Audiences are returning. Houses are opening. Perhaps now is the time to discuss this. What was it like? We all watched what pickings there were on our computers at home where we were the only audience. We had some categories.
- I am including this category to provide a place for the London performance of Fidelio with Lise Davidsen where everyone was ill without knowing it. The film of a late performance where Jonas Kaufmann had withdrawn with Covid and replaced by David Butt Philip was surprisingly good. There is also an audio only version of an early performance with Jonas Kaufmann. The final performance was cancelled. This was the beginning.
Recitals without any audience.
The Metropolitan Opera put on a whole series of recitals by their stars from venues in Europe.
- Netrebko Recital was part of the Met series. Instead of standing still as is traditional in classical recitals, Netrebko strolled around constantly. I've never seen anyone do that, but she sang well.
- Starry Heavens Concert from the Bayerische Staatsoper with Lise Davidsen. This was an entire concert of pieces by Beethoven. I knew that the complete works of any composer includes a list of songs which I assumed were never performed. This is the exception that proves the rule. They did not pause between songs, so it wasn't possible to tell how far along they were. Lise was fine. The entire concert felt rushed. I no longer remember if this was live or delayed. If delayed, it could have been edited.
- Schumann's Dichterliebe from the Bayerische Staatsoper with Jonas Kaufmann. I love Dichterliebe and strongly disapproved of an early performance by Jonas. He has completely erased my previous impression with this wonderful performance. Jonas has perhaps complained the loudest about the absence of an audience.
- Lise -- Vocal Arts DC. An excellent recital with subtitles in original language, Finnish or German, and English. Talking is inserted into the performance between sets. I enjoyed this very much. This was prepared long in advance. I knew some of the songs, and others were completely new.
- Lise Davidsen from Norway This is also part of the Met series and was live. There is much variety in the selections.
- Three Divas from Versailles. Ailyn Pérez, Isabel Leonard and Nadine Sierra are also part of the Met series, but the final one, I fear. Gounod, Mozart, Vivaldi, Leoncavallo, Bellini and R. Strauss are included. Ensembles include Offenbach's Barcarole, the trio from Der Rosenkavalier and some Spanish songs. They are all Latinas and friends.
Concerts without any audience
- Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde from the Royal Opera Covent Garden with David Butt Philip, tenor, and Dame Sarah Connolly, mezzo-soprano. The orchestra was very much reduced, which worked surprisingly well.
- Lise Davidsen from Trondheim in Norway The audience was cancelled at the last minute. You could hear cheering from the back, but it was probably the tech staff. We probably got to see it because there was no audience.
I haven't felt that this worked quite as well, though the concerts were good. In these performances without audience it is difficult to distinguish between a performance and a rehearsal. The performers wear their performance attire. That's the only clue. I enjoy watching rehearsals.
Concert versions of operas without audience
- La Walkyrie from Paris with Lise Davidsen as Sieglinde. I am very familiar with this work and don't require staging to follow the story.
- Jenůfa from Amsterdam with Lise as Jenůfa. I am much less familiar with the story here and felt much was missing from the normal intensity of this work. I prefer my opera acted out.