Episodes
The evolution of German opera can be traced through the works of well known composers such as Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, and Wagner, as well as lesser known names in the opera canon, such as Schubert, Carl Maria von Weber, and Karlheinz Stockhausen. In this episode, composer, conductor, and lecturer Victoria Bond dives into the influential history and evolution of German opera throughout Western music.
Published 06/24/20
In this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, we explore the incredible legacy of women who broke barriers for black artists, dating all the way back to the late 1800s! Tune in as lecturer and music librarian Tanisha Mitchell explores the trailblazers, sprinters, and torch-bearing women who are part of the enduring legacy of black singers in opera.
Published 06/01/20
In this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer and music librarian Tanisha Mitchell talks about singers of the past and present who broke barriers, paved the way, and continue to carry the torch in "The Enduring Legacy of Black Singers in Opera.” In this first part of the series, Tanisha focuses on male singers spanning the 19th, 20th, and 21st century, including George Shirley, Robert McFerrin, Vinson Cole, Simon Estes, Sir Willard White, Derek Lee Ragin, Eric Owens,...
Published 05/20/20
Puccini's TOSCA is an epic, theatrical tale of love, politics, murder, and suicide, all set to the backdrop of Napoleon’s invasion of Italy. Although dismissed by some critics as “a shabby little shocker,” the power of its music has never failed to fascinate audiences. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, we have lecturer Deirdre Bird speaking about the history, life, and story of this monumental work and its place in opera history.
Published 05/15/20
From bel canto brilliance to the earthiest chest tones, the mezzo-soprano has long been the unsung hero of the opera stage. Although they are often assigned the secondary role in an opera, make no mistake: These divas steal the scene whenever they are on stage. In this episode, Metropolitan Opera Radio commentator Ira Siff concludes his "Magical Mezzos" series some of opera’s most thrilling mezzo-sopranos, past and present!
Published 05/06/20
Mezzo soprano divas have been dominating the operatic stage, holding their own against their soprano counterparts. In this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, Metropolitan Opera radio commentator and lecturer Ira Siff returns for Part 2 of his "Magical Mezzos" series, in which he explores some famous mezzos that you may or may not have heard of!
Published 04/29/20
Published 04/29/20
On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer, Metropolitan Opera Radio commentator, and audience favorite Ira Siff explores the mezzo soprano voice – its origins, roles, and the great singers who sang those roles during their illustrious careers - in the first instalment of his "Marvellous Mezzos" series.
Published 04/22/20
Despite their contempt for the unruly musical ideas of Richard Wagner, many connections can be made between the works of both Tchaikovsky and Janáček with Wagnerian ideas. On this episode of the Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer and musicologist Matthew Timmermans concludes our “Wagner Across Borders” series with an exploration of Slavic-Wagnerian connections.
Published 03/29/20
Just as Massenet was accused of being a Wagnerian in France, so too was Puccini in Italy. From Wagnerian-sized voices to a complex orchestral sound, Wagner’s influence can be heard throughout the canon of Italian opera, but nowhere more so than in the work of Puccini. In this episode of the Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer and musicologist Matthew Timmermans explores the influence of Wagnerian ideas across Puccini's output.
Published 03/20/20
Wagner’s tale of the cursed sea captain and the love of a faithful maiden has captivated audiences since its premiere in 1843. On this episode of the Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer, composer, and conductor Victoria Bond discusses the musical genius of Wagner and the power of love in DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER.
Published 03/11/20
Filled with familiar figures from ancient Rome, Handel creates a comedic and lighthearted score to accompany a story with some pretty sinister sub-themes. Sir David McVicar’s production of Agrippina brings this balance of darkness and light to audiences at the Met for the very first time! On this episode of the Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer, composer, and conductor, Victoria Bond takes a closer look at this baroque masterpiece.
Published 02/26/20
French grand opera was lavish and spectacular – and in many ways, the antithesis Wagner’s operatic ideals. Yet Wagner is often mentioned as a major influence in the work of French Grand Opera master, Jules Massenet. What is the common ground to be found between these two compositional giants? In this episode of the Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer and musicologist Matthew Timmermans guides us through the Wagnerian influences in Massenet’s masterworks.
Published 02/12/20
This episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast begins with an exploration of Wagner's DER FLIEGENDE HÖLLANDER and examines how later German composers responded to Wagner’s new perspective on operatic performance. In the first of a four-part series, musicologist and lecturer Matthew Timmermans guides us through the transformative influence of Wagner’s musical ideas.
