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He Sang/She Sang

WNYC

He Sang/She Sang is a new podcast from WQXR for the opera-curious and opera superfans who want to know what all those big voices are really singing about. The podcast follows the radio broadcast season of the Metropolitan Opera with a weekly roundtable chat that discusses the plots, characters, music, productions, social significance and great performances of that week's opera. Following the Met's radio broadcast season, He Sang/She Sang will dive into the new productions of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and Rossini’s William Tell, the Met premiere of an opera by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho and fan favorites by Verdi, Puccini and Mozart. He Sang/She Sang is hosted by Merrin Lazyan and Michael Shobe, with appearances by superstar soprano Anna Netrebko, Met Opera tenor Stuart Skelton, WQXR hosts Jeff Spurgeon and Nimet Habachy, BBC 3 host Clemency Burton Hill and others.

He Sang/She Sang is a new podcast from WQXR for the opera-curious and opera superfans who want to know what all those big voices are really singing about. The podcast follows the radio broadcast season of the Metropolitan Opera with a weekly roundtable chat that discusses the plots, characters, music, productions, social significance and great performances of that week's opera. Following the Met's radio broadcast season, He Sang/She Sang will dive into the new productions of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and Rossini’s William Tell, the Met premiere of an opera by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho and fan favorites by Verdi, Puccini and Mozart. He Sang/She Sang is hosted by Merrin Lazyan and Michael Shobe, with appearances by superstar soprano Anna Netrebko, Met Opera tenor Stuart Skelton, WQXR hosts Jeff Spurgeon and Nimet Habachy, BBC 3 host Clemency Burton Hill and others.
More Information

Location:

United States

Networks:

WNYC

Description:

He Sang/She Sang is a new podcast from WQXR for the opera-curious and opera superfans who want to know what all those big voices are really singing about. The podcast follows the radio broadcast season of the Metropolitan Opera with a weekly roundtable chat that discusses the plots, characters, music, productions, social significance and great performances of that week's opera. Following the Met's radio broadcast season, He Sang/She Sang will dive into the new productions of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and Rossini’s William Tell, the Met premiere of an opera by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho and fan favorites by Verdi, Puccini and Mozart. He Sang/She Sang is hosted by Merrin Lazyan and Michael Shobe, with appearances by superstar soprano Anna Netrebko, Met Opera tenor Stuart Skelton, WQXR hosts Jeff Spurgeon and Nimet Habachy, BBC 3 host Clemency Burton Hill and others.

Language:

English


Episodes

Stopping the Clocks With Strauss' 'Der Rosenkavalier'

5/11/2017
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Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier is an opera about the passage of time — what it means to grow older, what we lose and what we gain as the years pass, and how we know when it's time to let go of the people that we love. Mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča knows all about letting go, because after singing the role of Octavian for 17 years, she is giving her final performance as the passionate count this week. But Garanča has no regrets. She's learned to appreciate her life by accepting, and even...

Duration: 00:32:26


A Nose by Any Other Name: Franco Alfano's 'Cyrano de Bergerac'

5/3/2017
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According to soprano Jennifer Rowley, there’s a little bit of Cyrano in all of us. When it comes to pathos, Franco Alfano’s opera based on Cyrano de Bergerac hits this sentimental story right on the nose. Premiered in 1936, Cyrano the opera brings rich and fragrant music—with hints of Puccini and Debussy—to Rostand’s exquisite poetry, which not only delights the audience but animates its title character, the swashbuckling rhapsodist Cyrano. Convinced that he couldn’t possibly deserve the...

Duration: 00:29:55


The Flying Dutchman: Wagner's Eternal Wanderer

4/26/2017
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For his fourth full opera, The Flying Dutchman, Wagner chose a popular maritime legend as the basis for an eerie and evocative work. In it, we meet an archetypal character that appears time and again in art and literature: the eternal wanderer. Neither dead nor alive, the Flying Dutchman is cursed to sail the seas for all eternity, searching for true love to save him. This week on He Sang/She Sang, William Berger, author of the book Wagner without Fear, discusses one of history's most...

Duration: 00:36:03


Aida: Verdi's Most Intimate Spectacle

4/12/2017
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Pharaohs. Mummies. Pyramids. Hieroglyphs. The mystique of ancient Egypt never fades. For over 2,000 years, Europeans have wondered at her mysteries, and not surprisingly, so did Giuseppe Verdi. Aida premiered in Cairo in 1871, as if to revive the grandeur of the Old Kingdom before the people who conjured it. One of the theater’s greatest spectacles, Aida is the definition of grand opera. Its cast is enormous—orchestra, singers, dancers, acrobats, horses, exotic animals—yet its story gives...

