Press Room presents some of opera’s greatest voices this month

Opera lovers will be thrilled this March, when presents some of the world’s greatest voices online for free – including Renée Fleming in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos from Baden-Baden and Cecilia Bartoli’s first exclusive online appearance in Rossini’s very rarely-heard Otello ossia il Moro di Venezia from Zurich. The live offerings on include Stéphane Degout, Anne Sofie von Otter, and rising star Elena Tsallagova in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, staged by Robert Wilson at the Opéra National de Paris (March 16). And a series of recent hit productions from the Opéra de Paris will appear as part of the on-demand catalog, ranging from Mozart’s La clemenza de Tito with Susan Graham to Rameau’s Les Indes galantes led by William Christie.
This month will also excite lovers of the best in symphonic repertoire online, with presenting live, and free of charge, the counterintuitive, cross-stylistic partnership of eminent conductor Bernard Haitink and the vibrant Chamber Orchestra of Europe, who will perform a series of the Beethoven symphonies from the Salle Pleyel in Paris (March 2, 3, & 5).
The Cecilia Bartoli event – available for viewing from March 8 until June 8 on – sees the superstar mezzo-soprano add yet another role to her signature Rossini repertoire as she portrays Desdemona in the composer’s rarity Otello ossia il Moro di Venezia. Rossini’s Otello of 1816 is only loosely based on the Shakespearean tragedy, being primarily indebted to a subtly altered drama by Baron Carlo Cosenza that had premiered in Naples three years before. Rossini’s opera enjoyed great success until the premiere of Verdi’s Otello 71 years later. Rossini’s score contains some of the melodic highlights of his entire oeuvre. Giacomo Meyerbeer put it in a nutshell:
“The third act is really divine, and the extraordinary thing about it is that its beauties do not sound at all like Rossini. First-class declamations, continuously passionate recitatives, mysterious accompaniments full of local color and, particularly, the style of old romances are superbly accomplished.”
Yet only very rarely does Rossini’s Otello make it onto the stage today. The cast demands three exceptional tenors – a requirement satisfied by John Osborn, Javier Camarena, and Antonino Siragusa. The gorgeous new Zurich Opera production is by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier, with Muhai Tang on the podium. presents Debussy’s intoxicating opera Pelléas et Mélisande, live from Opéra National de Paris on March 16 at 1:30pm EST. The production stars baritone Stéphane Degout (who earned raves in this opera alongside Natalie Dessay in 2009 and was recently awarded a Victoire de la Musique in France) and the ever-compelling mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter. The staging of this Paris Pelléas by Robert Wilson is already being hailed as a contemporary masterpiece.
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the opera’s premiere, the production of Ariadne auf Naxos – coming from Baden-Baden and starring the great Strauss soprano Renée Fleming – will be available on until May 24. The German production is something of a sequel to the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus staging of Strauss’s Rosenkavalier, which was widely acknowledged to be a rare theatrical experience. The creative team behind that lauded Rosenkavalier – Fleming and conductor Christian Thielemann – has reunited for Ariadne, the 1916 follow-up to Der Rosenkavalier by Strauss and librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Ariadne auf Naxos showed once again that Strauss was a lover of the female voice in all its lyrical refinement and emotional beauty. The young Cavalier to Fleming’s Marschallin in the Baden-Baden Rosenkavalier was Sophie Koch, also returns to co-star as the Composer to Fleming’s Ariadne. The stage director and set designer of the Festspielhaus production is Philippe Arlaud.
The pairing of Bernard Haitink and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, performing live in Paris on March 2, 3, and 5 on (2pm EST), represents the mingling of two disparate traditions of Beethoven interpretation: on one hand, the lean, propulsive, period-influenced method that has marked the COE’s Beethoven since its acclaimed recordings with Nikolaus Harnoncourt; on the other, the classic, rigorous, and deeply lyrical approach of Haitink, whose recordings of Beethoven with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw and the London Symphony Orchestra have long been best-sellers. In addition to the symphonies, Haitink and the COE will perform Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with three highly compatible partners: violinist Renaud Capuçon, cellist Gautier Capuçon, and pianist Frank Braley.
The recent opera productions added to’s on-demand offerings represent some of the most acclaimed stagings from the Opéra de Paris. They include two Mozart operas: La clemenza de Tito starring mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and Christoph Prégardien from 2005 and Le nozze de Figaro with Heidi Grant Murphy and Christianne Oelze from 2006. There are also two Rameau productions: Les Indes galantes starring Patricia Petibon and led by William Christie from 2005, plus Platée featuring Paul Agnew and conducted by Marc Minkowski from 2002.
