Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing


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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

Broadcast tower topped by music note, globe in background

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

Broadcast tower topped by music note, globe in background

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

 


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Free Concert Webcasts Alert!

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

This morning, April 13, 2018 at 10:45 AM (GMT -4) The Detroit Symphony Orchestra will offer a free live webcast (see it here) with the following program:

Debussy: Printemps
Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No 1 with violinist Ray Chen
Schumann: Symphony No 1, “Spring”
Hannu Lintu will conduct.

Tomorrow, April 14, 2018, OperaVision will present a live stream of events from Den Norske Opera in Oslo to celebrate the opera house’s 10th anniversary.  You can see it on the OperaVision YouTube channel.  Highlights of the broadcast will be an attempt at a world record (at 8:15AM ET, GMT-4) for the largest number of people singing Verdi’s aria Va Pensiero from the roof of the opera house (which can also be seen on OperaVision’s Facebook page), and a live performance of Verdi’s La Traviata at 3:00PM ET (GMT-4).