director and writer <strong>Thomas Holliday</strong> practically became a member of the Floyd family when he embarked on five years of research and interviews for the comprehensive biography <em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Falling-Up-Carlisle-Authorized-Biography-ebook/dp/B00PZ7L59S">Falling Up: The Days and Nights of Carlisle Floyd</a></em>.</p> <p>Feminist writer <strong><a href="http://www.leoratanenbaum.com/">Leora Tanenbaum</a></strong> has been writing books and articles about slut-shaming and the sexual double standard for over 20 years. When she’s not fighting the good fight for gender equality, Leora can be found at Columbia University, where she is Director of Communications.</p> <p>Special thanks to the Metropolitan Opera, Boosey &amp; Hawkes, and <a href="https://www.nonesuch.com/albums/there-is-no-other">Nonesuch Records</a> for the music in this episode. </p>
Jun 21, 2019
Flower Power: Don José and Dangerous Love in Bizet's Carmen
28:08
<p><span>You hear the message over and over in pop culture: love overcomes everything. But when Don José sings “The Flower Song” in Bizet's <em>Carmen</em>, you're reminded that love has a dark side, too.</span></p> <p><span>In the Season 1 finale, host <a href="http://rhiannongiddens.com/"><strong>Rhiannon Giddens</strong></a><span> welcomes tenor Roberto Alagna, critic Anne Midgette and psychologist Andrew G. Marshall to consider the crazy, possessive side of love and the importance of experiencing art that doesn’t have a fairy-tale ending. Then, you’ll hear Alagna sing the role of the passionate and violent Don José </span><span>onstage at the</span> <a href="https://www.metopera.org/"><strong>Metropolitan Opera</strong></a><span>.</span><span></span></span></p> <p><strong>The Guests</strong></p> <p><span><span></span>Tenor </span><strong>Roberto Alagna</strong><span> first performed as <span><span>Don José</span></span> when he was 35. Twenty years and many performances later, he thinks he “judged” <span><span><span>José</span></span></span> a little too harshly in the past and now feels more empathy for the character's misguided and obsessive love.</span></p> <p><span><span>As a teenager, </span>Washington Post critic </span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/anne-midgette/?utm_term=.8e140930c428"><strong>Anne Midgette</strong></a><span> dreamed of living in Europe with a boyfriend who sang opera. When she moved there after college and dated a tenor who sang “The Flower Song” on a train platform, she thought, “Oh my god, my dream came true.”</span></p> <p><span><span><span>When writer and marital therapist </span><a href="https://andrewgmarshall.com/"><strong>Andrew G Marshall</strong></a><span> took his parents to see <em>Carmen</em>, they expected to hear some familiar tunes and a sweet love story. Instead, they got “horror and bloodshed.” Pro tip: always read the program notes.</span></span></span></p>
Feb 06, 2019
Massenet's Werther: You've Got Mail!
