June 8, 2022, 2:25 p.m.
Music by Verdi, Tchaikovsky and Bach sits alongside Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” in episodes three through seven of the new “Stranger Things” season.
Warning: Contains Stranger Things Season 4 Spoilers
The stranger things theme tune is a love letter to the sounds of the 80s. What if we told you that the rest of the soundtrack goes back even further in its musical nostalgia – to the 1780s?
In episode 3 of season 4, the show’s musical supervisor ushers us into the world of 1880s Italian opera. A duet by Verdi, followed by an aria by Puccini, echoes through the living room while as the gang, reluctantly eating risotto concocted by conspiracy theorist Murray (Brett Gelman), begin to suspect Joyce (Winona Ryder) of withholding information from them.
The following episode sees Bach’s D minor minuet rather eerily “appease” the patients of an asylum. Meanwhile, some of the season’s final dramatic moments are marked by Philip Glass’ 1980s masterpiece Akhnaton, often touted as one of the greatest operas to emerge from the 20th century.
Here’s all the classical music and opera we’ve spied stranger things Season 4 – and where she appears in each episode.
Read more: The cast of Stranger Things is also a band of talented musicians
As the children plod along for dinnertime, the rich voice of the late great baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky echoes through the house. The piece is a duet from Verdi’s opera Rigoletto‘V’ho ingannato… Colpevole fui’, recorded by Hvorostovsky and American soprano Nadine Sierra.
The camera pans to the dinner table, and as the gang reluctantly eat Murray’s risotto, we hear Puccini’s tune “Che gelida manina” from Bohemian in a recording by American tenor Richard Tucker and the Rome Opera Orchestra.
Puccini’s big melody creates drama, as Joyce is forced to lie by saying her trip to Alaska the next day is for a “business conference.”
At the fictional Pennhurst Psychiatric Hospital, patients are invited into a “listening room”, where they can listen to relaxing music which is said to have “a calming effect on the broken spirit”.
“The right song, especially one with personal meaning,” we hear, “can be a salient stimulus. But there are those who are behind a cure.”
Bach’s minuet in D minor, played by Amelia Davis, comes out of the record player, followed by a recording of Debussy’s “Clair de lune” by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
A little over halfway through Episode 5, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is forced to confront her past in a Nevada bunker, where scientist Brenner explains Project Nina – a way to try and bring back the powers of El, so named after an opera from the 1780s.
“In 1786, Nicolas Dalayrac wrote an opera entitled NinaBrenner told him. Composed by Dalayrac in French, it was adapted by the Italian composer Giovanni Paisiello in 1789 under the title Nina, O Sia la Pazza Per Amore.
“It’s the story of a young woman whose lover was killed in a duel. Nina was so traumatized that she buried the memory. It was as if it had never happened. Every day she returned to the station to await the return of her lover – a return that would never be. If only Nina could know the truth.
As Brenner speaks, we hear the glorious mezzo voice of Cecilia Bartoli singing an aria from the work “Il mio ben quando verrà”.
“Leave your station,” Brenner told El. “Stop waiting. Focus. Listen. Remember.”
As the gang arrives at Dustin’s girlfriend and expert hacker, Suzi, the nimble and underrated genius from Erich Korngold’s Violin Concerto (1945) plays. It acts as a musical mirror for the chaos of a house seemingly run by kindergartners; from this we hear the finale ‘Allegro assai vivace’.
Later in the episode, a large chorus of Tchaikovsky from Aleksandr Ostrovsky’s musical drama The Snow Maiden reports an opulent feast for the prisoners, who are fattened up before being sent to fight a demogorgon.
During the party, a recording of ‘Cavatine Et Rondo D’Antonida’ by the National Bolshoi Orchestra plays.
As the story of monstrous antagonist Vecna unfolds, we hear the strange tale of Philip Glass Propheciespreviously used in the 2009 superhero movie The Watchers.
Slowly episode 7 turns into a love letter to the modern minimalist master. As One talks to Eleven, we hear two moments from Glass’ opera Akhenaten: Act I scene 3, ‘The window of appearances’, and Act II, scene 2: ‘Akhnaton and Nefertiti’.
Is classical music used in the rest of Stranger Things?
The third season of stranger things notably presented Verdi’s Drinking Song (“Libiamo ne lieti calici”) and Boccherini’s “Minuetto” String Quartet.