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Feature: ONLINE VIRTUAL OPERA TOUR at Home Computer Screens

Enchanting Recital in LA, Cool Opera in Scandinavia and Hot Nights in New York

Feature: ONLINE VIRTUAL OPERA TOUR at Home Computer Screens

Our Magic Opera Flying Carpet Virtual Tour begins in Los Angeles with the Signature Recital by tenor Russell Thomas and pianist Kyung-Mi Kim. A native of Miami, Florida, Thomas debuted as Pollione in LA Opera's 2015 Norma. He sang Cavaradossi in Tosca in 2017 and the title role in The Clemency of Titus in 2019. Next year, he will be Radames in Aida. Currently, he is the company's Artist in Residence.

Recital Program:

George Frideric Handel, Samson, "Total Eclipse"

Robert Schumann, Dichterliebe (Op. 48)

"Im wunderschönen Monat Mai" ("In the wondrous month of May"),

"Aus meinen Tränen spriessen" ("From my tears there will spring"),

"Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne" ("Rose, lily, dove, sun"),

"Wenn ich in deine Augen seh" ("When I look into your eyes"),
"Ich will meine Seele tauchen" ("Let me bathe my soul"),

"Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome" ("In the Rhine, in the holy river"),

"Ich grolle nicht" ("I bear no grudge"),

"Und wüssten's die Blumen" ("If the little flowers knew"),

"Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen" ("What a fluting, what a scraping"),

"Hör' ich das Liedchen klingen" ("When I hear the little song"),
"Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen" ("A boy loves a girl"),

"Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen" ("One bright summer morning"),

"Ich hab' im Traum geweinet" ("I wept in my dream"),

"Allnächtlich im Traume" ("Nightly in my dreams I see you"),

"Aus alten Märchen" ("From old fairy tales"),

"Die alten, bösen Lieder" ("The bad old songs").

Robert Owens, "In Time of Silver Rain,"
"What Lips My Lips Have Kissed."

Adolphus Hailstork, Four Romantic Songs:

"My Heart to Thy Heart," "Invitation to Love," "Longing," "Good-Night."

Tenor Russell Thomas and pianist Kyung-Mi Kim bade us "Good Night" and we are off to Germany for Saxon State Opera, Semperoper's rendition of Richard Strauss's Capriccio in Dresden.

Before the performance, we stop at a restaurant near the theater for a typical Dresden dinner, Sauerbraten mit rotkraut. It brings back memories of Leonie Rysanek and Irene Dalis talking about marinating their mutual sauerbraten before a Frau ohne Schatten rehearsal at the then brand-new Met. Sometimes being a "gopher" is fun.

The local Dresden cuisine boasts some hearty must-try dishes. The city's sauerbraten recipe takes a beef roast and soaks it in a stock of herb vinegar, red wine, bay leaves, juniper berries, and other spices for several days. It's then briefly fried in clarified butter before being put in the oven for a couple of hours along with the stock. Slices of the tender meat are served with red cabbage and bread dumplings.

Thanks to the generous assistance of the Semperoper's health partner, the Medical Laboratory of Eastern Saxony, the recorded production was staged almost entirely as originally planned while obeying all relevant measures to protect against Covid-19 infection.

Conductor Christian Thielemann and Stage Director Jens-Daniel Herzog lead a cast that includes:Camilla Nylund, Christoph Pohl, Daniel Behle, Nikolay Borchev, Georg Zeppenfeld, Christa Mayer, and the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden. The stream is available until July. Watch online at LINK:

Leaving Dresden at night, we fly to Stockholm for a nourishing breakfast of muesli, fuel for the flying carpet, and a trip to the city's Art and Culture Museum. Manon-la-Chat enjoys some fresh herring in cream sauce in the airport lounge. I get the raw onion out of it.

In the afternoon, we fly on to Umeå, the home of Norrlandsoperan. Umeå, nicknamed the "Town of Silver Birches" is a city of about 110,000 people located near the mouth of the Ume River. This capital of Västerbotten County in Northern Sweden lies some 400 miles north of Stockholm.

For dinner, we eat huge fish tacos with local side dishes at Hunger och Törst. Umeå, like much of Sweden, takes pride in locally sourced food such as Arctic char, whitefish, lingonberries, arctic raspberries and Västerbottensost, a delicious aged sharp cheese.

Currently, Norrlandsoperan is presenting a Verdi pastiche called Love and Politics. When private love affairs become entangled in public political intrigue, the outcome is often tragic. The protagonists in Love and Politics have no choice but to watch helplessly as they suddenly become pawns in a game they thought they could control.

The performance combines four Verdi operas based on Friedrich Schiller's plays: Don Carlo, I Masnadieri, Luisa Miller, and Giovanna d'Arco, into a reflection on the many faces of love caught up in political power games. The show was recorded in 2020.


