Juan Diego Flórez, Lawrence Brownlee, Lisette Oropesa, Martina Arroyo, J’Nai Bridges Headline Top 10 Operas to Stream This Week

By David Salazar

With opera companies returning in full force digitally, this week’s selections will highlight a mix of repertory staples with some unique and experimental new works.

Before we kick off our list, don’t forget to check out important discussions taking place regarding issues of race and equality in opera with such programs as Karen Slack’s “KikiKonversations,” Kenneth Overton’s “Black Opera Live,” and Mark S. Doss’ “Heart and Soul” series on Sunday afternoons. Bill Doggett’s series “Composer Conversations” also continues.

The Secret Sauce – Heartbeat Opera (Sept. 14-20)

Heartbeat Opera will present “The Secret Sauce,” a soiree-style reflection on Heartbeat Opera’s first seven years as a company. Broadcasts will feature archival footage and stories, hosted by special guests such as Julia Bullock, Jeanine Tesori, Derrell Acon, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Liz Diamond, Wendy Lesser, and Gundula Kreuzer.

Bel Canto in 30 Minutes – Teatro Nuovo (Sept. 15)

Teatro Nuovo will present the first-ever professional recording of Niccola Vaccai’s “Practical Method of Italian Singing.” The video will feature performances from such artists as Santiago Ballerini, Lawrence Brownlee, Teresa Castillo, Junhan Choi, Georgia Jarman, Alisa Jordheim, Hannah Ludwig, Christine Lyons, Megan Marino, Dorian McCall, Madison Marie McIntosh, Angela Meade, Tamara Mumford, Lisette Oropesa, Daniel Mobbs, Jennifer Rowley, Nicholas Simpson, Michael Spyres, Derrek Stark, Alina Tamborini, Hans Tashjian, and Meigui Zhang. William Crutchfield leads the unique recording.

Jessye Norman at 75 – Black Opera Productions (Sept. 15)

Black Opera Productions will celebrate the iconic singer in a virtual gala that will be hosted by Kenneth Overton and will feature performances by J’Nai Bridges, Measha Brueggergosman, Karen Slack, Russell Thomas, Chauncey Packer, Krysty Swann, Audrey DuBois-Harris, Sidney Outlaw, Brandie Sutton, Justin Austin, and Laquita Mitchell, with pianists Mary Pinto, Kevin Miller, Myra Huang, and Audra Clark. There will also be special appearances by such opera legends as Martina Arroyo, Grace Bumbry, George Shirley, Simon Estes, and Damien Sneed.

The Transformation of Jane Doe – Chicago Opera Theater (Sept. 15)

The Chicago Opera Theater launches its digital season with Stacey Garrop and Jerre Dye’s “The Transformation of Jane Doe.” The work will feature Samantha Schmid, Morgan Middleton, Leah Dexter, Curtis Bannister, John Mathieu, and Keanon Kyles with Lidiya Yankovskaya conducting. The performance will be recorded by Valhalla Media.

La Fille du Régiment – Metropolitan Opera (Sept. 16)

Juan Diego Flórez’s nine high C’s in this broadcast are undeniably the major selling point, but the real draw here is Natalie Dessay at the height of her operatic powers. Not only is she in her finest singing voice, but she’s hilarious in a role that no other modern opera singer has dominated quite the way she did. Laurent Pelly’s production is perfect for this Donizetti gem.

Wonderland Series – Rochester Fringe Festival (Sept 16)

Those seeking out experimental opera will not be disappointed by this unique work by Anna Heflin, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.” The multimedia opera features violinist Shannon Reilly performing and acting as she “weaves between every imaginable multimedia form.”

Minutes to Midnight – Minute Hand Opera (Sept. 18)

This new work, by composer John Sturt and librettist Sophia Chapadjiev, comes as part of Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2020, and explores the United States’ nuclear capabilities in the light of the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. There will also be a panel discussion on nuclear disarmament during the broadcast.

Euryanthe – OperaVision / Theater an der Wien (Sept. 18)

OperaVision and the Theater an der Wien will present Weber’s masterwork “Euryanthe” in a production starring Jacquelyn Wagner, Norman Reinhardt, Theresa Kronthaler, Andrew Foster-Williams, Stefan Cerny, and Eva-Marie Neubauer. Constantin Trinks conducts a production directed by Christof Loy.

Tamara Wilson Live from the Cullen – Houston Grand Opera / Marquee TV (Sept. 18)

The Houston Grand Opera will kick off its 2020-21 virtual season with a recital performance starring Tamara Wilson and Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers. The showcase kicks off at 7:30 p.m. This is the first in a quartet of performances that are part of the “Live from the Cullen” series this season.

His Light Still Shines – Fort Worth Opera (Sept. 20)

Forth Worth Opera kickstart its 2020-21 virtual season with Moses Hogan’s “His Light Still Shines,” featuring the Fort Worth Opera Chorus. “His Light Still Shines” was originally commissioned by the Choral Arts Society of Washington to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, premiered in 2002 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The piece will be led by FWO’s Chorus Master Alfrelynn Roberts.