You hear the message over and over in pop culture: love overcomes everything. But when Don José sings “The Flower Song” in Bizet's Carmen, you're reminded that love has a dark side, too.
In the Season 1 finale, host Rhiannon Giddens welcomes tenor Roberto Alagna, critic Anne Midgette and psychologist Andrew G. Marshall to consider the crazy, possessive side of love and the importance of experiencing art that doesn’t have a fairy-tale ending. Then, you’ll hear Alagna sing the role of the passionate and violent Don José onstage at the Metropolitan Opera.
Tenor Roberto Alagna first performed as Don José when he was 35. Twenty years and many performances later, he thinks he “judged” José a little too harshly in the past and now feels more empathy for the character's misguided and obsessive love.
As a teenager, Washington Post critic Anne Midgette dreamed of living in Europe with a boyfriend who sang opera. When she moved there after college and dated a tenor who sang “The Flower Song” on a train platform, she thought, “Oh my god, my dream came true.”
When writer and marital therapist Andrew G Marshall took his parents to see Carmen, they expected to hear some familiar tunes and a sweet love story. Instead, they got “horror and bloodshed.” Pro tip: always read the program notes.
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Mozart's Queen of the Night: Outrage Out of This World
Verdi's Rigoletto: First Love, Wrong Love
Donizetti's La Fille du Régiment: Sailing the High Cs
Saint-Saëns’s Dalila: She's a Femme Fatale
Puccini's Tosca: I Offered Songs to the Stars
Verdi's Otello: We All Have Demons, But Sometimes The Demons Have Us
Puccini's La Boheme: Is Love at First Sight Really a Thing?
Verdi's La Traviata: Opera's Original 'Pretty Woman'
Welcome to Aria Code with Rhiannon Giddens
Switched on Pop
Broken Record with Malcolm Gladwell, Rick Rubin, and Bruce Headlam
All Songs Considered