Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Feature: ONLINE OPERA VIRTUAL TOUR SEPT 12-19 at Home Computer Screens

Article Pixel

San Francisco, Salt Lake, and Europe as far as Russia

BWW Feature: ONLINE OPERA VIRTUAL TOUR SEPT 12-19 at Home Computer Screens

Los Angeles Opera's program of music from Golden Age Musicals features pianist/curator Brendon Shapiro, and the company's 2019/20 young artists, Anthony Ciaramitaro, Sarah Vautour, Robert Stahley, Taylor Raven, Alaysha Fox, Sylvia D'Eramo, Tiffany Townsend, Gabriela Flores, Michael J. Hawk, and Erica Petrocelli singing music by Bernstein, Cahn, Lerner, Kern, Gershwin, Rodgers, Porter, Wright/Borodin, Herman, Romberg, and Loesser.

Soprano Tiffany Townsend and pianist Nino Sanikidze, the head coach of the young artist program, offer a "Living Room Recital" that includes thoughtful Rachmaninov songs from different periods in his life and five glorious Spirituals arranged/adapted by Hall Johnson, Moses Hogan and Margaret Bonds.

After an early lunch, we load up the Magic Opera Flying Carpet for the short hop to San Francisco and the Baroque opera of Ars Minerva, whose mission is to bring forgotten music back to life. In its online series Cocktails & Chit-Chat, Ars Minerva presents rare repertoire and unfairly neglected composers.

On September 17th at 6 PM PST on Zoom, Ars Minerva will have an online event dedicated to Joseph Bologne, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges. The company will perform excerpts of his opera L'Amant Anonyme and his Sonata in A Major for Harpsichord and Violin. Soprano Michele Kennedy and tenor Kevin Gino will sing. Harpsichordist/pianist Jory Vinikour and violinist Laura Rubinstein Salzedo will accompany and perform the sonata.

I am aghast! Je suis desolée. Manon-la-Chat has left my recliner/bed to sleep with the painter, Gianni, who has only returned to finish her portrait. When he has finished he will leave you, Manon. I actually sleep quite well alone, kitty, without you claw-combing my hair at 3 AM.

This morning we depart for Salt Lake City, Utah. Before the show, we eat take-out tacos from the Navajo Hogan. These tacos are made with fry bread instead of tortillas. Similar to Mexican tacos, these contain spiced ground beef, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, onion, cheese, and sour cream.

In Salt Lake we see a filmed performance of Offenbach's La Perichole from 1980. This is the Chichester Festival's English version presented by The Singers Company. Maestro John Owen Edwards conducts Eirian James, Mike Bulman, Alan Watt, Charles Metcalfe, Nigel Beavan and the Chichester Festival Theatre Orchestra.

Now we prepare for the long flight to France. So, I call a restaurant in Orange for dinner reservations. The chef suggests tapenade, spiced olives and capers topped with an olive oil/lemon juice mixture served on toast as an appetizer. For the main dish she offers Salade Niçoise. Hers is made with beans, potatoes, lettuce, green peppers, and tomatoes garnished with quartered hard-boiled eggs, anchovies and tuna. Dressing should be simple, she says, perhaps herbed oil and vinegar.

In Orange we eat very close to the theater and make arrangements to have drinks (and thus use the facilities) at intermission. In this Carmen from 2004, Beatrice Uria Monzon sings the title role, Roberto Alagna is Don Jose, Ludovic Tezier, Escamillo; and Norah Amsellem, Micaela. Myung Whun Chung conducts the French National Orchestra for Radio France in Orange's ancient stone outdoor theater.

We're bringing seat cushions and warm jackets to fend off Provence's famous west wind, the Mistral. Since everyone brings clothing and cushions to the opera in Orange, no one notices Manon in her little, pink kitty bag until she meows "Bravo" at the very end.



Arriving in Montpellier early in the morning, we board a bus for a tour of the oyster and shellfish farm at the Thau Lagoon. We follow it with a lunch of assorted cheeses and a visit to the tasting room of a local wine estate. For dinner we eat clapassade, a traditional French dish that originated in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon where Montpellier is located. Although it has many variations, clapassade is generally made with stewed lamb, honey, olives, and star anise.

Afterward, we travel to the Elne Cathedral in Roussillon for a concert of sacred music from medieval Spain performed by the Maîtrise de Radio France, at Radio France's 2013 festival. Sofi Jeannin and François Lazarevitch conduct.


"O virgo splendens"

"Stella splendens"

"Laudemus virginem"

"Mariam, matrem virginem, attolite"

"Polorum regina"

"Cuncti simus concanentes"

"Splendens ceptigera"

"Los set gotxs"

"Imperayritz de la ciutat joyosa"

"Ad mortem festinamus"

"Six cantigas de Santa Maria"

Flying to Italy over night, we arrive outside of Venice by sunrise and take the vaporetto into the city later that morning. By midmorning, the sun is shining and Venetian cats are enjoying the warmth, stretched out along the edges of the piazzas. Only Manon and Gianni, the painter, stay to eat and work in the cabin.

As the sun begins to set, we reassemble at La Fenice (The Phoenix) for Gluck's opera, Alceste. Guillaume Tourniaire conducts Carmela Remigio, Ludovico Furlani, Zuzana Markova, Anita Teodoro, and Giorgio Misseri, with the Chorus and Orchestra of Teatro La Fenice. Direction, sets and costumes are by Pier Luigi Pizzi. Titles are in English.

Before embarking on this tour that includes Russia, we made sure that everyone knew to bring warm gloves, boots and clothes that can be layered for changes in temperature. When we land the weather is fair and it's not cold at all. We have a dinner in town that includes all sorts of savory pancakes. Russian pancakes are cooked, stuffed with fillings such as meat, cabbage, or cottage cheese and then fried again to seal them into a roll. Our restaurant serves them with sour cream and a bit of caviar on top.

The Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, presents Borodin's Prince Igor in a 1998 performance by Kirov Opera and Ballet. Valery Gergiev conducts and the team of Yevgeny Sokovnin and Irkin Sabitov directs. The cast includes Gorchakova, Borodina, Putilin, and Vaneev.


Music: Part 1:

Part 2:

It's our last trip to Opera North in Leeds, England, for Wagner's Ring. We've all made acquaintances there and we expect to keep in touch online. The Götterdämmerug cast includes Kelly Cae Hogan, Giselle Allen, Susan Bickley, Mati Turi, Mats Almgren, Andrew Foster-Williams, and Jo Pohlheim. Titles are in English.

Before leaving, we stop at the Little Yorkshire Pie Company for some meat pie takeout that we won't get in the States. We told them yesterday that we were coming and they baked a tiny ground beef pastry just for Manon. Now it's a swift trip to Los Angeles, strong sunlight, and spicier food.

LA Opera photo of Young Artist Program Members: Hawk, D'Eramo, Flores, Fox, Stahley, and Townsend.

Related Articles View More Los Angeles Stories   Shows

From This Author Maria Nockin