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BWW Feature: ONLINE VIRTUAL OPERA TOUR No.43 at Home Computer Screens

Operatic and Culinary Adventures in LA, San Francisco, NYC, Madrid, Paris, and London

BWW Feature: ONLINE VIRTUAL OPERA TOUR No.43 at Home Computer Screens

The unforgettable world of Ellen Reid's p r i s m returns to LA Opera for two weeks. This time, the Pulitzer Prize-winning piece is streaming on your home screen. Composer Reid and librettist Roxie Perkins' sobering story follows a mother and daughter as they struggle to explore the trauma of sexual abuse and the elasticity of memory that can follow in its wake. In James Darrah's important filmed production, Reid's distinctive sonic world erupts with vibrant tonal color and manipulated sounds.

Lumee's Dream streams through February 12. Turbulent times give way for meaningful self-reflection. What or who is important to us? What could we have done differently? Who would we sacrifice ourselves for? Lumee's Dream, LAO's newest digital short, speaks to these questions.

Plunge into a serenely surreal world of vibrantly-colored kaleidoscopic imagery inspired by a scene from p r i s m, the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera by composer Ellen Reid and librettist Roxie Perkins, which premiered live at LA Opera in 2018. Director James Darrah again teams up with composer Ellen Reid to create Lumee's Dream, a visually stunning work that captures the inner thoughts of a mother as she muses on her teenage daughter's vulnerability.

Opera lovers have free access to our latest digital short:

Tour members board the Magic Opera Flying Carpet wearing the rain gear we thought we were packing for England. We will need it in San Francisco this week. The Carpet's staff serves hot chocolate with marshmallows that explode from a chocolate shell when heated by the liquid. No, our chef will not divulge the recipe, but I'm working on figuring it out. Manon-la-Chat loves to see the marshmallows puff up in the cup, even if it is in some benighted brew no sensible cat would drink.

Later, we have seafood at Fisherman's Wharf. Traditionally the working place of Chinese and Italian immigrants, the Wharf is a seafood lover's paradise that reflects the city's multicultural history. In order to use up leftover seafood, fishermen invented cioppino, an Italian-American seafood stew. Wharf restaurants still buy fish directly from the boats of local fisherman. It's a bit touristy, but we enjoy the fresh fish and ocean decor before our bus takes us to the War Memorial Opera House.

Tenor Stephen Costello, soprano Nicole Cabell, and director Shawna Lucey present a live interview before the screening of La Traviata on January 30 and 31. San Francisco Opera presents the 2014 John Copley production of Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata with revival staging by Laurie Feldman. Nicole Cabell is Violetta Valéry, tenor Stephen Costello is Alfredo, and baritone Vladimir Stoyanov is Alfredo's father, Germont. Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.

SFO streams are viewable on demand with registration at Operas begin at 10 am Pacific time on Saturday and stream through 11:59 pm on Sunday. Current San Francisco Opera subscribers and members (donors of $75 and up) may stream operas after their window of public access. For more information, visit La Traviata has English subtitles.

We decide to spend the night in our parking spot north of San Francisco because of bad weather. Manon spends much of the night feasting on cioppino. In the morning, we fly to New Jersey, and we manage to arrive between the morning and afternoon rushes. After we land at Teterboro, we stretch our legs with a cloudy-day airport promenade. Manon met a cat in the airport but she simply put her nose in the air and let the kitty see she had a collar and coat, denoting her superior station in life.

We have no reservation at Emilio's Ballato in New York City's Little Italy because the restaurant has no phone and no email address. Owner Emilio Vitolo feeds his clientele in a Chandelier-lit room, the walls of which are lined with framed photos of celebrities. We ordered an antipasto platter filled with tuna-stuffed peppers, followed by baked fresh-caught clams, and homemade tagliatelle bolognese.

After the drive uptown, we alight at the Met where on Monday, February 1, the company presents Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. This 2020 show is performed by Angel Blue, Golda Schultz, Latonia Moore, Denyce Graves, Frederick Ballentine, Eric Owens, Alfred Walker, and Donovan Singletary. David Robertson conducts James Robinson's production.