Duration: 00:36:25


Love and Death in Wagner's 'Tristan und Isolde'

4/6/2017
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Wagner's Tristan und Isolde is an extraordinary journey through the human psyche, and through the two most powerful forces guiding our lives: love and death. From the opening bars of the Prelude, the music draws us in with an intense and restless longing that doesn't loosen its grip until the final, transcendent moments of the opera. This week on He Sang/She Sang, Merrin Lazyan speaks with writer Paul Thomason about the intoxicating magnetism of Tristan und Isolde, and tenor Stuart...

Duration: 00:33:24


Into the Light with Beethoven's 'Fidelio'

3/29/2017
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Revolutionary times call for revolutionary music, and Beethoven was living in revolutionary times. At the beginning of the 19th century, he quickly became disillusioned by Napoleon Bonaparte -- a leader who initially seemed concerned with freedom but was ultimately obsessed with his own power. Beethoven's political anguish rang out in his music, as did his deeply-held beliefs about the heroic power of ordinary people. Beethoven spent more than ten years revising Fidelio, the only opera he...

Duration: 00:37:29


Fate and Forbidden Love in Mozart's 'Idomeneo'

3/22/2017
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Idomeneo is considered Mozart's first "mature" opera — the first in which he displays his incredible talent as a vocal and dramatic composer. "Mature" also fittingly describes the central themes of the work, which include parental love, self-sacrifice, and the human struggle against the machinations of gods and fate. In light of the fact that Mozart was only 24 when he composed Idomeneo, his insight into the timeless questions we face is all the more striking. World-renowned mezzo-soprano...

Duration: 00:27:50


William Tell: Rossini's Grand Finale

3/14/2017
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Gioachino Rossini was only 37 years old when he wrote his final opera, William Tell. Although he lived for another 40 years, this epic work would remain a swan song of sorts. The libretto -- based on a French play by Friedrich Schiller -- tells the story of a Swiss community fighting for political freedom under Hapsburg rule. Through the music, we understand Tell's struggle to keep his family together while serving the greater good, and we experience a love that transcends tribal and...

Duration: 00:29:50


Werther: Massenet's Lovelorn Hero

3/1/2017
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When Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther was published in 1774, it became an overnight sensation. Men wore yellow waistcoats and leather breeches to look like the novel's lovelorn hero, they carried vials of their own tears to display the depth of their feelings, and they even killed themselves in solidarity with the title character. The story of passionate, unrequited love was equally resonant when Jules Massenet's opera premiered a century later,...

Duration: 00:44:57


Nymphs, Witches, and Gnomes: The Magic of 'Rusalka'

2/21/2017
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Antonin Dvorak fell in love with the story of Rusalka as soon as he laid eyes on the libretto, and it was an immediate success when it premiered at the National Theater in Prague in 1901. Based primarily on two fairy tales (Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" and Friedrich de la Motte Fouque's "Undine"), it tells the story of a water nymph who falls in love with a prince and trades her voice to become human. Contrary to the Disney version, the story ends tragically for Rusalka....

Duration: 00:47:43


The Madness and Music of 'I Puritani'

2/14/2017
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On this week's episode of He Sang/She Sang, Merrin Lazyan and Jeff Spurgeon speak with director Sarah Meyers about why, despite its utterly implausible plot, some consider Bellini's I Puritani to be among the greatest operatic masterpieces ever written. We also hear from bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni about his role debut as Georgio, the best singing advice he's ever received, and the joys of traveling with his two dogs, Lenny and Tristan. Sarah's YouTube pick (Anna Netrebko, Eric Cutler,...

Duration: 00:44:36


Carmen: Bizet's Famous Femme Fatale

2/7/2017
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The 1875 premiere of Carmen at the Opera Comique in Paris was met with shocked gasps and raised eyebrows. Both the story and its seductive heroine were shockingly risque for the audience and the critics in attendance. But the genius of Bizet's music was irrepressible, and the opera was a resounding success within a few short months. It remains among the most-performed operas in history. On this week's episode of He Sang/She Sang, hosts Merrin Lazyan and Julian Fleisher speak with...

