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Arias and Songs

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Chicago, IL


Arias and Songs celebrates great singers of the past and present, from Maria Callas and Jussi Bjoerling to Renee 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 special attention to local performance as well.




5400 N St. Louis Avenue Chicago, IL 60625-4698 (773) 279-2020


Maria Callas ‐ Gone Now For Forty Years Today

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.

Duration: 00:29:31

Vivaldi’s Magnificat

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.

Duration: 00:23:56

A Program for Labor Day

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.

Duration: 00:28:37

Remembering Nicolai Gedda

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.

Duration: 00:28:52

Five Wagnerian Tenors

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

Duration: 00:26:20

Music of the American West

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.

Duration: 00:28:36

The art of Giulietta Simionato

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!

Duration: 00:28:25

From The American Songbook

This is a program of classic American songs. The traditional Shenandoah, Steven Foster’s Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair, the spiritual Deep River, Summertime from Porgy and Bess and others. Singers include Eileen Farrell, the Norman Luboff Choir and Marilyn Horne.

Duration: 00:28:49

First the Music then the Words

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.

Duration: 00:26:24

A Program for Bastille Day

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.

Duration: 00:26:27

Songs by Steven Sondheim

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, Elaine Stritch, Jason Alexander, Barbra Streisand and more.

Duration: 00:29:45

Arias from the Age of Bel Canto

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. Playlist: Donizetti: L’elisir D’amore, “Una Furtiva Lagrima” Leopold Simoneau with the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin Conducted by Paul Strauss Recorded in Berlin in 1957 DGG 457 752-2 Bellini: I Puritani, “Quartet” Maria Callas, Giuseppe di Stefano, Nicola Rossi- Lemeni Carlo Forti with...

Duration: 00:29:48

A Program For Gay Pride Weekend

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 Heggie to Peter Pears, David Daniels and Patricia Racette among many others. Playlist: Offenbach: La Boulangere a des Ecus 1....

Duration: 00:58:44

The Art of Anna Netrebko

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.

Duration: 00:27:54

Gustav and Alma Mahler

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.

Duration: 00:27:21

Operatic Mad Scenes

So called Mad Scenes have been long been a staple of opera especially 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 Peter Grimes. Playlist: Thomas Hamlet Mad Scene: “A vos jeux mes amis” Natalie Dessay with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo Conducted by Patrick Fournillier Recorded in Monte Carlo in 1996 EMI 7243 5 56159 2 3 Britten: Peter...

Duration: 00:25:45

Robert Merrill at 100

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 as the Barber of Seville.

Duration: 00:27:51

A Program of Russian Opera

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

Duration: 00:28:05

Remembering Roberta Peters

This retrospective honors an artist who made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1950 at age twenty and remained there for the next thirty five 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 the Magic Flute and much more.

Duration: 00:27:55

Lyric Opera’s My Fair Lady

Selling her flowers at Covent Garden, Eliza Doolittle meets Professor Henry Higgins in Lyric Opera’s My Fair Lady. From the original London cast we will hear Julie Andrews, Rex Harrison and Stanley Holloway plus surprise appearances by Birgit Nilsson and George London.

Duration: 00:27:57

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