The best classical music and opera online streams available in 2021
13 January 2021, 16:18 | Updated: 13 January 2021, 16:20
An updating list of the major classical concerts and events being streamed online as a result of the ongoing coronavirus measures around the world.
Measures taken worldwide to curb the spread of coronavirus have seen numerous classical concerts and events postponed and cancelled, and concert halls around the world closed for indefinite periods, since March 2020.
Countries banned gatherings, tightened their borders, and many have now seen various lockdowns for months. Some things are slowly starting to open up, but seeing live music still remains a rare treat.
As many of us are continuing to stay at home to work, self-isolate and look after the family, we’re lucky that many major classical concerts and events are being held without audiences and streamed online for us to see – for free in many cases – something that brings comfort, solidarity and some beautiful relief in trying times.
Upcoming classical concerts and opera being live streamed
14 January, 14:00 GMT: Classic FM’s Artist in Residence, violinist Maxim Vengerov, is performing a wonderful streamed concert of Strauss’ Violin Sonata, and the magic of this performance is that it will be streamed in real time between two cities, with Vengerov in Monaco and pianist Roustem Saïkoulov playing with him from Paris. The concert will be free to watch on Maxim Vengerov’s new website.
14 January, 17:30 MST: Tippet Rise Art Center presents ‘An Evening with Anderson & Roe’ – an online piano concert featuring Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Roe performing works by Stravinsky, Bernstein, Gluck and Piazzolla, for four hands. The evening kicks off with a pre-concert talk, with the music itself starting at 6pm.
14 January – 12 February, 18:00: Classic FM’s Orchestra in the Midlands, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, presents Britten’s Les Illuminations – a set of ten glittering, sensuous songs capable of warming any wintery day. The orchestra welcomes soloist Mary Bevan (soprano) and conductor Ben Gernon for this concert, which also features Haydn’s Symphony No. 84 and Boulogne’s L’amant Anonyme.
28 January – 26 February, 18:00: Join CBSO, Classic FM’s Orchestra in the Midlands, for a riveting performance of Beethoven’s monumental Seventh Symphony – conducted by Michael Seal, and paired with some Berlioz and Ravel.
Until 31 January: On 15 December 2020, English Sinfonia musicians celebrated the 100th anniversary of Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending with two live performances at St John’s Smith Square – 100 years to the day since the work’s first public performance on 15 December 1920. English Sinfonia’s leader and artistic director, violinist Janice Graham, was the flying soloist – with Chris Hopkins on the piano. The St John’s Smith Square event inviting limited audiences when it took place, but for those of us who were unable to attend, there’s a digital version that can be enjoyed, on demand, from home via St John Smith Square’s digital platform now.
17 February: Australian Chamber Orchestra premieres the first of its ‘ACO Studiocast’ online concerts. ‘Rapture and Revolution’ features Richard Tognetti performing Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, and Tognetti’s arrangement for string orchestra of Beethoven’s Cavatina & Grosse Fuge – all filmed at Sydney’s beautiful Town Hall. The concert will be available on demand after the premiere, and following instalments include ‘Bach and the Beyond’ (31 March) and Tchaikovsky Serenade (7 July).
27 February 2021, 13:00 EST/19:00 CET: Star soprano Sonya Yoncheva performs operatic favourites and show-stoppers from Berlin, as part of the ‘Met Stars Live’ series of online concerts from the iconic opera company.
Until 26 February, 19:30 GMT: Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) presents a digital season of 10 wonderful orchestral concerts – celebrating 250 years of Ludwig van Beethoven, who said, “There is nothing more beautiful than distributing happiness to many people.” Amen to that. Watch via RSNO’s digital channels.
Until 24 March, 19:30: Classic FM’s Orchestra in the South of England, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO), is streaming its 2021 season online due to the pandemic. Captured at BSO’s home concert hall, Lighthouse, Poole, the concerts are performed to a small audience – and highlights include Strauss, Mahler and Brahms (Wednesday 12 January), Vaughan Williams’ Fifth Symphony (27 January) and Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, performed by Sunwook Kim (17 March). All concerts are available to stream online on demand for 30 days after their original broadcast date.
Until 25 March: The Hallé presents the streamed edition of its 2021 Winter Season, with Sir Mark Elder and other Hallé conductors at the helm. Featuring nine concerts streamed from the Hallé’s Manchester homes, The Bridgewater Hall and Hallé St Peter’s in Ancoats, the series includes music by Shostakovich, Wagner, Beethoven and Strauss, a new staging of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, and some newly commissioned works too – as well as some starry soloists.
Recent past live-streamed classical concerts
26 December: British solo-voice ensemble I Fagiolini – directed by Robert Hollingworth – presents a satirical short film exploring royalty, extinction and the environment. The Stag Hunt, which echoes the chase of a countryside hunt using a seven-part a capella counterpoint, is streaming on demand indefinitely for just £2.99 via Vimeo, with £1 of every stream donated to animal welfare charity, Born Free.
31 December, 21:00: The Met Opera presents a glitzy, live-streamed New Year’s Eve Gala, featuring performances by the starriest of opera stars Angel Blue, Javier Camarena, Matthew Polenzani, and Pretty Yende – coming from the Parktheater, a stunning neo-Baroque building in Augsburg, Germany. Expect everyone’s favourite arias, from Donizetti to Puccini. Available on demand for 14 days afterwards.
11 January, 14:00 ET: William Christie and Les Arts Florissants present the virtual premiere of an exhilarating performance of Haydn’s Symphony No. 87, the last of his six ‘Paris’ symphonies. The concert was recorded on October 27 at the Philharmonie de Paris, with no audience and the ensemble was scheduled to perform the work at the Lincoln Center in October 2020 – but now we’re treated to an online instalment instead due to the coronavirus pandemic.
12 January, 17:00 ET: Dubbing itself ‘the Hunger Games of classical music’, the Getting To Carnegie competition broadcasts its final, featuring four up-and-coming violinists competing for the chance to perform at New York’s iconic Carnegie Hall, for free online due to the pandemic.