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CRITIC'S PICKS | Classical And Opera Streams You Absolutely Need To See This Week: May 3 – 9

By Joseph So on May 3, 2021

Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of May 3 – 9.
Classical music and opera events streaming on the web for the week of May 3 – 9.

Critic’s Picks (May 3 – 9)

“We live in an extraordinary Age” — Carl Sagan. COVID-19 continues to decimate the musical world. Now well into the second year of the pandemic, some venues are struggling to re-open for late spring and summer performances, in spite of the health risks. As reported in Slipped Disc, French president Emmanuel Macron has approved the reopening of concert halls and opera houses with audience starting May 19, with up to 900 attendees indoors and 1,000 outdoors, increasing to 5,000 starting June 9. The Salzburg Whitsun Festival in Austria will take place May 21-24, with personalized ticketing to facilitate contact tracing, a maximum of 50% capacity, proof of vaccination, and use of face masks. Glyndebourne is going ahead with its Festival (May 20 to August 29), opening with Kát’a Kabanová, the first in a program of four operas and a concert series.

According to Opera Wire, some Italian theatres are reopening, notably Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Teatro dell’Opera di Roma presented Luisa Miller conducted by Michele Mariotti on April 30, in a concert performance with a live audience, and will be streamed online May 8 on the opera house’s YouTube channel. Opernahus Zurich reopened 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 and Teatro La Fenice have reopened with a schedule of performances into the summer months. The Prague Summer Nights Young Artists Music Festival is going ahead for an in-person festival (July 5-Aug 2).

On this side of the pond, San Francisco Opera is presenting live performances at the Marin Center, a Drive-In cinema (May 6, 13). The Barber of Seville opened to mixed reviews: not because of the singing which was fine, but rather over its venue. 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 socially distanced 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, and the Cleveland Orchestra returns to the Blossom Festival on July 11. It has just been announced that Toronto’s Luminato Festival, normally taking place in June, will be moved to October this year.

The Met’s nightly free streaming continues this week with “Happy Mother’s Day,” and operas revolving around all aspects of motherhood. Canadians featured in the Met streams this week include Sondra Radvanovsky, Adrianne Pieczonka, and Joseph Kaiser. Met streams start at 7:30 p.m. ET and remain available for 23 hours. The first of two recently announced Met Stars Live in Concert, “Wagnerians in Concert” takes place on May 8. A ticket to the virtual concert costs $20 USD.

Monday 3

Wiener Staatsoper | Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci —1 p.m. ET. Marco Armiliato conducts the Jean-Pierre Ponnelle production of the double bill, starring Eva-Maria Westbroek, Brian Jagde, and Ambrogio Maestri, Roberto Alagna, and Aleksandra Kurzak. Performance from Nov. 2, 2020. | Details

Met Opera | Strauss’s Elektra.­ Starring Nina Stemme, Adrianne Pieczonka, Waltraud Meier, and Eric Owens, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Production by Patrice Chéreau. From April 30, 2016. | Details

Tuesday 4

Wiener Staatsoper | Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake — 1 p.m. ET. Alexander Ingram conducts the Rudolf Nureyev production, starring Olga Esina (Odette/Odile) and Vladimir Shishov (Prince Siegfried). Performance from March 16, 2014. | Details

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

Wednesday 5

Wiener Staatsoper | Grieg’s Peer Gynt — 1 p.m. ET. Simon Hewett conducts, with Jakob Feyferlik, Alice Firenze, Eno Peci, and Zsolt Török. Performance from Dec. 4, 2018. | Details

Met Opera | Thomas’s Hamlet. Starring Marlis Petersen, Jennifer Larmore, Simon Keenlyside, and James Morris, conducted by Louis Langrée. Production by Patrice Caurier & Moshe Leiser. From March 27, 2010. | Details

Thursday 6

Met Opera | Bellini’s Norma. Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Joyce DiDonato, Joseph Calleja, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Carlo Rizzi. Production by Sir David McVicar. From October 7, 2017. | Details

Wiener Staatsoper | Verdi’s Nabucco — 1 p.m. ET. Marco Armiliato conducts, with Plácido Domingo, Freddie De Tommaso, Riccardo Zanellato, and Anna Pirozzi. Is Domingo a true baritone? You can decide for yourself, with him singing the title role here. | Details

Tapestry Opera | S.O.S. Sketch Opera Singers — 8 p.m. ET. This 30-minute sketch-comedy show returns with Episode 2, featuring Canadian artists with fresh voices, including Krisztina Szabo, Keith Klassen, Korin Thomas-Smith, Teiya Kasahara, Simone McIntosh and others. | Details

