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Opera After Dark

Forget what you thought you knew about classical music, and leave your preconceived notions at the door! Co-hosted by Naomi Barrettara, Elspeth Davis, and Kyle Homewood, Opera After Dark is a journey into the surprisingly wild, sometimes sexy, ALWAYS weird world of classical music. Join us as we settle in, open a bottle of wine, get tipsy, and discuss and share the crazy stories and bizarre facts about the “high art” that we love.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Ep. 55: Tosca

Jealousy, lust, imprisonment, torture, fugitives, murder, mayhem , and epic love - TOSCA has got it ALL! The music is awesome - and we'll tell you why. It's one of those [SPOILER ALERT] "everyone dies at the end" kind of works, and also fits our theory that if the title of the opera is a single female name, you know the person by that name in the story is going to be dead by the end. SO UPLIFTING!! Here we go!!

1hr 2mins

16 Feb 2018

Rank #1

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Ep. 63: Felix Mendelssohn

This week, we talk about the Mendelssohn sibling with more notoriety but less moral fiber! Felix was a very talented composer and father of five, but that didn't stop him from getting into trouble with a famous soprano who is also portrayed in the film The Greatest Showman. Plus, we are lucky to have surprise appearances from Henri, the cat! @henrizzlenizzle

25mins

11 Apr 2018

Rank #2

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Ep. 59: Claude Debussy

Debussy composed some of the most beautiful music we have ever heard. Does that automatically make him a good person? In today's episode, we find out the answer!The answer is no, he wasn't a good person...

35mins

17 Mar 2018

Rank #3

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Ep. 2: Janáček - The Men Behind the Music

Our second episode of “The Men Behind the Music” is all about the one and only Leoš Janáček and his pen pal and imaginary wife, Kamila Stösslová!

29mins

23 Sep 2016

Rank #4

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Ep. 3: Berlioz - The Men Behind the Music

Genius. Flute player. Appreciator of Shakespeare and Virgil. Terrible pianist. Psychopath attempted murderer. Just some of the phrases that best describe composer Hector Berlioz. You aren't going to believe these true stories as written by the man himself!

32mins

30 Sep 2016

Rank #5

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Ep. 4: Castrati - Part 1

Welcome to episode 4! In this episode, the first of two, we’ll be discussing the rock stars of the 18th century, THE CASTRATI. Known for their incredible stamina, both on and off the stage (get it?), these powerhouse singers caused audience hysteria wherever they went.

41mins

7 Oct 2016

Rank #6

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Ep. 89: Richard Wagner...finally

It took almost three full seasons, but we are finally talking about the polarizing composer Richard Wagner. Whether you love him or you hate him, most opera fans feel strongly about his contributions to the repertory and we are no exception. As is appropriate for Wagner, this episode is one of our longest, but it comes as our own Naomi Barrettara is about to join the Met Opera Quiz during the radio broadcast on Saturday, March 30, 2019. Be sure to tune in and cheer her on!

1hr 9mins

29 Mar 2019

Rank #7

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Ep. 50: Opera - The Origin Story

To celebrate episode number 50 (!!!) on Opera After Dark, we give you...OPERA: THE ORIGIN STORY. It all started with a group of Italian dudes(before Italy was actually country - but they all lived in Florence) in the late 1500s who had this theory that all ancient Greek dramas were sung instead of spoken... (...no really, this IS where it all begins...)

54mins

12 Jan 2018

Rank #8

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Ep. 54: Operatic Rejections

In honor of Valentine's Day, we bring you the most epic operatic rejections! We often think of opera's many romantic love stories, but it turns out there are just as many, if not more, painful rejections. And by painful, we mean literally stabbed-in-the-chest painful. This should surely get you in the Valentine's spirit!

46mins

9 Feb 2018

Rank #9

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Ep. 13: Il Trovatore

In the third and final installment of our "What the hell?" series, we talk about perhaps the most random and convoluted opera plot of all time: Il Trovatore. You know things are going to be crazy when someone throws their own baby on a pyre before the curtain even comes up...

