Ten Easter recommendations for watch-at-home Live Events

This week's religious holidays are the first such celebrations since the launch of The DAIMANI Journal earlier this year.

With so many on the frontline in the fight against coronavirus right now, the Easter story this year offers an especially poignant reminder – the sacrificing of one’s self for others. Or as the Bible says in John 15:13, ‘Greater love has no one than this: To lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’

All of the links below offer live or as-live streaming to wonderful classical music performances. We have only selected those offering access on a free of charge of basis but sometimes this requires registering/creating an account to get inside the portal.

1. Andrea Bocelli at the Duomo Cathedral, Milan, Italy

The historic Duomo Cathedral in Milan, Italy, will be closed to the public this Easter Weekend due to coronavirus. But on Easter Sunday, over the empty pews, the voice of famed opera singer Andrea Bocelli will echo through the cathedral during a special audience-free concert, which will be livestreamed.

Bocelli’s YouTube channel will carry the performance, scheduled for 1900 CEST, 1700 GMT on Easter Sunday.

The Italian tenor, who will perform Ave Maria and Sancta Maria, will be accompanied only by the cathedral organist, Emanuele Vianelli.

2. Gustav Mahler at the Berliner Philarmoniker, Germany

The Berliner Philharmoniker is showcasing Gustav Mahler this weekend, one of the most important composers in their repertoire. Mahler is the centrepiece of the second part of the Philharmoniker’s Easter@Philharmonie Festival. The main item of the programme is the finale of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, conducted by Kirill Petrenko.

The concert can be seen as-live today [Thursday] and on repeat at Berlin Philarmoniker's Digital Concert Hall.

3. Beethoven's symphonies at Pierre Boulez Saal, Berlin, Germany

Also in Berlin, the Pierre Boulez Saal is making available to view all of Beethoven’s nine symphonies as performed by Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in 2012:

  • Symphonies 1 & 2 from Thursday, April 9, 1800 CEST until Friday, April 10, 1800 CEST
  • Symphonies 3 & 4 from Friday, April 10, 1800 CEST until Saturday, April 11, 1800 CEST
  • Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations from Friday, April 10, 1900 CEST until Monday, April 13, 1900 CEST
  • Symphonies 5 & 6 from Saturday, April 11, 1800 CEST until Sunday, April 12, 1800 CEST
  • Symphonies 7 & 8 from Sunday, April 12, 1800 CEST until Monday, April 13, 1800 CEST
  • Symphony 9 from Monday, April 13, 1800 CEST until Tuesday, April 14, 1800 CEST

4. Konzerthausorchester at the famous Konzerthaus, Berlin, Germany

Finally in Berlin, the famous Konzerthaus may be closed but the musicians and staff of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin have created a fascinating schedule of weekday events that encourages you and your family to check in with them every day. An example? Earlier this week, solo timpanist Mark and his wife Maren Voermans shared interactive videos for kids from their home showing just how many amazing sounds musical instruments can produce:

To give you a sense of the Konzerthaus’s epic scale and history, here is technical director Peter Laduch with a unique backstage tour [but in German only].

5. ARTE (Association relative à la télévision européenne)

ARTE is an extraordinary free-to-air television station, co-funded by the European Union and licence fee payments from France and Germany, whose first ever transmission was a live broadcast from the Strasbourg Opera House in 1992. Content on ARTE can normally be accessed in English, French, German, Spanish, Polish and Italian.

It’s well worth taking a good poke around their website because the range of materials, from contemporary DJing to classical music, is quite breathtaking. This includes a helpful overview of ARTE partner opera institutions from Amsterdam to Zurich and Helsinki, and their respective virtual performances. The station shows an different opera highlight every day at 1800 on ARTE Concert and the international ARTE Opera Season.

6. Gstaad Digital Festival, Gstaad, Switzerland

The Gstaad Digital Festival is the online presence of the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, named in honour of Yehudi Menuhin, later Lord Menuhin, who moved to the Swiss canton in the late 1950s. In 1957 the first festival took place in Mauritius Church in Saanen with only four musicians but what an extraordinary foursome they were: Maurice Gendron, cello, Benjamin Britten, piano and harpsichord, Peter Pears, tenor, and Menuhin, of course [100 Facts You need to know about Menuhin, with thanks to The Guardian].

The Festival has a brilliant selection of past performances and behind-the-scenes video. The one we selected is German singer and actress Ute Lemper performing a selection of songs including Bob Dylan, Jacques Brel and Friedrich Hollaender.

7. Russian Pianist Igor Levit on Twitter

On a totally different scale is the Twitter feed of Russian-born pianist Igor Levit. Levit identifies on social media as ‘Human being. Citizen. European. Pianist’ and adds, for good measure: ‘There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.’

His home-bound private performances and public musings on all manner of things are very engaging and can be easily accessed on his Twitter feed.

8. Opernhaus@Home at the Opernhaus Zürich, Switzerland

Opernhaus@Home is a streaming initiative from the Opernhaus Zürich, the opera house located in the heart of Zürich which also houses the Bernhard-Theater Zürich and Ballett Zürich. Performances from all three stages are available on their website.

Currently showing is a coproduction between the opera and ballet companies of Verdi’s Messa de Requiem, the trailer for which is below. Many of the broadcasts are available with access in English, Latin, Japanese and Korean.

9. Vienna's State Opera (Staatsoper) in Vienna, Austria

The full breadth of the catalogue that Vienna’s Staatsoper has to offer can be reviewed here, along with the daily schedule of offerings.

Their Easter Sunday offering is an as-live broadcast of their 2017 production of Parsifal, conducted by Semyon Bychkov, with Gerald Finley, Jongmin Park, Kwangchul Youn, Christopher Ventris, Jochen Schmeckenbecher, Nina Stemme

10. Music Never Sleeps in New York City, USA

And finally, from the United States, the privately organised Music Never Sleeps NYC initiative which describes itself as a ‘24-Hour Music Video Livestream Marathon Event’. This is made up of original performance contributions that was first played out on March 27 but can still be accessed. Given its charitable as well as artistic purpose please note there is a Donate function, with monies going to the city’s official coronavirus fund as well as Local 802 Musicians' Emergency Relief Fund.

This is cellist and organiser Jan Vogler explaining the concept and all that they have been able to achieve:

The list of performers can be checked here and many of the links are either to the performers’ own sites or to the sites of their musical employers.

We are aware that this is by no means an exhaustive list and is more us dipping our toe in the available pond of live-streamed classical music events.

We have done our best to validate access to the services as described above but sometimes, for reasons of broadcasting or publishing rights, access in a particular territory might not be available.

Finally, if you are of the Christian Faith, of another Faith, or no Faith at all, we hope you and your loved ones are safe and we wish you the happiest possible Easter this weekend.

Orchestra rehearsal
Photo by Manuel Nägeli / Unsplash
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Charlie Charters is a former rugby union official and sports marketing executive turned thriller writer whose debut book Bolt Action was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2010.
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