Jonas Kaufmann, Juan Diego Flórez, Marilyn Horne, Joan Sutherland Headline Top 10 Operas to Stream This Week

By David Salazar

With opera companies remain closed, there is still plenty of opera that will be streamed this week. Here are our recommendations for the week.

Don Pasquale – New National Theatre Tokyo (NOW)

For those interested in some comedy, there is no doubt that “Don Pasquale,” Donizetti’s greatest comedy, is the best offering this week. The cast is top-notch, led by Maxim Mironov and Roberto Scanduzzi.

Sutherland, Horne, Bonynge Benefit Concert – Opera Australia (NOW) 

Opera Australia continues its Joan Sutherland series with this unique recital that sees the legendary soprano performing alongside another opera legend in Marilyn Horne. This is undeniable a treat for your musical ears.

Orphée et Eurydice – Bayerische Staatsoper (NOW)

For those that want to engage with an earlier opera, this is the production to see. Until May 30, the Bayerische Staatsoper will be streaming the Gluck masterpiece with a cast headlined by Vesselina Kasarova, Rosemary Joshua, and Deborah York. The work is conducted by Ivor Bolton and directed by Nigel Lowery and Amir Hosseinpour.

The Source – Beth Morrison Projects (NOW)

In the world where whistlerblowers and the battle for truth have become all the more crucial, this opera by Ted Hearne and Mark Doten remains as relevant as ever. The opera stars Mellissa Hughes, Samia Mounts, Isaiah Robinson, and Jonathan Woody. The four-channel video installation by Daniel Fish and Jim Findlay ensure that this is an opera experience unlike any other you are bound to have this week online.

Der Freischütz – Vienna State Opera (May 19)

The Vienna State Opera has quite the slate this week, but we are zeroing on Carl Maria von Weber’s “Der Freischütz.” The truth of the matter is that this is a work that deserves a lot more respect that it gets internationally. It’s championed in German-speaking countries, but seldom gets the spotlight elsewhere. So this is a rare opportunity to engage with the opera and this showcase has a tremendous cast to boot. Andeas Schager, Alan Held, and Camilla Nylund are but a few of the stellar singers in the performance.

The Flight of the Hummingbird – Vancouver Opera & Pacific Opera Victoria (May 19)

Rarely have we spotlighted a unique opera that the entire family can share and appreciate together. So this week, we are going to do just that. This 45-minute chamber opera by Maxime Goulet focuses on environmental messages, packaged in a colorful production that anyone can appreciate.

Moby Dick – San Francisco Opera (May 23)

Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s operatic masterpiece is not easy to come by. While this recording is available commercially, the opera is otherwise challenging to access via any other means. So this is a rare opportunity to get to know one of the great new operas of the 21st century with a solid cast that includes Jay Hunter Morris and Stephen Costello, among many others.

Sky of Swings – Opera Philadelphia (May 22)

For those that want some new operas in their life, this work by Lembit Beecher and Hanna Moscovitch will be showcased on Opera Philadelphia’s diverse streaming network. The opera, which premiered in 2018, stars Frederica von Stade and Marietta Simpson.

FaustMetropolitan Opera (May 23)

As always with the Metropolitan Opera, there is a wealth of options and this week is no different. If you’re a Wagnerite, then the “Lohengrin” performance from 1986 is a must-watch. There is a “Don Giovanni” with Gabriel Bacquier and Joan Sutherland. Or Anna Netrebko in “Manon.” Then there is “Un Ballo in Mashcera” with Sondra Radvanovksy and Marcelo Alvarez. But the choice here has to be “Faust.” Yes, the production is a fiasco in every sense of the word, but René Pape and Jonas Kaufmann are arguably at their best. For Kaufmann, “Werther” might be his single greatest Met interpretation, but his “Faust” has to be a close second, performing with incredible sense of line and putting to use his famed diminuendi. Pape steals every scene while Marina Poplavskaya rounds out the cast in solid form.

Werther – Opernhaus Zürich (May 21-24)

Juan Diego Flórez never seemed like an obvious choice to take on these kinds of French roles when he was at the height of his bel canto years. But there is no denying that he definitely makes quite the striking impression in this repertory. This is best exemplified in “Werther” where he combines his vocal elegance with an intense passion he never really unleashed in a lot of the Bel Canto repertory he dominated for so many years. A new gear has been unleashed and this is an opportunity to check it out. The performance also features Anna Stéphany and Mélissa Petit.