Critic’s Picks (May 11 – 17)
“We live in an extraordinary Age” — Carl Sagan. Recent events have demonstrated this in no uncertain terms. A tiny previously unknown microbe, COVID-19, has shut down our musical life, hopefully only temporarily. Many opera companies and music organizations are offering video streaming services during the hiatus. This week, we feature the Met, Vienna State Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Melbourne Symphony, plus several individual artists. Now you can enjoy wonderful performances in the privacy of your own home — for free!
Bayerische Staatsoper | Monday Concert — 2:15 p.m. (ET). Features Brahms Sonata with David Schultheiss (violin) and Myron Romanul (piano); and Lieder by Brahms, Schönberg, Berg, Strauss and Mahler with mezzo Okka von der Damerau and pianist Sophie Raymaud. | Details
Metropolitan Opera | Massenet’s Werther — 7:30 p.m. (ET). A great cast led by Jonas Kaufmann as Werther and Sophie Koch as Charlotte. Lisette Oropesa is Sophie, and David Bizic is Albert. Alain Altinoglu conducts. Transmitted live on March 15, 2014. Available for 23 hours | Details
Metropolitan Opera | Thomas Adès’ The Tempest — 7:30 p.m. (ET). Audrey Luna, Isabel Leonard, Alek Shrader, Alan Oke, and Simon Keenlyside. Conducted by the composer, Thomas Adès, Transmitted live on November 10, 2012. Available for 23 hours | Details
Vienna State Opera | Strauss’Ariadne auf Naxos. Soile Isokoski (Primadonna/Ariadne), Johan Botha (Der Tenor/Bacchus), Sophie Koch (Der Komponist), Daniela Fally (Zerbinetta0; Christian Thielemann, conductor. Performance of Oct. 23, 2014. Available for 72 hours (free registration required) | Details
Metropolitan Opera | Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos — 7:30 p.m. (ET). Don’t miss the late, great soprano Jessye Norman in the title role, with the equally late, great Tatiana Troyanos as the Komponist. Kathleen Battle is Zerbinetta. James Levine conducts. Transmitted live on March 12, 1988. Available for 23 hours | Details
Vienna State Opera | Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. Michele Pertusi (Don Pasquale), Valentina Naforniţă (Norina), Adam Plachetka (Doktor Malatesta), Juan Diego Flórez (Ernesto) Evelino Pidò, conductor. Performance of April 21, 2016. Available for 72 hours (free registration required) | Details
Metropolitan Opera | Britten’s Peter Grimes — 7:30 p.m. (ET). Patricia Racette, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Anthony Michaels-Moore. Sir Donald Runnicles, conductor. Transmitted live on March 15, 2008. Available for 23 hours | Details
Vienna State Opera | Wagner’s Das Rheingold. Tomasz Konieczny (Wotan), Clemens Unterreiner (Donner), Jörg Schneider (Froh), Norbert Ernst (Loge), Jochen Schmeckenbecher (Alberich), Herwig Pecoraro (Mime), Jongmin Park (Fasolt), Sorin Coliban (Fafner), Sophie Koch (Fricka), Anna Gabler (Freia), Monika Bohinec (Erda); Axel Kober, conductor. Performance of January 8, 2019. Available for 72 hours (free registration required) | Details
Metropolitan Opera | Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (Viewers’ Choice) — 7:30 p.m. (ET). Joan Sutherland, Alfredo Kraus, Pablo Elvira, and Paul Plishka. Richard Bonynge, conductor. Transmitted live on November 13, 1982. Available for 23 hours | Details
Vienna State Opera | Wagner’s Die Walküre. Christopher Ventris (Siegmund), Jongmin Park (Hunding), Tomasz Konieczny (Wotan), Simone Schneider (Sieglinde), Iréne Theorin (Brünnhilde), Michaela Schuster (Fricka); Adam Fischer, conductor. Performance of April 8, 2018. Available for 72 hours (free registration required) | Details
Metropolitan Opera | Verdi’s Rigoletto — 7:30 p.m. (ET). Diana Damrau, Oksana Volkova, Piotr Beczała, and Željko Lučić. Michele Mariotti, conductor. Transmitted live on February 16, 2013. Available for 23 hours | Details
Metropolitan Opera | Verdi’s Nabucco — 7:30 p.m. (ET). Liudmyla Monastyrska, Jamie Barton, Russell Thomas, Plácido Domingo, and Dmitry Belosselskiy. James Levine, conductor. Transmitted live on January 7, 2017. Available for 23 hours | Details
Vienna State Opera | Wagner’s Siegfried. Stephen Gould (Siegfried), Evelyn Herlitzius (Brünnhilde), Tomasz Konieczny (Der Wanderer), Richard Paul Fink (Alberich), Janina Baechle (Erda), Herwig Pecoraro (Mime), Mikahil Petrenko (Fafner); Simon Rattle, conductor. Performance of June 4, 2015. Available for 72 hours (free registration required) | Details
Additional interesting streams by other companies as well as by individual artists:
1) On Monday, May 11 3 p.m. (Eastern Time), three top tenors Michael Fabiano, Bryan Hymel and Matthew Polenzani, give a Three Tenors Online Concert. It will be broadcast live on the Dallas Opera YouTube channel. Full announcement of the event can be found here.
2) Le nozze di Figaro Act 2 Finale featuring an all-Canadian cast: Russell Braun (Conte); Jessica Muirhead (Contessa); Jacqueline Woodley (Susanna); Neil Craighead (Figaro); Aaron Durand (Antonio); Megan Latham (Marcellina); Peter McGillivray (Bartolo); and Jean-Philippe Lazure (Basilio). Produced and edited by Neil Craighead.
3) Two Canadians, baritone Russell Braun and his pianist-wife Carolyn Maule have started a Wish-Concert on Facebook, and now available on YouTube. They invite their friends to request personal performances, with the goal of one song a day. In the first 53 days of COVID-19 isolation, they have already recorded 70 songs and one piano solo, ranging from Bach and Handel to opera to Broadway: “Our intent was and is to bring comfort from our home, through music, into your homes.” Here’s the latest video:
4) Ending this week’s Critic’s Picks is a gem from Down Under. Members of the Melbourne Symphony and Chorus, together with community vocalists around the world, give a moving performance of the informal national anthem of Australia, Waltzing Matilda, dedicated to the health-care workers toiling to save lives during the current COVID-19 pandemic.