Critic’s Picks (July 13 – 19)
“We live in an extraordinary Age” – Carl Sagan. Since early spring of 2020, a tiny previously unknown virus, COVID-19, has shut down our musical life, hopefully only temporarily. Many opera companies and music organizations have been offering video streaming during the hiatus. In this the fifth month of the pandemic, the Met has just announced a new initiative – 12 live concerts from July 18 to December 19, starring big name singers the likes of Jonas Kaufmann and Anna Netrebko, on a pay-per-view basis of a modest $20. The concerts will be professionally produced equal to its Met Live in HD quality, to take place in interesting locations in Europe and the US. Meanwhile the Met continues with its nightly free streaming drawn from its vast archives. The venerable Toronto Summer Music Festival (July 16 – August 1) goes online this year, with a full slate of offerings. Other interesting shows this week comes from Glyndebourne, Royal Ballet Covent Garden, Santa Fe, San Francisco, and more.
Met | Puccini’s Manon Lescaut Kristine Opolais, Roberto Alagna, Massimo Cavalletti, and Brindley Sherratt, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From March 5, 2016. | Details
Met | Verdi’s La Traviata (Classic Telecast) Ileana Cotrubas, Plácido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil, conducted by James Levine. From March 28, 1981. An iconic performance not to be missed. | Details
Met | Puccini’s Turandot Maria Guleghina, Marina Poplavskaya, Marcello Giordani, and Samuel Ramey, conducted by Andris Nelsons. From November 7, 2009. | Details
The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA) | Conversation with Jazz icon Sheila Jordan and Ori Dagan — 3 pm ET. Championed early on by Charlie Parker, legendary Jazz singer-songwriter Sheila Jordan, 91, looks back on her highly successful career and on her current activities, in conversation with fellow jazz singer-songwriter Ori Dagan. | Details
Met | Berg’s Wozzeck Elza van den Heever, Gerhard Siegel, Peter Mattei, and Christian van Horn, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From January 11, 2020. | Details
TSM Online Festival | Opening Night — 7:45 pm ET. Violinist James Ehnes and pianist Andrew Armstrong perform two Beethoven Sonatas for Violin and Piano, Op. 12 No. 1 in D Major and Op. 24 No. 5 in F Major, “Spring.” This will be rebroadcast on Sunday, July 19 at 3 pm. A video link to each and every concert will be posted on the TSMF page at 10 am of the day of performance. | Details
Met | Rossini’s La Cenerentola Elīna Garanča and Lawrence Brownlee, conducted by Maurizio Benini. From May 9, 2009. | Details
TSM Online Festival | Fellow Friday — 12 pm ET. Violinist Gregory Lewis violin (2019 and 2020 Academy Fellow), violist Bethany Hargreaves (2020 Academy Fellow) and pianist Pamela Lewis perform works by Mozart, Vieuxtemps, Ysaÿe, and Shostakovich. | Details
Met | Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro Amanda Majeski, Marlis Petersen, Isabel Leonard, Peter Mattei, and Ildar Abdrazakov, conducted by James Levine. From October 18, 2014. | Details
Met Stars Live in Concert | Jonas Kaufmann — 1 pm ET. The German tenor kicks off this new series in a concert live streamed from the Polling Abbey in Polling, Bavaria, Germany. No program details available. Tickets for this and the remaining 11 concerts are $20 each and can be purchased on the Met’s website beginning on July 14. Performances available for viewing for 12 days. | Details
TSM Online Festival | Saturday Showcase: Moonlight Memories — 7:45 pm ET. Violist Rémi Pelletier and pianist Philip Chiu play Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2, “Moonlight” and Shostakovich: Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 147. | Details
San Francisco Opera | Rossini’s La Cenerentola A marvelous Jean Pierre Ponnelle production from 2014 starring French mezzo Karine Deshayes as Angelica and American high tenor Rene Barbera as Prince Charming. Christian Van Horn is Alidoro. Jesus Lopez-Cobos conducts his final production with SFO. Available on demand for 24 hours. Details
Met | Puccini’s La Bohème (Classic Telecast) A legendary performance, starring Canadian soprano Teresa Stratas as an exquisite Mimi, full of pathos, opposite the passionate Rodolfo of José Carreras. Renata Scotto is a scene-stealing, over-the-top Musetta. Richard Stilwell, Allan Monk, James Morris, and Italo Tajo round out the cast. James Levine conducts. From January 16, 1982. | Details
More interesting choices (video on demand)
1) Royal Ballet Covent Garden’s #OurHouseToYourHouse presents Romeo and Juliet, with choreography by Sir Kenneth MacMillan, starring Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball as the star-crossed lovers.
2) Santa Fe Opera presents Songs from the Santa Fe Opera, a series of five tributes to celebrate the five operas that would have made up the 2020 season. Episode 1 streamed last week celebrating The Barber of Seville with host Susan Graham and Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins. Episode 2 The Magic Flute (July 11) was hosted by British baritone Anthony Michaels-Moore. Upcoming on July 18 is the tribute to Tristan und Isolde, with host American baritone Ryan McKinny.
3) Glyndebourne Opera Open House is streaming Britten’s Billy Budd, a performance from 2010, available from July 12 to 19. Mark Elder conducts, with Jacques Imbrailo in the title role, John Mark Ainsley is Captain Vere, and Canadian bass Phillip Ens is Claggart.
4) San Francisco Symphony | MTT25: An American Icon. MTT refers to conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, who recently bid farewell to the Orchestra as its music director of a quarter century. A star-studded evening hosted by mezzo Susan Graham. Among the performers was Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman who premiered a new composition by MTT.
5) Music and Beyond Festival | Ottawa’s famous festival has gone digital this summer. Strikingly edgy video clip featuring Canadian mezzo Wallis Giunta, singing Habanera from Carmen, joined by Cirque Fantastic. Check their website for many other offerings.
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