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BWW Feature: ONLINE OPERA VIRTUAL TOUR SEPT 5-12 at Home Computer Screens

From Los Angeles to San Francisco, New York and Europe.

BWW Feature: ONLINE OPERA VIRTUAL TOUR SEPT 5-12 at Home Computer Screens On Wednesday, Sept. 9, Los Angeles Opera at Home will present "Song of Los Angeles," a concert featuring participants of the company's Virtual Opera Camp. The week's streaming schedule features a living room recital beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 10, with tenor Anthony Ciaramitaro of the company's young artist program. He joins forces with pianists Miah Im and Louis Lohraseb in a program of Italian songs and music from Show Boat along with Ricky Ian Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath. Back now for a return engagement is Latonia Moore's tremendously popular recital featuring "Tatiana's Letter Scene" from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.

Happy Hour music for the Magic Opera Flying Carpet Virtual Tour, enroute from Los Angeles to San Francisco begins with "Nessun Dorma," ("No One May Sleep"), from Puccini's Turandot sung by Giuseppe Giacomini, curated by fellow tenor, Carl Tanner. After the Giacomini clip, we play Carl Tanner's rendition of "Donna non vidi mai" ("Lady I've Never Seen Before") from Puccini's Manon Lescaut. It's a short flight, so we'll just have a few sips of local wine or almond milk, brie en croute, and fruit from our chef's tempting arrangement.

Tanner sings Des Grieux' aria "Donna non vidi mai:"

San Francisco Opera has been filming performances for many years and they have a considerable catalogue of past shows. Their 2014 Lucrezia Borgia is staged by John Pascoe and conducted by Riccardo Frizza. The cast includes Fleming, De Shong, Fabiano, and Kowaljow.



The next morning we leave for New York where we are joined by portrait painter Gianni de Giugno who has agreed to paint Manon-la-Chat. We have yet to see her sit still for more than a few minutes, but we hope for the best. Manon was fascinated by the little gray and white cat in Ruben's painting of The Annunciation.

It's a choose-your-own-restaurant night for tour members and people find food favorites within walking distance of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center.

Here are the Met's opera choices:

Friday, Sept. 4 and Saturday, Sept. 5, Gershwin's Porgy and Bess from 2/1/20. Cast: Blue, Schultz, Moore, Graves, Ballentine, Owens, Walker, Singletary, conducted by David Robertson.

Sunday, September 6, Adès's The Tempest from 11/10/12. Cast: Luna, Leonard, Davies, Shrader, Oke, Burden, Keenlyside, conducted by composer Thomas Adès.

Monday, September 7, Massenet's Manon from 4/7/12.Cast: Netrebko, Beczała, Szot, Pittsinger, conducted by Fabio Luisi.

Tuesday, September 8, Gounod's Roméo et Juliette from 1/21/17. Cast: Damrau, Grigolo, Petrenko, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda.

Wednesday, September 9, Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust from 11/22/08. Cast: Graham, Giordani, Relyea, conducted by James Levine.

Thursday, September 10, Massenet's Cendrillon from 4/28/18. Cast: Kim, DiDonato, Coote, Blythe, Naouri, conducted by Bertrand de Billy.

Friday, September 11, Bizet's Les Pêcheurs de Perles (The Pearlfishers) from 1/16/16. Cast: Damrau, Polenzani, Kwiecień, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda.

Saturday, September 12, Berlioz's Les Troyens from 1/5/13.

Cast: Voigt, Graham, Hymel, Croft, Youn, conducted by Fabio Luisi.

As we load up the Magic Opera Flying Carpet, there is thunder and heavy rain. Taking off from our small airport in New Jersey, we peer into the blackness of the North Atlantic. Hopefully, we're heading for warmer and less stormy climes. Meanwhile, we'll be snoozing with seatbelts on. Even Manon has a seatbelt that attaches to her rhinestone-bedecked flight harness.

In Ferrara, we eat pasta with sauce and save room for the town's famous dessert, Zuppa Inglese. It's neither soup nor English. It is liqueur-soaked sponge cake layered with pastry cream, sweetened fruit and, if desired, chocolate. The dessert was created in the 16th century for the Dukes of Este, who resided in Ferrara.

The Ferrarese Don Giovanni is from 1997 at the city's Teatro Communale. Lorenzo Mariani directs. Claudio Abbado conducts the Chamber Orchestra of Europe with soloists: Remigio, Antonacci Lazaretto, Keenlyside, Terfel, D'Arcangelo, and Salminen.



After a continental breakfast and some excellent cappuccino, we are off to Milan for Il Viaggio a Reims by Rossini, from 2009. The cast includes Remigio, Massis, Barcellona, Ciofi, Gattel, and Korchak. The Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala, are conducted by Ottavio Dantone. Subtitles are in French.