As soon as everyone returns and we are all onboard, we take off for Spain. While we were at the opera, the Magic Opera Flying Carpet sous-chef ordered a variety of breakfast food from the New Jersey restaurant Shut Up and Eat. We enjoy our American breakfast enroute to Spain.

For dinner in Madrid, we go to a family restaurant that has been functioning since the 19th century. Cocido madrileño is a pork stew, the aroma of which begins to w aft through the streets in cold weather. It consists of a broth full of vegetables, chickpeas, chorizo sausage, and pork that simmers for hours, creating a blend of heavenly, robust flavors, making it an ideal cure for Madrid's blustery winter. The typical way to eat cocido madrileño is in two courses. Once the meat and vegetables have been cooked, the broth is separated and used to make noodle soup for the first course. The rest of this scrumptious stew forms the other course along with some Spanish beer.

The Teatro Real de Madrid Mozart presents W.A. Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. Baritone Ludovic Tézier is the Count Almaviva, Barbara Frittoli is the Countess, Isabel Rey is Susanna, and Luca Pisaroni is Figaro in Emilio Sagi's classic production. Conductor Jesús López Cobos captures the enchanting score. There are no subtitles.


Opera Part I

Opera II:

Opera II:

After the opera, we stop for ice cream sundaes Spanish style, with fruit, waffle cookies, and whipped cream. Manon is developing a serious taste for peach ice cream. Meee-Yow, she says while slurping.

In the morning we go looking for breakfast in Madrid and find that they drink café con leche (milk) in the morning with tomato or avocado on toast. That's all. Tour members will have lunch enroute to Paris where dinner will enchant our palates.

From La Biche au Bois (The Doe in the Wood) we order their traditional coq au vin, a wine-laced chicken stew that comes in its own pot and serve it onboard the Magic Opera Flying Carpet. Yes, we will return the pots. For dessert, we serve individual lemon tarts from a cafe in the Nouvelle Athènes district. The tarts are a perfect combination of sweet and sour, topped with candied lemon slices instead of meringue.

In this 1992 Chatelet production of Mozart's Così Fan Tutte, Peter Mumford directs Amanda Roocroft as Fiordiligi, Rosa Mannion as Dorabella, Rodney Gilfry as Guglielmo, Rainer Trost as Ferrando, Eirian James as Despina, and Claudio Nicolai as Don Alfonso. John Eliot Gardiner conducts. English Subtitles.

Du Pain et des Idées (Of Bread and Ideas) makes some of the best buttery, flaky pastries anywhere. After the opera, we serve its signature escargot . . . not a slimy snail . . . a spiral pastry filled with pistachio paste and chocolate nuggets.

We leave for London at sunrise, while many tour members are asleep, so that upon arrival we can avail ourselves of the famous English breakfast at Hawksmoor Guildhall. The menu features fried eggs, sausages, back bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, fried bread and white or black pudding (similar to bloodwurst) accompanied by tea or coffee and hot, buttered toast.

Today is a fair weather day in London and tour members scatter to take in the town while the cool winter sun shines. Manon plans to join her singing society on the church roof tonight while we enjoy Puccini. As the sun sets, tour members assemble at a Covent Garden restaurant for beef ribs, bone-marrow mashed potatoes, and custard with crème brulée.

At the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano conducts Lucio Gallo's 2011 production of Puccini's Gianni Schicchi starring Francesco Demuro as Rinuccio and Ekaterina Siurina as Lauretta.

After the opera, we pick up Manon as she says good-bye to her London friends and promises revisit them soon. We leave for Los Angeles after midnight so as to catch a tailwind over the North Atlantic. Our crew has already packed English breakfast entrees into the freezer for the morning. We arrive in LA for a late Mexican lunch and an early evening showing of Rodgers & Hammerstein's 1965 movie, Cinderella. Charles S. Dubin directs Ginger Rogers, Walter Pidgeon, Celeste Holm, and Lesley Ann Warren.

Photo of Anna Schubert as Bibi in p r i s m by Larry Ho for LA Opera.

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From This Author Maria Nockin