UPDATED ONLINE NEWS! IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC

01/06/2020

Seen and Heard International hopes for the happiest of outcomes for all those who are ill due to the current coronavirus pandemic. We share the optimism of those experts who hope that all those in otherwise good health will be able to resist its worst effects.

With the worldwide restrictions on travel and gatherings of significant numbers the world of classical music and many other entertainment events are currently subjected to a wave of changes, postponements, or cancellations, and it is unlikely normal recreational life will be resumed in the foreseeable future.

Seen and Heard International will continue to post reviews of concerts, operas, dance, theatre, and broadcasts for a long as we can, but bear with us if our content is not refreshed as often as readers have become used to over recent years.

We are not a listings site so if you are checking for news of whether performances have been postponed, cancelled, or might be restarting, please go direct to the websites of the venues concerned.

NEWS

Attempts are being made to provide online live music and other performances – live or recorded – during this ongoing situation. Below are a few of the announcements and please also look elsewhere on Seen and Heard for more news. None of this is intended to be comprehensive or regularly updated but might be added to in coming days:

BBC – For the BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine (‘Bringing arts and culture into your home’) pages CLICK HERE

The Metropolitan Opera – Starting from tonight Monday 16 March 2020, the Metropolitan Opera in New York is launching a free series of encore Live in HD presentations – ‘Nightly Met Opera Streams’ to be streamed during the coronavirus closure. To find out more about the Met Opera Nightly Streams CLICK HERE.

Iván FischerThe Hungarian conductor, Maestro Ivan Fischer, creates a new concert series in response to the worldwide musical shutdown. The chamber concerts will be free to view online while the spreading COVID-19 forces music lovers to stay at home. From this evening (Monday 16 March 2020) his Budapest Festival Orchestra will be giving nightly chamber concerts online, under the title Quarantine Soirees. Follow this link to view the announcement: Quarantine Soirees CLICK HEREFor more about the Budapest Festival Orchestra CliCK HERE.

Joyce DiDonato – available on this wonderful artist’s Instagram and Facebook is the performance she gave with Piotr Beczala singing excerpts of #WERTHER from her living room with Emmanuel Ceysson and Howard Watkins. Joyce DiDonato invites you ‘to join a global community to find relief in music (even if it’s sorrowful music!), but we will sing with all our hearts.’ DiDonato adds ‘If you feel moved, please consider making a donation to an organization, theater, orchestra as a gesture of thanks. Every dollar/euro will count, as artists now are flying without a financial net for the foreseeable future. Your generosity – at any amount – will make a huge difference. Any organization will be happy to accept your support, but 2 options that will go directly to artists: CLICK HERE or CLICK HERE.’

OperaVision – for more about what is available on the freeview streaming platform CLICK HERE.

Vienna State Opera – In this difficult situation, Vienna State Opera is now opening its livestream archives, so that music lovers all over the world will still be able to enjoy opera and ballet. Starting on Sunday, 15 March 2020, Wiener Staatsoper will broadcast recordings of previous opera and ballet performances daily via its streaming platform CLICK HERE – worldwide and free of charge. This online programme will even follow the originally planned schedule at the house, with a few exceptions only. Streams start at 7 p.m. or 5 p.m. CET respectively (for Die Walküre, Siegfried, Götterdämmerung) and remain available for 24 hours. After registration CLICK HERE the subscription can be booked free of charge until further notice.

Berlin Philharmonic – The Philharmonie Berlin is closed until 19 April to help contain the coronavirus. But the orchestra will continue to play for you – in the Digital Concert Hall. Log on to the Digital Concert Hall ticket page CLICK HERE with the code BERLINPHIL and use the Digital Concert Hall free of charge for 30 days. Cancellation is not required. The latest date for redeeming the code is Tuesday, 31 March 2020.

Wigmore Hall –  Free ‘Live Stream’ CLICK HERE

Opera North – you can watch their Ring cycle in full and for free CLICK HERE

Deutsche Oper Berlin – although the programme is on hold until 19th April, we still have a few novelties lined up! From now on, you can enjoy opera from the comfort of your own couch. Over the next few days the homepage of our website will be showing the following works as video on demand. On the mentioned dates the programme changes around 3pm – CLICK HERE for details. 

