Luciano Pavarotti, Julia Bullock, J’Nai Bridges, Ben Bliss Headline Top 10 Operas to Stream This Week

By David Salazar

We are now entering the final weeks of summer, which means that opera companies in Europe will be in full swing while many opera companies in North America will start to test the waters with their brand new digital seasons. Nonetheless, the streaming has continued at a steady clip with another set of unique offerings coming your way this week.

As always, 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. We can now add Bill Doggett’s series “Composer Conversations.” Additionally, on August 19 at 12 p.m., Seattle Opera will present “Crescendo for Racial Justice in Opera,” a conversation with such artists as Kazem Abdullah, Naomi André, J’Nai Bridges, Alejandra Valarino Boyer, and Matthew Ozawa.

The Magic Flute – Opera Neo (NOW)

Opera Neo will present a four-part virtual production of Mozart’s famed opera. The first episode is already ready for purchase on-demand with other episodes on the way.

El Niño – Met Live Arts (NOW)

Starring Julia Bullock, J’Nai Bridges, Anthony Roth Costanzo, and Davóne Tines, this unique production is a distilled rendering of John Adams’ famed work that took place during the 2018-19 season when Bullock was a MetLiveArts Artist in Residence.

“[The soloists] were well equipped to navigate Mr. Adams’s vocal music: its exquisite and enveloping lyricism, but also the way it treats syllables as musical notes to be repeated and rearranged, creating an entire breathless passage from a single word,” stated the New York Times review of that production.

The work is available online for the first time.

Idomeneo – Wolf Trap (August 18)

Wolftrap will continue its “Opera UNTRAPPED” series with Mozart’s first great opera. The cast includes Madison Leonard, Megan Mikailovna, Yelena Dyachek, Duke Kim, Ian Koziara, Senhica Klee, and Cory McGee, among others. Geoffrey McDonald conducts.

Philip Cokorinos Living Room Recital – Los Angeles Opera (August 18)

LA Opera continues its weekly program with a unique recital by bass-baritone Philip Cokorinos and pianist David Holkeboer. The duo will perform music by Schubert, Brahms, and Cole Porter.

OperaHarmony #3 – OperaVision (August 18)

OperaVision will continue its unique series of new operas for the third straight week. This time, audiences can check out “A Fish Out of Water,” “Threshold,” “Behind the Lines,” and “Edge of Time.” This is for those seeking out a unique and new opera experience.

Songs of Summer with Ben Bliss – Seattle Opera (August 20)

Seattle Opera’s popular series continues this Thursday with a performance featuring tenor Ben Bliss as he takes on a program of music by Mozart, Gounod, and Strauss. He will be joined by  Barnaby Bright, Sammy Miller and The Congregation, and perform music by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and more on his own.

Un Ballo in Maschera – Metropolitan Opera (August 20)

In a week where you could have picked the likes of Roberto Alagna, Anna Netrebko, Kathleen, or Renata Scotto, we are going to recommend this classic telecast of “Un Ballo in Maschera” with Luciano Pavarotti in the lead role. This is one of the Italian tenor’s best Verdi roles and his performance here features the tenor at the tail end of his vocal prime where his musical maturity and artistry were arguably at their peak. What’s more, Aprille Millo, in her vocal prime, stars alongside him as Amelia with Leo Nucci, also at his vocal best, as Renato. Throw in Florence Quivar and Harolyn Blackwell and this is a spotless cast through and through.

Lisa Bielawa’s ‘Broadcast from Home’ – Kaufman Center (Aug. 20 & 21)

The Black Clown – Harlem Week (August 21)

Davóne Tines leads a unique audio excerpt of “The Black Clown” as part of the celebration of Harlem Week. The work had its premiere at the Mostly Mozart Festival in 2019 to solid reviews with OperaWire noting “Lovers of opera and modern works alike can find much within ‘The Black Clown’ to inspire or remind them that from struggle comes victory, from ignorance comes understanding, and from hate comes love.”

While you won’t get a chance to see the full work in this presentation, it will allow you a window into what it has to offer as we await a future production.

Fairy Queen – Glyndebourne (August 23)

For those seeking out more baroque opera in their lives, Glyndebourne is ready to fulfill those wishes with this Purcell opera. This stream features a cast that includes Miriam Allan, Lucy Crowe, Claire Debono, Anna Devin, Helen-Jane Howells, Rachel Redmond, Carolyn Sampson, Robert Burt, Sean Clayton, Ed Lyon, Adrian Ward, Desmond Barrit, Andrew Foster-Williams, William Gaunt, Terrence Hardiman, Helen Bradbury, Susannah Wise, Oliver le Sueur, Oliver Kieran Jones, Sally Dexter, Joseph Millson, Jotham Annan, Taliesin Knight, Desmond Barrit, Robert Burt, Paul McCleary, Jack Chissick, Brian Pettifer, and Roger Sloman. William Christie conducts a production directed by Jonathan Kent.