The 41st annual Detroit Jazz Festival was an outstanding success in bringing live music to the fans via live streaming. I had a very positive experience, being able to watch and listen to almost every group performing for this year. I enjoyed icons of the music perform, local legends show why Detroit has such a respected musical reputation, and also some of the up and coming talent to look out for.
That experience gave me a little hope for what is in store this fall in the world of “classical” music. I thought I would share some of my favorite resources for enjoying new performances this fall. I find I owe it to myself to carve out time to take in these performances, in a similar way I would have to in order to go to the concert hall or opera house in person. Below are six places I can highly recommend for classical music and opera to enjoy online.
Jader Bignamini is the new Music Director for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the first concert he conducted after being named Music Director, a performance of Gustav Mahler’s Fourth Symphony. He brings a great deal of energy, excitement and passion to the podium, and one of the many unfortunate things about 2020 is that we cannot open his first full season with the orchestra with a live audience. Starting September 10th, the DSO will have live streaming performances every Thursday and Friday until the first of the year (except for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays). Subscribers to the Classical season have full access, as well as patrons that have made a donation to the Annual Fund. Single concerts can also be purchased for a mere $12.
Jaap van Zweden began his tenure as the 26th Music Director of the New York Philharmonic in September 2018. His third season with the orchestra will have to begin online in order to keep the music playing. NY Phil Plays On is a new portal for free digital content to provide comfort and connection to millions of classical music fans worldwide.
Yuval Sharon is the freshly named new Artistic Director of the Michigan Opera Theater. This will start a new era for the MOT, and I can’t wait for them to be able to get back in their home at the Detroit Opera House. Until then, MOT at Home is using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to deliver new content every day.
The Metropolitan Opera in New York has been a leader in delivering music online from the start of the pandemic. They have drawn on their huge library of recorded performances to provide opera daily online. From their website:
During this extraordinary and difficult time, the Met hopes to brighten the lives of our audience members even while our stage is dark. Each day, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series is being made available for free streaming on the Met website, with each performance available for a period of 23 hours, from 7:30 p.m. EDT until 6:30 p.m. the following day. The schedule will include outstanding complete performances from the past 14 years of cinema transmissions, starring all of opera’s greatest singers.
The Italian term for “chamber music” is “musica da camera”, which the Chamber Music Society of Detroit has used as a springboard for its answer to the COVID-19 crisis. The CameraMusic series will have its next live performance on September 17th, and already has an archive of priceless performances available for free.
OperaVision brings together 29 partners from 17 countries and invites you to travel and discover the diversity of opera from wherever you want, whenever you want. This free online platform is something I have used to see a variety of operas from houses all over Europe. Some of the productions are traditional, some of them are much more innovative, and all are very well done.
Nothing really replaces the experience of being present for a performance of live music. The interaction of the audience and performers is something that cannot be recreated online, but I am happy to have some options to enjoy new performances. Most importantly, the more support that all of these artistic organizations receive the more likely they will survive until we can all gather in person safely to enjoy them again.
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