English National Ballet – for ways to keep in touch with English National Ballet during the hiatus in their activities CLICK HERE or their Facebook page, YouTube Channel, Spotify or Twitter. Artistic director Tamara Rojo said: ‘Dance can bring us closer together. When you dance, something incredible and beautiful happens.’ There will also be online classes tailored to different levels. ENB invites audiences around the world to join them for Wednesday Watch Parties. As part of ENB at HOME, never before seen full-length recordings of Company performances will be premiered online (Facebook/ YouTube) every Wednesday evening over the next month, giving people the chance to see some of ENB’s most loved productions, for free, from their own homes. Recordings will be available for 48 hours. The first Wednesday Watch Party will take place at 7pm on Wednesday 22 April, with the online premiere of Broken Wings, a critically acclaimed ballet based on the life of iconic 20th century artist Frida Kahlo. Choreographed by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, this performance features English National Ballet Artistic Director and Lead Principal Tamara Rojo in the role of Kahlo alongside legendary ballet star Irek Mukhamedov as Diego Rivera.

Some other theatre performancesCLICK HERE for news about a range of content available online.

The Royal Opera House – will be offering a free programme of curated online broadcasts, musical masterclasses and cultural insights that get under the skin of both ballet and opera and offer everyone a unique look behind the scenes at one of the world’s most famous cultural institutions. This will include the following productions offered on demand and for free via the ROH’s Facebook and YouTube channels. Audiences are invited to sign up for a free 30-day trial on Marquee TV, the international multi-genre performing arts streaming service. In collaboration with the Royal Opera House, Marquee TV will bring you the very best of world-class performances on demand. On Friday 10 April we will present the first in our new series of ROH Rewind (which will feature a member of The Royal Opera or The Royal Ballet) and Royal Ballet Principal, Marianela Núñez, will present clips of her favourite performances. We also look forward to introducing another episode of House Music, featuring the Music Director of The Royal Opera, Tony Pappano, as he plays and discusses some of his favourite pieces from the opera repertory. On Easter Monday The Royal Ballet will share an exclusive new short dance film featuring Marcelino Sambé in collaboration with Cloakroom magazine. We are also proud to announce the full-length broadcast of Beethoven favourite, Fidelio. This will be broadcast on BBC Four television in May. To join us for all broadcasts and unique content, follow #OurHousetoYourHouse, so look out for updates and announcements via The Royal Opera House’s social media channels and experience the best of the ROH from your living room.

London Mozart Players – In the wake of venue closures and concert cancellations across the country due to the COVID-19 outbreak, London Mozart Players, the UKs longest established chamber orchestra, are launching ‘At home with LMP’ an initiative that will help keep audiences connected to music by going virtual. This dedicated web page will allow anyone to access and enjoy performances by LMP musicians and associated artists virtually from the comfort of their own home, ensuring that audiences can connect with the orchestra and experience the transformative power of classical music, even whilst self-isolating. Launching today (23 March), ‘At home with LMP’ will showcase the talent within this much-loved chamber ensemble by releasing a daily stream of pre-recorded and live performances, as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes clips from LMP soloists, associates and musicians. For more information CLICK HERE.

Let’s Dance International Frontiers – LDIF is the annual dance festival in Leicester which opens every year on 29 April (International Dance Day) bringing diversity to the forefront with a strong programme of performances, workshops, films and discussion featuring dancers and choreographers from around the world. Due to the current restrictions imposed on mass gatherings as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the physical festival for LDIF20 will be postponed. However, in order to mark LDIF’s tenth anniversary this year, Serendipity, the producers of LDIF, is proud to present ALTERNATIVE LDIF20, a digital festival of dance, from 29 April – 16 May. The alternative LDIF schedule will launch online on 29 April 2020 and for more information CLICK HERE.

Opéra national de Paris – A series of past performances are to be broadcast in coming weeks on on operadeparis.fr (CLICK HERE) and france.tvculturebox (CLICK HERE), thanks to France televisions and its Culturebox service.

Deutsche Oper Berlin –  So that you can keep on enjoying high art, we will continue to make works of opera available on the homepage of our website (CLICK HERE) over the next weeks. Changing the content every two days at about 3pm, we will be showing recordings of outstanding productions mounted by our opera house in the past, all as FREE video on demand. These rang from legendary productions such as Götz Friedrich’s 1980 version of Wagner’s TRISTAN AND ISOLDE to Boris Blacher’s PRUSSIAN LEGEND (1974) and Aribert Reimann’s DIE GESPENSTERSONATE from 1984. A highlight of the works on offer will be the opening performance at the Deutsche Oper Berlin of DON GIOVANNI in 1961 featuring great artists such as Pilar Lorengar. Happy viewing!

National Theatre at Home – Watch the best of British theatre. Join us every Thursday for much-loved National Theatre Live productions, free to stream on YouTube for seven days. For more information CLICK HERE.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – With our partners Google Arts & Culture and YouTube and in association with the Southbank Centre we will be broadcasting live on Wednesday 8 April 2020 from 4pm BST on our YouTube channel. Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity to watch the online premiere of the Orchestra’s electrifying performance of Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben (A Heroic Journey) recorded live in June 2019 at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, under the baton of Vasily Petrenko. Watch out for further announcements. on our YouTube channel

London Symphony Orchestra – for information about their online Always Playing twice-weekly full length concerts CLICK HERE.

