Aria Code

Aria Code

WQXR & The Metropolitan Opera

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.

Categories: Arts

Listen to the last episode:

Saying “I love you” for the first time takes courage, especially when you don’t know the response you'll get. But being open with your emotions and putting yourself out there can change you in unexpected ways.

In Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, it’s the 16-year-old Tatyana who pins her heart on her sleeve. Young and naive, but also fiercely confident, she pours out her feelings for the visiting Eugene Onegin in one night of impassioned love-letter-making. His answer defines the rest of her life, and the course of the opera. 

Host Rhiannon Giddens and her guests explore Tatyana’s famous Letter Scene and what it tells us about Tchaikovsky, Russian society, and the nearly universal experience of unrequited love.

Soprano Renée Fleming is one of the most acclaimed singers of her generation, singing across genres from classical to Broadway to jazz and more. Of all the roles she’s performed, the shy and soulful Tatyana is the one she relates to best. She loves the Letter Scene because it allows her to act out the intense emotions of a teenager who’s fallen in love for the very first time. 

Dr. Philip Ewell is a professor of music theory at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where he specializes in Russian music, 20th-century music, race studies in music, and more. He trained as a cellist in Russia during and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and has spent seven years total living there. He loves to teach Eugene Onegin to his Russian opera seminar through the lens of Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi.” (Trust him, it works!) 

Tim Manley is a writer, illustrator, storyteller, and educator. He performed his story “I Need You To Know” with The Moth in 2015, where he now leads storytelling workshops. He found that opening up about his feelings in front of an audience transformed his life. Tim also created the web series The Feels, which was nominated for an Emmy. He is currently working on a young adult novel.

Previous episodes

  • 42 - P.S. I Love You: Renée Fleming Sings Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin 
    Wed, 01 Dec 2021 - 0h
  • 41 - To Be Or Not To Be: Dean's Hamlet 
    Wed, 17 Nov 2021 - 0h
  • 40 - Potion, Emotion, Devotion: Wagner's Tristan und Isolde 
    Wed, 03 Nov 2021 - 0h
  • 39 - Blanchard's Fire Shut Up in My Bones: A Boy of Peculiar Grace 
    Wed, 13 Oct 2021 - 0h
  • 38 - Verdi's Nabucco: By the Rivers of Babylon 
    Wed, 29 Sep 2021 - 0h
Show more episodes

More canadian %(arts)s podcasts

More international arts podcasts

Choose the genre of podcast