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BWW Feature: FREE ONLINE OPERA/SONG JUNE 26 - JULY 3 at Home Computer Screens


BWW Feature: FREE ONLINE OPERA/SONG JUNE 26 - JULY 3 at Home Computer Screens

Los Angeles Opera (LAO) has an array of 25 "Living Room Recitals" available for the enjoyment of Angelenos and others who visit the LAO website. Among them are personal concerts by: Morris Robinson, Rod Gilfry, Amanda Woodbury, Christopher Maltman, and Angel Blue. Having made a monumental impression on the American public with her portrayal of Bess in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess at the Met, Blue shows her charismatic personality and her love for the music of Richard Strauss in her "Living Room Recital."

Soprano Angel Blue sings with pianist Dan Saunders. They perform: Befreit (Free), Allerseelen (All Souls), and Die Nacht (The Night) by Richard Strauss; Ne poi krasavitsa (Never sing to me again) and Veseniyode (Spring waters) by Rachmaninoff; "Tacea la notte placida" from Verdi's Il Trovatore; and the Spirituals Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, Deep River, and Ride On, King Jesus.

On her Facebook show, Karen Slack's guest for Thursday, July 2 at 5:00 P.M. PST will be Josh Winograde, Senior Director of Artistic Programming at LA Opera.

Long Beach is a short drive from downtown LA, providing the freeway traffic gods are happy with us. Roughly a year ago, Long Beach Opera presented the world premiere of Richard Wesley and Anthony Davis' opera The Central Park Five which won the Pulitzer Prize for Music shortly afterwards. Currently, readers can hear excerpts from the opera along with insightful comments by the cast on the Long Beach Opera website.

We have parked our Virtual Magic Opera Flying Carpet at one of Long Beach's nearby docks, so stroll down to the water and come on board to enjoy our trip to Santa Fe New Mexico, the "City Different." Acclaimed mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, a Santa Fe Opera audience favorite, hosts the Opening Night of the digital season, a celebration of Rossini's The Barber of Seville from the stage of the Santa Fe Opera on Friday, July 3 at 6:00 P.M.

The Magic Opera Flying Carpet's next stop is New Jersey where the Princeton Festival will stream Wagner's The Flying Dutchman at 10:00 A.M. on Sunday, June 28. Would readers risk eating "New Jersey Danger Dogs?" They are deep-fried, bacon-wrapped hot dogs served with eggs and melted cheese.

That repast should hold our appetites until we arrive in Rome for ziti al forno and the Rome Opera's Tosca. A friend asked what Scarpia eats in Act II. It's probably Phony Phood à L'Opera. The actual streaming dates for Tosca are: June 26, 27, and 28. In a production by Franco Zeffirelli, Plácido Domingo conducts a cast that includes Ines Salazar in the title role, Luciano Pavarotti as Cavaradossi, and Juan Pons as Scarpia,

From Rome, we head south on the Carpet for the Canary Islands. Our travel guide insists we should top off at least one meal in Las Palmas finished with traditional Bienmesabe. An ancient dessert of Arabic origin, it's made with ground almonds, sugar, eggs, and lemon zest. This week Opera di Las Palmas, on Gran Canaria Island, has put its 2011 rendition of Bellini's Norma online for our enjoyment. Directed by Mario Pontiggia, Fabrizio Maria Carminati conducts a cast including: Dimitra Theodossiou, Fabio Sartori, Ruxandra Donose, and Carlo Colombara.

The Armel Opera Festival has its office in Budapest, Hungary but produces modern opera in various countries. Armel's version of Leon Janáček's song cycle, The Diary of One Who Disappeared, is produced as a chamber opera accompanied by piano. Staged by the legendary Belgian director Ivo van Hove, this piece tells the story of a an old man who imagines a younger version of himself falling in love with a beautiful young Gypsy girl, Zefka. Eventually, his actions result in his becoming a stranger in his own land. The cast includes: Wim van der Grijn, Marie Hamard, and Andrew Dickinson. Jonathan Ware is the pianist.

For a post-performance supper, we are expected at a nearby Budapest restaurant for "meggyleves," a refreshing cold cherry soup made with fresh fruit and sour cream. Then, we're off to the west and the high alps via Magic Carpet.

On our way we can eat some dark bread slathered in Liptauer, a cheese spread seasoned with spicy Hungarian paprika, onion, caraway seeds, and capers. Landing in Salzburg, Austria, requires great skill from the pilot. He has to descend quickly because the runway is short and there are mountains on every side. The Salzburg Festival's virtual offering is Verdi's Il Trovatore (The Troubador) set in a museum, as conceived by Alvis Hermanis. Francisco Meli is the troubadour with a cast that includes Anna Netrebko, Plácido Domingo, and Marie-Nicole Lemieux. Daniele Gatti conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the large festspielhaus.

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Our last virtual stop before returning to Los Angeles is London and those of us with British heritage simply have to stop for afternoon tea so we can eat supper after the show. Along with the actual cups of tea, our choices include crustless finger sandwiches, scones, and scrumptious slices of cake. Thanks to Anna Russell, the early 19th-century Duchess of Bedford, afternoon tea became the small meal that fills the long gap between lunch and a late dinner. No, she's not Wagner's Anna Russell. Kurt Weill wrote Street Scene after coming to the United States, and Langston Hughes wrote its lyrics. In 1992, British Director David Pountney created a fabulous version of the work for English National Opera that we can watch online. Leslie Garrett sings Rose with a cast of hundreds of talented artists conducted by James Holmes. Enjoy the show and some of London until the Magic Opera Flying Carpet calls us to board for the trip back to Los Angeles.

Photo of Angel Blue by S. Garza

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