The greatest power of music lies in its ability to bring people together even when we are at our most isolated. It wafts through the lonely, desolate air, urging us to commune with one another.
Music echoes the shapes of constellations in the night; while we look up at the stars, we are all distant, apart, but see the same pictures in the night sky, from different vantage points. When we listen to music, although we are distant, we hear the same melodies, the same transformative themes, and know that we are all together part of a greater story. The music allows us to mourn, celebrate, and partake together in this greater story.
While the Earth rotates, while we see constellations maintain their steadiness when we are the ones moving and changing, we hold fast to the music and to each other.
Amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic, classical music ensembles across the globe have had to close their doors and either cancel or postpone significant planned events. Fortunately for those who are home-bound classical music lovers, the resilience and dedication of these ensembles inspired them to take action. The following is a list of companies and ensembles which have provided free access to scheduled and archived concerts for the duration of lock-ins and shutdowns internationally.
The Metropolitan Opera: Although their first concert week is already through, their second week has just begun, and is everything Wagner (one of the greatest and most renowned 19th-century opera composers). Wagner’s operas are iconic, laced with tragedy, romance, and heroism. A guide to this week’s events can be found here.
Joyce DiDonato Facebook Page: Resulting from the loss of the Metropolitan Opera’s live events, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato partners with tenor Piotr Beczala (along with Howard Watkins, pianist, and Emmanuel Ceysson, harpist) to bring to life Massenet’s “Werther” from the comfort of DiDonato’s apartment.
Vienna State Opera: For this month, VSO is streaming archived performances, including the complete Ring Cycle, Don Giovani, La Traviata, and more. All performances can be found here, although it may be most efficient to download the app for free access.
The year of 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of the beloved Ludvig Van Beethoven, and orchestras all around the world are performing some of his greatest works. Some of the orchestras listed below contain works by Beethoven, while others contain equally lively and glorious programmes.
Berlin Philharmoniker: Using the code BERLINPHIL, listeners can redeem free access through the Berlin Philharmonic webpage or “Digital Concert Hall” app (available on any app store). Free access is granted for 30 days to anyone who signs up before March 31.
Budapest Festival Orchestra: So-called “Quarantine Soirées” can be live streamed from BFO’s rehearsal hall here. While only one program is listed so far, more are expected to follow shortly.
Detroit Symphony Orchestra: Found here, listeners can find a plethora of thrilling concerts! Some include “Symphonie fantastique” by Hector Berlioz, Paganini’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, and many more!
Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra: Many great works, including the performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, can be found on SPO’s YouTube page.
Seattle Symphony: Keep your eyes open for Saturday, March 28, at 8 p.m. PST, when the Seattle Symphony will perform a yet-to-be-announced concert. Events stream through the symphony’s YouTube or Facebook pages.
Check to see if your local symphonies are participating in similar ways by visiting their websites and reading the latest news on the implications of COVID-19. Be sure to support the arts in any way you are able, and enjoy the gift of free program access that so many ensembles have already provided.