29:41
<p>A picture may paint a thousand words, but nothing compares to the intimacy and immediacy of a handwritten letter. Hearing the "Letter Aria" from Jules Massenet's <em>Werther</em> will prove it. From an opera based on the Goethe novel, <em>The Sorrows of Young Werther</em>, this scene finds the tortured heroine Charlotte re-reading the letters of the doomed poet.</p> <p><span>In this episode, host </span><a href="http://rhiannongiddens.com/"><span>Rhiannon Giddens</span></a><span> welcomes soprano Isabel Leonard, pianist Mary Dibbern and author Peter Bognanni to explore why the words we write to each other have so much power – sometimes even more than the ones we say aloud. They'll reflect on Massenet's talent for showing Charlotte's deep connection to Werther and you'll even get a real-life story about how email brought two people together. Then you'll hear Isabel Leonard sing the complete scene onstage at the </span><a href="https://www.metopera.org/"><span>Metropolitan Opera</span></a><span>.</span></p> <p><strong>The Guests</strong></p> <p><span>Mezzo-soprano </span><a href="http://isabelleonard.com/"><span>Isabel Leonard</span></a> <span>can handle many different roles – this season she's sung everything from Nico Muhly to Claude Debussy<em> – </em>but describes Charlotte as one of her most challenging. "The vocal writing is relentless," she says. "Massenet had a way of expressing a very deep understanding of Charlotte's complex struggle."</span><span> <br></span></p> <p><span>Pianist </span><a href="http://marydibbern.sitehappy.com/"><span>Mary Dibbern</span></a><span> began her love affair with French opera began in Paris more than 30 years ago. Since then, she’s translated a biography of Jules Massenet and is currently the Music Director of Education for the Dallas Opera. </span></p> <p><span><span>Minneapolis-based </span><a href="https://www.peterbognanni.com/"><span>Peter Bognanni</span></a><span> fell in love with his wife over email. He is also the author of <em>Things I’m Seeing Without You</em>, a modern-day story about two teens who fall in love over text messages and email. </span></span></p>
Jan 30, 2019
Mozart's Queen of the Night: Outrage Out of This World
26:04
<p>When the Voyager spacecraft set off to explore the galaxy in 1977, it carried a recording to represent the best of humanity. The <span>“</span>Golden Record<span>”</span> featured everyone from Bach to Chuck Berry, but there was only one opera aria: the rage-fest from Mozart<span>’</span>s <em>The Magic Flute</em>.</p> <p><span>In this episode, host</span> <a href="http://rhiannongiddens.com/"><strong>Rhiannon Giddens</strong></a><span> and her guests consider why the Queen of the Night’s big moment – “<span>Der Hölle Rache</span>”<span></span> – is an out-of-this-world achievement, how Mozart created a profound fairy tale for adults and what it takes for a soprano to reach the stratosphere. You’ll hear Kathryn Lewek hit all those high notes <span>onstage at the</span> <a href="https://www.metopera.org/"><strong>Metropolitan Opera</strong></a><span> and</span> talk to Timothy Ferris, the man who produced NASA’s <span>“</span>Golden Record.<span>”</span> </span><span></span></p> <p><strong>The Guests</strong></p> <p><span>Soprano </span><a href="https://www.kathrynlewek.com/"><strong>Kathryn Lewek</strong></a><span> describes singing “Der Hölle Rache” as throwing darts with your eyes closed. But after performing the part more than 200 times, she certainly knows how to hit the bullseye. </span><span></span></p> <p><span>Harvard University professor </span><a href="https://tdm.fas.harvard.edu/people/carolyn-abbate"><strong>Carolyn Abbate</strong></a><span> once took her son to see <em>The Magic Flute</em> and he declared it to be “bad, but not in the way I expected it be bad.” Her latest book is </span><em><span>A History of Opera: The Last Four Hundred Years.</span></em></p> <p><span>Composer and author </span><a href="http://janswafford.com/"><strong>Jan Swafford</strong></a><span> was a graduate student when he spent his last $50 to buy a copy of <em>The Magic Flute </em>and immediately regretted it: he hated the opera. To say he’s warmed to Mozart over the years would be a wild understatement.</span><span></span></p> <p><span><strong><a href="https://www.timothyferris.com/about">Timothy Ferris</a></strong> produced the Golden Record that went up with NASA’s Voyager space probes in 1977. It was the only record he ever produced, but he's written many books including <em>Coming of Age in the Milky Way</em>, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.<br></span></p>
