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

By Joseph So on November 9, 2020

Critics Picks Nov-9-15
Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of November 9 – 15.

Critic’s Picks (November 9 – 15)

We live in an extraordinary Age – Carl Sagan. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to profoundly disrupt our musical lives. The dreaded second wave shows no sign of waning, forcing virtually all venues to close once again. The venerable Teatro alla Scala has canceled its fabled opening night on Dec. 7, 2020, when it was supposed to stage a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor with Lisette Oropesa and Juan Diego Florez. However, it won’t be silent. According to Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc: “La Scala will not remain silent this 7 December either. In the next few days we will announce the program of a concert conducted by Riccardo Chailly in which some of the greatest international singers will participate together with our orchestra, choir and ballet. We will not be able to have an audience in the hall but RAI will allow us to be seen by a wider, international audience broadcasting our 7 Dicembre on channel 1 and on some of the main international TVs. It will be a message of will and hope for Italy and for all the theatres and artists affected.”

Francisco Salazar of Opera Wire has reported that the closures have led to some protests. In front of the Teatro alla Scala and Teatro Comunale di Bologna, hundreds of artists protested with signs that read “Opera is Work” and “Music is Work.” In Milan, baritone Simone Piazzola participated in the protest. In Bologna, singers Federica Vitali, Cristina Melis, Mariangela Sicilia, Angelo Veccia, Franco Vassallo, Luca Gallo, Marina Ogii, Marco Miglietta, and Lorenzo Giossi demonstrated against the government’s decision. In Barcelona, 600 people protested the closures of all theatres and auditoriums in Catalonia. The protest was held at the Passeig de Gràcia, which stopped traffic. Workers held up signs asking for government help and stating that “Culture is secure”.

In North America, performing arts are virtually shut down. The National Ballet of Canada cancelled the rest of its season, as has the Metropolitan Opera and the COC. The Met Stars Live in Concert series has seen many changes. One concert featuring soprano Pretty Yende and tenor Javier Camarena, scheduled for November 7, has been postponed due to the non-COVID illness of Camarena. The next show will be soprano Sonya Yoncheva, scheduled to perform on November 21 from the Schussenried Cloister in southwest Germany. Carnegie Hall just announced it has canceled all live performances until April 5, 2021. Lincoln Centre has canceled all performances for spring 2021, which means its Great Performers series and 2020-21 David Rubenstein Atrium Season, as well as the annual American Songbook series are all gone.

Thankfully music lovers can turn to cyberspace for solace. Now that Wiener Staatsoper is closed, it is resuming its livestreaming. The Met continues with its free nightly stream, at 7:30 p.m. ET and available for 23 hours. This week is the second of a two-week program billed as From the Baroque to the Present: A Two-Week Tour of Opera History. Trusty Wigmore Hall is soldiering on with recitals. If you are a Rufus Wainwright fan, don’t miss his first opera, Prima Donna, staged at the Royal Swedish Opera and available on demand.

Monday 9

Wigmore Hall | 1:00 p.m. ET Lawrence Power (viola) and Ryan Wigglesworth (piano) present a program of works by Brahms, Britten, Dowland and Ryan Wigglesworth. | Details

Met | Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta / Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle. Starring Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczała in Iolanta, and Nadja Michael and Mikhail Petrenko in Bluebeard’s Castle, conducted by Valery Gergiev. From February 14, 2015. | Details

Tuesday 10

FANE | Margaret Atwood: Dearly, The Poetry Collection Of A Lifetime. 1:30 p.m. ET The celebrated Canadian author in conversation with Kirsty Wark, with readings and special guests. Baritone Joshua Hopkins sings a selection from Songs for Murdered Sisters, a work composed by Jake Heggie to new poetry by Atwood. Commissioned to commemorate the tragic murder of Hopkins’s sister Nathalie in 2015. A ticketed event at £10.00, the stream will be available for viewing for one week. | Details

Met | Strauss’s Salome. Starring Karita Mattila, Ildikó Komlósi, Kim Begley, Joseph Kaiser, and Juha Uusitalo, conducted by Patrick Summers. From October 11, 2008. | Details

Wednesday 11

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir | Remembrance Day Concert. 8 p.m. ET This concert honours and remembers Canada’s Indigenous Veterans. The TMC, under conductor Simon Rivard, is joined by composer and guest curator Andrew Balfour, and Elder Dr. Duke Redbird for a program that brings together choral music, poetry and dance. The centrepiece of the program is Andrew Balfour’s Notinikew. Movements of the work will be sung by Andrew’s Winnipeg-based Camerata Nova and by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. | Details

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

Thursday 12

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

Friday 13

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

Saturday 14

Met | Philip Glass’s Akhnaten. Starring Dísella Lárusdóttir, J’Nai Bridges, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Aaron Blake, Will Liverman, Richard Bernstein, and Zachary James, conducted by Karen Kamensek. From November 23, 2019. | Details

Sunday 15

Met | Thomas Adès’s The Exterminating Angel. A huge ensemble cast starring Audrey Luna, Amanda Echalaz, Sally Matthews, Sophie Bevan, Alice Coote, Christine Rice, Iestyn Davies, Joseph Kaiser, Frédéric Antoun, David Portillo, David Adam Moore, Rod Gilfry, Kevin Burdette, Christian Van Horn, and John Tomlinson, conducted by Thomas Adès. From November 18, 2017. | Details

Video-on-demand performances:

1) Wiener Staatsoper | Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. Streamed on Oct. 31 and now on demand, Tomáš Hanus conducts this concept production by Dmitri Tcherniakov. Cast includes Helene Schneiderman, Nicole Car, Anna Goryachova, Larissa Diadkova, Andrè Schuen, Bogdan Volkov, and Dimitry Ivashchenko. | Details

2) Oslo Philharmonic | Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll. Members of the Oslo Philharmonic perform this great Wagner tone poem in Oslo Concert Hall, as part of Oslo Philharmonic’s Mellomspill series in the spring of 2020.

3) Royal Opera House | The Royal Ballet In Rehearsal. See the dancers of this great ballet company take a morning class, as part of World Ballet Day 2020. Livestreamed on Oct. 30 and now on demand.

4) Royal Swedish Opera | Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna. This is Rufus Wainwright’s first opera, which Toronto opera fans were able to experience when it was staged some years ago at the Elgin Theatre. A story opera fans will recognize as having been inspired by Maria Callas. Streamed live on OperaVision on Nov. 5.

5) Wigmore Hall | Francesco Piemontesi. Streamed Oct. 28 and now on demand, the Swiss pianist performs Helmut Lachenmann: 5 Variations on a Theme of Schubert; Schubert: Fantasy Sonata in G D894; and Liszt: Piano Sonata in B minor S178.

6) Eiffel Parkfoglalo Gala | Jonas Kaufmann Concert In Budapest. This is a concert from August 19, 2020, with Jochen Rieder conducting the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra. | Details

7) Oper Frankfurt| Jack Swanson Liederabend. Livestreamed October 6, 2020 and now on demand, the fine American tenor Jack Swanson sings a lovely recital, with Malcolm Martineau at the piano. | Details

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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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