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CRITIC'S PICKS | Classical And Opera Streams You Absolutely Need To See This Week: Jan. 4 – 10

By Joseph So on January 4, 2021

Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of January 4 – 10.
Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of January 4 – 10.

Critic’s Picks (January 4 – 10)

“We live in an extraordinary Age” – Carl Sagan. Best of New Year’s Greetings to all Critic’s Picks readers – May 2021 brings you happiness, health, and plenty of wonderful music. With the vaccine on its way, let’s hope that it won’t be long before we can once again gather to experience and share in the joy of music.

Now into its 43rd week of nightly streaming, the Met Opera program starts at 7:30 p.m. ET and available for 23 hours. The theme this week is “Epic Rivalries,” which virtually include all opera plots! Canadians featured in the streams include Sondra Radvanovsky, Joshua Hopkins, and John Relyea. The Met’s New Year’s Eve Gala, livestreamed from Augsburg Germany, received excellent reviews, but it also encountered controversy over the Met of hiring non-Met musicians, while the Orchestra has been furloughed and unpaid since April 1.

The musical focus this week centres on New Year’s concert programming from opera houses and concert halls mostly in Europe. The New Year’s Eve Die Fledermaus and New Year’s Day L’Italiana in Algeri from Wiener Staatsoper are still available on demand for a limited time. Of the many New Year’s concerts, you can’t go wrong with the one from the Musikverein in Vienna, with Riccardo Muti conducting the Vienna Philharmonic. As expected, it played to an empty house, but I was astounded that there were no masks and no physical distancing among the musicians in the pit. To conclude this week’s Critics Picks, I’ve chosen a marathon interview of the beloved American mezzo Frederica von Stade, a must-see for her many followers.

Monday 4

Wigmore Hall | Ema Nikolovska and Malcolm Martineau — 1 p.m. ET. Macedonian mezzo Ema Nikolovska, a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, sings Schubert, Dvořák, Britten, Boulanger, Slonimsky, and Canadian composer Ana Sokolovic. Malcolm Martineau is the pianist. Watch it at Wigmore Hall’s website (free registration required) or on YouTube.

Wiener Staatsoper | The Nutcracker — 1 p.m. ET. Kevin Rhodes conducts this iconic Holiday classic, choreographed by the great Rudolf Nureyev. Clara is Natascha Mair, and Robert Gabdullin is the Prince. Free registration required. | Details

Met | Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur. Starring Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili, Piotr Beczała, Carlo Bosi, Ambrogio Maestri, and Maurizio Muraro, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. From January 12, 2019. Talk about epic rivalries — sparks fly with these two divas — Russian Anna Netrebko and Georgian Anita Rachvelishvili. Very entertaining. | Details

Tuesday 5

Met | Rossini’s La Donna del Lago. Starring Joyce DiDonato, Daniela Barcellona, Juan Diego Flórez, John Osborn, and Oren Gradus, conducted by Michele Mariotti. From March 14, 2015. | Details

Wiener Staatsoper | Rossini’s La Cenerentola — 1 p.m. ET. Isabel Leonard, Maxim Mironov, Alessio Arduini, Luca Pisaroni. Jean-Christophe Spinosi, conductor. From 22. February 2018. | Details

Wednesday 6

Met | Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles. Starring Diana Damrau, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecień, and Nicolas Testé, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. From January 16, 2016. | Details

Wiener Staatsoper | Dvořák’s Rusalka — 1 p.m. ET. Piotr Beczala, Olga Bezsmertna, Jongmin Park, Elena Zhidkova, Monika Bohinec. Tomáš Hanus, conductor. From February 4, 2020. | Details

Thursday 7

Met | Bellini’s I Puritani. Starring Anna Netrebko, Eric Cutler, Franco Vassallo, and John Relyea, conducted by Patrick Summers. From January 6, 2007. | Details

Wiener Staatsoper | Wagner’s Die Walkure — 1 p.m. ET. Christopher Ventris, Ain Anger, Waltraud Meier, Linda Watson, Tomasz Konieczny. Adam Fischer, conductor. From 13. January 2016. | Details

Friday 8

Met | Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. Cavalleria Rusticana: Starring Eva-Maria Westbroek, Jane Bunnell, Marcelo Álvarez, and George Gagnidze, conducted by Fabio Luisi. Pagliacci: Patricia Racette, Marcelo Álvarez, George Gagnidze, and Lucas Meachem, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From April 25, 2015. | Details

