Kathleen Battle, Jonas Kaufmann, Luciano Pavarotti, Aida Garifullina Headline Top 10 Operas to Stream This Week

By David Salazar

Even as we get deeper into the summer and watch theaters reopen, it is important to keep our focus on the important dialogues of racial equality taking place. We continue to recommend checking out the several online shows such as Karen Slack’s “KikiKonversations,” Kenneth Overton’s “Black Opera Live,” and “The Sitdown with LB,” hosted by Lawrence Brownlee.

You can also add Mark S. Doss’ “Heart and Soul” series on Sunday afternoons, during which he not only performs but digs deep into each piece of music he is presenting.

And while more and more theaters are reopening, there are still many opera experiences to take in online. Here are 10 that we would like to highlight.

Peter Grimes – Aldeburgh (Available Now)

This production took place by a beach, allowing for a more immersive experience of Britten’s greatest opera. The Guardian noted that the opera was staged with “immense skill, unobtrusively updating the action to the time of its composition during the second world war, with an opening fly-past by a 1944 Spitfire adding a bit more color.” Alan Oke headlines the production with Giselle Allen as Ellen Orford.

Dido & Aeneas / “La Bella Dormente nel Bosco” – Guildhall School (Available Now)

The institution was set to present this double bill live as part of its 2020 season. But with the cancelation of live performances, the organization opted for a different route – a virtual performance. Over 100 artists came together to put on this double bill, making it a fascinating opera experiment. It will be available online until July 1, 2020.

L’Elisir D’Amore – Metropolitan Opera (June 26)

This classic performance date from 1991 features Luciano Pavarotti at his best in a role few could sing like him. But the standout has to be Kathleen Battle who is full of charm and wit as Adina. She gives this production the spunk and energy that the men don’t always carry with them in their physical portrayals of the comic quartet. The cast also features solid vocal turns from Juan Pons and Enzo Dara.

Will Liverman in Recital – Valhalla Media (June 26)

In its newly-launched online streaming series, Valhalla Media will showcase a recital by Baritone Will Liverman and pianist Paul Sanchez focused on music by African-American composers including Leslie Adams, Margaret Bonds, Damien Snead, and Robert Owens. There will also be a world premiere by Shawn Okpebholo.

Manon Lescaut – Bayerische Staatsoper (June 27)

Famed tenor Jonas Kaufmann and soprano Kristine Opolais star in this 2015 production of Puccini’s early masterwork. The duo performed this opera extensively together and their chemistry was palpable. Here’s an opportunity to witness it.

Don Carlo – Vienna State Opera (June 27)

The Vienna State Opera has arguably the most exciting program of any opera company in the streaming world. This week you can check out soprano Krassimira Stoyanova in recital, while Juan Diego Flórez will be featured in two performances, including “La Sonnambula” and “Rigoletto.” We are going to go with Verdi’s “Don Carlo” on June 27. This performance boasts a superstar cast that includes Anja Harteros, René Pape, Ramón Vargas, and Ludovic Tézier, under the music direction of Marco Armiliato. It’s a rare pleasure to have such a strong cast of artists across the board, so don’t miss the streaming this week.

Live from Covent Garden #3 – Royal Opera House (June 27)

Antonio Pappano will lead the Jette Parker Young Artists in a live concert that features a slew of arias by such composers as Handel, Donizetti, Rossini, Verdi, Gershwin, Catalani, Leoncavallo, and Sorazabal. There will also be other highlights in this concert from The Royal Ballet. It’s not the same as being in the space, but a live gala style concert is definitely something to look forward to.

Manon – San Francisco Opera (June 27)

San Francisco Opera’s weekly offering is Massenet’s iconic work with a solid turn from Michael Fabiano and Ellie Dehn in the leading roles. Of Dehn’s star turn, an OperaWire review at the time of this run noted “her ‘Adieu, mon petite table,’ floated from her with lovely grace. Here was a time in the performance when what she was singing about and how she sang were particularly well unified. We felt her loss, even more than the conflict she faced.”

Having Guests for Dinner – Opera North (June 27)

Maybe you have a busy week and don’t really want to engage with an opera for hours on end. Opera North is presenting a 16-minute work starting at 5 p.m. PDT. The opera, written by Nicholas Bentz and Robert Feng, tells the story of a young couple that goes for dinner and encounters a malicious and strange host.

My Argentinean Dream – ARTE (June 28)

This is a bit of a shift in tone and perspective, allowing audiences to engage with famed soprano Aida Garifullina’s journey to Buenos Aires for her debut at the Teatro Colón in 2019. The documentary will be streamed on ARTE and will give audiences a rare behind-the-scenes opportunity with a major superstar in the opera world.