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Puccini's La Boheme – Aria Code Episode 2

Is Love at First Sight Really a Thing?

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Love at first sight is not just a cliché of romantic comedies: more than half of all Americans say they’ve experienced it.

Can this explain the timeless appeal of Puccini’s La Bohème? In this episode, host Rhiannon Giddens and her guests consider what love at first sight is really all about, sharing perspectives on the music, the history and, yes, the brain science. Plus, you'll hear tenor Vittorio Grigolo sing the complete aria "Che gelida manina" from the Metropolitan Opera stage.

The Guests

Vittorio Grigolo started singing as a young boy, when the Italian press gave him the nickname Il Pavarottino (“The Little Pavarotti”). Today, he is one of the world’s leading tenors. He debuted as Rodolfo in La Bohème at the Met in 2010.

James Kuslan is a lecturer and writer on opera and culture. His writing has appeared everywhere from the pages of Opera News to the liner notes of Deutsche Gramophon records.

Dr. Helen Fisher is a biological anthropologist who studies the brain systems that affect human social behavior. She holds positions at Rutgers University and the Kinsey Institute. She is also the Chief Scientific Advisor to


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.

  • Puccini's La Boheme – Aria Code Episode 2

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