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CRITIC'S PICKS | Classical Music Livestreams You Absolutely Need To See This Week

By Joseph So on August 31, 2020

Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of August 31 – September 6.
Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of August 31 – September 6.

Critic’s Picks (August 31 – September 6)

“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. With the transition to autumn, some venues in Europe are gradually reopening. With safety precautions. It remains to be seen if audiences will return, although early signs are encouraging, with brisk ticket sales in Vienna, Salzburg and Berlin, albeit with reduced seating capacity. The Met offerings this week are all “modern” operas under the banner of “Twentieth Century and Beyond.” Two Canadians are prominently featured: soprano Adrianne Pieczonka as Chrysothemis in Elektra, and baritone Russell Braun as Zhou Enlai in Nixon In China. Streams start at 7:30 p.m. ET and remain available for 23 hours. A most unusual event is Covid fan tutte from the Finnish National Opera, a topical re-imagining of the Mozart classic — somebody has lots of imagination! Plenty of video-on-demand shows, top on my list for Wagner fans is Glyndebourne’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, with the great Canadian baritone Gerald Finley as Hans Sachs. Be sure to catch Covent Garden conductor Antonio Pappano sharing his wisdom with five young artists in masterclasses. There are lots more – enjoy!

Monday 31

Met | R. Strauss’s Elektra Nina Stemme, Adrianne Pieczonka, Waltraud Meier, Burkhard Ulrich, and Eric Owens, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. From April 30, 2016. | Details

Tuesday 1

Finnish National Opera| Covid fan tutte 6:50 p.m. CET Leave it to the Finns to come up with something like this — a re-imagined Mozart Cosi fan tutte as a spoof of the current pandemic! It stars soprano Karita Mattila and conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Jussi Nikkilä directs, with a new topical libretto by Minna Lindgren, with the same Mozart score of course, a combination of political satire and reality shows. Not to be missed! | Details

Met | Britten’s Peter Grimes Patricia Racette, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Anthony Michaels-Moore, conducted by Donald Runnicles. From March 15, 2008. | Details

Wednesday 2

Piano Lunaire | Lunaire Live II: The Corn Moon 8 p.m. ET Canadian pianist-composer Adam Sherkin offers a program of works by Satie, Liebermann, Chopin, Liszt, as well as his own compositions. On display are paintings by Gail Williams. Tickets: $20 (25% goes to support Global Giving (Coronavirus Relief Fund). | Details

Met | John Adams’s Nixon in China Kathleen Kim, Janis Kelly, Robert Brubaker, Russell Braun, James Maddalena, and Richard Paul Fink, conducted by John Adams. From February 12, 2011. | Details

Thursday 3

Met | Berg’s Lulu Marlis Petersen, Susan Graham, Daniel Brenna, Paul Groves, Johan Reuter, and Franz Grundheber, conducted by Lothar Koenigs. From November 21, 2015. | Details

Friday 4

Met | The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess Angel Blue, Golda Schultz, Latonia Moore, Denyce Graves, Frederick Ballentine, Eric Owens, Alfred Walker, and Donovan Singletary, conducted by David Robertson. From February 1, 2020. | Details

Saturday 5

Bayerische Staatsoper | Seven Deaths of Maria Callas 6:30 p.m. CEST Performance artist Marina Abramovic dazzled audiences at the Luminato Festival a few years ago. Her latest creation is a show inspired by seven operatic death scenes portrayed by Maria Callas. Starting Sept. 5 for the next 30 days. | Details

Met | The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess (Repeat) Angel Blue, Golda Schultz, Latonia Moore, Denyce Graves, Frederick Ballentine, Eric Owens, Alfred Walker, and Donovan Singletary, conducted by David Robertson. From February 1, 2020. | Details

Sunday 6

Met | Thomas Adès’s The Tempest Audrey Luna, Isabel Leonard, Iestyn Davies, Alek Shrader, Alan Oke, William Burden, Toby Spence, and Simon Keenlyside, conducted by Thomas Adès. From November 10, 2012. | Details

Video-on-demand performances:

1) Tafelmusik | Safe Haven Alison Mackay’s Safe Haven, featuring Maryem Tollar, Naghmeh Farahmand, and kora virtuoso Diely Mori Tounkara. This multimedia concert of works by Vivaldi, Corelli, Lully, and Bach underscores the influence of migration on the musical life of Europe, and equally of present-day Canada. Available on demand until September 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

2) Concertgebouworkest | Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2 Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons leads the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Rachmaninoff’s majestic Symphony No. 2. Available for one week. | Details

2) Salzburg Festival | Christian Thielemann conducts Wagner and Bruckner Recorded August 26, 2020 at the newly reopened Salzburg Festival, Christian Thielemann leads the Wiener Philharmoniker in a program of Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder sung by Latvian mezzo Elīna Garanča. It’s paired with Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 in E flat major. It’s great to see the musical life starting up once again, but very surprising that there were no masks and no social distancing. We’ll just have to wait and see…

3) Glyndebourne Open House | Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg Canadian baritone Gerald Finley is front and centre, as Hans Sachs. For the occasion of this streaming, Finley was the host of a “Meistersinger Reunion” on Zoom, with members of the cast — interesting to see everyone nine years older, and without makeup.

This gorgeous production is by Sir David McVicar, and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski. Available for only a week, so don’t miss it!

4) Royal Opera House | Masterclasses with Antonio Pappano In this new series, ROH Music Director Antonio Pappano gives masterclasses to five of the ROH Jette Parker Young Artists. All five singers have exceptionally fine voices, and Pappano proved to be a wise and supportive teacher.

Tenor Filipe Manu

Soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha

Mezzo Stephanie Wake-Edwards

Bass Germán Alcántara

Soprano Yaritza Véliz

5) COVID Cello Project 10 | The sublime Adagio for Strings, arguably Samuel Barber’s best-known composition, is performed here by 278 cellists from 29 countries. This is the 10th video created to connect cellists across the world, a special collaboration during COVID times. We all react to music differently, but most would agree this piece touches the heart – it’s commonly used as a song of anguish and sadness, and features over 100 memorials of people who have passed away, uploaded by the cellists in the video. An unforgettable performance.

6) Screaming Divas with Sondra and Keri | A heartfelt message just received from Sondra Radvanovsky: “In coordination with Koerner Hall and LA Opera, I was able to record a few pieces in Koerner Hall in Toronto last week. With full permission, Duncan made a cellphone video of one of the songs. I sent that video to Keri, and it inspired her to create something so beautiful that I felt we needed to share it with the world, a message of hope and solidarity to all those in the arts who have been affected by this devastating virus. We are posting this on Monday, August 31st, at NOON ET, in the hope that it brings comfort at this time to many of our friends, fans and fellow artists.” Bravi, Sondra and Keri!

#LUDWIGVAN

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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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CRITIC'S PICKS | Classical Music Livestreams You Absolutely Need To See This Week

By Joseph So on August 31, 2020

Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of August 31 – September 6.
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