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

By Joseph So on November 23, 2020

Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of November 23 – 29.
Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of November 23 – 29.

Critic’s Picks (November 23 – 29)

“We live in an extraordinary Age” – Carl Sagan. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to decimate our musical lives. The dreaded second wave is getting worse, forcing virtually all venues to close once again. The venerable Teatro alla Scala reportedly has 50 COVID cases in its chorus, orchestra and staff. It 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.

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.” That said, the day after this announcement, the La Scala Orchestra, which has its own concert series, announced that its autumn concerts are cancelled, including the opening night on December 14. What does this mean for the December 7 concert is unclear.

In North America, performing arts venues are virtually shuttered. The National Ballet of Canada cancelled its entire season, as has the Metropolitan Opera and the COC. Just this week, it was announced that the National and Cineplex are joining forces to bring The Nutcracker to your local Cineplex cinemas, beginning December 4. Sadly, Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Friday announced that Toronto and Peel Region will go into lockdown again, meaning all cinemas there will not open. Presumably, the plan of showing the Holiday classic in the rest of Canada will go ahead, and it is still available to stream.

A piece of good news this week is the announcement of a live streamed pay-per-view New Year’s Eve Gala presented by the Met — that will take place in Germany! It features Pretty Yende and Javier Camarena, replacing their originally scheduled concert. They will be joined by Angel Blue and Matthew Polenzani, performing from the Parktheater in Augsburg, Germany. Carnegie Hall announced it has canceled all live performances until April 5, 2021. The Cleveland Orchestra announced the cancellation of its Christmas concerts. Lincoln Centre has canceled all performances for spring 2021, which means its Great Performers series and its 2020-21 David Rubenstein Atrium Season are gone.

Thank goodness there’s always music on the internet. Wiener Staatsoper has resumed its free streaming. Wigmore Hall continues with its marvellous lineup of recitals. The Met’s free nightly stream starts at 7:30 p.m. ET and available for 23 hours. The theme this week is “Family Drama,” which encompasses a huge segment of operatic plots! I can highly recommend Il Trovatore starring the late, great Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Die Walküre with Christine Goerke. Don’t miss the 2020 Opera Canada Awards (“The Rubies”) honouring four great Canadian artists, and lots more.

Monday 23

Wiener Staatsoper | Strauss’s Elektra — 1 p.m. ET. From September 11, 2020. Franz Welser-Möst, conductor. Doris Soffel, Ricarda Merbeth, Camilla Nylund, Jörg Schneider, Derek Welton, Marcus Pelz | Details

Opera Canada | “The Rubies” — 8 pm ET. The 2020 Opera Canada Awards honours soprano Barbara Hannigan, tenor Michael Schade, conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin, and the late tenor Edward Johnson. Joyce El-Khoury (host), Ben Heppner (citations), performances by baritone Russell Braun, mezzo Rihab Chaieb, soprano Midori Marsh, tenor Matthew Cairns, and pianists Carolyn Maule, Topher Mokrzewski, and Alex Soloway. | Details

Met | Verdi’s Il Trovatore. Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Dolora Zajick, Marcelo Álvarez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Marco Armiliato. From April 30, 201. | Details

Tuesday 24

Canadian Music Centre | Take The Dog Sled (CD Launch) — 7 p.m. ET. Composer Alexina Louie’s Take The Dog Sled was commissioned by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra for their first tour of Nunavik in 2008. This CD launch includes a conversation between Louie and Inuit throat singer Evie Mark, excerpts from the recording, and a documentary of the original MSO tour of Nunavik in northern Quebec. |The event will be streamed on Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube. Details

Wiener Staatsoper | Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake — 1 p.m. ET. From 16, March 2014. This perennial favourite stars Vladimir Shishov (Prince Siegfried) and Olga Esina (Odette/Odile). Alexander Ingram, conductor. | Details

Met | Nico Muhly’s Marnie. Starring Isabel Leonard, Iestyn Davies, and Christopher Maltman, conducted by Roberto Spano. From November 10, 2018. | Details

Wednesday 25

Wiener Staatsoper | Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten — 1 p.m. ET. From May 25, 2019. Christian Thielemann conducts, with a great cast – Camilla Nylund (Kaiserin), Stephen Gould (Kaiser), Wolfgang Koch (Barak), Nina Stemme (Farberin), and Evelyn Herlitzius (Amme). | Details

