Streaming links to get your music fix during the COVID-19 quarantine

March 18, 2020 at 2:53 pm

By George Grella

When their Metropolitan Opera production of Werther was cancelled, Joyce DiDonato and Piotr Beczala livestreamed excerpts of Massenet’s opera from DiDonato’s apartment. Photo: (Jorge Parodi via AP)

In order to serve Boston Classical Review readers during the current extended quarantine period due to COVID-19, we are providing a list of streaming classical events, mostly free, that are available online. We realize the situation is dynamic and changing daily, so readers should feel free to suggest any additional favorite streaming sites in the Comments box. Also any presenters, organizations and musicians offering streaming classical performances, please send your links as comments as well, and we’ll be happy to add them to the mix.

Lawrence A. Johnson
Classical Review Founder and Editor

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Classical Live Streams

Concert halls are shuttered worldwide to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In spite of that, many classical music institutions are committed to presenting music to virtual audiences, via live and archival streaming set ups, over the next few weeks. The following is a list of what is available, for free, as of this week. All times are Eastern Standard. (Sites may be temporarily unavailable due to heavy bandwidth loads.)

Opera

  • Beginning this week and for the duration of their closure, the Metropolitan Opera is streaming archived HD broadcast recordings for free link is at their homepage. Beginning 7:30 pm each evening, and continuing through 3 p.m. the next day, the Met will make a single performance available. The first week’s schedule is available at the Met’s press page. Streams can be viewed via web browser or the Met Opera On Demand app.
  • Friday, March 20, 1:35 p.m., the Finnish National Opera will stream a performance of Eugene Onegin through their home page. Boris Pinkhasovich sings Onegin, Olesya Golovneva is Tatyana, and Jussi Myllys performs Lensky—Alan Buribayev conducts.

  • The Vienna State Opera is offering a similar streaming method, with archived performances available beginning at 2 p.m. each day. Their schedule will include a complete Ring cycle staatsoperlive.com.
  • Closing the Met meant cancelling the opening of Massenet’s Werther, with Joyce DiDonato and Piotr Beczala. So the mezzo-soprano and tenor, accompanied by pianist Howard Watkins and harpist Emmanuel Ceysson, gave a preview of the opera, live from her apartment, over the weekend—this special concert can be streamed through DiDonato’s Facebook page.

  • The Bavarian State Opera has a streaming schedule that includes live and archived performances, including Georges Balanchine’s ballet, Jewels, set to music by Stravinsky, Fauré, and Tchaikovsky; Marina Abramović’s 7 Deaths of Maria Callas (April 7); a double-bill of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and Bluebeard’s Castle (through March 26); and Il Trovatore with Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros (through March 28). Details of their service and schedule are at staatsoper.de\stream.html (NB: The site is in German.)
  • The Rossini Opera Festival Archive will have each opera available for 24 hours, starting with Zelmira, streaming from 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 18. There will generally be a three-day gap between viewings, which will conclude at a date to be determine with Guillaume Tell. Schedule details are at the link.

