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CRITIC'S PICKS | Classical And Opera Streams You Absolutely Need To See This Week: April 19 – 25

By Joseph So on April 19, 2021

Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of April 19 – 25.
Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of April 19 – 25.

Critic’s Picks (April 19 – 25)

“We live in an extraordinary Age” – Carl Sagan. COVID-19 continues to decimate the music world, now with the dreaded Third Wave made more lethal by new variants. Nearly all European venues are closed to live audiences, and with severe restrictions on livestreaming. Austria’s Salzburg Easter Festival has been postponed to coincide with All Saint’s Day on November 1, with a revised program to be announced in May. 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 in April, as well as its production of Aida in May. Like La Scala, the Royal Swedish Opera was hit by a COVID outbreak. Similarly, the L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande suffered a COVID outbreak during rehearsals of Parsifal at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. Yet the Bolshoi is forging ahead with Tosca from April 21 to June 13.

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. 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. Opéra National de Paris cancelled 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. Toulouse’s Théâtre du Capitole remains closed, cancelling the scheduled Pelléas et Mélisande. The Theater an der Wien, Vienna’s third opera house, is closed “until further notice.”

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, the 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 57th week, the Met’s nightly free streaming continues with operas under the theme of “Moral Authority.” Canadians in this week’s Met streams include Ben Heppner as Florestan and Adrianne Pieczonka as Madame Lidoine. 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. Tickets to these virtual concerts are $20 USD. On the subject of the Met, a very interesting piece of news is the invitation by Fabio Luisi, Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, to the members of the Met Orchestra to play a joint concert on April 30 and May 1, to benefit the Met Orchestra Musicians Fund and the DFW Musicians COVID-19 Relief Fund. Luisi was at one time the chief conductor of the Met. Lots of wonderful on-demand performances by Canadian artists, particularly Joshua Hopkins as the Count in Le nozze di Figaro with the Washington National Opera, and Joyce El-Khoury as the soprano soloist in Teatro Massimo’s Verdi Requiem under the baton of Riccardo Muti.

Monday 19

Wiener Staatsoper | Puccini’s La Boheme — 1p.m. ET. Performance of 29 November 2018. Speranza Scappucci conducts the Franco Zeffirelli production, with Marina Rebeka, Benjamin Bernheim, Clemens Unterreiner, Hans Peter Kammerer, Mariam Battistelli. Free registration required. | Details

Met | Wagner’s Lohengrin. Starring Eva Marton, Leonie Rysanek, Peter Hofmann, Leif Roar, and John Macurdy, conducted by James Levine. Production by August Everding. From January 10, 1986. | Details

Tuesday 20

Met | Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito. Starring Lucy Crowe, Barbara Frittoli, Elīna Garanča, Kate Lindsey, Giuseppe Filianoti, and Oren Gradus, conducted by Harry Bicket. Production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. From December 1, 2012. | Details

Wednesday 21

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

Thursday 22

Royal Conservatory of Music | 21C Festival of New Music in a New World — 3 p.m. ET. Premieres of new works by Morgan-Paige Melbourne and Ryan Davis, plus compositions by Philippe Leroux, Matt Brubeck, and Cassandra Miller. Artists are Duo Holz (Aysel Taghi-Zada, violin, and Michael Murphy, marimba & vibraphone), VC2 Cello Duo (Amahl Arulanandam and Bryan Holt), Ryan Davis (viola & electronics), and pianists Wesley Shen and Morgan-Paige Melbourne. | Details

Met | Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. Starring Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Vasile Moldoveanu, Sherrill Milnes, and Paul Plishka, conducted by James Levine. Production by Tito Capobianco. From December 29, 1984. | Details

Friday 23

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra | Jonathan Biss — 1 p.m. ET. American pianist Jonathan Biss performs Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto & Salvatore Sciarrino’s Il sogno di Stradella, conducted by Omer Meir Wellber. The program also includes Verdi’s Nabucco Overture and Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. | Details

Met | Philip Glass’s Satyagraha. Starring Rachelle Durkin, Richard Croft, Kim Josephson, and Alfred Walker, conducted by Dante Anzolini. Production by Phelim McDermott. From November 19, 2011. | Details

Saturday 24

Met | Beethoven’s Fidelio. Starring Karita Mattila, Ben Heppner, Falk Struckmann, and René Pape, conducted by James Levine. Production by Jürgen Flimm. From October 28, 2000. | Details

Sunday 25

Met | Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites. Starring Isabel Leonard, Adrianne Pieczonka, Erin Morley, Karen Cargill, Karita Mattila, David Portillo, and Jean-François Lapointe, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Production by John Dexter. From May 11, 2019. | Details

Video-on-demand performances:

1) Screaming Divas with Sondra and Keri | Season 2, Episode 1. The Screaming Divas celebrate their one-year anniversary by dispensing with a guest. Instead, Sondra and Keri answer questions sent in by fans of the channel. The two divas offer wisdom and heartfelt answers to the many queries, focusing on tips how to build a career and to maintain it at a high international level. Watch to find out what makes them tick!

2) Washington National Opera | Mozart’ The Marriage of Figaro. A performance from 2016 now free on demand until Wednesday, April 21. Excellent downstairs couple in Ryan McKinny (Figaro) and Lisette Oropesa (Susanna), joined by the equally terrific upstairs folks, sung by Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins (Count) and soprano Amanda Majeski (Countess). James Gaffigan conducts.

3) Canadian Opera Company | COC Ensemble Studio at The Aga Khan Museum. Recorded last November, this “Pocket Performance,” ie. a short concert, features artists of the COC Ensemble Studio – Matthew Cairns, Jamie Groote, Alex Soloway, Midori Marsh, and Jonah Spungin, in a varied program of favourite works by Handel, Donizetti, Giordano, and Dvořák.

4) Teatro Massimo Palermo | Verdi’s Requiem. After an unexpected one-week postponement, this performance, recorded on March 27, finally was streamed on April 18 and now free for on-demand viewing for the next two months. The great Riccardo Muti conducts the Teatro Massimo Orchestra and Chorus, with soloists Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury, mezzo Martina Belli, tenor Francesco Meli and bass Riccardo Zanellato. Not-to-be-missed!

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Joseph So
Joseph So
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