thu 06/08/2020

Classical Music/Opera direct to home 12 - partying at a distance | reviews, news & interviews

Classical Music/Opera direct to home 12 - partying at a distance

Classical Music/Opera direct to home 12 - partying at a distance

Festivals cope with live online events and past fare

Susanna and Figaro's wedding in Michael Grandage's production, being screened this weekendAlastair Muir

What would have been the festival season starts around now. Some organisations are offering mementos of past glories; others, especially in countries where the lockdown has been relaxed to a greater extent than is possible in the UK, are managing to assemble some of their artists in audience-free auditoriums, playng and singing to you online. All are under varying degrees of financial stress and many may not relaunch; help where you can with donations every now and then.

Bergen International Festival

Daniel Reith

This large-scale venture - not just about music, of course - launched on Wednesday with an online concert from the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Tonight Music Director Edward Gardner leads a masterclass with two young talents from the orchestra's Conductors Programme, nurturing national talent (Daniel Reith pictured above with the orchestra by Terje Trobe/ Talent Norge), and the programme is a full concert of Sibelius, Copland and Beethoven. Later there's Schumann with great pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and friends, and festival composer Jörg Widmann will be very much "present". Ongoing until 3 June.

Glyndebourne launches Open House

Glyndebourne 1934 Figaro

Sunday should have been the launch of the Sussex opera house's 2020 season; we'll have to wait to find out if the most potentially interesting of the new productions that won't now happen this season, Barrie Kosky's take on Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites, will make a comeback in 2021. Meanwhile, Glyndebourne is taking a leaf out of the Metropolitan Opera's book on a more modest scale and onlining treasurable past triumphs. In a homage to how it all started - with Mozart (the 1934 Figaro pictured above from the Glyndebourne archive), not John Christie's intended Parsifal, as outlined in David Hare's brilliant play The Moderate Soprano - Le nozze di Figaro kicks off in Michael Grandage's hip and very funny 1970s production (hilarious dancing, great cast). The Mozart-Da Ponte trilogy continues with Don Giovanni (31 May) and Cosi fan tutte (7 June). Each film will be available for a week.

Czech Philharmonic's Mozart Gala

Plachetka and Knezikova

The Prague Spring International Festival is running in much-reduced form - no large-scale Smetana on the first night as usually happens - but the Czech Philharmonic has been present throughout this crisis, raising huge amounts of money for hospitals and, in the case of tomorrow night's concert, for People in Need Foundation (Člověk v tísni), helping those with economic problems as a result of C-19 and children's education. It's Mozart lite but choice, with arias and duets from the operas performed by some of Czechia's finest singers, including the top operatic couple Kateřina Kněžíková and Adam Plachetka (pictured above by Ilona Sochorová), and one of the country's top conductors, Tomáš Netopil. No facemasks or distancing as before; all performers have been tested and found free of the virus. Saturday on the Czech Philharmonic's Facebook page, 8pm. Full programme here.

Opera Holland Park's Open Day

Opera Holland Park Open Day

The summer company which under Michael Volpe's direction has really reached out to the local and wider communities , and this year takes its annual Open Day online. An incredible array of events is listed, from a "masked ball" for 0-5 year olds to conducting lessons from brilliant young exponents Dane Lam (whose conducting of Cilea's L'Arlesiana last season was a revelation).Lada Valešová and Matthew Kofi Waldren, and a pattery choral sing-along of G&S's "I am the very model of a modern Major General". Tomorrow (Saturday), 10am - c5pm.

Philharmonia's Mahler Third

Esa-Pekka Salonen

Esa-Pekka Salonen (pictured above) made an indelible impression on Philharmonia players and audience alike when he first conducted Mahler's epic journey through nature to God in the Third Symphony back in 1983. He's been the orchestra's galvanizing Principal Conductor since , due to hand over soon to fello Finn Santtu-Matias Rouvali. The performance being screened tonight at 7pm is from October 2017 - exactly the kind of large-scale event we worry won't return so easily when all this is over. The "Watch Party" will feature players from that performance on hand to answer questions.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Muti in Verdi's Requiem

CSO/Muti Verdi Requiem

Here's another "Watch Party", though I'm not sure you'd want to dance around the room, glass in hand, to the colossal power of Verdi's great operatic mass setting. Anyway, there's no-one better to conduct this masterpiece than Riccardo Muti, and he's done so many times, not least in this Chicago performance from 2013 (pictured above by Todd Rosenberg Photography). There's a fine international line-up in soprano Tatiana Serjan, mezzo Daniela Barcellona, tenor Mario Zeffiri and bass Ildar Abdrazakov. The screenings tonight and tomorrow at 7.30pm CDT may be too late for European viewers, but there's also one on Sunday at 1.30pm CDT.

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