Orchestras

  • Members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra are holding occasional “Quarantine Soirées,” live streamed from the BFO Rehearsal Hall. Streaming should be available through this link, but please note that the server site is reporting errors.
  • Thursday, March 19, at 3:00 p.m., the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liége will live stream a performance of Bellini’s La Sonnambula. The performance can be viewed at franceinfo.
  • Thursday, March 19, at 3:30 p.m., violinist Isabelle Faust and the London Symphony Orchestra, with conductor François-Xavier Roth, will play music by Bartók and Stravinsky. Streaming will be available through the orchestra’s YouTube page. Archived performances are also available at that site.
  • The Berliner Philharmoniker has no live concerts scheduled until April 24, but they have made their Digital Concert Hall archive free for 30 days for those who sign up by March 31. Their archive includes both recent and historical concerts and documentary films. For access, redeem the voucher code BERLINPHIL at their homepage. The archives can be streamed through a web browser or via the Digital Concert Hall app.
  • On March 12, the Philadelphia Orchestra played Beethoven’s Symphonies 5 and 6 in an empty Verizon Hall. The archive of that live stream is available through their YouTube channel. The orchestra also has selected concerts available for listening (no video) at their Listen On Demand page.
  • The Gothenberg Symphony Orchestra has various performances available for streaming, through their GSOplay page. Choices include Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 “Romantic,” conducted by Leopold Hager, Mozart Concertos, and a performance with soprano Barbara Hannigan.
  • The Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Replay service has selection of 4K UHD archives from their current season, with concerts that include Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and Pictures at an Exhibition.
  • The Seattle Symphony is currently organizing live concerts to be streamed, as well as a schedule of archival recordings. Performances will be shown on their YouTube and Facebook pages. Sign up for email notifications from the Symphony at their website.
  • The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra presents an archived stream of the BeethovenFest “Virtual Finale” concert—without an audience—from March 15, at their website. With conductor Otto Tausk and pianist Saleem Ashkar, the orchestra plays’ Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 and Symphony No. 6, “Pastorale.”
  • The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra closed their hall for a concert of Bloch’s Schelomo and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherezade, archived on their YouTube channel
  • Friday, March 20, 2 p.m., the Orchestra of the J.S. Foundation will perform Bach’s Cantata BWV 106, ‌Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit through their site.
  • Friday, March 20, 8 p.m., the Jacksonville Symphony will live stream an abbreviated version of their SHIFT: Kennedy Center Bound concert program. jaxsymphony.org

Chamber Music

  • The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center has cancelled their scheduled concerts through March 31, but but continues to maintain a substantial streaming archive. Their two most recent concerts, a New Milestones performance from March 12 and a March 15 program that included Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, were delivered live but without an audience present. Daily at 12:30 p.m., CMS will post theme-based programs from their archives at the home page chambermusicsociety.org—along with concerts, contents will include lectures and family programs. The first playlist, as of this week, is themed “Transcendence,” and will include Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 and Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. The full CMS archive is at their Watch and Listen page.
  • The 92Y is committed to presenting as much of their current schedule as possible, but for now has confirmed it will live stream two upcoming concerts: Wednesday, March 18, at 7:30 pm, 92Y will be mezzo-soprano Fleur Barron (with pianist TBA) in Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder and Kindertotenlieder, and Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte. The stream will be available at the recital page. Thursday, March 26, at 7:30, Jonathan Biss will play Beethoven’s final three Piano Sonatas, Op. 109, 110, and 111. These concerts and other previous ones will be available for streaming at the 92Y archives.
  • Like DiDonato, pianist Igor Levit live-streamed an impromptu concert from his home last week, over Twitter. These performances can be streamed via that site; Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, “Waldstein”, Fred Rzewski The People United Will Never Be DefeatedBrahm’s transcription of the Bach Chaconne, for the Left Hand Solo, and the Piano Sonata No. 23, Op. 57, also be Beethoven. Levit is a fairly active performer on Twitter, follow his feed for more.
  • The New York Festival of Song gave a live-streamed performance of “The Art of Pleasure,” with songs by Montsalvatge, Rachmaninoff, Piazzolla, Bernstein, Jonathan Dove, Tom Lehrer, Gabriel Kahane, Michael John LaChiusa, The Kinks, and more, Sunday, March 15. That performance is archived and available for streaming from the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts.
  • The Greene Space is also closed to audiences but will live stream upcoming performances: Friday, March 20, 7:30 p.m., Jeremy Denk plays “The Well-Tempered Clavier’s Greatest Hits” from the Greene Space, April 1, 1 p.m. violinist Timothy Chooi, and pianist Jinhee Park deliver a recital, April 7, 7 p.m., Denk returns to play more selections from Bach.
  • Wigmore Hall will live stream a concert program March 22, at 3:30 p.m., titled “England’s Orpheus,” featuring countertenor Iestyn Davies and lutenist Thomas Dunford playing music from Purcell, Marais, Handel, de Visee, Bach, and Dowland, Pianist Leon McCawley will play Schubert, Janáček, Grieg, and Schumann, 3:30 p.m., April 6. wigmore-hall.org.uk
  • An additional variety of orchestral and chamber music concerts is available at BR-Klassik Concert.

Posted in Performances


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