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BWW Feature: ONLINE VIRTUAL OPERA TOUR at Home Computer Screens

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Opera, Concerts and Interesting Food from Europe and the United States.

BWW Feature: ONLINE VIRTUAL OPERA TOUR at Home Computer Screens

From now to November 29, 2020, Los Angeles Opera is featuring The Anonymous Lover Composed by a Black man, Joseph Bologne, also known as the Chevalier de Saint-Georges. The cast, made up of members of LAO's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, is conducted by Music Director James Conlon. Although we saw it last week, we watch it again to be sure we didn't miss any of its wonderful artistry.

Leaving Los Angeles after lunch, we land at Northern California's Gnoss Field that afternoon. Our bus takes us from grassland up and down the hills of San Francisco to the War Memorial Opera House where we eat an assortment of cleverly garnished appetizers and tiny sandwiches at the basement café.

On its web page, "Opera Is On," San Francisco Opera is showing some of the wonderful performances it had the good sense to film for the future. For the weekend of November 28-29, the selection is Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore (The Elixir of Love).

Upon returning to the Magic Opera Flying Carpet from the opera house, I snuggle up with Manon-la-Chat and a fleece blanket that she is pre-warming for me. We fly to New Jersey in the dark so as to avoid the morning traffic, or is it really to evade the cat police, Manon? Manon wants to see Il Trovatore because she has heard that Azucena has a black, long-haired kitty.

By request, we return to "Shut Up and Eat" in Toms River, New Jersey, for a luxurious Italian-American brunch. Most of us wore pajamas because a matched set gets the wearer 13% off the bill. I ordered the "Sloppy Mess" of several meats, fried potatoes, two eggs and cheese on top. For dinner we eat in the city.

Metropolitan Opera this week:

On Saturday, November 21, Puccini's Turandot (2019) stars Goerke, Buratto, Eyvazov, Morris, and Nézet-Séguin.

On Sunday, November 22, Berg's Wozzeck (2020) stars Van den Heever, Mumford, Ventris, Mattei, Van Horn, and Nézet-Séguin.

On Monday, November 23 Verdi's Il Trovatore (2011) stars Radvanovsky, Zajick, Álvarez, Hvorostovsky, and Armiliato.

On Tuesday, November 24, Nico Muhly's Marnie (2018) stars Leonard, Davies, Maltman, and Spano.

On Wednesday, November 25, Thomas's Hamlet (2010) stars Petersen, Larmore, Keenlyside, Morris, and Langrée.

On Thursday, November 26, Strauss's Elektra (2016) stars Stemme, Pieczonka, Meier, Owens, and Salonen.

On Friday, November 27, Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor (2011) stars Dessay, Calleja, Tézier, and Summers.

On Saturday, November 28, Wagner's Die Walküre (2019) stars Goerke, Westbroek, Barton, Skelton, Grimsley, Groissböck, and Jordan.

We leave at night, as usual, when air traffic is low. Tour members wake up in Belgium in time to indulge in famous Belgian waffles, known in Liège as gauffres de Bruxelles. Ours are topped with strawberries and whipped cream.

Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera directs Verdi's Aida at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège. Chef d'Orchestre Speranza Scappucci conducts a cast including: Elaine Alvarez, Marcello Giordani, Arnold Rawls, Nino Surguladze, Luca Dall'Amico, and Lionel Lhote.

We spend the night in Liège so as to again breakfast on gauffres de Bruxelles topped with various choices of fruit and cream. With full stomachs, we fly the short hop to Berlin. On arrival find the weather has changed. It's cold and wet. Manon refuses her afternoon promenade and curls up in a chair. I realize I should wear something that can take the wet weather to this evening's gala concert. Tiny massed plastic sequins sewn on nylon jersey should solve the problem. We stop at a Berlin sandwich shop in the center of the city for what we thought would be quick take-out. I get a Reuben stacked so high with pastrami, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese that binge eating is not a choice but a responsibility.