35mins

16 Dec 2016

Rank #10

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Ep. 90: Das Rheingold

The OAD team embarks on Wagner's epic opera cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen, AKA the Ring Cycle. Of course, we must start with the first of the four operas: Das Rheingold. We hope you enjoy this deep dive into Wagner's mythological world inspired by Norse mythology.

50mins

9 Apr 2019

Rank #11

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Ep. 15: Difficult Divas

In our second installment of the Badass Women series, we talk about some of opera's most difficult divas!

48mins

20 Jan 2017

Rank #12

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Ep. 51: Gounod you didn't!

Best known for his Faust and Romeo et Juliette, Charles Gounod almost joined the priesthood early in life, ending his composing career before it began. Luckily, he went in the completely opposite direction becoming a serial adulterer! This is of course what we will be focusing on in today's episode.

41mins

19 Jan 2018

Rank #13

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Ep. 79: La Traviata

We are beginning 2019 with an opera that consistently ranks within the top 10 most often performed operas in the world today: La Traviata! This is a tragic one (shocker), but the music is beautiful, the plot involves a lot of partying, doomed love, and a heroine that rises above them all as the best person (despite being surrounded by horrible, selfish people), and makes the ultimate sacrifice for love.

54mins

5 Jan 2019

Rank #14

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Ep. 91: Die Walküre

We are back with the next installment of Wagner's epic Ring Cycle, DIE WALKÜRE! Kyle is excited for the ride of the Valkyries. Elspeth is still against this whole thing. And this is probably Naomi's favourite opera of the cycle (we spelled "favourite" the Canadian way, just for her). We also learn more about leitmotifs in this episode. And swords stuck in trees. And weather/season-related love metaphors. And rings of fire!

1hr 4mins

17 Apr 2019

Rank #15

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Ep. 44: Orchestral works that check all the boxes

In this episode, we deliberately diverge from the world of opera and vocal music to talk about some of the greatest instrumental music ever composed. You know, those symphonies that check all our boxes. Our orchestral jams. Along the way, you will learn so many things about us... like the music that Elspeth always requests and then sings along to after a few glasses of wine, and you will also see what happens when Kyle actually has to prepare something.

54mins

17 Nov 2017

Rank #16

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Ep. 68: The Rite of Spring

Imagine going to see a new ballet and the audience breaks out in a riot. This is exactly what happened when Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" had its premiere in 1913. Get ready to flip some tables as we dive into what is now a mainstay of the ballet repertoire.

36mins

6 Oct 2018

Rank #17

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Ep. 24: Operas that we Hate

Taking the opposite tack of last week's episode, today we delve into operas that we hate. And before you write us off as a bunch of "negative nancys," we actually go above and beyond (in our opinion) to highlight the best and most beautiful moments in the works that we tend stay away from as a whole. We also try to explain solid reasons for our dislikes. And we do end on a fantastic happy note, with a sneak peak of what we plan to talk about next week!

44mins

24 Mar 2017

Rank #18

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Ep. 81: Rigoletto

This episode is all about a well known classic, Verdi's RIGOLETTO. This opera has got everything - twisted plot involving a court jester, a jerk Duke, a naive girl, a hit man and his sister, a curse, love, lust, murder, and more, all tied together with incredible music. Despite the tragic tale, we had a lot of fun with this one, as you can tell by the extreme length! PS: Please forgive any lingering radiator noise. We had no control over it, and we tried to edit it out, but we can only work so much magic (such is life in NYC in the winter).

1hr 9mins

28 Jan 2019

Rank #19

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Ep. 107: Akhnaten

Following our last episode all about Philip Glass, this episode goes deep into the third opera in his portrait trilogy: AKHNATEN! We talk about the music, the inspiration and creative process, the source material, the text of the libretto, the real historical Akhnaten (including theories that his whole family were aliens) and his very complicated family (hint: recent DNA testing reveals that the family tree is REALLY MESSY, involving Nefertiti, King Tut, half-sisters that are also wives, aunts that are also mothers, husbands that are also siblings of some kind, daughters that are also wives, etc. etc. etc.), and all kinds of other interesting stuff!

34mins

16 Nov 2019

Rank #20