Philharmonia Orchestra – for news of their ‘digital experiences’ including a Mahler 3 conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen CLICK HERE.

Semperoper Dresden – With a production of Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier from the year 2000, the Semperoper Dresden is for the first time inviting music fans to enjoy star-studded opera via an online stream this Easter weekend. Director Uwe Erik Laufenberg staged the work, which premiered in Dresden in 1911, as a modern homage to the composer, a greatly beloved figure at the Semperoper. The celebrated Strauss interpreter Anne Schwanewilms appears as the Feldmarschallin under the baton of Fabio Luisi. From Thursday 9 April to Easter Monday (13 April), this video recording from Tokyo’s NHK Hall in 2007 is available for streaming through our website  (CLICK HERE) under »Semperoper at home«. This weekend’s opera stream has been made possible by the generous granting of broadcasting rights by MDR and EuroArts. The DVD version of the performance is available for purchase. Thanks to UNITEL GmbH, »Semperoper at home«-streams will also be offered on the following weekends with a recording of Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana (April 17-19, 2020) and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (April 24–26, 2020) from Salzburg’s Large Festival Hall in 2015.  UNITEL videos are permanently available (CLICK HERE), the streaming portal for classical music operated by ORF and UNITEL. Should current restrictions on live events continue under the Corona crisis, music lovers can look forward to further highlights from the Semperoper repertoire at future weekend streams. All programme details will be announced on our website. 

Sadler’s Wells – Digital Stage is Sadler’s Wells’s free online performance programme. Performances will be screened live on Fridays at 7.30pm UK time via Sadler’s Wells’ Facebook page, and are then available to watch on demand for seven days thereafter. All titles, dates and screening times, will be announced via Sadler’s Wells’s social media channels, and updated via this link on the Sadler’s Wells website CLICK HERE.  

Royal Concertgebouw and Concertgebouworkest – present a Mahler Festival online and for more information CLICK HERE.

Going Home: A Virtual Requiem On Monday 4 May,  a poignant, new virtual music collaboration with Canadian concert cellist, Amanda Forsyth, wife of violinist Pinchas Zukerman called ‘Going Home’ is released which is based on Dvorák’s New World Symphony, Largo Movement. It is intended to serve as a requiem for all of those who are dying alone in hospitals, and those grieving for their loved ones in isolation. CLICK HERE for the video. For more about Amanda Forsyth CLICK HERE

The Grange Festival  launches online streaming seasonTo coincide with the planned 2020 season, The Grange Festival will be streaming free online performances of three highlights from their previous seasons. The first offering, on Sunday 24 May, is the five-star “absolute must-see” production of Handel’s Agrippina from the 2018 festival. A concert performance of Leonard Bernstein’s hugely popular Candide follows on Friday 5 June, to celebrate what would have been The Grange Festival’s opening night. The third and final stream is Mozart’s operatic masterpiece Le nozze di Figaro, which will be available from Sunday 12 July, the Festival’s intended closing night. This lively concert performance from the Barbican is based on the successful staged production seen at the 2019 festival. All three performances will be sung in the original language with surtitles in English and will be free to watch for a minimum of thirty days. For further details and direct links on The Grange Festival CLICK HERE.

Vale of Glamorgan Festival – As the festival should have been performing at this time – had our world not been turned upside down! – we are performing three concerts and interviews on YouTube. They are being performed on 15th, 18th and 22 May but will of course stay up for people to view after the premieres.  From 1) Friday 15th May, 7:30pm – Huw Watkins. Featuring CLICK HERE Steph Power (composer, writer), John Metcalf (Artistic Director) and Huw Watkins (composer) in conversation; with performances at home from Huw Watkins (piano), and Anne Denholm (harp). 2) Monday 18th May, 7:30pm – Wales’ Got Talent. Steph Power is joined in conversation by Welsh Composers Mark Bowden (with his music performed at home by David Adams, violin and Robin Green, piano); Mared Emlyn (with music performed by harpist Anne Denholm); Maja Palser (music performed by Robin Green, piano); David John Roche (performing his own music for guitar). Steph Power’s music (performed by Matthew Jones, violin, and Annabel Thwaite, piano) will end this video. Conversation also with Deborah Keyser, Director of Ty Cerdd. 3) Friday 22nd May, 7:30pm – John Luther Adams. John Metcalf and Steph Power will be joined in conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning composers John Luther Adams to discuss his music and creative process. Musicians George Barton (percussion) and Siwan Rhys (piano), and Anne Denholm (harp) perform music by John Luther Adams and also join in the conversation.

