ONLINE VIRTUAL OPERA TOUR begins November 2 on personal computer screens
The Magic Opera Flying Carpet is parked at Los Angeles Airport, waiting for passengers. We put our luggage in the outer compartments, board the vehicle and say hello to our friends. After take off, the crew serves us an iced coffee or latte and we watch a statues show online at the Getty Museum. Its digital resources are available here:
http://www.getty.edu/art/antiquities/Images%20and%20Docs/antiquities_digitalresources.pdf Tour members love the amber statuary.
Tonight our live show is Los Angeles Opera House‘s La Traviata through Giuseppe Verdi from 2006 with: Renée Fleming, Rolando Villazón, Renato Bruson, Suzanna Guzmán, Anna Akhimova, Daniel Montenegro, Philippe kraus, James creswell, Sal Malaki, and Mark Kelley. James conlon perform the Los Angeles Opera House Orchestra and Choir. The director is Marta Domingue. Brian Large is directing it for television.
After the show, Julia, chef of the Magic Opera Flying Carpet, surprises us with baked Alaska and Napa Valley Icewine. Manon and I snuggle up for a long nap as we fly through the blackness of the night sky towards the windy city and arrive well before breakfast is normally served.
Later, we feast on frozen cinnamon buns at the Swedish restaurant, an early morning Chicago staple for over sixty years. Our lunch is Chicago style hot dogs with mustard, relish, freshly chopped onions, tomato slices, peppers and kosher pickles nestled in steamed poppy seed buns.
In this virtual concert, the nominated musical director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Enrique Mazzola, conducts world-renowned main artists Christian Van Horn like Attila, Tamara wilson like Odabelle, Matthew Polenzani like Foresto, and Quinn Kelsey like Ezio with members of the Lyric Opera Chorus in a series of excerpts from Verdi’s opera. Pianists William C. Billingham and Jerad Mosbey accompany. Learn more about the casting and find related articles on https://lyricopera.org/attila.
For the best viewing experience, we recommend that you turn on English closed captions and watch on the largest screen possible. For tips and tricks visit LINK https://lyricopera.org/streamingguidea ??.
We leave after midnight for London and Manon snuggles into my arms against the coolness of the evening. I am grateful to lead the tour again and enjoy the benefits of the trip.
When tour members visiting London choose English tea instead of a late lunch, they get much more than a cup of strong tea. Tourists are offered a light snack before dinner consisting of bread and butter, cookies or tea sandwiches. Cream tea, typically served in the West Country of Devon and Cornwall, often includes jam and sour cream served with scones.
Later we meet for a roast dinner, the very heart of British cuisine. Restaurant patrons can expect to be served roast beef or lamb, along with roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, gravy, and vegetables such as parsnips, cabbage of Brussels, peas, carrots, beans, broccoli, cauliflower or leeks. In addition to the traditional sauce, our bistros serve a cheese sauce for vegetables.
Chris Shipman conducts Wagner Der Fliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman) from 2015. Andris Nelsons conducts the Royal Opera House Orchestra. The Dutchman is Bryn terfel, Senta is Adrianne Pieczonka, Erik is Michael König, Daland is Pierre Rose, the Steersman is Ed Lyon, and Mary is Catherine Wyn-Rogers.
A couple are celebrating their 50th anniversary, so we decorate the dining cabin in their honor before many passengers get up. Our English breakfast arrives on silver paper plates.
If the ambiance of a venue puts travelers in an ambiance of traditional French cuisine, then Le Bœuf à la Mode, a restaurant just outside the grounds of the Palace of Versailles is the perfect place to dine. Their Beef is composed of an eye of paleron, nutmeg, allspice, onions, carrots, celery, tomato paste, garlic, red wine, cognac, pig’s trotters , bay leaf, porcini mushrooms and beef broth.
At the Palace of Versailles, Paul McCreesh conducts the oratorio by Georg Friedrich Handel Solomon in a 2012 performance with the Gabrieli Consort and Players. Iestyn Davies is Solomon; Gillian Webster is the Queen of Sheba and the second prostitute; Sarah tynan is the queen of Solomon and the first harlot; Jeremy Ovenden is Zadok; Pierre Harvey is the Levite.
Levite: “Praise the Lord for all his past mercies.
Solomon: “What do I trace from each herb and from each stream?” “
Queen: “Blessed is the day my eyes were first seen.”
Queen / Solomon: “Welcome as the dawn of the day to the pilgrims.”
Solomon: “Hurry to go to the cedar grove.
First harlot / Solomon: thrice blessed this wise and insightful king.
“Arrival of the Queen of Sheba”
Recorded at the Royal Chapel, Palace of Versailles
The afternoon of the next day we take off for Belgium. Nothing better to warm your bowels on a cold winter day than a bowl of hearty Flemish stew. Tender pieces of beef cooked in a thick broth of Belgian beer, mixed with bread, onion, mustard and seasonings are delicious. Look for Flemish stew, stoves or stoofvlees on the menu. This warm, rich comfort food comes in its own small casserole dish and is served with fries. Make sure to wash down this Belgian dish with local beer!
La Monnaie in Brussels presents Donizetti’s Lucretia Borgia as directed by Guy Joosten. Don Alfonso, Duca di Ferrara is Paul Gay; Donna Lucrezia Borgia is Elena Mosuc; Gennaro is Charles Castronovo; Maffio Orsini is Silvia Tro Santafé; Jeppo Liverotto is Roberto Covatta. Julian Reynolds conducts the La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra.
After a few Belgian waffles for breakfast, we take off for Frankfurt.
Frankfurter Würstchen, small German sausages, are part of the list of the best local specialties. The people of Frankfurt differ from most of their popular cousins in several factors. Pork sausages are cooked in boiling water for a few minutes before being served with a slice of white bread, mustard and horseradish. Cheese lovers who visit Frankfurt will be in for a treat. Handkäs mit Musik translates to (handmade cheese that could make the same kind of musical beans) refers to its making by hand. The specialty of low-fat sour milk cheese marinated in oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, onions and cumin is served with the sausages in many pubs and restaurants.
While the rest of Germany’s people are avid beer drinkers, the people of Frankfurt often get together over a glass of Äppelwoi, their version of cider. The taste is much more tangy and sour compared to what you’re used to in the UK or US, but it’s refreshing once you get used to it. The Sachsenhausen district of Frankfurt is home to traditional places that serve the drink in the typical Schoppen glass.
Since it’s November, we remember the deaths with the Verdi Requiem performed by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony in 2017. The Requiem: Kyrie, Dies irae, Offertorio, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Lux Aeterna, Libera me.
The cast includes: Erika Grimaldi, soprano;Violeta urmana, mezzosoprano; Saimir Pirgu, tenor; Kihwan Sim, bass; Mittel Deutscher Rundfunkchor, Leipzig; Radio Symphony of Frankfurt; Andrés Orozco-Estrada, directs the Alte Oper Frankfurt.
Leaving the cool, humid climates of Germany, we embark on the Magic Opera Flying Carpet for the Los Angeles sun. Since it rained on the west coast, flowers will bloom along the highways.
Photo by Andrew Eccles courtesy of LA Opera.