Critic’s Picks (July 20 – 26)
“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. As we approach the half-year mark of the pandemic, the end is not yet in sight. Thankfully, there is no shortage of classical music online to soothe the ear and nourish the soul. The premiere of Met Stars Live in Concert opened triumphantly, with Jonas Kaufmann in spectacular voice. If you miss it, you can still access this, plus 11 concerts to come in the next four months, on a pay-per-view basis of $20 each. The Bayreuth Festival online (4.90 Euros per show) starts this week. Meanwhile, the Met and other companies continue with free streaming. Met streams start at 7:30 p.m. ET and remain available for 23 hours. The Toronto Summer Music Festival (July 16 – August 1) is online with a full slate of new content, while the Lanaudiere Festival (free registration required) offers performances from its archives. Plenty of other interesting events this week, including Glyndebourne, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera, and more.
Met | Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia Isabel Leonard, Lawrence Brownlee, Christopher Maltman, and Maurizio Muraro, conducted by Michele Mariotti. From November 22, 2014. | Details
Met | Wagner’s Tannhäuser Éva Marton, Tatiana Troyanos, Richard Cassilly, Bernd Weikl, and John Macurdy, conducted by James Levine. From December 20, 1982. | Details
Met | Verdi’s Macbeth Maria Guleghina, Dimitri Pittas, Željko Lučić, and John Relyea, conducted by James Levine. From January 12, 2008. | Details
Met | Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette Anna Netrebko, Roberto Alagna, Nathan Gunn, and Robert Lloyd, conducted by Plácido Domingo. From December 15, 2007. | Details
TSM Online Festival | Bach and Beethoven — 7:45 ET. Andrew Wan, violin; Brian Manker, cello; Philip Chiu, piano join forces for a program of Bach: Chaconne from Partita No. 2 in D minor for Solo Violin, BWV 1004, and Beethoven: Sonata for Piano & Cello in A major, Op. 69. | Details
Met | Verdi’s Falstaff Mirella Freni, Barbara Bonney, Marilyn Horne, Bruno Pola, and Paul Plishka, conducted by James Levine. From October 10, 1992. | Details
Lanaudiere Festival | Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1 in D Major Op. 25, Peter and the Wolf — 7:30 p.m. The Orchestre Métropolitain and narrator Kim Yaroshevskaya, conducted by Agnes Grossmann. Performance from July 28, 1991. Free registration required. | Details
Met | Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier Renée Fleming, Christine Schäfer, Susan Graham, and Kristinn Sigmundsson, conducted by Edo de Waart. From January 9, 2010. | Details
Lanaudiere Festival | Mahler: Symphony No. 2 — 7:30 ET. Orchestre symphonique de Montréal conducted by Kent Nagano. Performance from August 9, 2014. Free registration required. | Details
Bayreuth Festival | Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg — 2.00 pm ET. The venerable Wagner festival kicks off its pay-per-view streaming (4.90 Euros/ticket) in grand style, with Barry Kosky’s strikingly original production of Die Meistersinger, conducted by Philippe Jordan. It stars Michael Volle (Hans Sachs), Gunther Groissböck (Pogner), Johannes Martin Kränzle (Beckmesser), Klaus Florian Vogt (Walther), Daniel Behle (David) and Anne Schwanewilms (Eva). | Details
TSM Online Festival | Dover Quartet — 7:45 p.m. ET. Filmed in Vail, Colorado, the Dover Quartet plays Mozart Adagio and Fugue in C Minor K546, and Beethoven’s String Quartet in E Minor Op. 59 no. 2 “Rasumovsky.” | Details
San Francisco Opera | Janáček’s The Makropoulos Case — 1:00 p.m. ET. A 2010 co-production with Finnish National Opera. This performance stars Finnish soprano Karita Mattila in her role debut as Emilia Marty. Also appearing are Slovak tenor Miroslav Dvorsky (Albert Gregor), German bass-baritone Gerd Grochowski (Baron Jaroslav Prus), and America bass-baritone Dale Travis (Dr. Kolenatý). The late Jiří Bělohlávek conducts. Available to view until midnight Sunday July 26. | Details
Met | Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West Eva-Maria Westbroek, Jonas Kaufmann, and Željko Lučić, conducted by Marco Armiliato. From October 27, 2018. | Details
Lanaudiere Festival | Gwyneth Jones in Concert — 3:30 p.m. ET. The Welsh diva sings a program of Wagner, Verdi, Puccini, Léhar, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Simon Streatfield conducts the Orchestre symphonique de Québec. Performance from August 23, 1988. Available for 48 hours. | Details
More interesting choices (video on demand)
1) Royal Opera Covent Garden’s #OurHouseToYourHouse presents Gounod’s Faust, with a great cast – Michael Fabiano (Faust), Erwin Schrott (Méphistophélès0, Irina Lungu (Marguerite) and Stéphane Degout (Valentin). Dan Ettinger conducts. Available on-demand until July 31, 2020.
2) In this, the third of Santa Fe Opera’s Songs from the Santa Fe Opera, it pays tribute to Tristan und Isolde, in what would have been the first Wagner opera on its stage in over thirty years. Bass-baritone Ryan McKinny (Kurwenal) is the host, with soprano Tamara Wilson (Isolde) singing “Traüm,” the original study of the Tristan Act 2 Love Duet from the Wesendonck-lieder.
3) Performance Santa Fe presents their fundraiser An Evening of Stars: A Livestream Gala Event, featuring opera stars Isabel Leonard, Angela Meade, Susan Graham, Lisette Oropesa, and Joshua Hopkins; violinist Gil Shaham and Pinchas Zukerman; pianist Yefim Bronfman and Malcolm Martineau, plus many more. Available on demand to August 1.
4) Canadian Opera Company Virtual Choir Over 215 singers from 22 countries and six continents join voices and instruments in COC’s first-ever Virtual Choir. Led by the COC’s Price Family Chorus Master Sandra Horst, they give a rousing rendition of the Anvil Chorus from Verdi’s Il Trovatore.
5) The irrepressible Screaming Divas (sopranos Sondra Radvanovsky and Keri Alkema) are joined by Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel for a lively and candid chat, funny yet poignant, when it comes to their sense of foreboding towards their careers and the future.