As Aristotle said “nature abhors a vacuum,” music and dance lovers at the time of the coronavirus will not stand for silence when concert halls and opera houses are shuttered.
The explosion of video and audio streaming is exponential.
Just one example from the torrent of data: Compared to the 2020 season’s sold-out San Francisco Ballet presentation of George Balanchine’s rarely produced “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in the 3,146-seat Opera House (closed by The City on March 7 after one performance), the weekly SF Ballet@Home streams of various programs have been viewed some 350,000 times. That’s 110 sold-out houses; if only the company could collect ticket revenue!
This week’s free San Franicsco Ballet streaming offering is “Snowblind,” Cathy Marston’s one-act adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novella “Ethan Frome,” which depicts a heart-rending love triangle. This dance from the troupe’s 2018 Unbound Festival of new works has toured with to acclaim at the Kennedy Center in DC and Sadler’s Wells in London. Visit https://www.sfballet.org/sf-ballet-home/.
Opera, ballet and concert performances on YouTube and various organization websites get hits in the millions. Andrea Bocelli’s Easter recital of sacred-music favorites drew more than 2.8 million concurrent viewers, and the latest count on the video is nearly 40 million. Visit https://youtu.be/huTUOek4LgU to see it.
Great, moving musical events, such as the New York Philharmonic’s Brahms Requiem immediately after 9/11, also are still available. It is a special example of the consoling, redeeming power of music, known through the centuries, and appreciated especially at the time of danger, grief and mourning, all present in the ravages of COVID-19. To experience the orchestra’s programming, visit https://www.youtube.com/user/NewYorkPhilharmonic.
San Francisco Symphony, with its season ruined by the virus, also offers the riches of past performances online, with a focus on the canceled celebration of music director Michael Tilson Thomas’ 25th and final season before Esa-Pekka Salonen takes the podium in September… if Davies Hall is open by then.
“I take pride in being able to share with everyone the music and stories that hold such deep meaning to me and my orchestra colleagues. Music connects us and has never been needed more,” said MTT.
At https://www.sfsymphony.org/Calendar/MusicConnects, there is a wealth of links to the orchestra’s Musician Profiles, the Bach Project, podcasts, radio broadcasts, Apple playlist, and videos and activities for kids.
The symphony’s Keeping Score series, a collection of nine one-hour documentary episodes telling the stories of great works of classical music with accompanying concert performances, and now free, is highly recommended.
This product of SFS Media, the symphony’s eight-time Grammy-winning in-house label, “remains one of the most exciting journeys the San Francisco Symphony and I have taken together,” said MTT, who narrates each documentary, from various locations around the world, and conducts the performances.
Keeping Score explores and presents the music of Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Copland, Stravinsky, Berlioz, Ives, Shostakovich and Mahler.
Other notable online options:
South African born, English violinist Daniel Hope, music director of the Bay Area’s New Century Chamber Orchestra, appears with myriad guests in his “Hope@Home” series, streaming concerts for free three times weekly on www.arte.tv and Facebook. As travel restrictions loosen, the violinist says he’s taking his living room “on the road to selected venues around Germany and perhaps further afield.”
At 5 p.m. May 31, San Francisco’s Center for New Music presents a live broadcast of music by The Alaya Project, its ensemble in residence. Core members Rohan Krishnamurthy, Prasant Radhakrishnan and Colin Hogan and their collaborators bridge Indian classical music and contemporary jazz and funk. The concert is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/c4newmusic/.
At 5 p.m. on Sundays, Voices of Silicon Valley, a vocal group using technology and dedicated to presenting traditional choral works in a new light, hosts live concerts. The May 31 program includes experimental Italian composer Luciano Berio’s “Cries of London” and arrangements by Pentatonix. Visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/voices.sv/.