Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing


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More Free Music!

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The ranks of musical institutions and performers helping us all get through the current health crisis together are growing.  Here’s are my latest finds.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has now made its Replay archive of past concerts available for free.  Enjoy high-definition recordings with fantastic sound in the comfort of your own home.  Visit https://livefromorchestrahall.vhx.tv/browse to access the performances.  There, you can set up a free account, but it is not mandatory.  You can search the offerings by composer or time period.

Piano fans!  Igor Levit is giving nightly live “House Concerts” on Twitter (twitter.com/igorpianist).  See his Twitter feed for times and for other performances.  Boris Giltburg (https://twitter.com/BorisGiltburg) will also be offering Twitter performances. [Added note:  you don’t need a twitter account to see the concerts].

You also might want to check out the YouTube channel of Wigmore Hall, especially their Beethoven 250 Festival recordings.

Opera fans! The Teatro Regio in Turin is offering #operaonthesofa.  Check out their website for details, or go to their YouTube channel to check out the playlist.  The Vienna State Opera is also opening their archive of performances. To see the archive, you will need to set up a free account.  They are also livestreaming a different performance each night.  Livestreams begin at 17:00 or 19:00 CET (GMT +1), and those are available for 24 hours.

Also, check out WKAR’s schedule of livestream performances.  You can find it at https://www.wkar.org/post/list-live-streaming-concerts#stream/0.

 

Off topic, but if you need some calm, and something a little different, I’d like to suggest the live cams at the Monterey Bay Aquarium or the National Aquarium.  You can watch fish, penguins, birds, jellyfish (oddly mesmerizing—nature’s lava lamp), or just the beautiful bay.  You can find a wide variety of animals and natural scenery on livecam at explore.org (I particularly recommend the Zen Cams).  Add your own classical soundtrack if you’d like!  Nature endures; spring is coming.


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Free Opera Webcasts from the Met!

stick guy singing opera on a television with a viking helmet for an antenna

The bad news:  The Metropolitan Opera has closed due to the health crisis.

The good news:  The Metropolitan Opera is providing nightly encore opera performances for free on its website.  A different opera every night!  The webcasts will continue for the duration of the closure.  The performances may also be viewed on all Met Opera on Demand apps.

See the performances here every night at 7:30 PM EDT (GMT-4).

Each performance will be available for 20 hours thereafter.  The operas are from the Met’s Live in HD series.  Below is the schedule for this week.  See this Met website page for more information on the performers and conductors.

 

Monday, March 16    Bizet: Carmen

Tuesday, March 17   Puccini: La Bohème

Wednesday, March 18   Verdi: Il Trovatore

Thursday, March 19   Verdi: La Traviata

Friday, March 20   Donizetti: La Fille du Régiment

Saturday, March 21   Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor

Sunday, March 22   Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin

 


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Concert Cancelled?  See One in Your Own Home!

Broadcast tower topped by music note, globe in background

Due to the current health crisis, many concerts and other public events are being cancelled.  But you can still attend a concert in the comfort of your own home.  Casual dress code ok!

Check out the concert library offered by The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.  You’re sure to find a few favorites there: Jeremy Denk playing Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony , or Haydn’s Symphony No. 6, Morning, just to name a few.  There is also a large selection of audio-only performances for your listening pleasure.

Opera fans will love Operavision’s library of great performances, including Carmen, Tosca, and The Barber of Seville, among others.  At the current time, there are plans to broadcast live performances of several of Mozart’s operas this month, though the schedule may change as the current situation evolves.  Here’s the current schedule.

March 19, 19:00 CET (GMT +1, 2:00 EDT) Così fan tutte
March 21, 19:30 CET Le nozze di Figaro
March 24, 19:30 CET Don Giovanni
April 3, 19:00 CET La clemenza di Tito
April 10, 19:00 CET Die Entführung aus dem Serail
April 17, 19:00 CET Il sogno di Scipione

In addition to the old standby YouTube, you can also watch performances on Arte, the Gothenburg Symphony, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, and BachTrack.com websites.

These are difficult times.  I hope the on-demand performances available at the above sites will add a soothing element to your day.

Be safe out there, folks! Wishing you all health and serenity.


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Free Webcast: Puccini’s Tosca, and a Little Operatic Flair for Your Texts

stick guy singing opera on a television with a viking helmet for an antenna

Puccini’s Tosca, presented by the Polish National Opera, will be available on OperaVision beginning 6 December 2019 at 19:00 CET (GMT+1, or 1:00 PM EST).  You can see it here.

And if you want to add a little operatic drama to your social media and texts, check out OperaVision’s gifs on Giphy.  Also check out Giphy’s classical music gifs and opera gifs for more lighthearted flair.  Enjoy!

Classical Music Opera GIF by OperaVision - Find & Share on GIPHY


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Free Opera Webcasts: La bohème and Hamlet

stick guy singing opera on a television with a viking helmet for an antenna

It’s September!  Which means that orchestras and operas are opening their new seasons.

On OperaVision on 6 September, 2019 at 19:00 CET (GMT -2, EDT-6), the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai will produce Puccini’s La bohème.  US East Coast folks, that’s 1:00 PM.

