A new 18-episode season of the critically acclaimed podcast explores the human experience at the heart of opera’s greatest arias and their powerful relevance to contemporary issues
Each episode features performances recorded live from the Met stage by opera stars including Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, Deborah Voigt, Latonia Moore, Franco Corelli [pictured], Gerald Finley, Erin Morley, Will Liverman, and more
Hosted by MacArthur Fellow and Grammy Award–winning musician Rhiannon Giddens
The new season debuts Wednesday, March 10, with an episode on “Nessun dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot, an aria that has become a global symbol of hope and resilience over the past year
(New York, NY) – March 3, 2021 – WQXR and the Metropolitan Opera today announced a third season of the critically acclaimed opera podcast Aria Code, hailed by The New Yorker as “elegantly constructed [and] effortlessly listenable.”
Hosted by MacArthur Fellow and Grammy Award–winning musician Rhiannon Giddens, Aria Code brings to life the human experience at the heart of opera through storytelling, interviews, and stellar performances from the Metropolitan Opera’s treasured archives.
Season three launches on Wednesday, March 10, with an episode centered on an aria that has gained particular resonance over the past year as the world contended with a pandemic: “Nessun dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot. This enduring ode to triumph over adversity has been sung outside of hospitals, inside COVID wards, and from balconies around the world, resulting in numerous videos on YouTube documenting these performances of hope and resilience. Giddens is joined by Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and former Washington Post music critic Anne Midgette who place the aria in its historical context, and Dr. Michael Cho, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who speaks to its powerful place in the present. Dr. Cho, who has been working on the front lines of COVID-19, is also a violist with the National Virtual Medical Orchestra and played in the group’s video performance of “Nessun dorma” released in October 2020.
The season will also feature an episode tied to the highly anticipated New York premiere of Terence Blanchard’s opera, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, based on the powerful memoir of the same name by New York Times columnist Charles Blow. Other explorations of contemporary social issues include episodes on: the complex meaning of “home” for immigrants and those who have endured forced migration (“O patria mia” from Verdi’s Aida); depictions of mental health (“Il dolce suono… Spargi d’amaro pianto” from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor); the impact of forced marriage on women today (“Una voce poco fa” from Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia); and the destructive force of illegitimate political power (“Dostig ja vishei” from Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov).
Musical performances and recordings will include arias sung by world-renowned opera stars past and present, including Franco Corelli, Latonia Moore, Gerald Finley, Pretty Yende, Joyce DiDonato, Natalie Dessay, Joseph Calleja, Erin Morley, Renée Fleming, René Pape, Nina Stemme, Deborah Voigt, Will Liverman, and more.
“WQXR is thrilled to bring listeners a new and extended season of Aria Code, a program that speaks beautifully both to passionate opera lovers and the opera-curious,” said Ed Yim, Chief Content Officer, WQXR. “As New York awaits the return to live performance, Aria Code is part of our commitment to partnering with cultural organizations like the Metropolitan Opera to bring audiences musical experiences wherever they are.”
“For the past year, the Met has made it a priority to do all we can to stay engaged with our audience while the opera house is dark,” said Peter Gelb, the Met’s General Manager. “I’m very pleased that our successful podcast collaboration with WQXR will continue for a third season, bringing powerful operatic stories to listeners at a time when they need them most.”
Aria Code’s third season will launch Wednesday, March 10, and can be found wherever podcasts are available. Episodes will be released bi-weekly through November.