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

By Joseph So on August 10, 2020

Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of August 10 – 16.
Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of August 10 – 16.

Critic’s Picks (August 10 – 16)

“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. Now into its 22nd week of nightly streaming, it still has plenty to offer. Some companies have gone to a pay-per-view model, or to a series subscription basis. Met streams start at 7:30 p.m. ET and remain available for 23 hours with an occasional exception. The COC is prominently featured this week with the streaming of Hadrian. Several members of the COC Ensemble Studio are interviewed by the Screaming Divas. Other interesting shows include Glimmerglass Opera, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Glyndebourne Open House, Bayreuth/DG Stage, Bach-Archiv Leipzig, and others.

Monday 10

Met | Puccini’s Manon Lescaut Karita Mattila, Marcello Giordani, and Dwayne Croft, conducted by James Levine. From February 16, 2008. | Details

Canadian Opera Company | Hadrian 6:30 p.m. ET. The COC, in partnership with Montréal Pride Festival, presents a stream of this Rufus Wainwright opera, with Thomas Hampson, Isaiah Bell and Karita Mattila, followed by a live Q&A with Wainwright, librettist Daniel MacIvor, and director Peter Hinton. Watch the stream here.

Q&A below:

Tuesday 11

Met | Bizet’s Carmen Aleksandra Kurzak, Clémentine Margaine, Roberto Alagna, and Alexander Vinogradov, conducted by Louis Langrée. From February 2, 2019. | Details

Wednesday 12

Met | Verdi’s Rigoletto (Classic Telecast) Christiane Eda-Pierre, Isola Jones, Luciano Pavarotti, Louis Quilico, and Ara Berberian, conducted by James Levine. From December 15, 1981. | Details

Bayreuth Festival/DG Stage | Siegfried 12 p.m. ET Premiered in 2013 and filmed in 2016, the live streams of the Bayreuth Festival Castorf Ring continue with Siegfried (Aug. 12) and Gotterdammerung (Aug. 13). Make no mistake – this is a radical interpretation: “For Castorf, the Rheingold of our days is oil. H places the first part of the tetralogy at a gas station on Route 66. Die Walküre is situated in Baku, Azerbaijan, which was seized by the Bolsheviks in 1920 for its oil, whereas Siegfried takes place in a socialist equivalent of Mount Rushmore and at Berlin’s Alexanderplatz. Götterdämmerung is set somewhere in the GDR, ending up at New York’s stock exchange.” Marek Janowski conducts an excellent cast with Stefan Vinke (Siegfried) and Catherine Foster (Brünnhilde). Ticket costs 4.90 Euros. | Details

Thursday 13

Met | Puccini’s Turandot Nina Stemme, Anita Hartig, Marco Berti, and Alexander Tsymbalyuk, conducted by Paolo Carignani. From January 30, 2016. | Details

Friday 14

Met | Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde Deborah Voigt, Michelle DeYoung, Robert Dean Smith, and Matti Salminen, conducted by James Levine. From March 22, 2008. | Details

Saturday 15

Met | Puccini’s La Bohème (ends at noon Sunday) Kristine Opolais, Susanna Phillips, Vittorio Grigolo, Massimo Cavalletti, Patrick Carfizzi, and Oren Gradus, conducted by Stefano Ranzani. From April 5, 2014. | Details

Sunday 16

Met | Verdi’s Luisa Miller (Classic Telecast) Renata Scotto, Plácido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, Bonaldo Giaiotti, and James Morris, conducted by James Levine. From January 20, 1979. | Details

Met Stars Live In Concert | Roberto Alagna and Aleksandra Kurzak 1 p.m. ET. The husband and wife pair live in an outdoor concert from the Château de la Chèvre d’Or in Èze, France. The program, with accompaniment by the Vienna Morphing Quintet, includes arias and duets from Madama Butterfly, Otello, L’Elisir d’Amore, and others. Ticket is $20 at Met’s website, and the video will be available on demand until August 27. | Details

Other interesting choices (video on demand)

1) Glimmerglass Opera | Glimpse: Rinaldo Francesca Zambello introduces a short excerpt of Handel’s Rinaldo, which would have opened at Glimmerglass this summer. The aria “Sorge nel petto” is sung by countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen with pianist Christopher Devlin.

2) Screaming Divas | Sopranos Sondra Radvanovsky and Keri Alkema interview four members of the COC Ensemble Studio (soprano Lauren Margison, mezzo Simona Genga, tenor Matthew Cairns, pianist Rachael Kerr), and COC Composer In Residence Ian Cusson.

3) Toronto Symphony Orchestra | TSOUND ADVICE: Learn to play with TSO musicians Calling all aspiring instrumentalists — have you always wanted to learn from the top artists? Let TSO musicians be your teacher, in this recently posted series. Instruments include flute, recorder, trumpet, trombone, cymbals, drums, violin, viola, cello, and saxophone.

4) Glyndebourne Open House | Giulio Cesare Sir David McVicar directs, and William Christie conducts this Handel gem, with a great cast headed by Sarah Connolly in the title role. Danielle de Niese is Cleopatra. Angelika Kirchschlager is Sesto and Patricia Bardon is Cornelia. Available on demand until August 16.

5) Against The Grain Theatre | Conversation With Peter Sellars The inimitable director Peter Sellars speaks with Joel Ivany in this one-hour interview. Originally streamed on August 6 and available on demand. (Highly recommended!) Details

6) Tafelmusik | Elisa’s Midsummer Night’s Dream In this recent short film by Marco Cera, Tafelmusik’s Elisa Citterio makes music with fellow orchestra members virtually, filmed individually and seamlessly edited together.

7) Live with Carnegie Hall | Emanuel Ax In this series exploring great pianists at Carnegie Hall, host Emanuel Ax interviews Garrick Ohlsson, who studied with Claudio Arrau, and Paul Lewis who studied with Alfred Brendel. Performances include Schumann’s “Warum?” and “Arabeske” in C Major, Op. 18; Brahms’s Rhapsody in B Minor, Op. 79, No. 1; Bagatelles by Beethoven and Sibelius.

8) Bach Archiv Leipzig | In Memoriam J S Bach A performance to commemorate the 270th anniversary of the death of J.S. Bach, live-streamed from the historic Thomaskirche Leipzig on July 28 and remains available on demand. Leipziger Cantorey/Sächsisches Barockorchester with Thomaskantor Gotthold Schwarz.

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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).
Joseph So
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