Roberto Alagna, Aleksandra Kurzak, Lise Davidsen, Damien Geter, Lead Top 10 Operas to Stream This Week

By David Salazar

We are deep into the summer, but opera has not stopped. We are getting live performances throughout Europe and still getting full slates of online opera offerings. So for this week’s recommendations, we are looking at a wide range of options, including a few classic works, a recital from two major opera stars, and a lot of new operas.

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.

Fidelio – Royal Opera House / BBC Four (NOW)

Lise Davidsen headlines one of the most hotly anticipated productions of 2020 and one of the final ones to take flight before the COVID-19 lockdown dominated the entire world. BBC Four will be presenting the work for a few weeks on its online platform, and this is definitely not one you will want to miss. The cast also include David Butt Philip, Georg Zeppenfeld, Simon Neal, Amanda Forsythe, and Robin Tritschler

“[Davidsen’s] soprano is volcanic in its power, molten in its heat and energy, though its force is never bludgeoning nor metallic. Her technique is such that changes in registration are imperceptible and her legato a great tumultuous wave; the timbres she produces luminesce and enfold, whether singing softly or at full pelt,” said OperaWire’s review of one performance in this run. 

Inside Blue – Mostly Mozart Festival (August 14)

“Blue” is an hour-long documentary on Jeanine Tesori’s acclaimed new opera about police brutality and racism. The broadcast will feature musical highlights from the opera’s 2019 premiere at the Glimmerglass Festival, along with commentary from Tesori, librettist Tazewell Thompson, and musicologist Naomi Andre.

Elektra – Salzburg Festival / Orf 2 (August 10 & 15)

The Salzburg Festival’s production of Strauss’ famed opera will be broadcast on August 10 at 10:30 p.m. CET via ORF 2 and on August 15 via 3sat. The cast includes Aušrinė Stundytė in the title role, Tanja Ariane Baumgartner in the role of Klytämnestra, Asmik Grigorian as Chrysothemis, Michael Laurenz as Aegisth, and Derek Welton in the role of Orest. It should be one of the highlights of the summer season and any chance to check it out, however, limited, is one you cannot pass up.

Hadrian – Canadian Opera Company (August 10)

Rufus Wainwright’s opera will be featured in a watch party setting during which audiences will get a chance to engage in a Q & A with the composer and librettist Daniel MacIvor. The opera stars Thomas Hampson in the title role alongside Isaiah Bell, Karita Mattila, and Ambur Braid.

#OperaHarmony – OperaVision (August 11)

OperaVision will present the second week of its #OperaHarmony series. This time around, audiences will get to check out “Wisdom of Stone” by Anne Sophie Duprels; “Essential Business;” “Sleeping & Walking Are Their Names;” “Harold & Keith Attempt To Use Zoom To Discuss The Potential Takeover of Beloved Football Club Newcastle United: An Opera;” and No Room. No Room. No Room.” Those who love new opera will have a lot to look forward to.

Music for Life – Los Angeles Opera (August 11)

LA Opera will present “Music for Life,” a celebration of the company’s healthcare initiatives and partnerships with performances starring Nandani Sinha, Jamie Chamberlin, Nathan Granner, Patrick Blackwell, and Orson Van Gay II.

Songs of Summer with Damien Geter – Seattle Opera (August 13)

The bass-baritone will join forces with pianist Jessica Hall to present a recital as part of Seattle Opera’s ongoing series. The concert will feature music by Verdi and Mozart, a variety of art songs, and a musical theatre selection.

La Voix Humaine – Helios Opera (August 14)

The Poulenc opera will be presented virtually on the company’s official website. It will be directed by Adrienne Boris and star soprano Théodora Cottarel in the role of Elle with Celeste Marie Johnson performing at the piano. The performance will be filmed and edited by Julien Rohel with audio production by Ken Silber at Silken Audio.

Hamlet – Glyndebourne (August 16)

A few years back, Brett Dean’s “Hamlet” was hailed as one of the great new operas. Those who missed it then will get a chance to check out the work as part of the Glyndebourne’s weekly programming. The new opera stars Allan Clayton, Barbara Hannigan, Sarah Connolly, Rod Gilfry, Kim Begley, John Tomlinson, David Butt Philip, Jacques Imbrailo, Rupert Enticknap, Christopher Lowrey, James Newby, John Findon, and Anthony Osborne. Vladimir Jurowski conducts a production by Neil Armfield.

Met Stars Live in Concert – Robert Alagna & Aleksandra Kurzak – Metropolitan Opera (August 16)

As per usual, the Met Opera’s nightly streams remain as intriguing as ever, but it’s the live performances we are looking out for. This time, audiences will get a chance to see the first duo in recital. Roberto Alagna and Aleksandra Kurzak were among the highlights of the Met Opera’s At Home Gala a few months back, so there is no doubt that this recital should provide a unique ambiance in comparison to ones presented by Jonas Kaufmann and Renée Fleming. They will perform duets from “Madama Butterfly,” “L’Elisir d’Amore,” “Cavalleria Rusticana,” and “Otello,” in addition to other arias.