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CRITIC'S PICKS | Virtual Concerts You Absolutely Need To See This Week

By Joseph So on August 3, 2020

Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of August 3 – 9.
Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of August 3 – 9.

Critic’s Picks (August 3 – 9)

“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. We are now in the Dog Days of Summer, and the end of the pandemic is nowhere in sight. Music is never more important than now, to soothe the ear and nourish the soul. A few companies have cut back on their streaming, but not the Metropolitan Opera, thanks to its enormous archives. This is the Met’s 21st week of nightly streaming, for a total of a staggering 147 video performances. Some companies have gone to a pay-per-view model. The Bayreuth Festival charges a modest 4.90 Euros per show. Met streams start at 7:30 p.m. ET and remain available for 23 hours. Other options include Glimmerglass Opera, Gramophone/DG Stage, Santa Fe Opera, Glyndebourne Open House, OperaVision, VoiceBox/Opera In Concert, Screaming Divas, and more.

Monday 3

Met | Mozart’s The Magic Flute Ying Huang, Erika Miklósa, Matthew Polenzani, Nathan Gunn, and René Pape, conducted by James Levine. From December 30, 2006. This is the show that started the modern era of Met Live in HD designed for the cinema. The rest is history. | Details

Tuesday 4

Met | Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann Erin Morley, Hibla Gerzmava, Kate Lindsey, Christine Rice, Vittorio Grigolo, and Thomas Hampson, conducted by Yves Abel. From January 31, 2015. | Details

Bayreuth Festival/DG Stage | Tristan und Isolde 10 a.m. ET Christian Thielemann conducts and Katharina Wagner directs, with tenor Stephen Gould and soprano Evelyn Herlitzius as the lovers. Georg Zeppenfeld (King Marke), Iain Paterson (Kurwenal), Christa Mayer (Brangene). The cost is a modest Euros 4.90. | Details

OperaVision | Opera Harmony #1 1 p.m. ET Over 100 opera creators from around the world come together to form an online community during COVID-19 to create new digital works, a project by opera director Ella Marchment. Five will be streamed every Tuesday in August. | Details

Wednesday 5

Met | Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra (Classic Telecast) Kiri Te Kanawa, Plácido Domingo, Vladimir Chernov, and Robert Lloyd, conducted by James Levine. From January 26, 1995. | Details

Thursday 6

Met | Puccini’s Madama Butterfly Kristine Opolais, Maria Zifchak, Roberto Alagna, and Dwayne Croft, conducted by Karel Mark Chichon. From April 2, 2016. | Details

Friday 7

Met | Wagner’s Parsifal (Classic Telecast) Waltraud Meier, Siegfried Jerusalem, Bernd Weikl, and Kurt Moll, conducted by James Levine. From March 28, 1992. A terrific performance of a visually striking production that has since been replaced. | Details

Saturday 8

Met | Handel’s Agrippina Brenda Rae, Joyce DiDonato, Kate Lindsey, Iestyn Davies, Duncan Rock, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Harry Bicket. From February 29, 2020. | Details

Gramophone/VOCES8 Foundation | Live From London Festival 2 p.m. ET Calling all choral fans – this series of ten concerts, featuring fine vocal ensembles, is available for a subscription prize of 80 BP here. Filmed in HD. VOCES8 (August 1 & September 5), I Fagiolini (August 8), The Swingles (August 22), The Gesualdo Six (August 29), Apollo5 (September 12), The Sixteen (September 19), Stile Antico (September 26), Chanticleer (from San Francisco, October 3), The Academy of Ancient Music (August 15). | Details

Sunday 9

Met | Mozart’s Don Giovanni Hibla Gerzmava, Malin Byström, Serena Malfi, Paul Appleby, Simon Keenlyside, and Adam Plachetka, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From October 22, 2016. | Details

More interesting choices (video on demand)

1) Glimmerglass Opera | Glimpse: Glimmerglass Lieder. The head of Glimmerglass Opera, Francesca Zambello, introduces bass-baritone Ryan McKinny, who sings a program of Schubert Lieder against the beautiful backdrop of Otsego County. Kevin J. Miller is the pianist.

2) The irrepressible Screaming Divas interview two high profile artists — tenor Russell Thomas and director Sir David McVicar — with the customary mix of seriousness and merriment, and of course the various interesting libations.

3) Songs from the Santa Fe Opera | Episode 5: M Butterfly Tenor Joshua Dennis hosts a tribute to what would have been the world premiere of M Butterfly, by Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang. Performances include the Humming Chorus, “Awoke as a Butterfly” sung by countertenor Kangmin Justin Kim; “The Perfect Woman” performed by Michael J. Hawk and John Arida and conducted by Susanne Sheston at the Asia Society; and a conversation with composer Huang Ruo and librettist David Henry Hwang moderated by Artistic Director Alexander Neef.

4) Glyndebourne Open House | The Rake’s Progress Vladimir Jurowski conducts the classic John Cox/David Hockney production, with Topi Lehtipuu (Tom), Miah Persson as (Anne Trulove) and Matthew Rose (Nick Shadow). Available on demand until August 9 at noon ET.

5) VOICEBOX/Opera In Concert offers brief highlights of Massenet’s Werther, from the performance of November 25, 2018, starring Matt Chittick (Werther), Isabel Bayrakdarian (Charlotte) and Brett Polegato (Albert). Narmina Afandiyeva is the music director/pianist.

6) Toronto Operetta Theatre | Die Fledermaus presents 20-minute snippets of the Strauss gem, starring Adam Fisher (Eisenstein), Lara Ciekiewicz (Rosalinda), Caitlin Wood (Adele), Cian Horrobin (Alfred), Michael Robert-Broder (Falke), and Elizabeth Beeler (Orlofsky). Derek Bate conducts.

7) Lyric Opera of Chicago Ryan Centre | Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter In this virtual concert that showcases black artistry at the Lyric’s Ryan Centre, tenor Lawrence Brownlee is joined by Whitney Morrison, soprano; J’Nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano; Will Liverman, baritone; Martin Luther Clark, tenor; Lunga Eric Hallam, tenor; Leroy Davis, baritone; Chris Reynolds, pianist; and members of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra.

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Joseph So

Joseph So is Professor Emeritus at Trent University and Associate Editor of Opera Canada.He is also a long-time contributor to La Scena Musicale and Opera (London, UK). His interest in music journalism focuses on voice, opera as well as symphonic and piano repertoires. He appears regularly as a panel member of the Big COC Podcast.He has co-edited a book, Opera in a Multicultural World: Coloniality, Culture, Performance, published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group).
Joseph So

Joseph So

Joseph So is Professor Emeritus at Trent University and Associate Editor of Opera Canada.He is also a long-time contributor to La Scena Musicale and Opera (London, UK). His interest in music journalism focuses on voice, opera as well as symphonic and piano repertoires. He appears regularly as a panel member of the Big COC Podcast.He has co-edited a book, Opera in a Multicultural World: Coloniality, Culture, Performance, published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group).
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