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Feature: Streaming Opera For The Week Of September 13 - 20, 2021

Opera in LA, Brussels, Madrid, and Dublin and Tasty Food to Enjoy with the Music

Feature: Streaming Opera For The Week Of September 13 - 20, 2021 Los Angeles Opera's 2006 rendition of La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi is online and tour members watch it on the Magic Opera Flying Carpet before taking off for Europe. The performers are Renée Fleming, Rolando Villazón, Renato Bruson, Suzanna Guzmán, Anna Akhimova, Daniel Montenegro, Philip Kraus, James Creswell, Sal Malaki, and Mark Kelley. James Conlon conducts and Marta Domingo directs.


Late the same night, we leave for Belgium and opera at the Brussels Mint. As the sun rises and its light surrounds us, we grab sustenance from Chef Julia's attractive buffet table: hard boiled eggs, cucumber sandwiches, cheese slices, tomatoes, French bread, etc. There's always fresh coffee onboard.

The Flying Opera Magic Carpet arrives at our Brussels parking space mid-afternoon and as we descend below the clouds we meet with rain. What to wear to the opera in the rain? I need an opera rain cape! Plastic by-the-yard is perfect. I add stitching, crocheted ties, and a few grommets. Now everyone can see what I'm wearing under the cape that keeps me dry.

Waterzooi, a Belgian fish stew, or its modern chicken alternative, is on our list of things to eat in Brussels. As the name may suggest, Waterzooi comes from Belgium's Flemish origins. One English translation of the name is Watery Mess, which is what this stew can look like when served. However, don't judge on appearance, this creamy stew is very tasty and will warm you up in an instant. Whether tour members order chicken or fish, our Waterzooi is made with vegetable broth, egg yolks, cream, leeks, and carrots.

We watch Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw at De Munt Grand Hall in Brussels. La Monnaie, also called De Munt, or The Mint is the major theater for opera in Belgium. The cast of The Turn of the Screw includes: Sally Matthews, Julian Hubbard, Carole Wilson, and Giselle Allen. The director is Andrea Breth and the conductor is Ben Glassberg.

LINK Watch online on LINK

In the morning, after some tasty Belgian waffles, we fly to Frankfurt for the Verdi Requiem.

Frankfurt claims to have invented Grüne Sosse (green sauce), the city's traditional specialty. Each restaurant puts its own spin on the condiment, but the main ingredients include seven herbs with sour cream, oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and hard boiled eggs. The herbs are usually parsley, chives, chervil, borage, sorrel, garden cress, and salad burnet. Grüne Soße is served with meat, fish, bread, or cold with hard boiled eggs. We opt for Frankfurter Schnitzel, traditional cutlet with a delicious side of Grüne Soße.

For dessert, we order handkäse mit musik (hand cheese with music), one of those dishes where you're better off disregarding the description and just trying it because it's better than it sounds. Handkäse is a sour milk cheese formed by hand, hence, the name. The translucent cheese has a pungent aroma and is usually topped with raw onions and caraway seeds, which is referred to as "mit musik," and it's delicious. The flavors balance each other to make a perfect harmony. The meaning behind "wit musik" is attributed to sounds coming later from the raw onions!

The Frankfurt Radio Symphony performs the Verdi Requiem with singers: Erika Grimaldi, soprano; Violeta Urmana, mezzo-soprano; Saimir Pirgu, tenor; and Kihwan Sim, bass. Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducts.

The Requiem is divided into: Kyrie, Dies Irae, Offertorio, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Lux Aeterna, Libera Me. It was recorded at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt in 2017.


On returning to the Magic Opera Magic Carpet, we keep the rain gear just in case, but break out the swimwear for Spain. All is quiet and many travelers go to sleep. As we voyage over the ocean, the sun appears and guides us all the way to the brightly lit land of the original Conqistadors.

Tapas bars, cafés, and restaurants are a way of life in Madrid. Some locals live by the combination of walk/eat/repeat since Madrid tapas come free with drinks at traditional cafes. Note: These Madrilenos are walking, not driving.

Floria Tosca is a famous singer who tries to live only for art and love. When she finds herself caught in a web of politics, corruption, lies and lust, she is forced to make a terrible choice.

To this day, Tosca is one of the most popular and ageless operas. With its cinematographic pace, abundant leitmotifs and massive orchestrations, Puccini renewed and transcended Italian melodrama and the verismo genre. Sondra Radvanovsky, Joseph Calleja and Carlos Álvarez lead this operatic thriller in the midst of a revolution, under the direction of Paco Azorín and the baton of Nicola Luisotti.


LINK This performance is also streamed on OperaVision and is available there until March 2022:

From Spain, we fly north to the Emerald Isle for Gioacchino Rossini's joyous
Barber of Seville. In the morning, Chef Julia serves us Irish breakfast inflight. While opinion may be divided on what constitutes an Irish breakfast between Irish cooks, the main ingredients remain the same. Breakfast should contain the very best Irish local meats: loin bacon, the best of local sausages, as well as black and white puddings which contain pork, oats, spices and pork blood. Julia also serves fried eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and potato with homemade bread, butter, and jam. Tour members and staff finish the array off with coffee, tea, and/or orange juice.

Few of us are hungry for lunch or dinner. For a quick twilight bite, some tour members stop at an oyster bar and down a few of the critters who slept in the sea last night. They top it off with assorted cheeses and traditional Irish coffee. Baristas make the hot beverage by blending Irish whiskey with sugar and coffee. They top it with thick cream, every drop of which came from a cow.

One of the most celebrated and popular of all operas, Rossini's comic masterpiece, The Barber of Seville, is a 2016 production by Wide Open Opera, a founding company of Irish National Opera, at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. It stars 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 the maid Berta. Michael Barker Caven directs with INO Artistic Director Fergus Sheil conducting.


Tour members hoist a few Irish beers as we take off for sunny Los Angeles.

Photo of Los Angeles Opera's Richard Seaver Music Director James Conlon by Bonnie Perkinson.

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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