Met | Thomas’s Hamlet. Starring Marlis Petersen, Jennifer Larmore, Simon Keenlyside, and James Morris, conducted by Louis Langrée. From March 27, 2010. | Details

Thursday 26

Tafelmusik | Passions of the Soul — 8 p.m. ET. Elisa Citterio and Tafelmusik presents a program focusing on Telemann and the theme of “Passions of the Soul.” Ticket: $30. | Details

Here’s a sneak peek:

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

Friday 27

Musique 3 Femmes/Opera 5/Opera McGill | OperaCon — 10 a.m. ET to Sunday 3 p.m. ET. For the serious opera lover: here’s OperaCon, a digital pop-up hosted by Opera McGill. This inaugural 3-day event features artist-led discussions from across the country, exploring technology and its role in the arts, emerging arts leadership/entrepreneurship, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Participants include the COC, the Association for Opera in Canada, Amplified Opera, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and many more. All sessions streamed on Youtube. Registration required for this free event. | Details

Royal Conservatory of Music | Let Beauty Awake: Elliot Madore — 8 p.m. ET. Baritone Elliot Madore, one of the best young voices in Canada, gives a recital of works by Ravel, Faure, Poulenc, Vaughan Williams, and Samuel Barber, as part of the Mazzoleni Songmasters Series. Rachel Andrists is the pianist. Recorded Nov. 22 and now available for free. | Details

Met | Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Starring Natalie Dessay, Joseph Calleja, Ludovic Tézier, and Kwangchul Youn, conducted by Patrick Summers. From March 19, 2011. | Details

Saturday 28

Tapestry Opera / New Music Concerts | Love Songs: A Saxophony — 8 p.m. ET. “A heartbroken woman travels on a dark magical journey through the experiences of other people’s love stories in a desperate search for her lost love” — soprano Xin Wang and saxophonist Wallace Halladay perform composer Ana Sokolovic’s evocative score, directed by Michael Hidetoshi Mori. | Details

LIVELab/Adi Braun | NOIR — 6:30 p.m. ET. Soprano Adi Braun, daughter of late Canadian baritone Victor Braun and sister of Russell Braun, began as an opera singer and is now a fine jazz vocalist. She sings a tribute to the ladies of Film Noir, from Marlene Dietrich to Doris Day. | Details

Here’s a short promo:

Met | Wagner’s Die Walküre. Starring Christine Goerke, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Jamie Barton, Stuart Skelton, Greer Grimsley, and Günther Groissböck, conducted by Philippe Jordan. From March 30, 2019. | Details

Sunday 29

Met | Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. Starring Kiri Te Kanawa, Plácido Domingo, Vladimir Chernov, and Robert Lloyd, conducted by James Levine. From January 26, 1995. | Details

Video-on-demand performances:

1) Wigmore Hall | Nelly Miricioiu Masterclass. After a distinguished career especially in the bel canto repertoire, the Romanian soprano Nelly Miriociou is now a sought-after teacher. She gives a very interesting masterclass to five women singers at Wigmore Hall.

2) Allegro Films | Daniil Trifonov — The Magics of Music: An intimate portrait of the Russian pianist and composer. A most interesting documentary on the great Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov.

3) Live with Carnegie Hall | Daniil Trifonov. A natural follow-up to the above documentary is this episode on Trifonov from June 2020. His career is intertwined with Carnegie Hall, where he has had major triumphs. Emanuel Ax interviews Trifonov, his teacher Sergei Babayan and others.

4) Screaming Divas with Sondra and Keri | Angel Blue. Streamed on Nov. 20, Sondra and Keri had a heart-to-heart chat with American soprano Angel Blue “about the ups and down of being an opera singer, the time at home during COVID, and how she finds her true happiness and joy.”

5) Live with Carnegie Hall | Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The late US Supreme Court Justice was an avid opera fan and supporter of the arts. This Live with Carnegie Hall event, from Nov. 19 and now on demand, celebrates the life of “the notorious RBG,” as she was affectionately called. Isabel Leonard hosts, with appearances by Renee Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, Denyce Graves, and well as other significant people in the life of Ginsberg.

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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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