This week, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu held its first performance with a live audience post-coronavirus, but it’s unclear whether the attendees were too green to appreciate Puccini’s “Crisantemi.” Seated in the red, velvet seats and among the gold balconies, 2,292 palms, ficus trees, and Swish cheese plants filled the iconic opera house to listen to the string quartet’s rendition.
A collaboration with Madrid-based artist Eugenio Ampudia and the Max Estrella gallery, the concert was meant to reflect on humans’ relationship with nature. “I thought why don’t we go into the Liceu like weeds, take it over and let nature start growing everywhere and turn it into something alive even when there are no people,” Ampudia said in an interview. After the performance, the leafy audience members were donated to healthcare workers who have been battling the virus during the last few months.
The Met Orchestra, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, performs the Intermezzo from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana in a video assembled from individual takes and shown during the April 25, 2020, At-Home Gala.
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli sang in a closed Duomo Cathedral in Milan on Sunday, as a part of a “Music for Hope” event designed to bring people together during the new coronavirus outbreak.
Instead of a crowd in the pews, Bocelli’s performance was watched via livestream on his YouTube channel. Accompanied only by the cathedral’s organist Emanuele Vianello, the Italian opera singer’s set included classic songs such as “Ave Maria” and “Amazing Grace.”
Rossini’s 1829 opera “William Tell” is rarely performed today, but its Overture lives on as one of the most popular works in the classical repertoire. The Overture is essentially an instrumental suite written in four parts and performed without pause. The best-known section is the last, the allegro vivace, famously used as the rousing theme music for “The Lone Ranger” radio and TV series (and notoriously so in “A Clockwork Orange).
Ever since Beethoven‘s iconic Ninth Symphony premiered May 7, 1824 at the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna, it has remained arguably the most popular composition in the classical music canon, thanks largely to its final movement, the “Ode to Joy,” with a text by poet Friedrich Schiller.
But Beethoven’s music has become something much more than popular. With its expansive length, mold-busting design, and the inclusion of solo singers and chorus, he was proposing nothing less than a philosophy for humanity.
Beethoven, the composer-philosopher, was a man who suffered more than we can imagine and yet he retained optimism and a sense of hope that we can admire and even envy. He believed wholeheartedly in the goodness of humanity, the power of love, joy, unity, tolerance and peace to overcome and endure.