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Feature: ONLINE VIRTUAL OPERA TOUR at Home Computer Screens

From a San Francisco Blockbuster Elektra to Comedy, Vino, and Verismo in Europe as well as Beethoven with Pizza in Chicago.

Feature: ONLINE VIRTUAL OPERA TOUR at Home Computer Screens Since we have a couple of short term streams from San Francisco and Bayreuth, we board the Magic Opera Flying Carpet on Saturday morning, July 24, and go straight to the Bay Area for San Francisco Opera's production of Richard Strauss' Elektra.

Elektra is a daughter on the war path in Richard Strauss's mythological drama. When Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae, returns home after a bloody war, his wife and her lover murder him while his daughter, Elektra is powerless to stop them. Now consumed with thoughts of vengeance, she plots the downfall of her mother, the queen, in Richard Strauss's fiery one-act opera Elektra. A jarring modernist work, Elektra captures the oppressive cruelty of a court run through bloodshed-and the desire for revenge it inspires in a princess. Soprano Christine Goerke stars in the title role. Director Keith Warner's production blurs the line between past and present, myth, and reality, with a cast including: Adrianne Pieczonka, Alfred Walker, and Michaela Martens. Conductor Henrik Nánási makes his company debut.

After the performance, we bus to our magic carpet's parking spot in Novato so that tour members can ready themselves for our direct flight to Bayreuth. After we level off at thirty thousand feet, we offer them coffee, soft drinks or wine with tiramisu. Our flight is a little more than twelve hours and we arrive at the Bindlacher Berg Airport in the northern Bavarian town after lunch. Earlier, when we asked for more info on Bindlacher, the only thing we could find out is that the area is flat!

Snacks are available on board, because we will have dinner after the show.

On Sunday, July 25, Bayreuth, Germany, Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer

streams directly from the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. The performance is free to view @ 8:00 a.m. Dmitri Tcherniakov is the director. Oksana Lyniv conducts. Forty-two-year-old Maestra Lyniv will be the first woman to conduct at Bayreuth since the festival was founded in 1876. Singers: John Lundgren, Georg Zeppenfeld, Eric Cutler, and Asmik Grigorian. Watch online at

After the opera, we walk to the Restaurant Eule or Owl. Special arrangements are made with the manager to bring handicapped tour members to the restaurant and back to the bus because the Eule is in a pedestrian-only zone. We sit in the lovely Owl Garden where we order Nibelungensuppe and Siegfried's Drachenschnitzel with wine, fruit, and cheese. Manon-la-Chat, who did not get to see the Flying Dutchman, wants to eat owl. Servers bring her steak tartare instead.

Then, its back to Bindlacher by bus and time to get ready for an early morning trip to sunny, wind-driven Orange, France. On Monday, July 26, we park the Magic Opera Flying Carpet inside a hangar because Orange's Mistral wind can be dangerous. Our bus drops us at the Forum restaurant near the theater. We enjoy smoked meats with fresh local vegetables, fruits, and cheeses along with hearty red wine from nearby vinyards.

The Chorégies d'Orange is a summer opera festival held each August in the city's ancient Roman theatre. The original stage wall of the Théâtre Antique d'Orange has remained intact since the Romans built it, creating a semi-circular auditorium seating 9,000. Since 1860, major players of the French classical stage have appeared at Orange festivals, including Sarah Bernhardt who played "Phèdre" in 1903. After 1969, however, the Chorégies became purely an opera festival.

The cast for Cavalleria Rusticana: Santuzza, Béatrice Uria-Monzon; Lola, Anne-Catherine Gillet; Mamma Lucia, Stefania Toczyska; Turiddu, Roberto Alagna; Alfio, Seng-Hyoun Ko. Georges Prêtre leads the Orchestre National de France. Chorusses come from l'Opéra Avignon et des pays de Vaucluse, l'Opéra de Montpellier, and the Capitole de Toulouse.


Since the Orange show is out of doors, it has to wait for darkness to begin and it ends very late.

We fly to foggy Lugano in the Alps in the morning and when we land, Chef Julia presents tour members who wish to hike the area with boxed breakfast sandwiches.

Gorgeous Lake Lugano is the focal point of the entire city. Tour members grab cappuccinos and catch the funicular up Monte Bre to the picnic site. From the top, they see the sprawling view of Lake Como on the left, Lago Maggiore to the right, and Lake Lugano straight ahead. When we return to the city, some tour members rent paddleboats and cruise the lake.

