Thursday, March 22, 2012

At least 5 superb shows to see for free on the Internet

This never replaces the experience of sparkling creativity that you might feel at La Monnaie opera in Brussels, for example, but it can be a good cultural complement to the (unsatisfactory?) offer at your local opera house.

Think to contribute, if you can, and subscribe to Medici TV for at least a month. They make many videos of the top quality shows available for us and for all the viewers worldwide and they need subscribers...

Below is the list of 6 brilliant shows with links (well the first on the list is not great but there are too many flashy names to ignore it)

(1) Ariadne auf Naxos [dir- Philippe Arlaud, cnd- Christian Thieleman, cast: Renée Fleming, Sophie Koch, Jane Archibald, Robert Dean Smith, Nikolay Borchev, Steven Humes,...]
Production is not particularly interesting (i.e. Claus Guth production of this opera -- and the one by Robert Carsen-- remain unbeaten), but the conservative crowd was all excited because of Christian Thielemann. He did well although, IMO, Kent Nagano conducts this opera much better. Excellent cast dominated by Sophie Koch.

Click here to watch the show.

(2) Otello by Rossini [dir- Moshe Leiser & Patrice Caurier, cnd- Muhai Tang, cast: John Osborn, Cecilia Bartoli, Javier Camarena, Peter Kalman, Liliana Nikiteanu,...]

Witty and interesting production by which Moshe and Patrice confirmed that they are ones of the most intelligent and talented directors today (probably more intelligent than talented). With such an atrocious libretto, witty producers were indispensable. Good job! Although the hype was all about Cecilia Bartoli, John Osborne stole the show (big time!)

Here is your link where you can see the show.

(3) Péleas et Mélisande [dir- Robert Wilson, cnd- Philippe Jordan, cast: Stéphane Degout, Elena Tsallagova, Anne Sofie Von Otter, Franz Josef Selig, Vincent Le Texier, Jérôme Varnier]

It's the legendary Bob Wilson production that deserves to be seen once in life. 2012 is the year of Debussy, the cast and the orchestra were good, and I'm sure it will sound better on video than in the huge hall of Opéra de Bastille. Wholeheartedly recommended!

 You can see it on this link until June 15 this year.

(4) Eugene Onegin [dir- Krzysztof Warlikowski, cnd- Pietari Inkinen, cast: Simon Keenlyside, Pavol Breslik, Ekaterina Scherbachenko, Alisa Kolosova...]

Not the best Warikowski, but it's still Warlikowski...---> Must see absolument!

Live webcast will start this Saturday at 7 p.m. (CET) on this link.

(5) Rusalka [dir- Stefan Herheim, cnd- Adam Fischer, cast: Tatiana Monogarova, Pavel Cernoh, Annalena Persson, Willard White...]

This is my favorite Herheim show together with Lohengrin. Even if it will allow you to see only a small fraction of brilliance of this gem --with respect to what you get during the live performance-- it is definitely the show not to miss. It is very regie but its spectacular side will hopefully help those who reject the inventive opera director to reconsider their positions. And yes - Tatiana Monogarova rocks!

Free online streaming will open next Tuesday (March 27) and it will be available for 3 weeks on this link.

(6) L'incoronazione di Poppea [dir- Jean-François Sivadier, cnd- Emmanuelle Haïm, cast: Sonya Yoncheva, Max Emmanuel Cencic, Ann Hallenberg, Mathias Vidal, Amel Brahim-Djelloul, Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, Patrick Schramm...]

This is arguably the most beautiful opera ever; this new production received rave reviews, the subtle theater by Sivadier troubled many people but apparently everyone was enchanted after the show. Our beloved Sonya Yoncheva was fantastic -- all reviewers are gushing over her vocal and scenic presence, and they all emphasize the passionate performance by Max Cencic, Ann Halenberg and Matias Vidal.

The show was recorded a week ago and will be available for 6 months on Arte Live Web, starting from next Monday March 26


