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Feature: ONLINE VIRTUAL OPERA TOUR at Home Computer Screens

Operatic masterpieces and Interesting Food from Europe and the United States.

Feature: ONLINE VIRTUAL OPERA TOUR at Home Computer Screens

Los Angeles Opera has a number of excellent recitals on its website including one by baritone Craig Colclough in which he sings the Shakespeare monologues from Otello and Macbeth that Verdi set to music. Together with pianist Jeremy Frank, Colclough presents a program that also includes works by Beethoven, Wagner, Porter, and Vaughan Williams.

Because some tour member have had to drive around forest fires now burning in SoCal, we leave the last possible minute to see Lucrezia Borgia in San Francisco. We eat tacos and burritos onboard and take our bus straight to the War Memorial Opera House.

John Pascoe directs this 2013 production of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia that stars Renée Fleming, with Elizabeth DeShong, Vitalij Kowaljow, and Michael Fabiano. Riccardo Frizza conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus. In 2022, Renée Fleming and Rod Gilfry will sing Kevin Puts' The Brightness of Light based on Georgia O'Keefe's letters, at Los Angeles Opera.

San Francisco Opera

Leaving "Baghdad on the Bay," we head for Dallas, on the East side of Texas. For dinner we choose a barbecue restaurant in town decorated with Dallas memorabilia and famous for its brisket. We order brisket along with fried okra, collard greens, cole slaw, mac'n cheese and "burnt ends," flavorful pieces from the pointed half of the roast.

Dallas Opera's The Magic Flute stars Paolo Fanale as Tamino, Andrea Carroll as Pamina, Sean Michael Plumb as Papageno, Abigail Rethwisch as Papagena, Jeni Houser as The Queen of the Night, and Morris Robinson as Sarastro. The director, and designer of the original production is Sir Peter Hall. Kyle Lang directed the new version and Gerald Scarfe created its sets and costumes. Emmanuel Villaume conducts.

Manon-la-chat, our resident English and French-speaking emotional support animal, feasts on some of the "burnt ends." She then saunters to her assigned place among the folds of a curtain in the wings, just off stage. She has promised not to climb on the curtain and I hope she doesn't forget. There are animals in the Flute, but non of them are playful kitties.

For breakfast, we invade the Flying Horse Cafe to enjoy its "Liquid Culture" coffee menu of lattes, ciders, hot chocolates, and teas. We eat pastries and sausage based burritos in the restaurant. For later, we take advantage of their "grab and go" sandwiches.

As usual, we park the "Carpet" in New Jersey. Manon and I stroll around the (thankfully) treeless field enjoying the cool sunshine glistening on The Remains of last weekend's snow. As the sun lowers in the sky, peaks of snow turn pink and purple shadows reach out from distant buildings. It's time to get ready for dinner and the opera at the Met, across the sapphire-colored Hudson River that separates NewYork from New Jersey.

Those who wish have time for a quick nosh at a Lincoln Center eatery. I spend a few minutes chatting with New York friends and reading material on Carmen.

Metropolitan Opera

Look for the link at the above Met website page on the day each film is streamed. Ex: Dec. 3-4 Macbeth

On Friday, December 4, Bizet's Carmen stars Barbara Frittoli, Elīna Garanča, Roberto Alagna, and Teddy Tahu Rhodes, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Videotaped on January 16, 2010.


On Saturday, December 5, Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos stars Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle, Tatiana Troyanos, and James King, conducted by James Levine. Videotaped on March 12, 1988.

On Sunday, December 6, Puccini's Tosca stars Shirley Verrett, Luciano Pavarotti, and Cornell MacNeil, conducted by James Conlon.
Videotaped on December 19, 1978.

On Monday, December 7, Thomas Adès's The Tempest stars Audrey Luna, Isabel Leonard, Iestyn Davies, Alek Shrader, Alan Oke, William Burden, Toby Spence, and Simon Keenlyside, conducted by Thomas Adès. Videotaped on November 10, 2012.

On Tuesday, December 8, John Adams' Doctor Atomic stars Sasha Cooke, Thomas Glenn, Gerald Finley, Richard Paul Fink, and Eric Owens, conducted by Alan Gilbert. Videotaped on November 8, 2008.

On Wednesday, December 9, Britten's Peter Grimes stars Patricia Racette, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Anthony Michaels-Moore, conducted by Sir Donald Runnicles. Videotaped on March 15, 2008.

On Thursday, December 10, Thomas Adès's The Exterminating Angel stars Audrey Luna, Amanda Echalaz, Sally Matthews, Sophie Bevan, Alice Coote, Christine Rice, Iestyn Davies, Joseph Kaiser, Frédéric Antoun, David Portillo, David Adam Moore, Rod Gilfry, Kevin Burdette, Christian Van Horn, and John Tomlinson, conducted by Thomas Adès. Videotaped on November 18, 2017.

On Friday, December 11, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess stars Angel Blue, Golda Schultz, Latonia Moore, Denyce Graves, Frederick Ballentine, Eric Owens, Alfred Walker, and Donovan Singletary, conducted by David Robertson. Videotaped on February 1, 2020.

On Saturday, December 12, Weill's The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny stars Teresa Stratas, Astrid Varnay, Richard Cassilly, and Cornell MacNeil, conducted by James Levine. Videotaped on November 27, 1979.

Having arrived at the airfield in New Jersey, we quickly assemble, stow our belongings, and take off for the French Riviera. After a smooth as creme brule flight, we arrive at our usual field outside Nice. It's still dark out when a delivery lady arrives with Socca Wraps from the dimly-lit streets of the Vieille Ville (Old Town). This Nicoise speciality consists of pancakes made from chickpea flour, olive oil, and water. Like most French cooking, it is lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, and local herbs. We have a free day to enjoy the cliffs and the beach. Most of us have seen the Met's Aknaten at the HD movies. This is a completely new production from Nice's opera company directed by Lucinda Childs and conducted by Léo Warynski.