Because none of us are fluent in Croatian, we have a translator coming with us. Bozidar is a music student from Zagreb studying in Milan. He has also brought us some recordings of Croatia's most famous opera star, Zinka Milanov. When we asked him about eating dinner in Zagreb he suggested a chic bistro near the opera. I was most surprised to discover I could get the food I loved in Salzburg, little spicy sausages called cevapcici, along with strukli, cheese blintzes with sour cream, and knedli, sugared sweet potato dumplings filled with fruit. None of us will be losing weight in Croatia.

Puccini's Turandot was recorded at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb in 2018. The opera is a coproduction with the Sferisterio Opera Festival in Macerata, Italy. Subtitles are in English. The cast includes Rebeka Lokar, Valentina Filjacko Kopic, and Renzo Julian. The creative project is by Ricci/Forte. The director is Stefano Ricci and the conductor is Marcello Mottadelli. In 2017, the directing duo of Ricci/Forte were awarded the Italian Music Critics Award for best direction.

Milanov and Bjorling:


Rossini-in-Wildbad is a Bel Canto opera festival founded in 1989 near Karlruhe. It specialises in the lesser-known operas of Gioachino Rossini and his contemporaries. The festival commemorates a stay by Rossini at the town's spa in 1856. Manon found it interesting that this was a festival of Italian music in Germany. We dined at the Vogelbräu on malt-crusted Schnitzel and hot potato salad which we washed down with pitchers of dark brew.

The Wildbad Festival filmed Rossini's La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie) in 2009. Their stage direction is by Anke Rauthmann. Rychiro Sonoda conducts the Virtuosi Brunesis and the Classica Chamber Chorus of Brno.



It's raining in Germany as we embark for the Netherlands where water comes at travelers from below as well as above. Why-o, why-o, did we ever leave Ohio? No, no, no, California. The sun is there and the opera here, what to do?When we arrive at The Hague, there is just a little bit of sun peeking between ominous dark clouds. Staying near the water, we eat crispy fried salt water fish at a rustic seaside restaurant. On returning to the Magic Opera Flying Carpet Cabin for a raincoat, Manon slips out the door and is gone when I have to leave for the opera.

Before the opera/ballet begins at the Netherland Dance Theater, Jiri Kylian tells the story of the work in English. L'Enfant et les Sortilèges ("The Child and the Spells") has a libretto by Colette and music by Maurice Ravel. Readers might like to know that Colette wanted the protagonist to be a little girl but Ravel said he would not compose music for the piece unless the child was a boy. So it remains, but maybe not forever.

Now we "set sail"for our home-away-from-home, Leeds, England. Manon appears at the door, soaking wet and smelling of rotten fish. Several feline companions in the same condition assure me they spent a pleasure-filled night gorging on left-overs in a restaurant dumpster. As the tenor exclaims in Massenet's opera, "Ah! Manon."

Most of us have tired of meat pies, so on this rare occasion, we have Italian food when we aren't in Italy...and we eat it before attending a German opera! Manon looks up from her cuisine-de-chat with disgust. Never mind, the cast of Wagner's Siegfried is as international as our dinner plan. Its cast includes Lars Cleveman, Katherine Broderick, Richard Roberts, Béla Perencz, Jo Pohlheim, Mats Almgren, Jeni Bern, and Claudia Huckle.

After our usual, huge English breakfast, we take off for Berlin and the Waldbühne or woods stage where Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, and Rolando Villazon sang a memorable concert in 2006 with The Orchestra of the German Opera Berlin directed by Marco Armiliato.

The program is as follows:

Verdi: Nabucco: Overture

Cilea: L'Arlesiana: "E' la solita storia" ("It's the same old story")

Puccini: Gianni Schicchi: "O mio babbino caro" ("O my beloved Daddy")

Massenet: Le Mage: (The Wizard) "Ah! Parais!" ("Ah! Appear")

Verdi: Otello: "Già nella notte densa" ("Here in the dense night")

Bizet: Carmen: Act 3 Prelude; Les pêcheurs de perles: "Au fond du temple saint" ("Below the holy temple")

Rossini: Semiramide: Overture

Grever: "Jurame" ("Swear to me")

Lehár: Giuditta: "Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiss" ("My lips kiss so hot")

De Curtis: "Non ti scordar di me" ("Don't leave me")

Puccini: La Bohème: "O soave fanciulla" ("O sweet girl")

Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana: Intermezzo

Rendine: "Vurria" ("I would like")

Bernstein: West Side Story: "Tonight"

Rossini: "La danza,"

Puccini: La Bohème: "Quando m'en vo soletta" ("When I go out")

Sorozabal: La tabernera del puerto: "No puede ser" ("It cannot be")

Verdi: La Traviata: "Brindisi" ("Drinking Song")

Lehár: Das Land des Lächelns (The Land of Smiles): "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz" ("Yours is my heart alone")
After a final libation, tour members and a cat-on-her-best-behavior settle into the Magic Opera Flying Carpet for an over-the-pole trip back to the city of angels. Travel is exciting and a great deal of fun, but it's also good to return home to loved ones.

Photo of Latonia Moore from Los Angeles Opera.

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