Jan 23, 2019
Verdi's Rigoletto: First Love, Wrong Love
32:30
<p><span>You’ve probably been there: in love for the first time and enchanted by the very sound of your sweetheart’s name. The problem for Gilda in</span><span> Verdi’s <em>Rigoletto</em></span><span> is that her new love isn’t who he says he is. The worst will come (it’s opera), but for a few brief moments in Act I, Gilda’s innocence sweeps you away. She’s young and head over heels and obsessing over the “caro nome,” the “dear name” of her new love.  <br></span></p> <p>In this episode, host <a href="http://rhiannongiddens.com/">Rhiannon Giddens</a> and her guests consider the dizzying thrill of your first love, Verdi’s brilliant powers of orchestration and why Gilda’s infatuation rings so true even today. You’ll hear soprano Nadine Sierra reminisce about her own formative experiences and then fall in love with the so-called “Gualtier Maldè<span>”</span> onstage at the <a href="https://www.metopera.org/">Metropolitan Opera</a>.</p> <p><strong>The Guests</strong></p> <p>Before <strong><a href="http://nadinesierra.com/">Nadine Sierra</a></strong> could be accurately described as one of the most talented young artists in opera, she was a self-described “opera nerd.” She had a protective family – like Gilda – but that couldn’t stop her from secretly riding to high school in her boyfriend’s car.</p> <p><strong>Paul Thomason</strong> has combined his lifelong passion for music, colorful storytelling skills and a knack for mid-century slang to become one of the most insightful writers and lecturers on opera. He’s written for far too many publications to list.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.carlpickhardt.com/welcome.html">Carl Pickhardt</a></strong> is a psychologist and author who has spent decades helping parents and children navigate the challenges of adolescence. His most recent book is titled <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Who-Stole-Child-Parenting-Adolescence/dp/1942094833">Who Stole My Child? Parenting Through the Four Stages of Adolescence</a>. </p>
Jan 16, 2019
Donizetti's La Fille du Régiment: Sailing the High Cs
28:29
<p><span>Singing even one high C can be an event for the tenor and his audience. Everyone in the room knows how easily it could go wrong. <span>M</span><span>ultiply that pressure by nine? You get “Ah, mes amis.”</span> </span></p> <p><span>Gaetano Donizetti wrote this high-stakes aria for his opera <em>La Fille du Régiment</em>. The young hero Tonio has just enlisted in the army and received permission to marry the girl of his dreams. “Ah, mes amis” is his celebration: Tonio’s bursting with so much joy that the guy sings nine – count ‘em, NINE – high Cs. </span></p> <p>In this episode, host <a href="http://www.rhiannongiddens.com/">Rhiannon Giddens</a> and her guests consider the sheer athleticism it takes to pull off <span>“</span>Ah, mes amis<span>”</span> and reflect on the power of love to make us do crazy things. And after surveying this <span>Mount Everest of tenor arias</span> with a singer, a vocal coach and a former NFL player, you'll hear tenor Javier Camarena scale its heights from his base camp on the <a href="https://www.metopera.org/">Metropolitan Opera</a> stage.</p> <p><strong>The Guests</strong></p> <p>Renowned tenor <strong><a href="https://javiercamarena.com/">Javier Camarena</a></strong> made his professional debut singing the role of Tonio, but remembers it as both exciting and terrifying: as a young singer in Mexico, he didn't really speak any French. "<span>I think it was like, Spang-French or something like that," he says, laughing about it now.</span></p> <p>When <strong>Lydia Brown</strong> first came to New York, she used to line up on Saturday mornings to get cheap seats to the Met Opera. Now she's working inside the building as a vocal coach to some of the world’s top singers.  </p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.taupupua.com/home.html">Ta’u Pupu’a</a></strong> is a former defensive end for the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens. After a career-ending injury, he attended Juilliard Opera Center and transformed from a tackler to a tenor. He now performs at opera houses across the world.</p>
Jan 09, 2019
Saint-Saëns’s Dalila: She's a Femme Fatale
29:36
