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CRITIC'S PICKS | Classical Music Livestreams You Absolutely Need To See This Week (Sept. 21 – 27)

By Joseph So on September 21, 2020

Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of September 21 – 27.
Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of September 21 – 27.

Critic’s Picks (September 21 – 27)

“We live in an extraordinary Age” – Carl Sagan. We are now into the 2020-21 musical season, yet the health calamity known as COVID-19 is still with us. Some venues in Europe are slowly reopening with health precautions, but a sudden spiking of cases in several countries is a cause for worry. Hard on the heels of a positive COVID diagnosis of Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov during a run of the Bolshoi Don Carlo are two new cases. His co-star, soprano Anna Netrebko, has been hospitalized with COVID related pneumonia. Her appearance as Leonora (Il Trovatore in Spain) will not happen, but so far her Met Stars Live in Concert on Oct. 10 is still on. Just a few days ago, a third major international singer, Hungarian mezzo Ildiko Komlosi, was hospitalized in intensive care due to COVID-19, but is now recovering at home.

Sondra Radvanovsky heads to Spain for her joint recital with Polish tenor Piotr Beczala at the Gran Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona on September 27. Strangely, their Met Stars Live in Concert show, scheduled on the day before, has been postponed. The mystery was solved a few days ago, when the Met revealed that the German production team would have been faced with quarantine and insurance complications in Spain due to the sudden surge of the pandemic, thus necessitating the change.

Opera fans can count on the Met nightly free streaming (7:30 p.m. ET, available for 23 hours) for their opera fix, this week devoted to Puccini. Angela Gheorghiu fans can look forward to her Mimi and Magda. No Canadian featured, except for Met Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin, who’s at the helm for Turandot. There are lots of video-on-demand content, either free, free with registration, pay-per-view, or pay by subscription. Among interesting shows are Weber’s rarely staged Euryanthe from Theater an der Wien, Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt playing an all-Bach program, and snippets of the BBC Last Night At The Proms 2020, a very different event given the pandemic.

Monday 21

Wigmore Hall | Leonore Trio 8 a.m. ET Violinist Benjamin Nabarro, cellist Gemma Rosefield and pianist Tim Horton play a program of Beethoven and Brahms.

Met | Puccini’s La Rondine Conducted by Marco Armiliato; starring Angela Gheorghiu, Lisette Oropesa, Roberto Alagna, Marius Brenciu, and Samuel Ramey. From January 10, 2009. | Details

Tuesday 22

Met | Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West Conducted by Nicola Luisotti; starring Deborah Voigt, Marcello Giordani, and Lucio Gallo. From January 8, 2011. | Details

Wednesday 23

Met | Puccini’s Manon Lescaut Conducted by Fabio Luisi; starring Kristine Opolais, Roberto Alagna, Massimo Cavalletti, and Brindley Sherratt. From March 5, 2016. | Details

Thursday 24

Met | Puccini’s Madama Butterfly Conducted by Patrick Summers; starring Patricia Racette, Maria Zifchak, Marcello Giordani, and Dwayne Croft. From on March 7, 2009. | Details

Friday 25

Royal Ballet Covent Garden | Dances at a Gathering 2 p.m. ET A live-streaming of Jerome Robbins’s ballet, set to music by Chopin. Available on demand for 30 days.

Met | Puccini’s Tosca Conducted by Emmanuel Villaume; starring Sonya Yoncheva, Vittorio Grigolo, and Željko Lučić. From January 27, 2018. | Details

Saturday 26

Met | Puccini’s Turandot Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin; starring Christine Goerke, Eleonora Buratto, Yusif Eyvazov, and James Morris. From October 12, 2019. | Details

Sunday 27

Met | Puccini’s La Bohème Conducted by Nicola Luisotti; starring Angela Gheorghiu, Ainhoa Arteta, Ramón Vargas, Ludovic Tézier, Quinn Kelsey, Oren Gradus, and Paul Plishka. From April 5, 2008. | Details

Video-on-demand performances:

1) Theater an der Wien | Euryanthe An operatic rarity, Weber’s Euryanthe from Vienna’s “other” opera house, directed by Christof Loy. Constantin Trinks conducts a fine cast led by Jacquelyn Wagner in the title role. Norman Reinhardt (Adolar), Theresa Kronthaler (Eglantine), and Andrew Foster-Williams (Lysiart). Streamed September 18 on Opera Vision and now available on demand.

2) Philharmonia Orchestra (London, UK) | Beethoven and Vaughan Williams Paavo Järvi conducts the Philharmonia in The Lark Ascending, with violinist Nicola Benedetti. It’s paired with Beethoven Symphony No. 1. Free to view, but donations gratefully accepted.

3) Wigmore Hall | Angela Hewitt The Canadian pianist plays an all-Bach program, including 18 Preludes and the Italian Concerto. Live-streamed on September 19 and now available on demand.

4) Wigmore Hall | Igor Levit Here’s another Wigmore event — the prodigiously gifted pianist Igor Levit plays a program of Beethoven sonatas. Streamed live on Sept. 16 and now on demand.

5) TSOUND ADVICE | Learn to Play with TSO Musicians We featured the flute last time.

Now let’s look at the oboe with Sarah Jeffrey:

And the French Horn with Audrey Good:

6) BBC | Last Night at the Proms 2020 This year’s Proms is unlike any in its history due to COVID-19. Here is a playlist of 11 video clips of the event, beginning with South African soprano Golda Schultz singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” a moving moment amidst a time of darkness.

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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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