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Podcast by Metropolitan Opera Guild




Ep. 133: Divas & Dinner - French Grand Opera meets French Grand Cuisine

The evolution of French grand cuisine interestingly paralleled the development of French grand opera beginning in the late 18thcentury and culminating in the late 19th century, particularly in Paris. In this episode, Food Historian and Chef Carl Raymond explores how both food and opera came to be grand against the backdrop of the 18th century Comedie Francaise, as well as the glittering world of the 1890’s Belle Epoque and the great Parisian restaurant and café society.


Ep. 132: Villains And Victims, Part 3 with Ira Siff

LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN by Jacques Offenbach is a tour de force of singing for both villains and victims within the opera’s plot! Since it’s world premiere performance, the four main villainous characters were designed to be sung by the same bass-baritone. And this opera has plenty of victims too, as three tales of doomed love are told from the perspective of the lead character, Hoffmann. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, Met Radio Commentator Ira Siff explores excerpts...


Ep. 131: Villains and Victims, Part 2 with Ira Siff

Soprano Renata Scotto gave a famously chilling interpretation of Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s take on Shakespeare’s play. But Scotto was just as loved for tugging at our heartstrings in the title role of LUISA MILLER. On this episode of the Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, Met Radio commentator Ira Siff explores the artistry of legends such as Renata Scotto, Astrid Varnay, and others, in the second installment if his “Villains and Victims” series.


Ep. 130: Villains and Victims, Part 1 with Ira Siff

While victimized characters often sing through their death in virtuosic song, successfully bringing a villain to life on the opera stage also takes a special kind of artistry. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, we have Met Radio commentator Ira Siff, in Part 1 of his “Villains and Victims” live lecture series from this past season!


Ep. 129: Dialogues of the Carmelites with Desirée Mays

John Dexter’s classic production of Poulenc's DIALOGUES OF THE CARMELITES is currently on stage at the Met during the final weeks of the 2018-19 season and can be seen in cinemas worldwide on May 11th, 2019, through the Met’s upcoming Live in HD broadcast. Poulenc’s opera tells the story of a group of Carmelite nuns who refused to renounce their faith during the Reign of Terror. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild podcast, lecturer Desirée Mays takes a closer look at this...


Ep. 128: Opera Boot Camp - A Day in the Life of a Met Chorister

The Metropolitan Opera Chorus is one of the most revered opera choruses in the world, requiring long hours of rehearsal and a demanding performance schedule. What is a day, week, or year in the life of a Met chorister like? How much time is spent on learning music and rehearsing? How do you get into the chorus in the first place? In this episode, drawn from a live event in the Met Opera Guild's Opera Boot Camp series, lecturer and podcast co-host Naomi Barrettara sat down with three Met...


Ep. 127: La Clemenza di Tito with Naomi Barrettara

During the last year of his life, Mozart was deep into writing THE MAGIC FLUTE when he suddenly got a commission to write a new opera seria: LA CLEMENZA DI TITO. This season, powerhouse mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato sings her world-renowned portrayal of the tortured Sesto for the very first time at the Met! She is joined onstage by audience favorite, Matthew Polenzani, who adds the title role of Tito to his vast repertoire. In this episode, Guild lecturer and podcast co-host Naomi Barrettara...


Ep. 126: Religion in Opera, Part 2 with Desirée Mays

From Puccini's SUOR ANGELICA to Wagner's PARSIFAL, opera is full of works with religious themes, drawn from a variety of different cultures, and using music to express the emotional contours of faith and devotion. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild podcast, lecturer Desiree Mays continues a discussion on religion and opera throughout history.


Ep.125: Religion in Opera, Part 1 with Desirée Mays

Religious themes have long been a foundational element of classical music, but what makes these divine topics such a recurrent source of operatic inspiration? On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer Desirée Mays discusses the musical and textual treatment of religion in opera throughout history.


Ep. 124: A Conversation with Harolyn Blackwell and Robyn Payne, Part 2

When we first sat down with Harolyn Blackwell and Robyn Payne, we intended to record enough for one special podcast episode, in celebration of Black History Month. However, the discussion really took off, and the content was so rich, that we split things into two parts, so that our listeners could hear it all! This episode is Part 2 of 2, jumping in right where we left off!


