Rhiannon Giddens and a roster of classical singers and experts from various fields will dive deep into some of opera’s most renowned melodies for the third season of Aria Code. The podcast from WQXR and The Metropolitan Opera returns March 10, with new episodes to be released biweekly through November.
In each episode, Grammy winner and MacArthur Fellow Giddens introduces a recording of an operatic performance—often of an aria familiar to listeners. However, as the piece is broken down into beats, a panel explores the music through technical, academic, and human interest lenses. Most episodes feature insight from the singer on the recording, a scholar on the title’s subject matter, and an additional individual outside the opera world.
The first episode of the new season focuses on hope and resilience through the lens of "Nessun dorma" from Puccini's Turandot, spotlighting a 1966 performance by tenor Franco Corelli. Guests include Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, former Washington Post music critic Anne Midgette, and Dr. Micheal Cho. The latter, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, is also a violist and performed the piece as part of the National Virtual Medical Orchestra, formed during the coronavirus pandemic.
In its 17 additional episodes, Season 3 will explore such topics as the Black experience in the South (with an aria from the new opera adaptation of Charles M. Blow’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones), forced migration (“O patria mia” from Aida), and depictions of mental health (the Lucia di Lammermoor “mad” scene).
Among the other guests slated to lend their voices—whether spoken or sung—throughout the season are singers Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, Natalie Dessay, Joseph Calleja, Nina Stemme, Latonia Moore, Pretty Yende; music journalists, critics, scholars, and educators, Naoomi André, Fred Plotkin, Philip Ewell, and Alex Ross; Eritrean-Ethiopian artist Mahtem Shiferraw; humanitarian and Karma Nirvana founder Jaasvinder Sanghera; and critical care physician Dr. Michael Cho.