Wiener Staatsoper | Mahler, Live (Ballet) — 1 p.m. ET. Olga Esina, Marcos Menha/Yuko Kato, Rebecca Horner, Solisten und Corps de ballett des Wiener Staatsballetts. Axel Kober, conductor. From 4 December 2020. | Details

Saturday 9

Met | Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda. Starring Elza van den Heever, Joyce DiDonato, Matthew Polenzani, Joshua Hopkins, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Maurizio Benini. From January 19, 2013. | Details

Wiener Staatsoper | Janáček’s Vec Makropulos — 1 p.m. ET. Laura Aikin, Ludovit Ludha, Thomas Ebenstein, Margarita Gritskova, Markus Marquardt, Heinz Zednik. Peter Stein, conductor. From December 20, 2015. | Details

Sunday 10

Met | Verdi’s Il Trovatore. Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Dolora Zajick, Marcelo Álvarez, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Štefan Kocán, conducted by Marco Armiliato. From April 30, 2011. | Details

Wiener Staatsoper | Wagner’s Siegfried — 1 p.m. ET. Christian Franz, Linda Watson, Tomasz Konieczny, Herwig Pecoraro, Jochen Schmeckenbecher. Adam Fischer, conductor. From 17 January 2016. | Details

Video-on-demand performances:

1) Wiener Philharmoniker | Neujahrskonzert 2021. The granddaddy of New Year’s Concert takes place in the Musikverein in Vienna. Riccardo Muti conducts the Vienna Philharmonic in a program of warhorses by Franz von Suppè, Johann Strauß I &II, Josef Strauß, Carl Zeller, Carl Millöcker, plus a film, “Happy Birthday Burgenland 1921-2021.” No audience thus no applause, but they played three encores anyway, ending with the obligatory Redetzky Marsch. | Details

2) Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa | Gala Sylwestrowa. Streamed on Dec. 31 and available until January 6, it features alumni of the Polish National Opera’s Academy: baritone Andrzej Filończyk (who sang Marcello in La Boheme in Toronto two seasons ago), baritone Tomasz Kumięga, and soprano Olga Pasiecznik, in a program of Mozart and Rossini. Patrick Fournillier conducts the Polish National Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

3) Noworoczna Gala Polskiego Baletu Narodowego | Polish National Ballet New Year’s Gala. Streamed on Jan.1 and now on demand, this is an unusual gala in that, rather than exclusively a showcase of traditional ballets, the Polish National Ballet also includes a few contemporary pieces. Part 1 can be viewed at this link. More details.

4) Teatro Massimo | Concerto di San Silvestro. Streamed on Dec. 31 and now on demand, Teatro Massimo, Sicily’s major opera house, presents a New Year’s Eve Gala starring soprano Carmen Giannattasio and baritone Markus Werba. Omer Meir Wellber conducts the Teatro Massimo Orchestra and Chorus, in a diverse program of works from Haydn, Mozart, Wagner, Lehar to Jacques Brel.

5) Arena di Verona | Concerto di Capodanno. Streamed on Dec. 31 and now on demand, this performance took place in the Teatro Filarmonico in Verona. Steven Mercurio conducts a quartet of soloists (soprano Enkeleda Kamani, tenor Enea Scala, baritone Luca Salsi, baritone Simone Piazzola) and the Orchestra e Coro della Fondazione Arena di Verona, in a program of opera and operetta arias and duets by Verdi, Puccini, Giordano, Strauss, Lehar, and others.

6) Canadian Opera Company | Solo Spotlights with the COC Orchestra. COC Music Director Johannes Debus interviews members of the Orchestra. The first two episodes are now available: Concertmaster Marie Berard and clarinettist Dominic Desautels. Upcoming episodes include Shelley Brown (piccolo) on January 12 and Scott Wevers (horn) on January 26.

7) Fred Plotkin On Fridays | Frederica von Stade. Calling all fans of Flicka – Here is a wonderful, 2+ hours interview on New Year’s Day of her by Fred Plotkin, broadcaster, writer, and a long-time Metropolitan Opera personality. A real trip down memory lane. | Details

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Joseph So
Joseph So
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