<p>She seduces, she traps, she destroys. She's a <em>femme fatale</em> and her signature aria is the dangerously alluring “Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix” from <em>Samson et Dalila</em> by Camille Saint-Saëns. "<span>My heart opens to your voice,” sings Dalila, "like the flowers open to the kisses of the dawn." It sure sounds like a love song, but just below the surface it’s simmering with seduction and betrayal. </span></p> <p><span>In this episode, host <a href="http://www.rhiannongiddens.com/">Rhiannon Giddens</a> and her guests reflect on the Biblical story of Samson and Delilah, the trope of the <em>femme fatale</em> and how Saint-Saëns created this unforgettable moment that sounds as if Dalila’s slowly removing her clothing, one note at a time. Plus, you'll hear mezzo-soprano <span>Elīna Garanča</span> sing the complete aria from the <a href="https://www.metopera.org/">Metropolitan Opera</a> stage.</span></p> <p><strong>The Guests</strong></p> <p>Mezzo-soprano<strong><span> </span>Elīna Garanča</strong><span> made her Met debut a decade ago, but the role of Dalila is relatively new to her: she first sang <em>Samson et Dalila</em> at the Vienna State Opera in May 2018. But judging from her <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0h39wHFMHKY">recent appearance</a> at WQXR, the part of a Biblical seductress suits her just fine.<br></span></p> <p><strong>James Jorden</strong><span> is the founding editor of the world's first (and still very popular) opera blog </span><a href="https://parterre.com/"><span>Parterre Box</span></a><span>. He's written for many other publications, including Opera News, The New York Times and the New York Observer. In another life, he used to sing “Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix."<br></span></p> <p><strong><strong>Dr. Caroline Blyth</strong></strong> teaches religious studies at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and studies<span> Biblical themes in contemporary culture. She spent eight years researching the Delilah story for her book</span> <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Reimagining-Delilahs-Afterlives-Femme-Fatale/dp/056767312X">Reimagining Delilah’s Afterlives as Femme Fatale: The Lost Seduction</a>.</p> <p><span> </span></p> <p><span><br><span></span></span></p>
Jan 02, 2019
Puccini's Tosca: I Offered Songs to the Stars
24:17
<p><span>When things go from bad to worse for Tosca, Puccini’s tragic heroine, she turns inward and prays. “I lived for art,” she tells God, “I lived for love.” <em>What did I do to deserve all this?</em> Tosca's despair and the moving way Puccini captures it musically speak so directly to artists, to audiences, to all of us, that "Vissi d'arte" has become one of the most famous arias in opera.<br></span></p> <p><span>In this episode, host <a href="http://www.rhiannongiddens.com/">Rhiannon Giddens</a> and her guests consider what it means to "live for art" and how Tosca's lament has given them much needed strength, whether facing personal struggles, the darkest days of the AIDS epidemic or the persistent sexual harassment that sparked the #MeToo movement. Plus, you'll hear soprano Sondra Radvanovksy sing the complete aria from the <span><a href="https://www.metopera.org/">Metropolitan Opera</a></span><span> stage.</span></span></p> <p><strong>The Guests</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="https://www.sondraradvanovsky.com/">Sondra Radvanovsky</a></strong><span><strong> </strong>first sang <em>Tosca </em>in Denver and didn't quite anticipate how the high altitude would leave her even more breathless than the music! In the many years since, she's established herself as one of the great Puccini (and Verdi) singers and returns to the Met as Floria Tosca in March 2019.<br></span></p> <p><strong><a href="http://rufuswainwright.com/">Rufus Wainwright</a></strong><span> comes from a famously musical family, but his curiosity took him far beyond his singer-songwriter roots. As a child, he used to stage operas at home with his siblings and, as an adult, he's written the two operas, <em>Prima Donna</em> and <em>Hadrian</em></span><span>.</span></p> <p><a href="http://www.vivienschweitzer.com/"><strong>Vivien Schweitzer</strong></a><span> is a pianist and the author of the new book </span><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Mad-Love-Introduction-Opera/dp/046509693X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1545328815&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=a+mad+love+an+introduction+to+opera"><span>A Mad Love: An Introduction to Opera</span></a><span>. She worked for ten years as a classical music and opera critic for the New York Times. She has also written for the BBC, the Moscow Times, and The Economist.</span></p> <p><br> </p> <p> </p>
Dec 26, 2018
Puccini's La Boheme: Is Love at First Sight Really a Thing?