The extensive library of on-demand programs on includes performances, documentaries, and archival features, available via subscription. These programs spotlight leading musical institutions and world-class artists – from golden-age legends to today’s top stars. Along with its must-see new opera productions, makes available the 30-plus films by documentarian Christopher Nupen. These include not only priceless documents of cellist Jacqueline du Pré (such as Elgar’s Cello Concerto and a number of all-star chamber performances) but also films of Evgeny Kissin, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Nathan Milstein. And now, complete on, are all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas as performed by Daniel Barenboim in 1983-84.
More praise accrues to with each passing month. New Yorker writer Alex Ross said on his blog, The Rest Is Noise: “The hits keep coming at” Offering “treasures aplenty” was how Gramophone editor-in-chief James Jolly put it, naming as one of the Web’s best classical experiences. The app for iPads, iPhones, and other digital devices – available for free at the Apple app store – was named one of the top five apps for classical music by WQXR, the classical music station of New York City.
Live in March at
March 2, 2pm EST
Bernard Haitink, Frank Braley, and the Capuçon brothers perform Beethoven
Renaud Capuçon, violin; Gautier Capuçon, cello; Frank Braley, piano; Bernard Haitink, conductor; Chamber Orchestra of Europe
March 3, 2pm EST
Bernard Haitink conducts Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 4 and 7
Bernard Haitink, conductor; Chamber Orchestra of Europe
March 5, 2pm EST
Bernard Haitink conducts Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 1 and 9
Jessica Rivera, soprano; Karen Cargill, mezzo-soprano; Roberto Saccà, tenor; Hanno Müller-Brachmann, bass baritone; Bernard Haitink, conductor; Chamber Orchestra of Europe; Netherlands Radio Choir
March 6, 2pm EST
Nina Stemme and Marek Janowski perform Webern, Wagner, & Strauss
Nina Stemme, soprano; Marek Janowski, conductor; Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
March 16, 1:30pm EST
Pelléas et Mélisande with Stéphane Degout, Anne Sofie von Otter, and Elena Tsallagova
Phillipe Jordan, conductor; Paris Opera Orchestra
Since its official launch in May 2008, has gained international recognition, bringing together a community of music and arts lovers from 182 countries – online viewers who have watched over twelve million videos to date. The site currently averages more than 80,000 individual visitors each month. In addition to offering live concert hall events that music lovers can experience on their computers and entertainment systems, now offers a free application (available at the Apple App Store) that makes it possible to experience world-class artistry on iPads and iPhones.
One of the biggest successes to date at has been the webcast of a Lucerne Festival concert featuring Gustavo Dudamel and the Vienna Philharmonic. This has been watched more than 347,500 times (live and as video-on-demand) by visitors from 150 countries. Other recent popular offerings from include an evening of chamber music at the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Paris; Georges Pretre conducting La Scala Orchestra in a program of Franck and Respighi; Daniel Harding conducting the same orchestra in Strauss’s Alpine Symphony; and an all-Brahms evening featuring Leonard Slatkin and the Orchestre National de Lyon.
Building on the success of webcasts from the Verbier Festival in 2007, has offered high-definition webcasts from many other leading festivals, including Aix-en-Provence, Saint-Denis, Aspen, Glyndebourne, Salzburg, and Lucerne; from such Parisian venues as the Opéra National de Paris, Auditorium du Louvre, Cité de la Musique, and Salle Pleyel; and from Milan’s famed La Scala. Many operas and concerts performed by the world’s top artists and orchestras have been webcast as live events and later as video-on-demand (VOD) – all available for free. The list of artists presented at is a “who’s who” of today’s stars, including Claudio Abbado, Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Plácido Domingo, John Eliot Gardiner, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti, Anna Netrebko, Maurizio Pollini, Thomas Quasthoff, and Simon Rattle. Among the featured orchestras are such renowned ensembles as the Berlin Philharmonic, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre de Paris, Filarmonica della Scala, and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
In addition to webcasts of more than 80 live concerts each year (94 in 2011 and 100 planned for 2012), has partnered with the world’s top artists and music institutions to offer subscriptions, giving music-lovers the opportunity to watch more than 1,000 VOD programs, with 200 new programs to come in 2012. They include concerts, operas, recitals, documentaries, master classes, artist portraits, and archival material. Featured artists include such legendary musicians as Leonard Bernstein, Maria Callas, Glenn Gould, Herbert von Karajan, Yehudi Menuhin, David Oistrakh, Sviatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, Arthur Rubinstein, Georg Solti, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, as well as such leading film directors as Bruno Monsaingeon, Paul Smaczny, and Frank Scheffer. In November, added to its library the invaluable film record of Daniel Barenboim performing all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas in the 1980s in Vienna.
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© 21C Media Group, March 2012






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