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He Sang/She Sang
32 minutes | May 11, 2017
Stopping the Clocks With Strauss' 'Der Rosenkavalier'
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 enjoying, the passage of time.
30 minutes | May 3, 2017
A Nose by Any Other Name: Franco Alfano's 'Cyrano de Bergerac'
Soprano Jennifer Rowley is singing the role of Roxane in Franco Alfano's Cyrano de Bergerac, and she says that there's a little bit of Cyrano in all of us. This week, we discuss the sentimental story about love, self-doubt, and the disproportionately large facial feature that has captured our imagination for more than a century.
36 minutes | Apr 26, 2017
'The Flying Dutchman': Wagner's Eternal Wanderer
This week on He Sang/She Sang, William Berger, author of the book Wagner without Fear, discusses one of history's most controversial and visionary composers. He explores the hit tunes and earworms, the power of transformation, and the unexpected parallels between Wagner and The Beatles.
36 minutes | Apr 12, 2017
Aida: Verdi's Most Intimate Spectacle
When we think of Verdi's Aida, we imagine the stunning grandeur of the Triumphal March, with its enormous cast of singers, dancer, acrobats, and animals. But stage director David Paul argues that at its heart, Aida is a surprisingly intimate opera about a love triangle.
33 minutes | Apr 6, 2017
Love and Death in Wagner's 'Tristan und Isolde'
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. Merrin Lazyan speaks with writer Paul Thomason about the intoxicating magnetism of the music, and tenor Stuart Skelton compares singing the role of Tristan to climbing the Himalayas.
37 minutes | Mar 29, 2017
Into the Light With Beethoven's 'Fidelio'
Beethoven spent more than ten years revising Fidelio, the only opera he ever wrote. This was about more than music for the great composer. It was about freedom, devotion, and the triumph of human dignity over tyranny. In this episode, host Merrin Lazyan speaks with clarinetist Jessica Phillips and soprano Adrianne Pieczonka about Beethoven's revolutionary sound and spirit.
28 minutes | Mar 22, 2017
Fate and Forbidden Love in Mozart's 'Idomeneo'
World-renowned mezzo Alice Coote marvels at Mozart's early insight into fate, sacrifice, and parental love in his first great opera, Idomeneo. She also describes in vivid detail the perils of dressing (and undressing) for a trouser role.
30 minutes | Mar 14, 2017
William Tell: Rossini's Grand Finale
On this week's episode of He Sang/She Sang, hosts Merrin Lazyan and Julian Fleisher are joined by author Fred Plotkin to discuss the glorious music of Rossini's final opera, William Tell. We also speak with the Tony-nominated set designer George Tsypin about the themes of nature and freedom that inspired him.
46 minutes | Mar 7, 2017
La Traviata: Verdi's Timeless Fallen Woman
On this week's episode of He Sang/She Sang, hosts Merrin Lazyan and Julian Fleisher are joined by dramaturg Cori Ellison to discuss Verdi's mythical and timeless masterpiece, La Traviata. We also speak with baritone Thomas Hampson, who has been singing the role of Germont for 25 years. Hampson tells us how the complex and beautiful dilemmas that we find in this opera help us to better understand who we really are.
45 minutes | Mar 1, 2017
Werther: Massenet's Lovelorn Hero
On this week's episode of He Sang/She Sang, Merrin Lazyan and Jeff Spurgeon speak with writer James Kuslan about Massenet's lovelorn hero, Werther. We also hear from mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard about the magnetic power of love at first sight.
48 minutes | Feb 21, 2017
Nymphs, Witches and Gnomes: The Magic of 'Rusalka'
On this week's episode of He Sang/She Sang, Merrin Lazyan and Julian Fleisher speak with WQXR overnight host Nimet Habachy about Dvorak's supernatural masterpiece, Rusalka. We also hear from soprano Kristine Opolais about her special connection to this role, and about the sacrifices that we make for love.
45 minutes | Feb 14, 2017
The Madness and Music of 'I Puritani'
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.
42 minutes | Feb 7, 2017
Carmen: Bizet's Famous Femme Fatale
On this week's episode of He Sang/She Sang, hosts Merrin Lazyan and Julian Fleisher speak with conductor Asher Fisch all about Bizet's masterpiece, Carmen. Hear why this opera is loved by opera newbies and connoisseurs alike, and listen to an interview with mezzo-soprano Clémentine Margaine, who is playing opera's most famous femme fatale at the Met.
48 minutes | Jan 31, 2017
Rigoletto: Verdi's Tragic Jester
This week's episode of He Sang/She Sang, we chat with Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer and soprano Olga Peretyatko about Verdi's Rigoletto. Listen to hear how Mayer came up with this "Rat Pack," Vegas version of the opera in just 48 hours.
24 minutes | Jan 24, 2017
Humor and High Jinks in Rossini's 'The Barber of Seville'
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 Sang/She Sang team talks with WQXR morning show host Jeff Spurgeon about why Figaro’s memorable aria “Largo al factotum” is a baritone’s “calling card” aria and how Rossini’s music has found its way into movies, TV commercials and everyone’s favorite Saturday morning cartoons.
18 minutes | Jan 19, 2017
Head Over Heels with Diana Damrau
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.
26 minutes | Jan 17, 2017
Romeo And Juliet: All About The Love Duets
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 Met so great.
32 minutes | Jan 10, 2017
Behind the Scenes and Into the Chorus of Puccini's 'La Bohème'
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. Get a behind-the-scenes listen 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'll also take you to the Met to hear about what it takes to sing both of the female lead roles — Mimì and Musetta.
37 minutes | Jan 3, 2017
Nabucco: Verdi's Triumphant Return
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 Metropolitan Opera is so special and the cultural significance of "Va, pensiero."
41 minutes | Dec 27, 2016
L'Italiana in Algeri: Rossini's quest for Italy
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.
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