25:02
<p><span>Love at first sight is not just a cliché of romantic comedies: more than half of all Americans say they’ve experienced it. Can this explain the timeless appeal of Puccini’s </span><em><span>La Bohème</span></em><span>? In this episode, host <a href="http://www.rhiannongiddens.com/">Rhiannon Giddens</a> and her guests consider what love at first sight is really all about, sharing perspectives on the music, the history and, yes, the brain science. Plus, you'll hear tenor Vittorio Grigolo sing the complete aria "Che gelida manina" from the </span><span><a href="https://www.metopera.org/">Metropolitan Opera</a></span><span> stage. </span><span></span></p> <p><strong>The Guests</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.vittoriogrigolo.com">Vittorio Grigolo</a> started singing as a young boy, when the Italian press gave him the nickname Il Pavarottino (“The Little Pavarotti”). Today, he is one of the world’s leading tenors. He debuted as Rodolfo in La Bohème at the Met in 2010.</p> <p><a href="http://www.jameskuslan.com">James Kuslan</a> is a lecturer and writer on opera and culture. His writing has appeared everywhere from the pages of Opera News to the liner notes of Deutsche Gramophon records.</p> <p><a href="http://www.helenfisher.com">Dr. Helen Fisher</a> is a biological anthropologist who studies the brain systems that affect human social behavior. She holds positions at Rutgers University and the Kinsey Institute. She is also the Chief Scientific Advisor to <a href="https://www.match.com/">Match.com</a>.</p> <p><strong>The Team</strong></p> <p><em><span>Aria Code</span></em><span> is produced by WQXR in partnership with the Metropolitan Opera. Our team includes Merrin Lazyan, Brendan Francis Newnam, Matt Boynton, Ricardo Quiñones, Ania Grzesik, Khrista Rypl and Matt Abramovitz. Original music by Hannis Brown.</span></p> <p><br><span></span></p>
Dec 12, 2018
Verdi's La Traviata: Opera's Original 'Pretty Woman'
33:10
<p><span>Verdi’s </span><em><span>La Traviata </span></em><span>revolves around the high-class courtesan Violetta, the quintessential "tart with a heart" who falls for Mr. Right but can’t decide whether she really wants to settle down. (Spoiler alert: it’s an opera, so she never gets the chance.) In this episode, host <a href="http://www.rhiannongiddens.com/">Rhiannon Giddens</a> and her guests reflect on Violetta’s spectacular Act I finale and its deep inner conflicts around love and freedom. Plus, you'll hear the complete aria sung from the Met Opera stage. </span></p> <p><strong>The Guests</strong></p> <p><span><a href="https://diana-damrau.com/en/">Diana Damrau</a> is one of the leading sopranos of our time. She has performed at all the world's major opera companies, specializing in lyric and coloratura roles. She's currently singing the role of Violetta at the <a href="https://www.metopera.org/">Metropolitan Opera</a>. </span></p> <p><span><a href="http://coriellison.com/">Cori Ellison</a> is the company dramaturg for Santa Fe Opera and has also worked with the Glynebourne Festival Opera, New York City Opera and the Juilliard School. She's our go-to opera guru for traditional and contemporary repertoire. </span></p> <p><a href="https://www.brookemagnanti.com/">Brooke Magnanti</a> is a writer who earned her doctorate in forensic pathology, but you might know her as Belle de Jour. Her book, <em>The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl</em>, documented her year working as an escort and inspired a TV series and several follow-up books.</p> <p><strong>The Team</strong></p> <p><em><span>Aria Code</span></em><span> is produced by WQXR in partnership with the Metropolitan Opera. Our team includes Merrin Lazyan, Brendan Francis Newnam, Matt Boynton, Ricardo Quiñones, Ania Grzesik, Khrista Rypl and Matt Abramovitz. Original music by Hannis Brown.<br></span></p>
Dec 04, 2018
Welcome to Aria Code with Rhiannon Giddens
2:21
<p>Aria Code is a new podcast that pulls back the curtain on some of the most famous arias in opera history, with insight from the biggest voices of our time, including Plácido Domingo, Diana Damrau, Sondra Radvanovsky, and many others. Hosted by Grammy Award-winner and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Rhiannon Giddens, Aria Code is produced by WQXR in partnership with The Metropolitan Opera.<br><br>Each episode dives into one aria — a feature for a single singer — and explores how and why these brief musical moments have imprinted themselves in our collective consciousness and what it takes to stand on the Met stage and sing them.</p> <p>Our first episode drops December 4, 2018!</p>
Nov 19, 2018