Published 02/05/20
Despite its initial flop in 1935, PORGY AND BESS has gone on to become one of the most enduring and popular operas of the 20th century. In fact, it was the first opera by an American-born composer to be performed at the famous La Scala opera house in Milan. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, we have New York University professor, director of archives, and the author of "The Strange Career of Porgy and Bess: Race, Culture, and America’s Most Famous Opera," Ellen Noonan,...
Published 01/15/20
A champion of expressionism and atonality, Alban Berg wrote his first opera, WOZZECK, as a response to the chaos and tragedy he experienced during the First World War. It is generally considered to be his greatest score, and brought Berg international recognition and success. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, we have lecturer and Vice President of Community Initiatives for Opera Philadelphia, Michael Bolton, talking about Berg’s groundbreaking work.
Published 01/07/20
La Fenice in Venice, Italy is one of the first stops on The Metropolitan Opera Guild's upcoming “Treasures of the Mediterranean Cruise,” from September 30th to October 9th, 2020. During the cruise, Guild lecturer and podcast co-host Dr. Naomi Barrettara will be presenting a series of lectures accompanying onboard concerts and land excursions, as travellers visit Italy, Croatia, and Greece. This episode features Naomi giving you a sneak peak of what you can expect in the upcoming Metropolitan...
Published 12/23/19
The opera stage and the Broadway stage share many conventions, such as lavish scenery, exquisite costuming, and awe-inspiring voices. For Schönberg and Boublil’s MISS SAIGON, Puccini’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY serves as the source material, while Anaïs Mitchell’s HADESTOWN and Gluck’s ORFEO ED EURIDICE are both unique interpretations of the Orpheus myth. With so many intersecting elements, what are the precise characteristics that make these dramatic forms distinct? On this episode of The...
Published 12/13/19
A mysterious hand of cards, an unhappy betrothal, and a tormenting ghost all come together in Tchaikovsky’s riveting drama THE QUEEN OF SPADES. Based on a Pushkin story, this elegant fable is a tantalizing tale of love and obsession. In this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer John J.H. Muller explores how the composer uses 18th-century pastiche and highly original melodic and motivic elements to evoke the world of this haunting opera.
Published 12/05/19
For the first time in Met Opera History, Philip Glass’s AKHNATEN is coming to the stage! This much anticipated Met premiere is a deep meditation on the driving force of religion, and a powerful reminder of the fine line between revolution and destruction. Performances star countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo in the title role, J’Nai Bridges making her Met debut as his wife, Nefertiti, and conductor Karen Kamensek making her Met debut at the podium. In this episode of The Metropolitan Opera...
Published 11/13/19
The ancient Greek “Orpheus myth” has inspired a vast array of artistic works, and composer Christoph Willibald Gluck is known for contributing their own operatic interpretation to the canon. Gluck’s adaptation explores the profound nature of grief, the power of love, and the rousing spirit of redemption in our two young lovers, portrayed on the Metropolitan Opera stage by mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton and soprano Hei-Kyung Hong. In this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer...
Published 10/30/19
The Met Live in HD broadcast of Massenet's MANON is just around the corner! Based on Abbe Prevost's 18th-century novel, the story of Manon has inspired a variety of composers, from Auber to Puccini, to Hans Werner Henze! But none reached the emotional lyricism of Jules Massenet's operatic setting. In this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturer and podcast co-host Naomi Barrettara takes a closer look at this French masterpiece.
Published 10/24/19
Finished after the composer's death by Franco Alfano, Puccini’s TURANDOT is a beloved work in the opera canon, with a dramatic, imaginative, and sometimes violent score. This season at the Met, the magnificent dramatic sopranos Christine Goerke and Nina Stemme share the role of the ice princess in Franco Zeffirelli's opulent production. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, we have a lecture from the archives of the Guild's critically-acclaimed series "Talking About Opera,"...
Published 10/09/19
Coming back to the Metropolitan Opera stage for the first time in nearly 30 years, the 2019-20 season opens with the Gershwin’s PORGY AND BESS. With stars Eric Owens and Angel Blue singing the title toles, as well as a star-studded ensemble, this new production by James Robinson is sure to transport audiences to the world of Catfish Row. On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, Opera News Editor-in-Chief F. Paul Driscoll and author, lecturer, and Met radio commentator William...
Published 09/18/19
On this episode of The Metropolitan Opera Guild Podcast, lecturers Naomi Barrettara and Elspeth Davis are joined by composers Christopher Cerrone and Laura Kaminsky, as well as producer, director, and dramaturg Lawrence Edelson in an interview from this past season’s “Opera in the New Millennium” event.
Published 09/04/19