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Culture agenda: Theatre, opera & ballet streaming free


Black and Brown violin by Daniel Kunyo on ScopioMost of the world has been in confinement for a few weeks now. However, society’s inability to attend live performances hasn’t prevented us from viewing some great performances. Some of the world’s most revered theatres and opera houses are making famous plays, ballets and concerts available online for free. As the proverbial saying goes: when a door closes, a window opens - and we certainly have a wonderful open window on the arts! It is the perfect antidote to Netflix malaise.

We’ve gathered a list of some of the top theatres and orchestras streaming recorded performances.

Concerts, Operas & Ballet 

Andrea Bocelli will be holding a live-streamed Easter concert at the Duomo in Milan. Although performing without an audience, being streamed on the world wide web make this his biggest concert yet. The concert will begin at 7 pm (CET) on his YouTube channel:  

Andrew Lloyd Weber has created a YouTube channel, The Show Must Go On which airs full-length productions of his top plays each Friday evening at 7 pm and is available for 48 hours only. He began with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, the 17 will be Phantom of the Opera... what will show next?

La Belle - Ballets de Monte-Carlo by Liisa Hämäläinen ©AB

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo is currently showing viewing "LA BELLE" with choreography by Jean-Christophe Maillot. The performance is being streamed up until 11 April. Viewable on the websites of Monaco Info on 11 April at 5 pm and on France 3 PACA from now until 11 April at 7 pm. Accessible through their site: 

From 15 April, they will stream "The Nutcracker": 

Cirque du Soleil creates some of the most magical and fantastical performances possible on a stage. They have launched ‘CirqueConnect’, showing a 60-minute show online each week. On 10 April they offer a selection of performances from Allegría, Kooza and KÀ. From 17 April they will be premiering a new CirqueConnect 60-minute special featuring their show Zed, a performance created exclusively for Tokyo. 

Fan of Shakespear? The Globe Theatre in London is now airing a Shakespear production each fortnight (2 weeks) on their YouTube channel. Currently, they are showing the 2018 production of Hamlet, starring Michelle Terry. Next up, releasing 20 April will be their 2009 performance of Romeo & Juliet.

The National Theatre in London has announced there will be no live performances before July, but in the meantime, there are streaming a production each week on their YouTube channel, National Theatre At Home. Performances are released each Friday at 7 pm (London time). Additionally, the channel offers ‘extras’ like Q&A with the cast and creatives and behind the scenes look at the sets. The upcoming schedule:

April 9 ‘Jane Eyre’, adapted by Sally Cookson. 
April 16 ‘Treasure Island’, adapted by Bryony Lavery. 
April 23 ‘Twelfth Night’ by William Shakespeare, starring Tamsin Greig.

After cancelling the entire remaining season and the widely anticipated Met Gala, the New York Metropolitan Opera is now showing ‘a nightly opera stream’ (which has now become weekly) of their greatest performances, released at 7:30 pm (NY time). Each show is available for free for 24 hours, but each can later be rented for a small fee - the next showings are:

15 April - Puccini’s La Rondine Starring Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna, conducted by Marco Armiliato.
16 April - Rossini's Le Comte Ory - starring Juan Diego Flórez, soprano Diana Damrau, and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato
17 April - Viewers’ Choice: Puccini’s Madama Butterfly - Starring Patricia Racette, Marcello Giordani, and Dwayne Croft
18 April - Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur - Starring Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili, Piotr Beczała, and Ambrogio Maestri
19 April - Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier - Starring Renée Fleming, Elīna Garanča, Erin Morley, and Günther Groissböck

The New York Philharmonic is playing on Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Fifth Symphony led by Kurt Masur on their Facebook Page. The concert is preceded by an interview of Manny Ax by Alec Baldwin. Tune in Saturday, April 18 at 2:00 p.m. EDT to watch a 1960 Young People’s Concert with Leonard Bernstein titled Who Is Gustav Mahler?

Opéra de Nice is showing several concerts and ballets through the city of Nice's Cultivez Vous programme. The selection includes numerous concerts and two full ballets, Marco Polo and Soir de Fête. And check out their homepage for a series of portraits of composers who had to live and work in confinement. 

Philharmonie de Paris Museum of Music

The Philharmonie de Paris is offering free concerts each day (new from 8:30 pm Paris time) from their extensive collection. They also offer a Virtual visit of their music museum.

The Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo is keeping their followers entertained with live performances from the musicians’ homes. The #OPMCATHOME can be followed for a number of impromptu pieces. They also have their own YouTube channel, where you can find the performance of Saint-Saëns: Symphonie n°3 Directed by K. Yamada.

The Royal Opera House of London is offering a free programme of curated online broadcasts as part of their #OurHousetoYourHouse series. A performance is released each Friday at 7 pm (London time). The upcoming schedule:

10 April ‘Così fan tutte,’ The Royal Opera, 2010 
17 April ‘The Metamorphosis,’ The Royal Ballet, 2013
24 April ‘Gloriana, The Royal Opera,’ 2013 
1 May ‘The Winter’s Tale,’ The Royal Ballet, 2014

SF Jazz, a radio station out of San Francisco has a number of great live jazz performances on their YouTube channel. They have also started Friday concerts for subscribers ($5 for a month). This week is Pink Martini and the scheduled line-up is:

17 April - Preservation Hall Jazz Band
24 April - Zakir Hussain, Dave Holland, & Chris Potter


An important note of solidarity

As you may have noticed (and why you’ve read this article), the arts are helping us all get through this period of confinement. Whether you’re listening to music, reading books, watching films or series, or browsing art collections around the world, the work of artists is feeding our souls and helping us cope.

The image of the starving artist is not a cliché but most often a reality because the creative arts have long been one of the most under-funded industries. During this coronavirus crisis, theatres, concert halls, and festivals were the first things to be cancelled and will likely be the last to reopen. Most artists are freelancers, getting paid just when they have a gig, a concert, a project or a commission and they often do not fit into any of the government’s emergency fund requirements.

An online petition has been created requesting the EU government to create an emergency fund to help artists survive this period and to request for better arts funding in the future. 

If you would like to support this cause, sign this online petition: