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BWW Feature: ONLINE OPERA/SONG AUGUST 1 - 8 at Home Computer Screens

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BWW Feature: ONLINE OPERA/SONG AUGUST 1 - 8 at Home Computer Screens

BWW Feature: ONLINE OPERA/SONG AUGUST 1 - 8 at Home Computer Screens

Los Angeles Opera has amassed numerous online recitals by some of the world's finest opera singers and made them available for streaming on the company's website. For this week, I suggest a program by soprano Guanqun Yu and pianist Oliver Imig.

Chinese-born soprano Guanqun Yu sings in the most important opera houses and concert halls. In 2008, she won the Belvedere International Singing Competition and in 2012 she placed second in Operalia. Although she is best known for her portrayals of Mozart heroines, she has also had major successes singing works by Puccini and Verdi. Her accompanist, pianist and conductor Oliver Imig, has held positions at the Cologne and Innsbruck operas.

For their LA Opera "Living Room Recital," Yu and Imig perform: Beethoven's "Andenken" ("Souvenirs"); as well as Debussy's "Nuit d'étoiles" ("Starry Night") and "Mandoline." They continue with Donaudy's "O del mio amato ben" ("O of my beloved");"Guan Ju" ("Authority"), the second movement of Jiping Zhao's Song Symphony; and "La danza," Rossini's tarantella.

Oliver Imig plays Chopin's Étude, op. 10, no. 3. Together, Yu and Imig perform Liszt's "Pace non trovo" ("I don't find Peace"); Richard Strauss's "September" and "Beim Schlafengehen" ("At Bedtime"). They finish with Gabriel and Martin's "His Eye is on the Sparrow;" and the traditional "He's Got the Whole World in His Hand." yu-recital/ url=%2Fdiscover%2Flaoathome%2Fliving-room-recitals%2F&start=10

Now it's time to board the Magic Opera Flying Carpet for New York. For those who have not yet joined us on a flight, the cabin is decked out with red-flocked gold wallpaper reminiscent of Sherry's Restaurant in the old Met and we have a few mementos of that house on board. Some pieces of the old gold curtain are embedded in our draperies, for example.

All our technology is 21st century and includes super-fast internet at all times, but our ambiance is 19th and early 20th century style, with heavily padded red velvet recliners for every passenger. Those who want to sleep can lie flat. We expect to spend two days in New York and, as always, ongoing passengers may spend nights in the Carpet Cabin, even when it is parked.

On arrival in New Jersey, we take a private bus to nearby Manhattan for an early dinner at a rooftop restaurant downtown. From our table, we can see the famous city skyline and cars gliding along the roadways of the Brooklyn Bridge. After dining on sizzling baked ziti laced with Italian spices, salad, and only one cocktail per diner, honest! we are off to the Met.

On Saturday, August 1, the Metropolitan Opera presents Verdi's not too frequently performed Ernani. This 1983 performance stars Leona Mitchell, Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes, and Ruggero Raimondi, conducted by James Levine.

On Sunday, August 2, the Met's digital opera is Wagner's Die Walküre starring Christine Goerke, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Jamie Barton, Stuart Skelton, Greer Grimsley, and Günther Groissböck, conducted by Philippe Jordan.


After traveling back to New Jersey, we board the Magic Opera Flying Carpet and head straight across the ocean for Seville, Spain. That city is the setting for operas from Carmen to The Marriage of Figaro, not to mention The Barber of Seville which we will see at the city's Teatro de la Maestranza. First, however, we need some refreshment and local Montadito de Pringa sandwiches, made of chicken, sausage, and chorizo hit the spot.

For this performance, Giuseppe Finzi conducts the Royal Orchestra of Seville. Jose Luis Castro direct a cast including Michele Angelini as the Count, Marina Comparato as Rosina, and Davide Luciano as Figaro. There are no titles.

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After the show, the moon was shining brightly and some of us decided to walk to the Carpet. Soon I noticed a gorgeous long haired black cat following us and a tour member asked if it was mine. From down below a small charmingly accented voice mewed, "I'd like to go to Los Angeles with you, if that could be arranged . . . I'd rub your leg but you're moving too fast. " I said, "We already have a cat." "He responded with, "Maybe she'd like company?" I said I'd ask her. Actually, Manon was quite taken with the old world manners of the black tom-cat who called himself Charlemagne. He kissed her delicate paw and she let him nibble at her dish.

On the way to Parma, our stewards served classic aperitifs of Lambruco wine and a Parmesan specialty: Torta Frita, small, hot squares of fried dough served with ham and other cured meats. Because of Parma's nearness to Giuseppe Verdi's native city of Busseto, the 1829 Parma opera house has become a place to see Verdi operas.

Verdi's Giovanna D'Arco was recorded in Parma in 2008. Conducted by Bruno Bartoletti and directed by Gabriele Lavia, the show's cast includes Renato Bruson and Svetla Vassileva. Unfortunately, the titles for this Youtube rendition are in Dutch.

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Late in the evening we take off for Naarden, Holland, where we are to attend a concert of J. S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion. In Naarden, most restaurants are either Italian or French. The "Archibald," however, offers Dutch and Indonesian cuisine. Indonesia is a former Dutch colony. We order Rendang, an Indonesian beef stew with beans, cassava, and white rice. The dessert, "Sgroppino," is definitely European: lemon sorbet topped by prosecco and cava. Naarden's Grote Kerk is only a few steps from the restaurant.

In 2014, the Netherlands Bach Society performed the St. Matthew Passion in the town's large church in 2014 under the leadership of Maestro Jos Van Veldhoven.

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Our next stop is Romania where we eat in the old city of Bucharest. We enjoy sausages with potatoes and salad followed by Papanasi, a cow's milk cheese dessert of dumplings covered with sweet cream and jam. And as a send-off, the restaurant treats us to an extra strong Transylvanian brandy called pălincă, distilled twice from some very alcoholic plums. With no designated drivers, we take cabs to the theater.

Marina Emandi-Tiron's production of Carmen at the Bucharest National Theater is conducted by Mario de Rose. The cast includes: José Cura, Hadar Halevy, Stefan Ignat, and Nicoleta Ardelean.

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After the show, we pull night-necessities out of our luggage to get ready for the trip back to California. Manon-la-Chat sports her sexy red sweater, as she and the macho Señor Charlemagne snooze in a recliner.

Photo Cory Weaver for LA Opera

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From This Author Maria Nockin