After dinner on the Magic Opera Flying Carpet, we attend a film of Marilyn Horne's recital, taped in Lugano, Switzerland in 1986. The program includes: "Che puro ciel," "Di tanti palpiti," "Cruda sorte," "Habanera, " "Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix" "Nobles Seigneurs salut," and the "Canzonetta spagnuola". Martin Katz conducts with gusto and the Swiss orchestra plays with finesse. The orchestra's own contributions include dance music from Gluck's Orfeo ed Eurydice, and overtures to Cherubini's Anacreon, Thomas' Mignon, and Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri.


When we are in the Alps, we do not take off or land at night. That would scare me. Therefore, we drink our nightcap on the Carpet and sleep until daylight in Lugano. I don't want to meet any mountain peaks unawares. After breakfast aloft, we fly west to the Atlantic and head for Dublin. When we arrive, it will be Irish meat pie time. Only the freshest ingredients go into food from The Pieman. That's why its chef encourages patrons to literally look into their pies.

The Pieman offers six main types of pie: Steak & Stout, Roast Chicken with Sausage Stuffing, Feta with Sweet Potato, Chicken with Mushroom, Chicken, Leek and Cheddar, and Chilli, Beef & Chorizo. Most of us wonder about the Irish use of Chili. We opt for Steak and Stout with accompanying pitchers of Guinness for all but the bus driver.

On Wednesday, July 28, Irish National Opera presents The Barber of Seville in Dublin. One of the most celebrated and popular of all operas, Rossini's comic masterpiece, The Barber of Seville, is produced by Wide Open Opera starring Tara Erraught as Rosina, Tyler Nelson as Count Almaviva, Gavan Ring as Figaro, Graeme Danby as Dr Bartolo, John Molloy as Don Basilio and Mary O'Sullivan as Berta. Michael Barker Caven directs and INO Artistic Director, Fergus Sheil conducts.


Late that night, we backtrack a little bit to Amsterdam where we visit a museum to see material on the history of Dutch National Opera.

On Thursday, July 29, Dutch National Opera presents L' Elisir d'amore in Amsterdam. Director Marcos Darbyshire dresses Donizetti's greatest popular success, L'Elisir, in a contemporary vision. it is an all-Dutch co-production between Opera Zuid, Dutch National Touring Opera, and Dutch National Opera. The excellent young cast comes from the Dutch National Opera Studio.

LINK Click on performances, operas.

On Friday, July 30, Birmingham Opera presents Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. The Birmingham Opera Company's productions are always a viscerally immersive experience. The late Graham Vick's promenade staging of Shostakovich's bleak 1934 tragedy of adultery and double murder, with 150 volunteer actors and chorus in a disused nightclub, is no exception. This production can be a memorial to Vick who passed away recently.

LINK Click on performances, operas.

We spend the mysterious dark of this night flying across the North Atlantic and inland to Chicago. Tour members can look forward to a memorable Saturday night listening to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's rendition of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Happily, we arrive in time to stuff ourselves with Chicago-style pizza before the concert.

On May 7, 1824, Beethoven shared his Ninth Symphony with the world even though he could not hear it. An exhilarating testament to the human spirit, Beethoven's Ninth bursts with brooding power and kinetic energy and culminates in the exultant hymn, "Ode to Joy." Riccardo Muti conducts. Singers include: Camilla Nylund soprano, Ekaterina Gubanova mezzo-soprano, Matthew Polenzani tenor, and Eric Owens bass-baritone. See more at:


We fly back to Los Angeles at night because arriving in the wee hours of the morning is the best time for our unusual vehicle to land at that busy airport. Besides, we want burritos for breakfast.

On Sunday, August 1, Los Angeles Opera presents, Let Me Come In.

The digital short, Let Me Come In, co-commissioned by LA Opera and the Fisher Center at Bard College, was written for the soprano Angel Blue. The work is part of a series of pieces to which David Lang has applied literary filters involving the biblical text of the Song of Songs. The idea behind this series is that if we look at the text from many different angles it may eventually begin to reveal more of its emotional and spiritual powers-at least that is the hope.


We are not back in Los Angeles for long, however. My companions and I will be in Santa Fe New Mexico from August 3 through 7, 2021, for live and parking lot-simulcast opera. Manon has s special carseat for parking lot opera that lets her look out the windshield while she lounges in luxury. LINK

Photo of Let Me Come In courtesy of Los Angeles Opera.

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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