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CRITIC'S PICKS | Virtual Concerts You Absolutely Need To See This Week (Streaming Edition January 11 – 17)

By Joseph So on January 11, 2021

Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of January 11 – 17.
Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of January 11 – 17.

Critic’s Picks (January 11 – 17)

“We live in an extraordinary Age” – Carl Sagan. Now that we are into the second full week of 2021, the new year is not off to a good start, and a return to anything resembling normality seems a long way off. The Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège cancelled concerts by Juan Diego Flórez (Jan. 8) and Jonas Kaufmann (Jan. 10) due to pandemic measures by the government of Belgium. In Germany, opera houses in Darmstadt, Kassel, Wiesbaden, Marburg and Gießen will remain closed until Easter. The Wiener Staatsoper has announced that it has cancelled all performances until at least Jan. 28, on order from the Austrian federal government.

Adding insult to injury, a snowstorm, Filomena, dumped more than a foot of snow on Madrid, forcing the cancellation of the final performance of Don Giovanni on January 9 at the Teatro Real. Meanwhile, on this side of the Atlantic, we just got depressing news. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says that Americans, and by extension likely Canadians, should not expect to attend full concerts until the end of summer.

The theme this week in the Met nightly streams, its 44th, is “Renee Fleming Week.” A bit of trivia — Fleming won the 1988 Met Auditions, the same year as Ben Heppner. Opera Hamilton has the distinction of being the only Canadian opera company to have snagged Fleming, as the Contessa in Le nozze di Figaro in 1991, before she became famous and unaffordable! Canadians featured in the Met streams are tenors Michael Schade and Joseph Kaiser, baritone Russell Braun, and bass John Relyea. For Video On Demand, it’s a mix of the unusual with the tried and true.

Monday 11

Wiener Staatsoper | Don Carlo — 1 p.m. ET. Marco Armiliato conducts a performance from Feb. 25, 2015. Particularly memorable is the Rodrigo of the late Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Stefano Secco sings Carlo, joined by Maria Pia Piscitelli (Elisabetta), Béatrice Uria-Monzon (Eboli), Ferruccio Furlanetto (Filippo), and Eric Halfvarson (Il Grande Inquisitore). Free registration required. | Details

Met | Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. Starring Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Susanne Mentzer, Dwayne Croft, and Bryn Terfel, conducted by James Levine. From November 11, 1998. Fantastic cast and not to be missed! | Details

Tuesday 12

Met | Massenet’s Thaïs. Starring Renée Fleming, Michael Schade, and Thomas Hampson, conducted by Jesús López-Cobos. From December 20, 2008. | Details

Wednesday 13

Met | R. Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. Starring Renée Fleming, Christine Schäfer, Susan Graham, Eric Cutler, Thomas Allen, and Kristinn Sigmundsson, conducted by Edo de Waart. From January 9, 2010. | Details

Thursday 14

Met | Rossini’s Armida. Starring Renée Fleming, Lawrence Brownlee, John Osborn, Barry Banks, and Kobie van Rensburg, conducted by Riccardo Frizza. From May 1, 2010. | Details

Friday 15

Met | R. Strauss’s Capriccio. Starring Renée Fleming, Sarah Connolly, Joseph Kaiser, Russell Braun, Morten Frank Larsen, and Peter Rose, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. From April 23, 2011. | Details

Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony | Symmetry: Bach & Math — 8 p.m. ET. The KWS take look at the connections between Bach and math. Features interpretations and explanations by Professor François Bergeron from the Department of Mathematics at l’Université du Québec à Montréal. | Details

Saturday 16

San Francisco Opera | Romeo et Juliette — 7 a.m. ET. An ungodly hour for those in the east coast, but worth it! From SFO’s 2019 season, it stars Nadine Sierra and Pene Pati in their role debuts. Lucas Meacham is Mercutio. Canadian Yves Abel conducts. | Details

Royal Conservatory of Music | 21C Music Festival — 5 p.m. ET. Eve Egoyan performs the world premiere of Seven Studies for Augmented Piano, a work she created for “a newly imagined instrument that delves into the space between what a piano can do and what Eve has always wished a piano could do.” The stream also includes the world premiere of a short video by Su Rynard: Études for Augmented Piano. Stream available for seven days. Tickets: $15. | Details

Met | Handel’s Rodelinda. Starring Renée Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Andreas Scholl, Iestyn Davies, Joseph Kaiser, and Shenyang, conducted by Harry Bicket. From December 3, 2011. | Details

Sunday 17

Met | Dvořák’s Rusalka. Starring Renée Fleming, Emily Magee, Dolora Zajick, Piotr Beczała, and John Relyea, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From February 8, 2014. | Details

Video-on-demand performances:

1) Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall | Philharmoniker: Our history. A must-see for fans of this great orchestra, a film by Eric Schulz on its history. Part 1: The orchestra’s early years; Part 2: The West Berlin years; Part 3: Turning point. Pay per view (7-day access) is €9.90. | Details

2) Wigmore Hall | Sir Andras Schiff. Streamed Jan. 7 and now on demand, Sir András performs a program dedicated to Bach, including his Capriccio in B flat, and his Italian Concerto.

3) Teatro alla Scala | Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala diretta dal Maestro Lorenzo Viotti. Streamed Jan. 9 and now on demand, Lorenzo Viotti leads the Scala forces in Brahms’ Symphony No 3 in F major and in Antonin Dvoràk’s Symphony No 7 in D minor. One of surprisingly few concerts where the conductor and nearly everyone wears a mask…

4) Teatro alla Scala | Markus Werba. The wonderful Austrian baritone sings two great Schumann song cycles, Liederkreis and Dichterliebe. Michele Gamba is the pianist. Incidentally, Markus Werba’s great uncle is the late Erik Werba, a legendary pianist who accompanied many singers.

5) WDR Sinfonieorchester | Bottesini: Concerto for Double Bass No. 2 B minor. We rarely think of the double bass as a solo instrument, and it’s a shame. Here’s a beautiful concerto, requiring great virtuosity, played beautifully by Stanislau Anishchanka and the WDR Symphony.

6) The Solti Studio Concerts | Fidelio. If the Bottesini is unusual, how about Beethoven’s complete Fidelio as a piano duet? No singers, no orchestra, no dialogue, just two pianists (Joseph Havlat and Chad Vindin), a Bosendorfer, and lots of enthusiasm. Arranged by Alexander Zemlinsky in 1905. This performance is under the auspices of Valerie Pitts, also known as Lady Solti, the widow of conductor Georg Solti. Dedicated to the memory of Otto Klemperer and Georg Solti. A very enjoyable curiosity.

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Joseph So
Joseph So
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CRITIC'S PICKS | Classical And Opera Streams You Absolutely Need To See This Week: March 22 – 28

By Joseph So on March 22, 2021

Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of March 22 – 28.
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