The Australian Ballet embraces the spirit of The Merry Widow with gusto and makes it fun to watch.

AustraliaAustralia The Australian Ballet’s The Merry Widow (based on the operetta by Victor Léon and Leo Stein with music by Franz Lehár): Dancers of The Australian Ballet, Opera Australia Orchestra / Paul Murphy (conductor). 9.5.1018 performance (directed for the screen by Simon Francis) from The Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, and new to Sky Arts on 2.8.2020. (JPr)

Amber Scott (Hanna) and Adam Bull (Danilo) (c) Daniel Boud

Read moreThe Australian Ballet embraces the spirit of The Merry Widow with gusto and makes it fun to watch.

BBC Proms turns 125 years old – 17 July to 12 September 2020

From Bernstein to Benedetti, Haitink to Hvorostovsky, Mackerras to Kanneh-Masons

Musical greats, from the past and the present, brought together in one extraordinary Proms season

17 July – 12 September 2020

UPDATED 6 August 2020 – More details of live programme revealed

  • Singer-songwriter Laura Marling joins the live line-up of Proms this summer
  • Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor performs with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen
  • For the first time ever, all live Proms performances will be visualised and available to watch on BBC TV or live streamed on BBC iPlayer
  • BBC Four to air much-loved Late Night Proms, including 2015’s Radio 1Xtra Prom featuring Stormzy and 2017’s tribute to soul label Stax
  • BBC Radio 1Xtra, Radio 2 and 6 Music to broadcast Proms
  • A collection of Proms is made available on BBC iPlayer – from Alina Ibragimova performing solo Bach to the Doctor Who Prom

The BBC Proms are delighted to announce award-winning British singer-songwriter Laura Marling will be part of the live Proms this summer. Marling will be performing songs from her recently acclaimed, Mercury-nominated album Song for Our Daughter, as well as selected songs from her previous albums, in brand-new string arrangements by American multi-instrumentalist, arranger and producer Rob Moose. Laura will perform live at the Royal Albert Hall with pioneering string group 12 Ensemble, who have collaborated with everyone from The National to Max Richter on Sunday 6 September, broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Four, and recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 6 Music.

Further artists announced today include British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor appearing with the Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen (Wednesday 9 September), organist Jonathan Scott who brings the colossal sound of the Royal Albert Hall’s organ back to the Hall in a recital of popular classical works (Saturday 29 August) and a programme of contemporary classical works performed by the London Sinfonietta to be announced (Tuesday 1 September).

The full line-up includes previously announced stars such as Nicola Benedetti, Stephen HoughSheku Kanneh-MasonSir Simon RattleAnoushka Shankar and Mitsuko Uchida.

The BBC Singers will also make a special appearance at the First Night of the live Proms, joining the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo on Friday 28 August. The BBC National Orchestra of Wales with Chief Conductor Ryan BancroftBBC Philharmonic with Chief Conductor Omer Meir Wellber and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with Chief Conductor Thomas Dausgaard join the Proms from their homes in Cardiff, Manchester and Glasgow, representing the cities in which they are based, in this summer’s Proms. The Proms outside London will all be streamed to BBC iPlayer.

The two weeks of live Proms include seven new commissions highlighting the Proms’ commitment to contemporary music. The opening night sees a new work by Hannah Kendall whilst Aziza SadikovaJay Capperauld and Gavin Higgins all have world premieres, in addition to the three commissions already announced by Thomas AdèsAndrea Tarrodi and Richard Ayres.

Whilst there will not be an audience at the Royal Albert Hall, every live Prom will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and for the first time ever, all live Proms performances will be visualised and available to watch via BBC Four (Thursday, Friday, Sunday) or live streamed on BBC iPlayer (Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday).

Read moreBBC Proms turns 125 years old – 17 July to 12 September 2020

In the second Met Stars concert, Renée Fleming gives voice to comfort and hope from Washington

United StatesUnited States Met Stars Live in Concert [2] – Renée Fleming (soprano) and Robert Ainsley (piano): Live stream (directed by Gary Halvorson) from Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC, 1.8.2020. (RP)

Renée Fleming at Dumbarton Oaks

Read moreIn the second Met Stars concert, Renée Fleming gives voice to comfort and hope from Washington


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.


