Critic’s Picks (August 17 – 23)
“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 near the tail end of summer, with the end of the pandemic nowhere in sight. There is a noticeable diminution of live streaming, given that August is the typical summer hiatus in Europe. But the Metropolitan Opera soldiers on with its nightly offerings. There are also plenty of excellent video-on-demand material. Met streams start at 7:30 p.m. ET and remain available for 23 hours. Other interesting choices this week include the Glimmerglass Opera 2020 Artist Showcase, Virtual Verbier Festival, Glyndebourne Open House’s Hamlet, Live From Lincoln Centre’s Carousel, and Teatro Colon’s “Readers Digest Ring Cycle” — enjoy!
Met | Puccini’s Tosca Patricia Racette, Roberto Alagna, and George Gagnidze, conducted by Riccardo Frizza. From November 9, 2013. | Details
Met | Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini (Classic Telecast) Renata Scotto, Plácido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil, conducted by James Levine. From April 7, 1984. | Details
Met | Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin Anna Netrebko, Elena Maximova, Alexey Dolgov, Peter Mattei, and Štefan Kocán, conducted by Robin Ticciati. From April 22, 2017. | Details
Met | Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera (Classic Telecast) Aprile Millo, Harolyn Blackwell, Florence Quivar, Luciano Pavarotti, and Leo Nucci, conducted by James Levine. From January 26, 1991. | Details
Met | Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra Adrianne Pieczonka, Marcello Giordani, Plácido Domingo, and James Morris, conducted by James Levine. From February 6, 2010. | Details
Met | Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Classic Telecast) Kathleen Battle, Rockwell Blake, Leo Nucci, Enzo Dara, and Ferruccio Furlanetto, conducted by Ralf Weikert. From December 3, 1988. | Details
Met | Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel (Classic Telecast) Judith Blegen, Frederica von Stade, Jean Kraft, Rosalind Elias, and Michael Devlin, conducted by Thomas Fulton. From December 25, 1982. | Details
More interesting choices (video on demand)
1) Glimmerglass Opera | 2020 Young Artist Showcase Francesca Zambello, head of Glimmerglass Opera, introduces this three-hour program. It gives us a real insight into the inner workings of a young artist program. Tenor William Burden and soprano Isabel Leonard are the coaches and mentors. Guests include Francesca Zambello, Joseph Colaneri, Eric Owens, Renee Fleming, Russell Thomas, and others.
2) Hochrhein Musikfestival | Solsberg Concert A marvellous recital of Beethoven and Mendelssohn by cellist Sol Gabetta and pianist Jin Cho Seong, from Basel, Switzerland. Performed on June 28 and available on demand.
3) Deutsche Grammophon | Virtual Verbier Festival: DG Presents Daniil Trifonov. A five-hour compendium showcasing the artistry of the Russian pianist. He plays Schubert, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Bach, Prokofiev, as well as his own composition. Appearing with him are Evgeny Kissin, Sergei Babayan, Gianandrea Noseda, and many more. Not to be missed if you are a Trifonov fan!
4) Glyndebourne Open House | Hamlet No, this is not Ambroise Thomas’s Hamlet, but a contemporary piece from 2017 by British composer Brett Dean and Canadian librettist Matthew Jocelyn. It’s an award-winning reimagining of Shakespeare’s most famous play. “Transforming the Glyndebourne auditorium into a ‘theatre of sound’, Dean’s richly lyrical score finds the music of Shakespeare’s language, amplifying it to create an evocative, disturbing soundscape.” Neil Armfield directs an all-star cast led by Allan Clayton and Canada’s own “Queen of the New” Barbara Hannigan. Vladimir Jurowski conducts. Available on demand until Sunday, August 23 5 p.m.
5) Lincoln Center | Live from Lincoln Center: Carousel The divine score by Rodgers and Hammerstein is given a terrific production, with a great cast including Kelli O’Hara, Nathan Gunn, and Stephanie Blythe. A feel-good show, and heaven knows we all need some of it these days!
6) DW Classical Music | Teatro Colon’s Ring Are you a Wagner fan but you think he’s too long-winded? If you are not a purist, this is the show for you! In 2012, the great Teatro Colon staged the Ring Cycle in a single day, over seven hours. Cord Garben adapted and shortened the four operas, and director Valentina Carrasco set it in the 1970s, the period of Argentina’s military dictatorship. The Teatro Colón Orchestra is conducted by Roberto Paternostro. This link is for Das Rheingold; be sure to follow the links to watch the other three operas.
7) Croatian National Opera | Turandot Ending this week’s Critic’s Picks is this crazy Turandot from Zagreb, guaranteed to be unlike any you have seen, unrecognizable except for the music. While not quite an internationally renowned cast, it is quite well sung, and a good late summer comic relief if you are not too literally minded.
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