Aria Code, an opera-themed podcast with a dramaturgical focus, will return for a second season beginning this month. Hosted by MacArthur Fellow and Grammy winner Rhiannon Giddens, the series will focus on the theme of desire in its new season, debuting November 13.
In each episode, 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 with technical, academic, and emotional perspectives. Most episodes feature insight from the singer on the recording, a scholar on the opera’s subject matter, and an additional artist outside the opera world.
The November 13 episode will tackle “Una macchia e qui tuttora,” Lady Macbeth’s famed sleepwalking scene from Verdi’s Macbeth, as sung by Anna Netrebko. In addition to the soprano, the episode will feature Judi Dench (a famed interpreter of the Shakespearean role), Washington Post classical critic Anne Midgette, and writer and NYU lecturer Tana Wojczuk
Later segments will highlight Madama Butterfly’s “Un bel dì, Porgy and Bess’ “Summertime,” Le Nozze di Figaro’s “Dove sono,” and Turandot’s “In questa reggia.” Guests will include Anna Chlumsky, Dan Savage, Dr. Naomi André, and singers Ana María Martínez, Golda Schultz, Susanna Phillips, Anthony Roth Costanzo, and Christine Goerke.
“I'm so excited to be working on the second season of Aria Code,” Giddens said in a statement. “Music is one of the best vehicles to show us how we are all much more similar than different, and we really feel that in opera. This music communicates the full extent of the human experience, and this season we're really going deep into the emotionality of these arias and into what makes them tick.”
Aria Code is co-presented by WQXR and the Metropolitan Opera.