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:

English National Opera – On 17 July tickets for the English National Opera’s Drive and Live – the world’s first live drive-in opera – will go on sale. This new, modern 90 minute version of the much-loved La bohème is performed live at London’s Alexandra Palace with members of the award-winning ENO Orchestra and Chorus. For all details as they becoming available and about how to book tickets CLICK HERE.

Nevill Holt Opera have announced six outdoor concerts are taking place in the beautiful gardens of the Nevill Holt estate this summer. Two concerts will take place on each of 29 August, 5 and 12 September. Nurturing up-and-coming talent is an essential part of NHO’s mission, and each concert will feature at least five NHO Young Artists. An English Country Garden will feature English Folksongs by Elgar and others, Summer Shakespeare will feature John Rutter’s Birthday Madrigals and Choral Music from the Renaissance will round out the concert series with Monteverdi, Gabrielli and Palestrina. During each visit, which will last for 2.5 hours, audiences can enjoy the outdoor performance and local food and explore the gardens. Each event will be held with strict social distancing and hygiene measures in place. Tickets are £35, with some held for each concert for those who may not be able to afford it. NHO’s 2020 festival with La traviata and Don Giovanni was cancelled in March due to Covid-19 and postponed to 2021. For more information CLICK HERE.

Opera Leipzig – The Oper Leipzig schedule of events for the 2020/21 season will once again allow for performances on the main stage, as part of an ambitious hygiene plan. The Oper Leipzig’s Oper Leipzig’s modified program for the months of September and October 2020 begins with a season-opening concert is entitled ‘Vorhang auf!’ and will take place on September 12, 2020. Intendant and general music director Ulf Schirmer will musically direct the program, which will include works by Mozart, Rossini, Carl Maria von Weber, Bizet, and Humperdinck. The very next day on September 13, soprano Gabriele Scherer will take the stage with her husband, superstar baritone Michael Volle, as together they perform selections from the works of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss an 60 Musicians of the Gewandhaus orchestra on stage. In line with health regulations, the Oper Leipzig’s theater will offer 238 seats, and the Musikalische Komödie’s current venue allows 48 seats. Both venues will offer one-hour performances without an intermission and will observe distancing regulations in the front and back of the house, and on stage. Ulf Schirmer thanks all involved in this complex process of coordination: ‘I am very grateful to the artists, and to our planning and technical teams, both on stage and behind the scenes, for their engagement, their patience, and their creativity. Thanks to them, we are able to make resolute and imaginative decisions regarding this autumn’s new schedule of events.’ Audiences can look forward to one premiere by each of the Oper Leipzig’s three divisions: the Oper Leipzig, the Leipzig Ballet, and the Musikalische Komödie. For more information CLICK HERE.


Krzysztof Warlikowski’s new Elektra production ushers in 2020’s resurrected 100th Salzburg Festival

AustriaAustria Richard Strauss, Elektra: Soloists, Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus (chorus master: Ernst Raffelsberger), Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Franz Welser-Möst (conductor). Review of 1.8.2020 performance (directed for the screen by Miriam Hoyer) in Salzburg’s Felsenreitschule and streamed on ARTE Concert. (JPr)

Aušrinė Stundytė (Elektra) and Derek Welton (Orest) © Bernd Uhlig

Read moreKrzysztof Warlikowski’s new Elektra production ushers in 2020’s resurrected 100th Salzburg Festival

Back in Harmony – a new digital world for The King’s Singers

United KingdomUnited Kingdom Back in Harmony – Various: The King’s Singers, Holy Trinity Church, Chrishall, Herts. Stream viewed via IDAGIO’s Global Concert Hall on 30.7.2020. (RP)

The King’s Singers with John Rutter outside Chrishall’s Holy Trinity Church

Read moreBack in Harmony – a new digital world for The King’s Singers