Critic’s Picks (April 27 – May 3)
I hope some of you managed to catch the Metropolitan Opera At Home Gala last Saturday, as it was quite the event — over 40 big-name opera singers plus members of the Met Orchestra and Chorus joined forces to remind music lovers that in the darkest times, music helps heal the mind and soothe the spirit. There are plenty more streaming concert worth seeing this week, either date-specific or on a video-on-demand basis.
Vienna State Opera | Puccini: Madama Butterfly — 9:00 a.m. (ET). Kristīne Opolais (Cio-Cio-San), Bongiwe Nakani (Suzuki), Piero Pretti (B.F. Pinkerton), Boaz Daniel (Sharpless) Philippe Auguin, conductor. Performance September 14, 2016. Available for 72 hours (free registration required) | Details
Bayerische Staatsoper | 2:15 p.m. (ET). Part of Munich Opera’s Monday Concert series, this one is in memory of their former Intendant Sir Peter Jonas. Soprano Elsa Benoit sings a Handel aria; musicians of the Bayerisches Staatsorchester perform Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E flat major K. 493. Tenor Jonas Kaufmann and pianist Helmut Deutsch perform Schumann’s Dichterliebe. | Details
Met Opera | Donizetti: Anna Bolena — 7:30 p.m. (ET). Anna Netrebko, Ekaterina Gubanova, Stephen Costello, and Ildar Abdrazakov. Marco Armiliato, conductor. Transmitted live on October 15, 2011. Available for 23 hours | Details
Met Opera | Donizetti: Maria Stuarda — 7:30 p.m. (ET). Elza van den Heever, Joyce DiDonato, and Matthew Polenzani. Maurizio Benini, conductor. Transmitted live on January 19, 2013. Available for 23 hours | Details
Vienna State Opera | Beethoven: Fidelio — 9:00 a.m. (ET). Klaus Florian Vogt (Florestan), Anja Kampe (Leonore), Boaz Daniel (Don Fernando), Evgeny Nikitin (Don Pizarro), Stephen Milling (Rocco), Valentina Naforniţă (Marzelline), Jörg Schneider (Jaquino) Peter Schneider, conductor. Performance January 14, 2016. Available for 72 hours (free registration required) | Details
Met Opera | Donizetti: Roberto Devereux — 7:30 p.m. (ET). Sondra Radvanovsky, Elīna Garanča, Matthew Polenzani, and Mariusz Kwiecien. Maurizio Benini, conductor. Transmitted live on April 16, 2016. Available for 23 hours | Details
Vienna State Opera | Legris: Le Corsaire (ballet) — 9:00 a.m. (ET). Robert Gabdullin (Conrad), Maria Yakovleva (Médora), Liudmila Konovalova (Gulnare), Kirill Kourlaev (Lanquedem), Davide Dato (Birbanto), Alice Firenze (Zulméa), Mihail Sosnovschi (Seyd Pascha) Valery Ovsyanikov, conductor. Performance of April 2, 2016. Available for 72 hours (free registration required) | Details
Met Opera | Nico Muhly: Marnie — 7:30 p.m. (ET). Isabel Leonard, Iestyn Davies, and Christopher Maltman. Roberto Spano, conductor. Transmitted live on November 10, 2018. Available for 23 hours | Details
Vienna State Opera | Berlioz: Les Troyens — 9:00 a.m. (ET). Anna Caterina Antonacci (Cassandre), Brandon Jovanovich (Enée), Rachel Frenkel (Ascagne), Joyce DiDonato (Didon), Szilvia Vörös (Anna), Paolo Fanale (Iopas) Alain Altinoglu, conductor. Performance November 4, 2018. Available for 72 hours (free registration required) | Details
Met Opera | Verdi: Aida (viewer’s choice) — 7:30 p.m. (ET). Leontyne Price, Fiorenza Cossotto, James McCracken, and Simon Estes. James Levine, conductor. Transmitted live on January 3, 1985. Available for 23 hours | Details
Met Opera | Verdi: Luisa Miller — 7:30 p.m. (ET). Sonya Yoncheva, Piotr Beczała, and Plácido Domingo. Bertrand de Billy, conductor. Transmitted live on April 14, 2018. Available for 23 hours | Details
Met Opera | Borodin: Prince Igor — 7:30 p.m. (ET). Oksana Dyka, Anita Rachvelishvili, and Ildar Abdrazakov. Gianandrea Noseda, conductor. Transmitted live on March 1, 2014. Available for 23 hours | Details
Additional picks (Date-specific or Video On Demand):
1) Dutch National Opera 50th Anniversary Gala. Premiered Sunday April 26 and available for one week. The concert took place in 2015. Artists include Eva-Maria Westbroek, Sabine Devieilhe, Eleonora Buratto, Thomas Oliemans (who sang a recital with the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto last year), Violeta Urmana, Peter Rose, and Canada’s own Adrianne Pieczonka.
2) The terrific Canadian baritone Elliot Madore is enjoying a thriving career, but like everyone else during this lockdown period, he is not performing. He joins pianist Rachel Andrist to present a recital of songs and arias, available on the baritone’s Facebook page.
3) For Benjamin Britten fans, here’s a marvelous performance of Gloriana, just made available for free viewing by Royal Opera Covent Garden, with a superb cast led by British soprano and former COC Brunnhilde Susan Bullock as Elizabeth I. She’s joined by tenor Toby Spence and soprano Kate Royal.
4) We’re ending Critic’s Picks with an entry based entirely on its amusement quotient. I confess I had never heard of American dramatic soprano/voice teacher Erin G. McCarthy until two days ago, when I chanced upon this clip that appears on the British Classic FM’s Facebook page, of Ms. McCarthy singing “Vissi d’arte” to three alpacas. The animals try to harmonize, but they are sadly tone deaf. If you are curious about Ms. McCarthy, she can be found on YouTube.