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 Plácido Domingo, 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 biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher 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.
Puccini's La Boheme: Is Love at First Sight Really a Thing?
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 La Bohème? In this episode, host Rhiannon Giddens 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 Metropolitan Opera stage.
Verdi's La Traviata: Opera's Original 'Pretty Woman'
What would you give up for true love? Verdi's La Traviata opens a window into a courtesan's heart as she makes the biggest decision of her life. In this episode, host Rhiannon Giddens welcomes soprano Diana Damrau, dramaturg Cori Ellison and former escort Dr. Brooke Magnanti to reflect on the spectacular Act I finale and its deep inner conflicts around love and freedom. Plus, you'll hear the complete aria sung by Diana Damrau from the Met Opera stage.
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