  • Watching Eugene Onegin and loving it! The sets by Malgo Sczesniak are always so peculiar and have an intrinsic magic to set the atmosphere for Warlikowski theater to work on you even on TV/Internet -- although it is infinitely better when you see it at the theater.
  • That's it! I finally figured out a striking physical resemblance between Simon Keenlyside and Krzysztof Warlikowski. ;)
  • Impressive how Pavol Breslik vocally matured over the past couple of years. Not the level of Bernard Richter but is getting there. He now pronounces all "a"s and "o"s correctly -- which was not the case before.  
  • Pietari Inkinen is only 32. Bravo to BSO for taking this kind of risks and giving chances to young talents to show off. Not great conducting but it's all fine so far. In fact Jansons was conducting beautifully  the Herheim production of this opera in Amsterdam last year, although Vasily Petrenko and his sensationally original/refreshing rendition in Paris will remain unbeatable to me.  The letter scene to come -- Go Ekaterina!
  • Brava Katya!Bravo Warli & Felice Ross (lights are always perfectly tuned with the dramatic action!)
  • Beautifully constructed regie: the ground idea is clear, perfectly plausible, and it scenically  works impeccably. It's just that the atmosphere doesn't translate well via the Internet. Too bas -- esp for those who didn't experience the Warli theater by actually seeing a live show at the theater. 
  • Simon is good but this is nowhere near Peter Mattei.
  • You should know that the conservative press killed this production at its premiere, and the "family value" bourgeoisie booed it ferociously. A reason more to like it -- if you ask me ;)
  • Breslik is acting wonderfully! Who is Lensky jealous of?
  • Before I forget, here is --to me-- the most wonderfully sung Letter Scene. Krassimira Super-Stoyanova:
  • To be perfectly honest, Breslik was never my cup of tea, but what he's doing today is absolutely fantastic! His singing is totally in sync with the character he incarnates in this particular production... Pietari Inkinen messed up a bit in the end Part One -- it's all fine .... 30 min break  [Warli speaks English with a combination of French and Polish accent ;)]
  • In a sense, by this gay theme for his production of Onegin, Warli pays homage to Tchaikovsky.
  • Part Two: as usual the image on the stage is already set to make the audience dive into the show as soon as the music starts. Warli le Grand!
  • After a night spent with Onegin, Lensky sings Kuda, kuda!  Pavol Breslik is  truly a wonderful opera singer.
  • Mais quelle justesse dramatique extraordinaire!
  • Whata show! Superb acting by Simon Keenlyside. 
  • Remember how I was impressed by Ain Anger  after Die Zauberflöte in Paris last December? He's as wonderful as Gremin here. I'm a fan!
  • And so, the Bayerische Staatsoper (BSO) in Munich shows once again that it is possible to create  nventive productions, with super casts, and maintain the top musical quality! Are you watching Paris, New York, London?
  • Simon saved the best for the finale :) Braaavo!
  • How amazingly non-trivial the ending of this opera becomes has suddenly become!
  • Thank you BSO for a great Saturday evening in front of my computer! Thank you Warlikowski and the lineup of brilliant singers/actors!


  1. Thank you so much for giving us all the links!! I knew about a couple of them, but love watching these when I can't go to live opera. It is wonderful that these webcasts are made available to us. I have seen many wonderful operas on medici and have thought of subscribing - but probably not during the summer.

  2. Hi Opera Cake! Thank you so much for your post : it seems like there is little html error on the links to (turning a part of the URL into %21).
    Thanks again and glad you enjoy our webcasts!
    @Kathy I hope you'll join us as your support enables us to broadcast all these wonderful events worldwide and above all gives you unlimited access to over 1000 VOD concerts, opera, ballets, archive,documentary...give it a try!
    Best, Sophie -

  3. Hell yes - Tatiana definitely rocks! I saw her as Rusalka a few times in Dresden because opera is extremely cheap for us students there :) I loved to read your reviews about the shows because and it feels so good to know that there are people who feel the same way about an opera that impressed oneself so much.
    I'm so excited for the webstream. Are you sure that it's our beloved Tatiana singing Rusalka and not Myrtò? I couldn't find any information about the cast so far..
    Oh, I'm very looking forward to Tuesday anyways. It's such an imaginative and captivating production!
    Wish you all the best,

  4. Hi there! Hope you're all watching Onegin. The quality of the show is great which could not be said for the quality of the image, but hey -- it's free! :)

  5. To find the Onegin stream I had to google the opera company directly since I could not get the live stream from your link or from anybody else's. It may have been on the page but I did not see it. This is a common and frustrating situation; companies pay for sparkly websites and someone forgets that the most important links need to be all over the page so idiots like me can find them--and the links need to work.

    It was an Onegin worth watching. Not sure if the libretto can support this interpretation, but luckily I had no subtitles to spoil the effect with contrary wording. Opera as pantomime works for me. Thanks for the heads up.

  6. Hi Lily! It was on the welcome-page of the BSO. As soon as they opened the page with the video-feed I modified the link above.

    The wording worked impeccably. That was impressive.