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BWW Feature: ONLINE OPERA VIRTUAL TOUR AUGUST 15-22 at Home Computer Screens

Links to Free Online Opera and a Most Unusual Rossini Duet

BWW Feature: ONLINE OPERA VIRTUAL TOUR AUGUST 15-22 at Home Computer Screens

Here are some of the online events for the week of August 15 - 22 under LA Opera's banner, LAO At Home. On Tuesday, August 18, at 4 PM PDT, the "Grown-Up Edition of Learn at Home" lets music lovers join Jeremy Frank at the piano for "Opera Happy Hours" which feature murder mysteries, verismo stories and dance.

Don't miss the "Special Edition: L A Opera Orchestra Living Room Recital." Members perform some of their favorite pieces as arranged by James Conlon.

Beginning Wednesday, August 19, at 4 PM PDT, bass-baritone Philip Cokorinos offers a Living Room Recital. Cokorinos has been a mainstay at LA Opera since 2007, with memorable appearances as Benoit/Alcindoro in La Boheme, the Sacristan in Tosca and Suleyman Pasha in The Ghosts of Versailles. His online recital with pianist David Holkeboer shows a completely different side of his artistry, with songs by Schubert, Brahms and Cole Porter.

On Friday, August 21, tenor Andrew Owens makes his virtual company debut, joined by pianist Chris Reynolds and flautist Jessica Warren in a "Living Room Recital" beginning at 4 PM PDT. Their program is made up of Italian romances and songs made famous by Mario Lanza.

On Saturday morning staff, tour group, and pets pile into the cabin of the Magic Opera Flying Carpet and we take of for an over-the-pole flight to The Netherlands. Since 1955, Netherlands Touring Opera, which is based in Enschede, performs in various Dutch cities. This year, however, it performs online. We stop at "The Big Swan" for local sea food. Zeeland mussels are farmed in this part of Holland. The shellfish are cooked rapidly with a dash of white wine, garlic, onion, celery and carrot. I love them with a glass of white wine.

From there, we head to the theatre for Monteverdi's Baroque opera, L'Orfeo. Director Monique Wagemakers asks the question: Would you turn back the clock to hold on to lost happiness? Answering the question, her production marries opera and dance. Herman Schvartzman conducts soloists and La Sfera Armoniosa

A short flight takes us up into the Alps, and we land in Zurich where we eat some cheese fondue and grab hot chocolate on our way to the opera. Don Carlo is long so it starts early. The Don Carlo cast includes: Cura, Prokina, D'Intino, Colombara, and Salminen. Werner Düggelin directs and Franz Welser-Möst Conducts.

The next morning we stay to dine on a full Dutch breakfast: rolls, meat, eggs, potatoes, and everything else imaginable. Arriving in Vienna we sample afternoon coffee, chocolate cake, and a dollop of sahne, of course. For dinner I decide to eat beuschel, a local dish made with veal innards. Seasoned with mustard, vinegar, sugar and marjoram, beuschel is served with sour cream.

At the Theatre Cinématique we watch La Bohème, a 2008 Austrian-German film with English Titles, directed by Robert Dornhelm. The cast includes: Anna Netrebko Rolando Villazón, Nicole Cabell and Vitalij Kowaljow.

In the morning, the Magic Opera Flying Carpet flies northeast to Cardiff, Wales, where we will enjoy Frank Martin's version of this locality's Tristan Legend, Le Vin Herbé. Polly Graham directs the production for Welsh National Opera (Opera Cenedlaethol Cymru). James Southall conducts soloists and orchestra.



A search for a vegetarian alternative to the "Breakfast Banger" ends at the southernmost tip of Wales. There, chefs create flavorful "Glamorgan" wraps using leeks, mustard, herbs, breadcrumbs, and intense white cheese.

We arrive in Hampshire, England, for the Grange Festival and set the Magic Opera Flying Carpet down at a nearby local air field. A short walk brings us to "The Black Rat," which serves local venison with home-grown vegetables, watercress, and a sauce made from meat drippings, juniper berries, butter, cognac, and red wine.

According to Director Walter Sutcliffe, Handel's Agrippina at Grange Fest is a satirical comedy about love, politics and a very sexy meddling mother. The cast includes Ashley Riches, Anna Bonitatibus, Stefanie True, and Raffaele Pe. Robert Howarth conducts The Academy of Ancient Music.

Manon-la-Chat wants to go out late at night. After the opera, the majority of people in the cabin of the Magic Opera Carpet want to sleep. However, it seems that a cat called Deuteronomy Jr. told Manon, "The Feline Amateur Opera Society is meeting on the roof of a nearby church at 3 AM. We are rehearsing Cat-lover Gioachino Rossini's Duetto Buffo di Due Gatti (Comic Duet for Two Cats) and I'm one of the protagonists."

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Victoria de los Angeles sing the Rossini Cat Duet, audio only.

I thought Manon would be safe if she stayed on a flat part of the roof, but she joined the chorus for Act II. Watching this strange presentation, I heard some bonified Katzenjammer from below and at dawn a rather sheepish kitty meowed at the door. By mid-morning when we are packing up to leave for Los Angeles, Manon sleeps curled up tightly in her corner. Perhaps she dreams of singing the Cat Duet with Charlemagne.

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