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Verdi's La Traviata – Aria Code Episode 1

Opera's Original 'Pretty Woman'

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Verdi’s La Traviata revolves around the high-class courtesan Violetta, the quintessential "tart with a heart" who falls for Mr. Right but can’t decide whether she really wants to settle down.

(Spoiler alert: it’s an opera, so she never gets the chance.) In this episode, host Rhiannon Giddens and her guests reflect on Violetta’s spectacular Act I finale and its deep inner conflicts around love and freedom. Plus, you'll hear the complete aria sung from the Met Opera stage.

The Guests

Diana Damrau is one of the leading sopranos of our time. She has performed at all the world's major opera companies, specializing in lyric and coloratura roles. She's currently singing the role of Violetta at the Metropolitan Opera.

Cori Ellison is the company dramaturg for Santa Fe Opera and has also worked with the Glynebourne Festival Opera, New York City Opera and the Juilliard School. She's our go-to opera guru for traditional and contemporary repertoire.

Brooke Magnanti is a writer who earned her doctorate in forensic pathology, but you might know her as Belle de Jour. Her book, The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl, documented her year working as an escort and inspired a TV series and several follow-up books.


Aria Code is a new podcast that pulls back the curtain on some of the most famous arias in opera history, with insight from the biggest voices of our time, including Plácido Domingo, Diana Damrau, Sondra Radvanovsky, and many others.

Each episode dives into one aria — a feature for a single singer — and explores how and why these brief musical moments have imprinted themselves in our collective consciousness and what it takes to stand on the Met stage and sing them.

Hosted by Grammy Award-winner and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Rhiannon Giddens, Aria Code is produced by WQXR in partnership with The Metropolitan Opera. The team includes Merrin Lazyan, Brendan Francis Newnam, Matt Boynton, Ricardo Quiñones, Ania Grzesik, Khrista Rypl and Matt Abramovitz. Original music by Hannis Brown.

  • Verdi's La Traviata – Aria Code Episode 1

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