Akhnaten by Philip Glass is available through the end of this year.

After our visit to the winter beach, it's time to check out Venice, its cool canals, its opera, and its traditional dishes. For dinner, we eat baccalà mantecato, which has been devoured by Venetians since 1431 when a Venetian ship full of spices was wrecked by a violent storm. The surviving sailors ended up on the island of Roest, where they discovered dried stockfish and eventually brought it back to Venice. Our chef cooks the stockfish with olive oil, black pepper, salt, garlic and lemon juice. He also cooks schie, a kind of shrimp found only in the Venetian lagoon, with lemon, garlic, pepper, and salt. He serves the baccalà, the schie and steaming polenta with a colorful salad of mixed greens.

Venice Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony stars soprano Laura Aikin,

mezzosoprano Anke Vondung, tenor Michael Schade, and bass Thomas Johannes Mayer. Myung-Whun Chung conducts the orchestra and chorus of Venice's Teatro La Fenice.



After the opera, we stop for a bit of antipasto and coffee. The most interesting selection is sarde in saor, a dish with a strong taste that consists of sardines, onions, and balsamic vinegar sweetened with raisins, pine nuts, and red wine.

Leaving before dawn, we catch glimpses of orange and yellow sunbeams dancing atop thirteen thousand foot icy alpine peaks such as the Jungfrau (Virgin), the Mönch (Monk), and the Eiger (Ogre).

Zurich is the birth place of muesli, the well-beloved breakfast meal. Dr Maximilian Bircher-Benner started feeding his patients at a local Zurich hospital a nutritious diet of cereals and fruits. It soon became a hit, both inside the sanatorium and out. We eat muesli along with omelettes, bacon, sausage and coffee on the "Carpet" before spending the day exploring the city.

Later we meet at a restaurant near the opera house for a dinner of Zurcher Geschnetzeltes, sliced veal cooked with mushrooms, and onions in cream and wine. Our meals are served with crisply roasted potatoes and small green salads.

Verdi's Macbeth stars Thomas Hampson, Paoletta Marrocu, Roberto Scandiuzzi, and Luis Lima. Franz Welser-Möst conducts the chorus and orchestra of the Zurich Opera House in a performance recorded live in 2001.

After a substantial Swiss breakfast, we take off for our last European stop, Bayreuth. Later, we try a German Pizza at Hansi's Holzplatten. It is tasty but not overly spicy.the At least it did not have carrots and peas on top like the pizza I had in a German-speaking country a few years ago.

We have come to see Wagner's 2019 Lohengrin as envisioned by Israeli director Yuval Sharon. The cast includes Camilla Nylund, Elena Pankratova, Klaus Florian Vogt, Tomasz Konieczny, and Egils Silins. Christian Thielemann conducts the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and Chorus.

Please remember in Bayreuth we sit on hard wooden seats, should we sit on cushions at home? Manon meows for the softest possible cushion as she watches from the "Carpet."

We return to our soft recliners as we prepare for pleasant dreams while we fly back to the city of wondrous winged creatures, Los Angeles.

Photo of Renée Fleming by Andrew Eccles.

From This Author - Maria Nockin

Maria Nockin worked at the Metropolitan Opera in New York while attending  Fordham University across the street from Lincoln Center. At the same time, she studied voice, piano, and violin... (read more about this author)

November 9, 2021

Bryce Davis and Cilliers opened their recital program with Richard Strauss' and John Henry Mackay's uplifting 'Heimliche Aufforderung' ('The Secret Invitation'). This joyous, celebratory composition was the composer's gift to his bride on their wedding day. Bryce-Davis sang it with exquisite vocal colors. Next was Robert Schumann 'Die Lotosblume' ('The Lotus Flower') in which the poet Heinrich Heine described the beauty of the love between the flower and the moon. Bryce-Davis showed the lyric tones of her voice as she told of this delicate love.

ONLINE VIRTUAL OPERA TOUR Begins November 2 on Home Computer Screens
November 4, 2021

This evening our online show is Los Angeles Opera’s La Traviata from 2006 with: Renée Fleming, Rolando Villazón, Renato Bruson, Suzanna Guzmán, Anna Akhimova, Daniel Montenegro, Philip Kraus, James Creswell, Sal Malaki, and Mark Kelley. James Conlon conducts the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra. The stage director is Marta Domingo. Brian Large directs it for TV.

BWW Review: AZ OPERA'S FILM, THE COPPER QUEEN at Home Computer Screens
October 31, 2021

The Copper Queen is a modern opera by Clint Borzoni and John de los Santos that tells of times past in Bisbee, Arizona. It won an Arizona Opera competition that insured its place onstage. Because of the pandemic and the fact that currently audience size is quite limited, The Copper Queen became a film that can be experienced online. 

BWW Review: LOS ANGELES OPERA'S TANNHÄUSER at Home Computer Screens
October 25, 2021

On October  24, 2021, Los Angeles Opera presented Wagner’s Tannhäuser live online for patrons who cannot get to the theater at this time. Director Louise Muller revived the Ian Judge production of the opera’s Dresden version. A second live streamed performance will be available from LA Opera on October 27. 

BWW Review: THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO at Home Computer Screens
October 24, 2021

On October 22, 2021, Opera Philadelphia began streaming its rendition of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. This staging is a judiciously cut two-hour-and-forty-eight-minute production by Opera Philadelphia, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, San Diego Opera, and Palm Beach Opera. Each company is choosing its own conductor and cast.