Recently, a friend emailed me asking about what opera might be available for free or for little cost online this summer. At first I answered quickly telling him about the MET HD simulcasts that are being repeated this summer. I then decided to share with our readers a list of various sites where opera productions, concerts and librettos can be accessed.

OPERA PLATFORM   http://www.theoperaplatform.eu

I’ve been watching the interesting offerings from Opera Platform for some time now. I just opened the link to it on my computer and did a quick big moment by big moment tour of the Latvian National Opera production of Bizet’s Carmen.

The four principals sing in the original French and acquit themselves very well. Rumanian mezzo-soprano Ramona Zaharia looks great and sings and acts the title role with fire in the belly. Dmitry Golovnin, the Don José sings with a clarion dramatic voice and acts with conviction. Jānis Apeinis, the Escamillo and Laura Teivāne, the Micaëla are very fine too.

Jānis Liepiņš conducts the Latvian National Opera Orchestra and Chorus with a sure hand and a fine command of the score. In this starkly-designed and directed production, director Marie-Eve Signeyrole and designer Fabien Teigné set the action in a contemporary world devoid of much that is Spanish in either ambience or architecture. Overall though, this Carmen is a fine offering – the first of many on this website.

When you visit Opera Platform have a look at Rimsky Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel, sung in the original Russian and given with English subtitles. The Rimsky-Korsakov is splendidly sung, with Venera Gemadieva, a spectacular Russian coloratura soprano as the Queen of Shemakha and Pavlo Hunka, a memorable King Dodon. Imaginatively designed and directed by Laurent Pelly for Brussels’ La Monnaie, this is a great introduction to an operatic rarity.

The Opera Platform offerings are impressive: Mussorgsky’s The Fair at Sorochinsk from the Komische Oper Berlin, Handel’s Semele from the Badische Staatsteater Karlsruhe, contemporary works by Ginastera, Reinman, Martin, Nowak in productions from theatres all over Europe. AND JUST THINK: IT’S ALL FREE.

METROPOLITAN OPERA   http://www.metopera.org

The MET season is over until October, but the music continues. On line you can get MET ON DEMAND (http://www.metopera.org/Season/On-Demand for $14.99 a month or cheaper for a year at $149.99. You can watch literally hundreds of past productions from the MET on your computer, tablet, mobile phone or TV.

IMPRESARIO LIBRETTO   http://www.impresario.ch/

If all that operatic Italian, French, German, Czech or Russian intimidates you, go to this site and get the libretto you need to understand the words of operas from Adam to Zimmermann. And if the full libretto in English is not available, a summary of the plot usually is. This site also offers various pages of opera quizzes, trivia, sound links, etc.

OPERA GLASS   http://opera.stanford.edu/main.html

Visit this varied site and click on the link for its well-informed webmaster Rick Bogart for a one-of-a-kind operatic visit. The site has librettos, source texts, performance histories, synopses, discographies, and even a page about who created what role in which opera.

METROPOLITAN OPERA ARCHIVES  http://archives.metoperafamily.org/archives

If you ever wondered who the tenor was who subbed at the last minute for an ailing Tristan in a MET matinee you listened to eons ago, this is your source.

Happy listening!

Rafael de Acha


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