The Deutsche Oper of Berlin presents a concert of operatic arias by Rossini, Verdi, Massenet, Giordano, Wagner, Puccini, Donizetti, Bellini, and Lehár. The soloists are Nino Machaidze, Angela Marambio, Marina Rebeka, Krassimira Stoyanova, Agnes Baltsa, Piotr Beczala, Pavol Breslik, Franz Grundheber, Štefan Kocán, and Matti Salminen. Lawrence Foster conducts the Choir and Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 2007.

After the concert, the weather abates and the beer is running freely at city watering holes. The Magic Opera Flying Carpet chef, John, has made zesty lemon pudding and offers ginger ale for an alternate nightcap.

Flying another short hop to Vienna, we have brunch on board and arrive in time to dress for dinner. We've pre-ordered the Viennese version of Chicken with Paprika. Our chicken is marinated and then braised with onions, tomatoes, wine, lemon rind, paprika, and other spices. It's served with sour cream.

Die Walküre at the Vienna Staatsoper features Meier, Watson,

And Ventris. Adam Fischer conducts and Sven-Eric Bechtolf directs.

After the opera, we grab some hot chocolate or something stronger and head for our couches in the Magic Opera Flying Carpet. Hopefully, tomorrow is another fair, cool day and we will enjoy the city of Prague and the famous river Bedrich Smetana described in Ma Vlast, the Moldau.

For dinner at a downtown restaurant, we have pre ordered Svíčková, a local dish consisting of marinated, slow-cooked beef sirloin covered in a creamy sauce made from root vegetables. Served with bread dumplings, it's topped with cranberry compote. This delightful combination of sweet, salty, savory, and creamy is true comfort food. Fortified by this fine dinner, some of us walk a half mile to the theater. Somebody has to show the bus driver where the theater is, however. That's my excuse for riding.

The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra performs a Mozart Gala from 2020 in the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum, home of the orchestra since its first public performance in 1896 under the baton of Antonín Dvořák. The cast includes singers Simona Šaturová, Kateřina Kněžíková, Adam Plachetka, and Jan Martiník. The conductor is Tomáš Netopil.

From Le Nozze di Figaro, the artists play the overture, the opening duet, "Non Piu andrai," the Count's aria, and the "Canzonetta sull aria." Flutist Andrea Rysová, and harpist Jana Boušková play the Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra. From Don Giovanni, the artists perform the overture, "Catalogue Aria" and a duet. From Die Entführung aus dem Serail, they perform "Martern aller Arten." The Symphony No. 41 in C Major, the "Jupiter," forms the finale.

Photo of Michael J. Hawk in The Anonymous Lover courtesy of LA Opera

The Magic Opera Flying Carpet stays on the airfield near Prague until dawn because our pilot likes to eyeball the mountains before landing in Salzburg. We breakfast on the Carpet.

Salzburg has a different kind of ice cream; its made from sheep's milk.

The dessert is particularly creamy, full-bodied, and they've got some interesting flavors such as blueberry, grape, apricot, and pumpkin seed. The sheep that give the milk are just up the road.

We will see Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci at the Salzburg Festival. Christian Thielemann conducts the Staatskapelle Dresden and staging is by Philipp Stölzl. Jörn H. Andersen directs the Dresden State Opera Choir & the Salzburg Bach Choir. Cavalleria soloists are Kaufmann, Maestri, Monastyrska, Toczyska, and Stroppa.

For Pagliacci, the cast features Agresta, Arduini, Kaufmann, and Platanias.

We bid Salzburg and the Salzkammergut Region good-bye for now with a hearty breakfast and a few ditties from The Sound of Music. We'll be back in a couple of weeks for skiing, snowboarding, and Sleigh-Rides-With-Opera. Now we want to head for LA were we can warm up in the Southern California sunshine.

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From This Author Maria Nockin