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BWW Feature: ONLINE OPERA VIRTUAL TOUR AUG 29-SEPT 5 at Home Computer Screens

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Opera in Five European Countries, all Viewed from Your Armchair.

BWW Feature: ONLINE OPERA VIRTUAL TOUR AUG 29-SEPT 5 at Home Computer ScreensThis week on the Los Angeles Opera website soprano Ana María Martínez performs the famous "Song to the Moon" from Antonín Dvořák's Rusalka, along with a selection of captivating Spanish songs. They include "La Petenera" by Federico Moreno-Torroba, the "Poema en Forma de Canciones" by Joaquín Turina, "Muñequita Linda" by María Grever, "Amanecer" by Monsita Ferrer, and "Preciosa" by Rafael Hernández Marín. Her finale is "Something's Coming" from Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story.

Beginning September 2, at noon PDT, join bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee, an alumnus of LAO's young artist program, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Feinstein, tenor Chaz'men Williams-Ali and pianist Aurelia Andrews, also a former LAO young artist, for a "Living Room Recital" of arias, duets and trios. Beginning September 4, at 4 pm PDT, current members of the company's young artist program perform songs from "Golden Age" musicals like Show Boat, My Fair Lady, and Kismet.

This week's Magic Opera Flying Carpet Tour leaves Los Angeles for a city I used to know well but now have not seen in more than 20 years, Montecarlo. Monaco's airport can't accommodate us so we park outside of Nice and bus up the cliffside road to the riviera's most sophisticated town. Restaurants are a whole new game here. For our first meal, I want a view of the ocean and some of the Monegasque national dish, Barbagiuan. Locals translate it as Uncle John. It's rather like a quiche filled with ricotta, and Swiss chard, or parmesan and onion. After dinner, we see this year's new production of Puccini's La Bohème directed by Jean Louis Grijda. Daniele Gallegari conducts soloists and the Montecarlo Philharmonic.

After the opera, our bus waits for the people who think they have too much money with them. They can lighten their pockets quickly at the casino! Soon we are rolling along the narrow mountain-side road back to the Magic Opera Flying Carpet parked near Nice. Manon-la-Chat was not happy at being left alone in the cabin when we graced the shores of Montecarlo. She helped herself to a cat toy, actually one of my "liquid silver" drop earrings. Her stolen treasure is stashed under a cabinet and it's mate may never turn up. I do hope she didn't swallow it.

The next morning she comes with us for breakfast because we need a translator. Isn't it amazing that when the dishes arrive, no matter what the guest wanted, each plate has meat on it that Manon likes. She's as slippery as an eel.

Leeds, England feels like a second home because we were there last week. Back at the Little Yorkshire Pie Shop, everyone on the tour orders a different kind of concoction so we can try out all their dishes. I love their turkey, ham, and leek quiche. Manon eats the meat out of the lamb and mint pie and leaves me to savor the herbs. Many Angelinos enjoy mac n'cheese or veggies and cheese en croute. After coffee, it's time to bus over to Opera North for Die Walküre directed by Peter Mumford and conducted by Richard Farnes. In the cast are Kelly Cae Hogan, Lee Bisset, Michael Weinius, Robert Hayward, and James Creswell. Ring Page Entire Cycle at One Click Act I Act II Act III

From Leeds in Northern England, the Magic Opera Flying Carpet takes the virtual tour group to Antwerp even though actual travel to the city is now restricted. Medieval Antwerp was built on Belgium's River Scheldt. Its centuries-old Diamond District houses thousands of diamond traders, cutters and polishers. At the behest of Manon, we visit the 17th-century Peter Paul Rubens House where period rooms display works by the Flemish Baroque painter. Rubens second depiction of the Annunciation includes Mary's cat. Although we did not have time for dinner before the opera, a bit of the Belgian liqueur, L'Elisir d'Anvers, hit the spot.

Opera Antwerp and Opera Vlanderen have filmed Fromental Halévy's La Juive (The Jewess). Directed by Peter Konwitschny and conducted by Antonino Fogliani, the cast includes Corinne Winters and Roy Cornelius Smith.


Rubens House


Music online to Sept 1.

We take off toward the southeast for Florence, Italy, in the wee hours of the morning so that we can watch the sun rise in all it's orange-and-pink glory over the glistening, reflective ice-bound peaks of the Alps.

At the Pergola Theater, the Florence May Festival presents W. A. Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio with Eva Mej, Patrizia Ciofi, Rainer Trost, Mehrzad Montazeri, and Kurt Rydl. Zubin Mehta conducts the Fiorentino Maggio Musicale Chorus and Orchestra.



Our last European stop is Berlin, the city where as a young girl I watched birds fly over the wall that kept Germans apart and tried to make them enemies of each other. Thank goodness the wall did not work and is long gone. Berlin is again the vibrant cultural, artistic city that is its birthright. Our dinner is replete with Königsberger Klopse, pork meatballs, each containing a bit of anchovy, cooked in broth. From that broth chefs make a roux-thickened sauce adding capers and sour cream just before they pour it over the meatballs.

At the Academy for Ancient Music we are hearing Handel's
Agrippina in a very different version from that of the Met's Live in HD. Led by Rene Jacobs, we hear Alexandrina Pendatchanska, Jennifer Rivera, Bejun Mehta, and Dominique Visse with the period instrument orchestra.

After a serious evening and hopefully a good sound sleep on the Magic Opera Flying Carpet, we take off for London and go back in time to 1996 when all three tenors were performing at Wembley Stadium.

James Levine conducts and The Three Tenors perform at We I time mbley Stadium, London in July 1996.

Candide overture

Jose Carreras - "E la solita storia del pastore," "Federico's Lament," from Cilea's L'Arlesiana

Luciano Pavarotti - "Mamma! Quel vino è generoso" from Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana

Placido Domingo - "O souverain, o juge, o père" from Massenet's Le Cid

MEDLEY, "Because," "La Danza," "Be My Love," " Marrechiarre," "Te Quiero Dijiste," "Torna a Surriento"

Domingo - "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz"

Pavarotti - "Mamma"

Carreras - "Granada"

Domingo - "E Lucevan le stelle" from Puccini's Tosca

Carreras - "Un di all'azzurro spazio" from Giordano's Andrea Chenier

MEDLEY - "Maria," "Tonight," O paese D'O Sole," "Cielito Lindo," "Moon River" "Caminito," "Mattinata," "Amapola," "O Sole Mio,"

ENCORES - "La Donna è Mobile," "Torna a Surriento," "Maria," "Tonight," "O paese Di Sole," "O Sole Mio"

Does that concert not bring back some great memories? Still humming the tunes, our group re-boards the Magic Opera Flying Carpet for pleasant dreams and the trip back to sunny Los Angeles.

Photo of Ana Maria Martînez by Svetlana Pasedko.

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From This Author Maria Nockin