Duration: 00:41:54


Rigoletto: Verdi's Tragic Jester

1/31/2017
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Even before Rigoletto's Venice premiere in 1851, Verdi knew that "La donna è mobile" would be a huge hit. He instructed the orchestra members not to whistle or sing the melody, and he even waited until the very last moment to give the music to the tenor. Verdi wanted to ensure that the third-act aria characterizing the Duke of Mantua's licentious treatment of women would have maximum impact on an unsuspecting audience. The opera was an immediate smash hit. It was one of the first of...

Duration: 00:47:48


Humor and High Jinks in Rossini's 'The Barber of Seville'

1/24/2017
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Despite its disastrous premiere in 1816 — complete with raucous heckling, a bloody nose and a stray cat scampering across the stage — Rossini’s The Barber of Seville quickly joined the ranks of the best-loved and most-performed operas in the world. Based on the first of a trilogy of plays by the French writer Pierre Beaumarchais (the second of which is The Marriage of Figaro), Barber is full of characters and tunes that have delighted audiences for centuries. In this episode, the He...

Duration: 00:24:25


He Sang/She Sang Bonus Episode: Head Over Heels with Diana Damrau

1/19/2017
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This week on He Sang/She Sang, we have a special bonus episode! Join us at the Metropolitan Opera for a discussion with soprano Diana Damrau, who is making her role debut as Juliette in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette. In this episode, Damrau shares her insights on love, family, and the secret to staying young at heart.

Duration: 00:17:38


Romeo and Juliet is All About the Love Duets

1/17/2017
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This week, the He Sang/She Sang team is joined by WQXR morning show host Jeff Spurgeon to discuss Charles Gounod's Romeo and Juliet. Hear how this opera is really a vehicle for four gorgeous love duets, how opera companies protect their "gazillion dollar voices" from dangers on stage and what makes the brand-spanking-new production at the Metropolitan Opera so great. Merrin Lazyan's Pick (Diana Damrau, "Je veux vivre") Jeff Spurgeon's Pick (Franco Corelli & Anna Moffo, "O nuit...

Duration: 00:26:21


Behind the Scenes and Into the Chorus of Puccini's 'La Bohème'

1/10/2017
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On this week's episode of He Sang/She Sang, soprano Ailyn Pérez and bass Edward Hanlon discuss one of the best-loved operas in the world, Puccini's La Bohème. Join us as we go behind the scenes into the life of a Met Opera Chorister, hear why the Franco Zeffirelli production is so iconic, and learn how you can go on a treasure hunt of sorts when you see it. We also take you to the Met to hear about what it takes to sing both of the female lead roles -- Mimì and Musetta. Edward Hanlon's...

Duration: 00:31:59


Nabucco: Verdi's Triumphant Return

1/3/2017
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Nabucco is the opera that got Verdi back in the game after a long time away from composing, but its premiere almost didn't happen. Hear how it was saved, and in an ironic twist of fate, how the opera shortened the career of the soprano who saved it. On this week's episode of He Sang/She Sang, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton and dramaturg Cori Ellison discuss Verdi's connection to the plight of the Hebrew slaves, why this year's revival at the Met is so special, and the cultural significance of...

Duration: 00:37:02


L'Italiana in Algeri: Rossini's quest for Italy

12/27/2016
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L'Italiana in Algeri may seem like a classic battle of the sexes story set in North Africa, but it's really all about Italy. At least that's one way to look at it. On this episode of He Sang/She Sang, author Fred Plotkin, soprano Ying Fang and mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb discuss the politics, patriotism and musical brilliance of Rossini's escape-story masterpiece. Fred Plotkin's YouTube pick (Marilyn Horne, Pablo Montarsolo, Myra Merritt, Douglas Ahlstedt, Spiro Malas) Merrin Lazyan's...

Duration: 00:40:35


Hansel and Gretel: Inside the Gingerbread House

12/20/2016
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On this week's episode of He Sang/She Sang, hosts Merrin Lazyan and Mike Shobe are joined by WQXR morning host Jeff Spurgeon to discuss Englebert Humperdinck's opera Hansel and Gretel. Hear how the Brothers Grimm's fairy tale became an opera, why it's often performed at Christmastime and which musical moments are truly magical. Also on the show, opera and theater director Mary Birnbaum shares how she first fell in love with Hansel and Gretel. Jeff Spurgeon's YouTube pick (Angelika...

Duration: 00:33:30

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