Classical music and opera streams to watch in Washington

Fri May 22, 2020 at 6:19 pm

As the quarantine wears on, expected to last in some form at least through June 8 in the District of Columbia, more and more classical music ensembles and presenters are streaming performances online. If you are missing your favorite local musicians, here are some ways that you can hear them at home.

National Symphony Orchestra
Musicians of the National Symphony Orchestra have been releasing video performances periodically on YouTube. These include solo and chamber performances, as well as some larger “Virtual Orchestra” performances, all made by various members of the NSO from their homes. Some of the latter variety include an all-brass version of Richard Strauss’s Wiener Philharmoniker Fanfare (embedded above), with the timpani parts played on pots and pans, and an Armed Forces Medley for Memorial Day.

Opera Lafayette
The city’s leading early music opera troupe is revisiting its performances of Leonore by Beethoven and Gaveaux. On Fridays at 4 p.m. conductor Ryan Brown and other company artists watch and discuss an excerpt with listeners on a telemeeting. Sign up to receive the excerpts and other materials sent in advance.

Library of Congress
The concert series at the Library of Congress will be presenting some streamed concerts on YouTube, beginning with a performance by the International Contemporary Ensemble 7 p.m. May 28. This interactive program includes the world premiere of a new Library of Congress commission, Suzanne Farrin’s Nacht, a setting of poems by Rumi and Hafiz featuring ondes martenot, voice, percussion, bass, harp, and piano. You will also hear a new work by Ashley Fure, inviting the audience to participate.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra have produced a broad range of virtual offerings, including podcasts, house recitals, and a virtual performance of the end of Mahler’s Third Symphony.

IN Series
This adventurous opera and theater company has announced that it will be “the first company in the world to articulate its intention to present a completely digital season” next season. Until that happens, you can fill out a survey and request a password to stream some of the productions it staged this past season, including Kate Soper’s marvelous Here Be Sirens and Timothy Nelson’s adaptation of Madama Butterfly.

21st Century Consort
As the lockdown was first put in place in March, this intrepid ensemble recorded the concert it was to have given at the Hirshhorn Museum, which can be viewed on YouTube. The group has gone on since to make an extensive archive of its many concerts over the years available online, supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Washington Bach Consort
After the lockdown canceled the rest of its season, the Washington Bach Consort began streaming charming mini-performances by its musicians on their YouTube channel. A favorite was a charming rendition of the “Gute Nacht, o Wesen” movement of Bach’s Jesu, meine Freude, with all the parts taken by soprano Amy Broadbent and tenor Matthew Hill, including the chorale statements sung between swigs of wine.

Virginia Opera
The opera company to the south has streamed a past opera performance each month. The next one is their production of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet from 2016, streamed 7 p.m. May 28.

The Thirteen
The chamber choir led by Matthew Robertson has put some of the music it was to have premiered and performed on its YouTube channel. This includes concerts from past seasons, as well as a section of The Outer Edge of Youth, a new work by Scott Ordway.

Prague Spring Festival
The Czech Embassy here in Washington announced that some concerts would be broadcast from five concert halls in Prague and one in Brno, to replace the Prague Spring Festival. The schedule includes performances by the Brno Contemporary Orchestra, violinist James Ehnes, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic, and the Budapest Festival Orchestra joined by pianist András Schiff.

Castleton Festival
The Castleton Festival has struggled since the death of its founder, Lorin Maazel. Now in the shutdown, the festival is making available some recordings of its past glories, starting with Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West.

Washington Conservatory of Music
The music school in Bethesda has put some of its free concerts and other musical events online. The next one, a recital by pianist Michael Adcock, will stream on May 23 at 8 p.m.

Philadelphia Orchestra
Every Thursday at 8 p.m. you can stream performances by this esteemed ensemble to our north. These streams are a mixture of archived orchestral performances and chamber pieces performed at home by members of the orchestra.

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