Rhinegold Photo credit: Adam Fradgley
Birmingham Opera Company's powerful production of MIchael Tippett's The Ice Break gains a new relevance in 2020.

Simon Smith

Opera in English theme for OperaVision’s free streaming in June

9:57, 2nd June 2020


OperaVision’s, Opera Europa’s free streaming platform which offers public access to great performances from opera houses all around Europe, is celebrating opera in English throughout June.

Among the composers featured in the June schedule of complete operas are Americans Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein, and two Englishmen, Benjamin Britten and Michael Tippett. The June programme also includes the online premiere of Barrie Kosky’s acclaimed staging of Schönberg’s Moses und Aron on 12 June; and a special OperaVision Summer Gala on 21 June, offering an evening of recitals from the stages of eight major European opera companies: Amsterdam, Berlin, Glyndebourne, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Stockholm and Warsaw.

The schedule is as follows:

2 June at 19h CET | Trouble in Tahiti Opera North
5 June at 19h CET | Candide The Grange Festival
9 June at 19h CET | The Skating Rink Garsington Opera
12 June at 19h CET | Moses und Aron Komische Oper Berlin
14 June at 18h CET | Vanessa Glyndebourne
21 June at 19h CET | OperaVision Summer Gala
23 June at 19h CET | A Midsummer Night’s Dream Opéra National de Montpellier
26 June at 19h CET | Death in Venice English National Opera
28 June at 19h CET | Le Vin herbé Welsh National Opera
30 June at 19h CET | The Ice Break Birmingham Opera

The first week introduces two works by Leonard Bernstein: Trouble in Tahiti staged by Opera North and a concert performance of Candide from The Grange Festival. During the second week, OperaVision visits two other important English festivals: Garsington Opera for The Skating Rink by the contemporary British composer David Sawer and Glyndebourne for Vanessa by the 20th century American, Samuel Barber.

On 12 June, Komische Oper Berlin’s 2015 production of Moses und Aron will receive its online streaming premier. In Schoenberg’s unfinished magnum opus, director Barrie Kosky recounts the Israelites’ exodus – with almost 200 performers on stage – as a parable of humanity’s never-ending search for answers. Vladimir Jurowski returns to his former base in Berlin to conduct a production that commemorated the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

To celebrate World Music Day on 21 June,  there will be a specially devised OperaVision Summer Gala. Presented from Copenhagen by Kasper Holten, the Gala will offer short recitals from the stages of Dutch National Opera, Komische Oper Berlin, Glyndebourne, Teatro Real Madrid, Opéra Comique Paris, Teatro dell’Opera Rome, Royal Swedish Opera Stockholm and Polish National Opera Warsaw. The stellar line-up includes Jodie Devos, Cyrille Dubois, Rosa Feola, Andrzej Filończyk, Roberto Frontali, Ruth Iniesta, Thomas Oliemans, Nina Stemme and Eva-Maria Westbroek.

Towards the end of the month, OperaVision reverts to its English theme with two operas by Benjamin Britten. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is added on Midsummer Eve from Montpellier, staged by Ted Huffman with an excellent young and mostly British cast; followed by Deborah Warner’s much-loved 2013 production of Death in Venice from English National Opera.

Rarely staged since its premiere at Covent Garden in 1977, Michael Tippett’s fourth opera The Ice Break revolves around a political activist returning to his family after 20 years in a prison camp, who finds society torn apart by violence and racial tensions  – a theme that takes on new relevance in 2020. OperaVision presents Graham Vick’s 2015 production in which he directs his own Birmingham Opera Company joined by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

A scene from Welsh National Opera’s Le Vin Herbé. Photo by Robert Workman

In 2017, Welsh National Opera and it’s then artistic director David Pountney took the bold step of staging Swiss composer Frank Martin’s secular oratorio Le Vin herbé in a new English translation by Hugh Macdonald. Polly Graham’s stark but brilliant production of this Tristan and Iseult story has – through more modest means – all the intensity of Wagner’s better-known version.

  • OperaVision is a free streaming platform co-financed by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme. It offers full length performances, extracts, thematic features, behind-the-scenes insights, activities for teachers and parents, and much more.  www.operavision.eu
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