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BWW Feature: OPERA IN AMERICA AND ABROAD at Home Computer Screens


Operas to Watch Online This Week.

BWW Feature: OPERA IN AMERICA AND ABROAD at Home Computer Screens Tour members meet on the Flying Opera Magic Carpet for a week of American and international performances. Our first stop is at San Francisco Opera, for Fidelio by Ludwig van Beethoven online October 14, 17, and 30, 2021. Cost- $25.

Story: Disguised as a guard, the wife of a prisoner infiltrates a nightmarish detention center to unravel the mystery of her activist-husband's disappearance. To break him free, she has to break in. Enter into a modern-day reflection of incarceration with director Matthew Ozawa's brand-new production of Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio, starring Elza van den Heever as Fidelio, Russell Thomas as Florestan, and Greer Grimsley as Don Pizarro. Music Director Eun Sun Kim conducts the triumphant score, a precursor to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

After the opera, our bus takes us to a wine bar where we enjoy their French Connection Wine Pairings and pan cotta. We enjoy a red and a white wine before returning to the Magic Opera Flying Carpet.

The next day the weather is bad and the distance to San Jose is short, so the magic opera flying carpet remains parked outside of San Francisco. We bus to a Korean/Greek/Mexican restaurant in San Jose. Our dinner includes bowls of kimchi, fried chicken drum sticks, Buddha vegetable dumplings, and either crunchy baklava or dark Mayan chocolate pie with coffee.

In San Jose, Rimsky-Korsakov's short opera, Mozart and Salieri, compares the work of the two musical greats. Baritone Sidney Outlaw stars as Salieri and tenor Simon Barrad assumes the part of his fellow composer, Mozart, at Opera San Jose. Currently, Mozart and Salieri, is a fine new filmed production available for streaming. Mozart and Salieri is available for thirty-day access at $40.00. It's a fine example of 2021 opera streamed worldwide. Don't miss it. LINK

The Magic Opera Flying Carpet is taking us to Greenville, South Carolina, for a performance of Aida, but first we stop for an early dinner at a main street bistro in town. Our choice overlooking the city's Reedy River Falls Park is the perfect place for dining with a view. We order the chef's special, mussels and snails with saffron, southern spices, and steak frites.

A short bus ride takes us to the local university for Aida. Indra Thomas sings Aida; Radames is Clay Hilley; Amneris, Mary Phillips. Stephen White conducts and Darren P. Lawson directs.


Greenville's iconic twelve layer cake is the richest, most indulgently delicious pastry I've ever tasted. It alternates golden coconut-milk pound cake with coconut buttercream filling. After that calorie-splurge, we drink adult beverages and get ready to fly the Atlantic. The Magic Opera Flying Carpet's next stop is Maribor, Slovenia, for Puccini's Tosca.

Maribor is the second-largest city in Slovenia and the largest city of the traditional region of Lower Styria. Maribor is also the economic, administrative, educational, and cultural centre of eastern Slovenia. The city was first mentioned as a castle in 1164, a settlement in 1209, and a city in 1254. Like most Slovene ethnic territory, Maribor was under Habsburg rule until 1918, when Rudolf Maister and his men secured the city for the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs. It then joined the Kingdom of Serbia to form the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In 1991, Maribor became part of independent Slovenia.

The people of Styria like to flaunt their excellent food and drink. This presumption is largely confirmed by the great number of people who flock into the region for unforgettable culinary delights and wine. Rich traditional plates often consist of meat, sauerkraut, turnips, beans, eggs, sour cream, and cottage cheese with cereal and potatoes. The dishes are frequently accompanied by wine spritzers, a mixture of wine and sparkling mineral water.

Pohorje pisker, a meat and vegetable stew, is popular in the Lower Styrian region. It includes local ingredients in season, such as root vegetables, porcini mushrooms, barley, and beef.

For desert, we suggest a Slovenian/French pastry called Charlotte, a perfectly balanced ratio of sponge cake, fruit, and Bavarian cream which is becoming the main sweet treat in many regional restaurants.

Soprano Maida Hundeling sings Tosca, tenor Vitaliy Kovalchuk is Cavaradossi, and baritone Giorgio Surian is Scarpia.

We fly to New York for Irving Berlin's one-hundredth birthday celebration which was

taped at Carnegie Hall on May 11, 1988, and televised May 27, 1988.

The performances include:

Shirley MacLaine opens with I'm Happy.

Maureen McGovern and Jerry Orbach sing a medley.

Michael Feinstein sings I Love A Piano.

Nell Carter sings Alexander's Ragtime Band.

Isaac Stern talks about Berlin's piano, which is there on stage.

Irving Berlin sings in 1968.

Willie Nelson sings Blue Skies.

Ray Charles sings How Much Do I Love You and What Will I Do.

The show includes old clips of Mary Martin and John Raitt.

Beatrice Arthur, Maryann Plunkett, and Barry Bostwick sing a medley.

Jerome Robbins performs.

Garrison Keillor speaks about Berlin and sing/talks song All Alone.

Natalie Cole sings Summer Time.

Frank Sinatra sings Always and When I Lost You.

Members of the United States House of Representatives and the Senate, standing on steps of the Capitol building, sing Happy Birthday to Berlin.

Teri Garr sings one of the ads I didn't take out of the show!

A very short clip of Irving Berlin singing Easter Parade.

Morton Gould talks about Berlin's prodigious output of music.

Old clips of Al Jolson, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Marilyn Monroe, Ethel Merman, and Rosemary Clooney.

Rosemary Clooney sings White Christmas.

Shirley MacLaine introduces Tommy Tune.

Tommy Tune sings Putting On The Ritz.

Bob Hope talks about Irving Berlin.

Madelyn Kahn sings You'd Be Surprised.

Movie clip of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Billy Eckstine, Joe Williams and Diane Schuur sing a medley.

Tony Bennett sings Shaking The Blues Away.

Walter Cronkite talks about the movie This Is The Army.

Irving Berlin sings Oh, How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning.

Ronald Reagan movie clip and march into the show.

Marilyn Horne sings God Bless America.

Berlin receiving medal in 1954 for God Bless America.

Shirley MacLaine sings There's No Business Like Show Business.

Grand Finale.

After a long night, it's time to go home to Los Angeles.

Photo of Russell Thomas by Fay Fox.

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