Ep. 123: A Conversation with Harolyn Blackwell and Robyn Payne, Part 1

In celebration of Black History Month, this episode is Part 1 of a special conversation between operatic legend Harolyn Blackwell and Broadway veteran Robyn Payne! Harolyn is one of America’s legendary sopranos, having made her mark on both the operatic and musical theatre repertory. Her performance career began with singing in Leonard Bernstein’s stage production of West Side Story, and soon after, she began breaking into the operatic realm when she was selected as a finalist in The...


Ep. 122: La Fille du Régiment Pre-Performance Lecture with Sarah Rotker

LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT is an operatic tale of young love and larger-than-life comic hijinks, featuring one dazzling vocal display after another! On this episode, Met Opera Guild Lectures and Community Engagement Senior Associate Sarah Rotker discusses this musical feast of bel canto singing, which is coming soon to movie theaters around the globe in a Met: Live in HD broadcast.


Ep. 121: The Inside Scoop on the Met's 2019-20 Season

Hot off the press is The Metropolitan Opera's 2019-20 season announcement! In this episode, we have a special conversation between Opera News Editor in Chief F. Paul Driscoll and Met Opera Radio’s William Berger. They will share insights and exciting elements of the new productions coming up next season, and listen to some favorite musical moments.


Ep. 120: Don Giovanni with Deidre Bird

Based on the legends of Don Juan, Mozart and Da Ponte’s DON GIOVANNI premiered in Prague in 1787, and has been performed at opera houses the world over ever since. This staple of the operatic repertoire masterfully weaves together comedy and serious drama. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, researcher and music librarian Deidre Bird takes a look at the music and history of Mozart’s famous rake!


Ep. 119: Pelléas et Mélisande with Jeffrey Langford

Based on the symbolist play by Maurice Maeterlinck, Debussy's PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE was the only opera the composer ever completed and is heralded today as an innovative masterpiece. In this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, we have Guild lecturer Jeffery Langford exploring the revolutionary style of Debussy’s music, and the history behind his only stage work.


Ep. 118: Adriana Lecouvreur with Victoria Bond

This past New Year’s Eve, the Met presented a glorious new production of Francesco Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur. This production features the unparalleled trio of soprano superstar Anna Netrebko, tenor heartthrob Piotr Beczala, and electrifying mezzo Anita Rachellishvili. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, we have a pre-performance lecture by composer and conductor Victoria Bond, exploring the history and lush musical writing of this rarely performed verismo masterpiece.


Ep. 117: Il Trittico with Naomi Barrettara

Puccini composed the three distinct operas of IL TRITTICO with the intention that they always be performed together, which is exactly how audiences are experiencing them this season as we celebrate the centenary of the world premiere at The Met. In this pre-performance lecture, lecturer Naomi Barrettara explores the musical language, source materials, and the themes that link these three short operas.


Ep. 116: Mefistofele with John J.H. Muller

Frequent Verdi librettist Arrigo Boito wrote only one complete opera in his lifetime, a take on "Faust", entitled MEFISTOFELE. Sacrilegious, mystical, and captivatingly beautiful, Boito’s opera recounts the tale from the devil’s perspective, sung this season at the Met by bass-baritone Christian Van Horn. In this episode, Juilliard faculty member and Guild lecturer John J.H. Muller guides us through Boito’s work in this comprehensive pre-performance talk.


Ep. 115: Marnie with W. Anthony Sheppard

Winston Graham’s MARNIE is the fast-paced thriller now taking the stage at the Met, composed by Nico Muhly with a libretto by Nicholas Wright. Isabel Leonard stars as Marnie, in an alluring production by Tony award-winning stage director Michael Mayer. In this episode, Williams College music professor W. Anthony Sheppard explores the music and drama of this newly composed operatic thriller!


Ep. 114: La Fanciulla del West with Nimet Habachy

In just a few days, Puccini's LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST will be broadcast Live in HD from The Metropolitan Opera, with Jonas Kaufmann starring opposite Eva Marie Westbroek as the lovable barmaid to his rugged outlaw. Prepare for the broadcast with this pre-performance talk, featuring Nimet Habachy, as she explores the history, music, and dramatic highlights of this romantic tale.