On 13 September, 2019 at 19:00 CET, OperaVision will present Ambroise Thomas’s Hamlet, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  The performance will include a nod to film noir, as OPERA2DAY’s production will integrate film into the opera to explore the inner workings of Hamlet’s mind.  Interesting!

The performances will be available afterwards on the website for a limited time (typically six months).  Previously presented operas can also be found on the website.


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Free Opera Webcasts: Il trovatore and the Marriage of Figaro

stick guy singing opera on a television with a viking helmet for an antenna

Two classic operas will be presented on OperaVision in the next week.

First, on July 6, 2019 at 21:00 CET (GMT -2; 3PM EDT) the Teatro Real in Madrid will present Verdi’s Il trovatore.

Next, on July 9, 2019 at 20:00 CET (GMT -2; 2PM EDT) the Royal Opera House in London will present Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

Go to the OperVision link above to view the performances.  If you will not be able to watch the operas at these times, they will be available for on-demand viewing shortly thereafter for a limited time.  Follow this link to see the operas currently available in the library.

Enjoy!


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Live Concert Webcasts: La traviata, Bruckner, Brahms and More

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Today, May 24, 2019, at 19:00 CET (2 PM EDT, UTC -1), OperaVision will present Verdi’s La Traviata from the Icelandic OperaYou can see it here.

Tomorrow, May 25, 2019 at 8PM EDT (GMT -4), the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will present Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3 and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3Kent Nagano will conduct, and the program will feature pianist Beatrice RanaYou can see it here.

On May 31, 2019 at 10:45 AM (GMT -4) the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will present Brahms’s Symphony No. 4.  Also on the program is Webern’s Passacaglia, and Haydn’s Concerto for Two Horns.  You can see it here.


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No Wrong Number: The Aria Code Opera Podcast Series and More

stick guy singing opera on a television with a viking helmet for an antenna

I have been reading enthusiastic reviews of Aria Code, a new series of podcasts sponsored by WQXR, the Metropolitan Opera and WNYC Studios.  And after listening, I agree.

Each podcast discusses one aria.  Just one.  Afterward, the aria is presented in its entirety without interruption.

For those looking for an introduction to opera, this is what I would call an easy on-ramp.  The presenters provide diverse views and insights into each aria, revealing details one might not have heard otherwise.  Each podcast lasts around 30 minutes.

Arias from Verdi’s La Traviata and Otello, Puccini’s La Boheme and Tosca, and Saint-Saën’s Dalila have been presented thus far.

You can listen to Aria Code at https://www.wnycstudios.org/shows/aria-code.

 

Are you in the mood for full operas now?  Here’s just some of what’s currently available on demand at OperaVision:

Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute

Verdi: Macbeth

Puccini: Tosca

Wagner: The Flying Dutchman

Britten: Albert Herring

Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor

Click here for a list of all the operas currently available.


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Live! Free!  Beethoven, Turandot, Gran Turismo and More

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Tonight, June 9, 2018 at 9PM EDT (GMT-4) The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra presents their season finale concert.  You can see it here.  Here’s the program:

Andrew Norman: Gran Turismo
Johannes Brahms: Serenade No. 2
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 1

Tomorrow, June 10, 2018 at 3PM EDT (GMT-4) the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will present Puccini’s Turandot in a concert setting. You can see it here.

For more opera, visit operavision.eu where you can see these and more on demand:

Bellini: Norma
Donizetti: La Favorite
Handel: Semele
Mascagni/Leoncavallo: Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci
Monteverdi: L’Orfeo
Offenbach: Blaubart
Puccini: Turandot
Verdi: Aida, La Traviata, Il corsaro
Wagner: Götterdämmerung, Parsifal


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Haiku Wednesday:  Alkan’s Funeral March for a Dead Parrot

This parrot is dead;
He is no more; he’s passed on.
He has ceased to be.

He’s expired and
Gone to meet his maker, a
Stiff, bereft of life,

Demised, not pining.
The choir invisible
Now has a parrot.

The words for this haiku are excerpts from Monty Python’s classic Dead Parrot Sketch, which you can see below.  But the inspiration for the post is Charles-Valentin Alkan’s Funeral March on the Death of a Parrot.

Oddly, this is not the first time I’ve done a post on music written about a bird, or even for a dead bird.  Mozart had a starling whose song may be heard in his music, and for whom he wrote a poem.  Telemann wrote the Cantata of Funeral Music for an Artistically Trained Canary-Bird Whose Demise Brought the Greatest Sorrow to His Master

So, there’s precedent (and decedent for that matter).  But the subject of this post is Alkan’s funeral march.  It has been said that he was inspired to write this after the appearance of Rossini’s opera The Thieving Magpie [La gazza ladra] in Paris.1  In his score, Alkan advises lovers of La gazza ladra not to attribute any “impertinence” to the dead parrot’s song, you know, not that he was parodying Rossini or anything.

In this funeral march, the soloists sing “As-tu déjeune, Jaco”, which is roughly equivalent to the English “Polly want a cracker?”

Alas, it is too late.  Here is Alkan’s Funeral March on the Death of a Parrot.

 

Here is Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch.

 

References

  1. https://www.allmusic.com/composition/marcia-funebre-sulla-morte-dun-papagallo-for-chorus-3-oboes-bassoons-funeral-march-for-a-dead-parrot-mc0002396751