Dutch National Opera & Ballet – for more information of their ongoing streaming events as they ‘Keep on Singing and Dancing’ CLICK HERE

Bayerische Staatsoper #BSOathome – On 25 May, already the 8th version of the weekly Monday Concerts will take place on the stage of the empty Staatsoper. From 8.15 pm onwards, former ensemble member Golda Schultz interprets lieder from Franz Schubert and a piece by John Carter live on STAATSOPER.TV (CLICK HERE). Additionally, solo flutist Paolo Taballione and pianist Fabio Cerroni perform pieces from The Magic Flute and Eugene Onegin, amongst others, followed by soloists from the Bayerisches Staatsballett with solo-parts of well-known ballets.

Chorus of the Sicilian Opera – The Coro Lirico Siciliano (INTERNATIONAL OPERA AWARDS 2017) is a reality that in a few years has established itself in the musical, theatrical, operatic and symphonic national, becoming the official choir of the two major opera seasons of Sicily, the Taormina Opera Festival and the Luglio Musicale Trapanese. The special care for vocality and style and the versatility of its choir members, allows the Chorus to address both the sophisticated, symphonic and sacred music and the robust traditional repertoire. The Chorus, formed by choir artists coming from the different provinces of Sicily, performs concerts and operas successful with audiences and critics, and is regularly engaged by theaters within the region, nationally and internationally. The intense concert season fits with the cultural activity: in this respect the Chorus has embarked on concentrated research, development and export of Sicilian Art at the national and international level. As well the Choir has rediscovered the most important Sicilian authors with the performance of lesser known or unpublished works of P. Mandanici, P. Vinci, G. Pacini, V. Moscuzza, F. P. Neglia, V. Bellini (in particular Zaira, with the extraordinary participation of some performers from the original cast of the world premiere in 1976). The Sicilian Lyric Chorus was responsible for the philological version of Zaira, presented in Catania at the Greek-Roman Theatre for the ‘Bellini Festival’ in September 2012. Performances by the Chorus of Sicilian Opera: Bellini – NORMA – Guerra! Guerra! (Festival Internazionale della Musica di Macao (Cina) diretto da Lu Jia) CLICK HERE / Gounod – FAUST – Valzer  (Lu Jia, Macao Orchestra, Coro Lirico Siciliano) CLICK HERE / Donizetti – ELISIR D’AMORE– R. WEIKERT CLICK HERE

The Conservatoire, Blackheath – The Conservatoire has been going for 140 years, providing art, drama and music lessons, and has been hit hard – a many such organisations – by Covid-19. They have completely revamped their courses for the all new online marketplace. This represents a successful reinvention of an old institution that serves the public and isn’t a university or music college per se, and has no public funding etc. The Conservatoire’s online courses give a great opportunity for people from all over the world to access really good quality teaching and support. It is perfect for parents coping with home-schooling but also great for those who are looking for a creative outlet during these strange times. It’s open to all ages and abilities. Historically, The Conservatoire pioneered arts therapy after the First World War, and students have commented on the positive mental health aspects of arts learning at The Conservatoire, particularly at this time of anxiety. As we all know, many people have turned to the arts for solace during these weird times – having the regular commitment of an artistic project, as well as interaction with the tutor and other learners on Zoom, has been very important for their mental well-being – and their tutors’ too. For more information about The Conservatoire, Blackheath CLICK HERE.

Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2020 – Tête à Tête has launched a Manifesto for a Real Opera Festival in An Imaginary World amid the news that Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2020 will indeed be going ahead – whether by the act of imagination, or in an eventual real physical space. The Manifesto asserts that the festival will not make art in isolation, for the fundamental reason that the festival has always been a powerful collaboration between the artists and audience, and a space where connection is forged. Until the festival can present work in a living, breathing space, Tête à Tête has conjured up an imaginary world in which a real festival of real opera performances can take place. Both online and offline, artists and companies involved in the festival will share the creative work behind their imaginary operas, from the draft libretti to the visual references that inspire them. For full info CLICK HERE.

Cremona Musica – At a time when in many countries of the world musical training activities are strongly reduced, mfClassrooms allows to overcome geographical barriers and the physical distance between teacher and student, offering the possibility to continue the lessons, with an audio quality comparable to that of a CD (stereo audio, frequency response from 0 to 20,000 Hz, and sampling at 48 KHz). The video recording function of the lessons allows the student to listen to the lesson again, to treasure all the details of the teaching received. For more information CLICK HERE.

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