A Night (or Afternoon, or Morning) at the Opera

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has caused opera stages worldwide to go dark. This comes as a big blow to the musicians that perform them and the audiences that love them. Until such time as theaters can reopen, we have put together some resources to keep the fans happy at home.

BPL Online Resources

Music Online: Opera in Video and Kanopy will require library members to log in with their library cards. Don't have a Boston Public Library card? Sign up for an eCard right now., opens a new window Have an expired card? Contact us at ask@bpl.org and during the time we are closed we can renew your card for a short period.

Music Online: Opera in Video

Over 200 performances selected for their importance to the operatic canon, as well as over 60 interviews and documentaries representing the world’s best performers, conductors, and opera houses. With selections ranging in time period from Monteverdi and Rameau to Glass and Tan Dun, opera lovers will find a wealth of material to keep them enthralled. Here's a selection of what's on offer:

Dido and Aeneas, by Purcell, opens a new window

Le Nozze di Figaro, by Mozart, opens a new window

La Boheme, by Puccini, opens a new window 

Trouble in Tahiti, by Bernstein, opens a new window


While most people will associate streaming video service Kanopy with with feature films, it does have a small selection of opera. Here's a glimpse:

Fideleo, by Beethoven, opens a new window

Aida, by Verdi, opens a new window

Satyagraha, by Glass, opens a new window

Aria, by various composers and film directors, opens a new window

Aria isn't actually an opera, it is a feature film that is made up of separate tiny movies that are directed by different film directors that each are set to a particular opera aria. Think of them as music videos, only without any lip syncing. Kanopy does caution viewers that this should be watched only by people over the age of 18. This is presumably because of the sex and violence in some of them (looking at you, "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde). 


Hoopla, alas, does not have any videos of any operas, but they do have a wealth of books about operas and opera performers. There are even some libretti, if you want to read the storylines of some operas, and one score of a selection of opera arias for soprano. See the entire list here: Ebooks -> Categories -> Music Genres & Styles -> Opera

Online Operas for Anyone to Watch

One of our local opera companies, Boston Lyric Opera, was to have had their production of Bellini's "Norma" this month. While they don't have video of their production, they will be providing audio of it starting March 29 at https://blo.org/norma/. In the meantime, if you just can't wait and want to hear a performance of that opera right now, Hoopla has several recordings to choose from, opens a new window.

OperaWire has compiled a list of European and North & South American opera companies that are offering free streamed videos of their productions. The Metropolitan Opera of New York is streaming operas by Wagner this week, and next week they will be streaming operas by seven different composers, including Bellini's "Norma" on Sunday, April 5. 

And now, just for fun, the aria "Vissi D'Arte" from Puccini's opera Turandot, with new words for our current situation.

And a scene from A Night at the Opera by the Marx Brothers!

One more! Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" from their album A Night at the Opera.