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CRITIC'S PICKS | Classical And Opera Streams You Absolutely Need To See This Week: April 12–18

By Joseph So on April 12, 2021

Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of April 12 – 18.
Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of April 12 – 18.

Critic’s Picks (April 12 – 18)

“We live in an extraordinary Age” — Carl Sagan. COVID-19 continues to decimate the music world, now with the dreaded third wave — even the fourth in some cases — made more lethal by new variants. Virtually all European venues are closed to live audiences, with France, Germany and Italy in lockdown. Austria’s Salzburg Easter Festival will now coincide with All Saint’s Day on November 1, with a revised program to be announced in May. At press time, the Prague Summer Nights Young Artists Music Festival is going ahead for an in-person festival (July 5-Aug 2), despite the Czech Republic having the highest number of cases per million population of any country in the world. The Polish National Opera has cancelled all performances. Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper has cancelled its La Traviata (April 9, 11, 15). Like La Scala, the Royal Swedish Opera is faced with a COVID outbreak of 15 cases.

In Spain, the Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia has rescheduled Daniele Gatti’s Verdi Requiem to July 1 and the upcoming Tristan und Isolde will be replaced by Falstaff, due to the large orchestra and chorus requirements for Wagner. Spain is literally alone in Europe still have very limited performances for live audiences, with Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu scheduled to stage Otello for an audience of 1,000, a risky proposition to say the least. Last week, it was reported that the Teatro Real de Madrid has delayed the opening of Peter Grimes from April 8 to 19, due to COVID travel restrictions of the British artists. Now the news came out that 20 members of the production team having caught COVID during rehearsals.

France has a new lockdown for the next three weeks, with the Opéra National de Paris cancelling all performances to May 2. It streamed Faust from the Opéra Bastille on March 26, accessible on France 5, made available on Culturebox for six months. The Opéra Comique cancelled La Belle Hélène in March starring Canadian mezzo Marie–Nicole Lemieux. Toulouse’s Théâtre du Capitole remains closed, cancelling the scheduled Pelléas et Mélisande. Opéra de Rouen Normandie has cancelled all performances in March. The Theater an der Wien, Vienna’s third opera house, is closed until further notice.

After a successful streaming of the Ring, San Francisco Opera followed with Don Pasquale (April 3-4), The Fall of the House of Usher (April 10-11), and Don Carlo (April 17-18). LA Opera is launching a Signature Recital Series online, to showcase singers the likes of Russell Thomas, J’Nai Bridges, Christine Goerke, Julia Bullock, and Susan Graham, in venues across the country and in Europe, available on-demand. Houston Grand Opera presents My Favorite Things: Songs from The Sound of Music on May 8, a singalong/fundraiser featuring members of the cast from the full production.

Looking further into the future, two orchestras have announced its summer plans: LA Philharmonic reopens the Hollywood Bowl in July, Cleveland Orchestra returns to the Blossom Festival on July 11, and the Glyndebourne Festival announced its program of four operas and a concert series (May 20 – August 29). Now in its 56th week, the Met’s nightly free streaming continues with “Once Upon A Time,” with operas based on fairy tales and other legends. All Met streams start at 7:30 p.m. ET and remain available for 23 hours. The Met has also announced two new Met Stars Live in Concert: Wagnerians in Concert (Christine Goerke, Elza van den Heever, Andreas Schager, and Michael Volle) on May 8, and The Three Divas (Ailyn Perez, Nadine Sierra, and Isabel Leonard) on May 22.

Monday 12

Wiener Staatsoper | Puccini’s Tosca — 1 p.m. ET This Tosca production is 64 years young and still loved. Performance from Feb. 17, 2019, with a great cast: Canadian soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, Polish tenor Piotr Beczala, and American baritone Thomas Hampson. Marco Armiliato conducts. Free stream with registration. | Details

Met | Massenet’s Cendrillon Starring Kathleen Kim, Joyce DiDonato, Alice Coote, Stephanie Blythe, and Laurent Naouri, conducted by Bertrand de Billy. Production by Laurent Pelly. From April 28, 2018. | Details

Tuesday 13

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. Production by Mariusz Treliński. From February 14, 2015. | Details

Wednesday 14

Met | Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte Starring Golda Schultz, Kathryn Lewek, Charles Castronovo, Markus Werba, and René Pape, conducted by James Levine. Production by Julie Taymor. From October 14, 2017. | Details

Thursday 15

Royal Conservatory of Music | ARC Ensemble: Ottoman Treasures — 3 p.m. ET ARC stands for Artists of the Royal Conservatory, in a program of works by Alberto Hemsi. Marie Bérard, violin, Erika Raum, violin, Emily Kruspe, violin, Steven Dann, viola, Julien Altmann, viola. | Details