Click on performances, operas, and Love and Politics. Although the opera is sung in Italian, subtitles are available in English. The show streams until August 2021.

We fly east to Lithuania and land near Klaip?-da, a moderately sized city on the Baltic Sea coast. It is the third largest metropolitan area and the main seaport in Lithuania. Klaip?-da's "Stora Antis" restaurant was built in 1856 on a burnt foundation after the Great Fire of 1854. Now it is an architectural monument in the centre of the old town. Our party orders Cepelinai, potato dumplings filled with pork. The name translates to zeppelin because of their shape. These dumplings are made from grated potatoes and some are stuffed with cheese curds instead of beef or pork. Cepelinai are quite filling and usually come with sour cream and crumbled bacon.

The Klaipeda State Music Theatre presents Wagner's The Flying Dutchman. A captain is cursed to sail the seas of the world forever, only allowed to make landfall once every seven years. Will he find the love of a faithful woman to break the curse? In Klaipeda State Music Theatre's large-scale open-air production, Richard Wagner's opera is performed a few miles from where the motifs of The Flying Dutchman were conceived while the composer was on a storm-tossed ship. Director Dalius Abaris's bold vision is captured for the cameras in the light of a summer's evening on the Lithuanian coast and benefits from the latest sound recording technology.This show was recorded in August 2020 at the Paul Willy Lindenau Shipyard in Klaip?-da.

Sung in German, subtitles are available in English. The stream is online until July 2021.


Click on performances, operas, and The Flying Dutchman.

In Oslo, Norway, Den Norske Opera and Ballett presents Rossini's The Barber of Seville, the most famous prequel in the history of opera. A young count is in love with a shrewd woman who returns his feelings. But her guardian harbors his own plans for her. When Figaro rushes to the young couple's aid, bribery, deceit, and comic entanglements ensue.

In Den Norske Opera and Ballett's new production, director Jetske Mijnssen takes the story seriously. Didn't Count Almaviva and Rosina's union turn out unhappy in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro? That shows how comedy is always close to tragedy. The show was recorded in 2020. In Director Jetske Mijnssen's production, Figaro is Hubert Zapiór,
Rosina is Angela Brower, Grev Almaviva is Jack Swanson, Dr. Bartolo is David Stout, and Don Basilio is Clive Bayley. Tobias Ringborg conducts Den Norske Opera's orchestra. The opera is sung in Italian, but subtitles are available in English. The show is streamed until August, 2021.

LINK: Click on performances, operas, Barber of Seville.

We leave Norway in the morning after brunch for the four-hour flight south to sunny Barcelona and the Gran Teatre del Liceu for Mozart's Don Giovanni.

Take-out tapas awaits us for a pre-theater snack at the air field a few miles out of the city.

Helped by his shrewd servant, a serial seducer flaunts society's rules until he brings about his own downfall. Mozart's audacious opera combines enchanting music with a central character of fascinating psychological complexity, an archetypal figure who continues to provide food for thought 230 years after its creation. Christof Loy's production stars Christopher Maltman as a Don Giovanni who is now a desperate and lonely anti-hero eluded by success.

This original Oper Frankfurt Production was recorded in 2020 at the Liceu, Barcelona. Sung in Italian, subtitles for this show are available in English and Spanish. The stream is online until June 4, 2021.

LINK: Click on performances and operas at the top.

After the show we leave for New York City, but we actually fly into New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. On Saturday, May 29, the Met presents Strauss's Capriccio starring Renée Fleming, Sarah Connolly, Joseph Kaiser, Russell Braun, Morten Frank Larsen, and Peter Rose, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. The 2011 production is directed by John Cox.


Our first stop, however, is the other "Met." New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded on April 13, 1870 and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2020. In a flush of optimism following the American Civil War, a group of civic leaders, businessmen, and artists banded together to establish an art museum for New York City. They began with a grand idea but without art, a building, or professional staff. Today, The Met holds more than 1.5 million objects spread over two million square feet and cared for by 1,600 staff members. Seven million visitors from around the world visit the Museum each year and over 30 million explore its offerings online.

Online exhibition: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.


Before our trip back to Los Angeles, we attend another performance in Lincoln Center. On Sunday, May 30, the Met presents Rossini's starring Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato, Susanne Resmark, Juan Diego Flórez, Stéphane Degout, and Michele Pertusi, conducted by Maurizio Benini. The 2011 production is by Bartlett Sher.


After the opera we salute New York City from across the river with coffee, schnapps, and tiramisu as we take off for our home state of California.

Photo of Thomas and Kim courtesy of LA Opera.

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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)

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