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CRITIC'S PICKS | Classical And Opera Streams You Absolutely Need To See This Week: April 26 – May 2

By Joseph So on April 26, 2021

Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of April 26 to May 2.
Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of April 26 to May 2.

Critic’s Picks (April 26 – May 2)

“We live in an extraordinary Age” — Carl Sagan. COVID-19 continues to decimate our musical life, now with the dreaded Third Wave made more lethal by new variants. Nearly all European venues are closed, but some venues are set to reopen. Maggio Musicale has just announced plans to reopen. Opernahus Zurich will reopen on May 1 for a ballet performance with a limited audience of 50 people. Austria’s Salzburg Easter Festival is postponed to November 1, with a revised program to be announced in May. Wiener Staatsoper will reopen on May 19 to a live audience, with COVID precautions. The Bolshoi is forging ahead with Tosca from April 21 to June 13. The Teatro dell’Opera di Roma has announced that it will reopen with a concert dedicated to Verdi on April 28, conducted by Michele Mariotti. Teatro La Fenice has confirmed that it will reopen on April 26 with a Verdi concert.

The Prague Summer Nights Young Artists Music Festival is going ahead for an in-person festival (July 5-Aug 2). The Polish National Opera has cancelled all performances in April and May. La Scala and the Royal Swedish Opera were hit by a COVID outbreak, as well as L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande during rehearsals of Parsifal at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. Theater Bonn has cancelled the rest of the current season. 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.”

San Francisco Opera has just started live performances, of the Adlers Live at the Marin Center, a Drive-In! These are young artists performing live (April 29, May 6, 13). 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 58th week, the Met’s nightly free streaming continues with operas under the theme of “City of Light,” nickname for Paris, where all these opera stories take place. 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. Speaking 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.

Monday 26

Concours musical international de Montréal | 19th Edition (Piano) — 10 a.m. ET (Daily April 26 to 30). Beginning today and continuing until Friday, 26 candidates from 11 countries will compete in the semi-finals and streamed online for free. Read our guide on the semi-finals here. | Details

Wiener Staatsoper | Bizet’s Carmen — 1 p.m. ET. Performance of February 21, 2021. Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducts the Calixto Bieito production with Anita Rachvelishvili, Piotr Beczała, Erwin Schrott, Vera-Lotte Boecker. | Details

Met Opera | Puccini’s La Bohème — 7:30 p.m. ET. Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Susanna Phillips, Michael Fabiano, Lucas Meachem, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From February 24, 2018. | Details

Tuesday 27

Met Opera | Lehár’s The Merry Widow — 7:30 p.m. ET. Starring Renée Fleming, Kelli O’Hara, Nathan Gunn, Alek Shrader, and Sir Thomas Allen, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Production by Susan Stroman. From January 17, 2015. | Details

Wednesday 28

Met Opera | Giordano’s Andrea Chénier — 7:30 p.m. ET. Starring Maria Guleghina, Wendy White, Stephanie Blythe, Luciano Pavarotti, and Juan Pons, conducted by James Levine. Production by Nicolas Joël. From October 15, 1996. | Details

Toronto Wagner Society | An Evening with Paul Frey — 7:30 p.m. ET. Dedicated Wagner fans will remember retired Canadian tenor Paul Frey, who enjoyed a brilliant career in Wagner and Strauss. He chats with Dr. Frances Henry of the Toronto Wagner Society. Open to TWS members. Interested non-members can join the Zoom talk by emailing a request here.

Thursday 29

Royal Conservatory of Music/Glenn Gould School | Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia — 3 p.m. ET. Benjamin Britten’s opera in a concert performance taped in Koerner Hall. River Guard (Male Chorus), Lynn Isnar (Female Chorus), Korin Thomas-Smith (Collatinus), Jordan De Sousa (Tarquinius), Noah Grove (Junius), Chelsea Pringle-Duchemin (Lucretia), Ariana Maubach (Bianca), and Thera Barclay (Lucia). Rachael Kerr is the pianist. | Details

Met Opera | Massenet’s Manon — 7:30 p.m. ET. Starring Lisette Oropesa, Michael Fabiano, Artur Ruciński, and Kwangchul Youn, conducted by Maurizio Benini. Production by Laurent Pelly. From October 26, 2019. | Details

Tafelmusik | Café Counterculture — 8 p.m. ET. First performed in 2019 and now a filmed concert, this show features Baroque pieces alongside folk favourites by Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joni Mitchell, Simon and Garfunkel, and Neil Young that harken back to the Yorkville hippie days of the 1960s. Ticket $10 and available for viewing online for four days. Elisa Citterio (violin), Marco Cera (oboe), Dominic Teresi (bassoon), Charlotte Nediger (harpsichord), Samaras (vocals), Andrew Downing (double bass/arranger). | Details

Friday 30

Met Opera | Verdi’s La Traviata — 7:30 p.m. ET. Starring Ileana Cotrubas, Plácido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil, conducted by James Levine. Production by Colin Graham. From March 28, 1981. | Details

Saturday 1

Met Opera | Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur — 7:30 p.m. ET. Starring Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili, Piotr Beczała, and Ambrogio Maestri, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Production by Sir David McVicar. From January 12, 2019. | Details

Sunday 2

Met Opera | Puccini’s La Rondine — 7:30 p.m. ET. Starring Angela Gheorghiu, Lisette Oropesa, Roberto Alagna, Marius Brenciu, and Samuel Ramey, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Nicolas Joël. From January 10, 2009. | Details

Video-on-demand performances:

1) Screaming Divas with Sondra and Keri | Tamara Wilson. Sondra Radvanovsky and Keri Alkema go to Houston, virtually of course, to chat with American soprano Tamara Wilson. Canadian opera fans will remember Wilson, a frequent COC guest artist. Her last appearance here was as Desdemona in Otello.

2) Royal Conservatory of Music | Music of my Life: A Conversation with Daniel Barenboim. “Music of My Life” is a new online series from RCM where stars of the stage and screen discuss music that inspires them. Mervon Mehta chats with celebrated pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim. | Details (RSVP here)

3) University of Toronto Opera School | Operas in Miniature. These short operatic works featuring students in the U of T Opera Program, with piano accompaniment. Each opera is available free on demand for one week after original livestream: Le portrait de Manon (Massenet); Il segreto di Susanna (Wolf-Ferrari) & Der Schauspieldirektor (Mozart); La tragédie de Carmen (Bizet); The Bear (Walton) & Bon Appétit! (Hoiby). Watch here.

4) Tafelmusik | Mozart Requiem Music Video. Only three minutes long, Tafelmusik collaborates with artist Alex McLeod to create this music video featuring a 3D sculpture which moves, grows, and changes, set to the music of the Mozart Requiem.

5) Fred Plotkin on Fridays | Joseph Calleja. To end this week’s Critic’s Picks, I have chosen this most interesting episode of “Fred Plotkin on Fridays” livestreamed on April 23 and now on demand. Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja is Plotkin’s guest. COC audiences had the great good fortune of catching Calleja at the beginning of his career, as Rodolfo in La Boheme, way back in 2000 when he was only 22. He has since become a huge international star.

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Joseph So
Joseph So
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THE SCOOP | The Concours musical international de Montréal — What You Need To Know About The Semi-Final

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FEATURE | How Virginia Woolf’s Work Was Shaped By Classical Music

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