Get a taste by watching Episode 1:

Friday 7

Wiener Staatsoper | Adam’s Giselle — 1 p.m. ET. Valery Ovsyanikov conducts, with Nina Poláková, Masayu Kimoto, Rebecca Horner, Andrey Kaydanovskiy, and Alice Firenze. Performance from Sept. 28, 2017. | Details

Met Opera | Berg’s Wozzeck. Starring Elza van den Heever, Tamara Mumford, Christopher Ventris, Gerhard Siegel, Andrew Staples, Peter Mattei, and Christian Van Horn, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Production by William Kentridge. From January 11, 2020. | Details

Saturday 8

Wiener Staatsoper | Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin — 1 p.m. ET. Tomáš Hanus conducts the Dmitri Tcherniakov production, starring Nicole Car, Anna Goryachova, Helene Schneiderman, Larissa Diadkova, Andrè Schuen, Bogdan Volkov, and Dimitry Ivashchenko. Performance from Oct. 31, 2020. | Details

Met Opera | Wagnerians in Concert — 1 p.m. ET. Sopranos Christine Goerke and Elza van den Heever, tenor Andreas Schager, and baritone Michael Volle, live from the Hessisches Staatstheater in Wiesbaden, Germany, in a program of Wagner and Strauss. Craig Terry is the pianist. Ticket $20 USD. | Details

Staatsorchester Stuttgart | Neue Räume: Meet the Next Generation — 2 p.m. ET. Conductor Gábor Káli leads the Stuttgart forces in works by Mozart, Ives, Elgar and Stravinsky. Mozart’s “Notturno for Orchestras KV 286” showcases students from the Academy, in collaboration with the Hochschule für Musik Stuttgart. To shed light on the next generation of musicians, the Orchestra also presents performances from Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music/Glenn Gould School, and from New Jersey’s The Montclair Orchestra, featuring members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and students from The Juilliard School. | Details

Met Opera | Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Starring Patricia Racette, Maria Zifchak, Marcello Giordani, and Dwayne Croft, conducted by Patrick Summers. Production by Anthony Minghella. From March 7, 2009. | Details

University of Toronto Opera | Spotlight on Diversity — 7:30 p.m. ET. Rescheduled from March 26, this audio broadcast features U of T Opera Diversity Coach Korin Thomas-Smith curating this concert which focuses on the history and contributions of marginalized groups in classical music. | Details (Program here)

Sunday 9

Wiener Staatsoper | Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier — 1 p.m. ET. Philippe Jordan conducts the gorgeously traditional Otto Schenk production with Martina Serafin, Daniela Sindram, Günther Groissböck, Erin Morley, Jochen Schmeckenbecher, and Piotr Beczała. Performance from Dec. 18, 2020. | Details

Met Opera | Handel’s Agrippina. Starring Brenda Rae, Joyce DiDonato, Kate Lindsey, Iestyn Davies, Duncan Rock, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Harry Bicket. Marvellous “concept” production by Sir David McVicar. From February 29, 2020. | Details

Video-on-demand performances:

1) Wigmore Hall | Eric Lu. Livestreamed on April 26 and now on demand, pianist Eric Lu, the 2018 Leeds First Prize winner, plays a program of Mozart, Schubert, and Chopin.

2) Living the Classical Life | Martina Arroyo. The great African American soprano chats with Zsolt Bognár about her long and illustrious career. COC fans will remember her unforgettable appearances as Amelia (Ballo in Maschera), Turandot, and Tosca, all in the early to mid ‘80s. She’s a remarkably youthful 84, with a miraculously unchanged speaking voice.

3) Carnegie Hall | Voices of Hope: Boston Symphony Orchestra. This just concluded series (April 16 – 30) celebrates “the life-affirming power of music and the arts during times of crisis…(it) examines the resilience of artists and explores the works they felt compelled to create despite, and often because of, appalling circumstances and human tragedy.”

4) Screaming Divas with Sondra and Keri | Michael Heaston. Sondra Radvanovsky and Keri Alkema speak with Michael Heaston, the newly appointed artistic administrator of the Metropolitan Opera.

5) Teatro La Fenice | Verdi e La Fenice con Luca Salsi & Michele Pertusi. Livestreamed on April 26, this All-Verdi concert conducted by Stefano Ranzani marked the reopening of the opera house.

6) National Ballet of Canada | Spotlight Series: New Voices. NBC presents three new dance films by Canadian dancemakers – Soul by Jera Wolfe, in a state of vanishing by Alysa Pires, and Trase Pa by Kevin A. Ormsby.

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Joseph So
Joseph So
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