Met | Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel Starring Judith Blegen, Frederica von Stade, Jean Kraft, Rosalind Elias, and Michael Devlin, conducted by Thomas Fulton. Production by Nathaniel Merrill. From December 25, 1982. | Details

Friday 16

Toronto Summer Music Festival | Masterclass with Jonathan Crow — 2:30 p.m. ET Violinist Jonathan Crow, TSO Concertmaster and Artistic Director of TSMF, teaching three Young Artist Award recipients (Emily Wang, Philip Wang, and Cynthia Ding) from the recent Play Along with Jonathan Crow Challenge created in partnership with the TSO. Free Registration required. | Details

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra | Virtual Chamber Fest — 10 p.m. ET This festival opens with a free livestream of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A Major, featuring Jeanette Jonquil, clarinet; Timothy Steeves, Carina Vincenti, violins; Katrina Chitty, viola; and Henry Shapard, cello. Six additional performance will be available the following day. Subscription is $12.99/month or get a 30-day pass for $15.99. | Details

Met | Dvořák’s Rusalka Starring Kristine Opolais, Katarina Dalayman, Jamie Barton, Brandon Jovanovich, and Eric Owens, conducted by Sir Mark Elder. Production by Mary Zimmerman. From February 25, 2017. | Details

Saturday 17

San Francisco Opera | Don Carlo — 1 p.m. ET. Great cast! Michael Fabiano (Carlo), Ana Maria Martinez (Elisabetta), Nadia Krasteva (Eboli), Rene Pape (King Philip), and Mariusz Kwiecien (Rodrigo). Nicola Luisotti conducts. Free stream available until 11:59 p.m. PST on Sunday. Free registration required. | Details

Met | Puccini’s Turandot Starring Eva Marton, Leona Mitchell, Plácido Domingo, and Paul Plishka, conducted by James Levine. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From April 4, 1987. | Details

Sunday 18

Carnegie Hall | Ute Lemper: Songs for Eternity — 8 p.m. ET The great chanteuse performs songs composed in concentration camps during the Holocaust. With chamber ensemble and sung in Yiddish and German. Available on demand until May 31. | Details

Met | Rossini’s La Cenerentola Starring Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Flórez, Pietro Spagnoli, Alessandro Corbelli, and Luca Pisaroni, conducted by Fabio Luisi. Production by Cesare Lievi. From May 10, 2014. | Details

Video-on-demand performances:

1) Wigmore Hall | Benjamin Appl and James Baillieu German baritone Benjamin Appl was to have sung at the Toronto Summer Music Festival if it weren’t for the pandemic. This is a chance for us to hear him live on the internet, from London’s Wigmore Hall, in a program of Schumann (both Robert and Clara), Mendelssohn, Alma Mahler, Nadia Boulanger and others. James Baillieu is the pianist. Available afterwards for 30 days.

2) Vocal Arts DC | Emily D’Angelo In Recital Premiered on April 9 and available free on demand until April 18, Canadian mezzo Emily D’Angelo sings a program that highlights works by women composers, including Florence Price, Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel, Missy Mazzoli, Clara Schumann and others. | Details

3) Teatro Alla Scala | Aleksandra Kurzak In Recital Premiered April 11 and now on demand, soprano Aleksandra Kurzak, accompanied by violinist Tomasz Wabnic and pianist Marek Ruszczynski, performs songs by Chopin, Schumann, Brahms and Tchaikovsky.

4) Canadian Opera Company | Spring Break at the COC This interactive series is designed for youths ages 12-18 and anyone interested in learning more about opera behind the scenes. It takes place April 12 – 16, 2021 at 2 p.m. ET daily. Hosted by Makenzie Morgan, facilitators include COC Composer-in-Residence Ian Cusson, tenor Matthew Cairns, pianist Alex Soloway, Wigs & Make-up Supervisor Sharon Ryman, Costume Supervisor Sandra Corazza, Props Supervisor Wulf Higgins, music therapist Dr. SarahRose Black, and dramaturg Julie McIsaac. | Details

5) Opera Atelier | The Making of The Resurrection Shot by Canadian filmmaker, Marcel Canzona, this free-to-view documentary goes behind the scenes to capture the rehearsal process involving artists of Atelier Ballet and Tafelmusik as they prepare for the upcoming production of Handel’s The Resurrection, to premiere on May 27.

6) Living the Classical Life | Marc-Andre Hamelin A terrific episode of this excellent video series. Here the great Canadian piano virtuoso Marc-Andre Hamelin chats with Zsolt Bognar about all aspects of his art and life. Not-to-be-missed.

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Joseph So
Joseph So
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