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April 10, 2020

5 Free Digital Performing Arts Resources for the U-M Community

Jake Gibson
By Jake Gibson

Through the University of Michigan Library, U-M students, faculty, and staff have free access to many incredible online arts resources. Discover five of our favorites below, including UMS’s recommended viewing on each platform. Please note, resources may require a U-M account and password to access.


Met Opera On Demand

1. Met Opera On Demand

From old-school legends to today’s great stars, experience more than 700 full-length Met performances with their online streaming service. University of Michigan Students access to the full catalog which includes audio and video of some of the world’s greatest performances.

UMS Recommends:

Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier
This 2017 production was Renée Flemming’s final performance in her iconic role as the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier. Strauss’s beloved score incorporates Viennese waltzes, raucous comedy, and the composer’s characteristically vivid palette of orchestral color.

Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Audiences went wild for Bartlett Sher’s dynamic production, which found fresh and surprising ways to bring Rossini’s effervescent comedy closer to them than ever before. The production features mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, who was most recently in Hill Auditorium this past October, in the role of Rosina.

Puccini’s La Bohème
Starring U-M alumnus Michael Fabiano as ‘Rodolfo.’ Puccini’s timeless love story, which includes some of its composer’s most beloved music, has moved generations of opera lovers since its 1896 world premiere.

Nico Muhly’s Marnie
In September of 2018, the Philadelphia Orchestra with Yannick Nézet-Séguin performed a Suite from Marnie ahead of its US debut in October. The Opera is based on Winston Graham’s gripping 1961 novel of intrigue and deception which also served as the basis of Hitchcock movie of the same name.

Wagner’s Das Rheingold
When else might you have time to watch the entire Ring Cycle?! Met On Demand has two full cycles, both the 1989 and 2010-2012 productions. Start with a production of Das Rheingold and move on to Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung.

Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall

2. Digital Concert Hall

Invite the Berlin Philharmonic into your living room! The Digital Concert Hall’s archive contains hundreds of recordings with all the great artists of classical music. U-M students can enjoy full access to the archives with performances going back to the 1980s.

UMS Recommends:

Simon Rattle Conducts Berio And Bartók
To help social distancing, the Berliner Philharmoniker performed its most recent concert without an audience. Under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle, the Philharmoniker Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia and Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. The concert is a great reminder of the resilience and importance of the arts in these times.

Inaugural Concert: Kirill Petrenko Conducts Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony
For the first time, Kirill Petrenko stands before the Berliner Philharmoniker as its new chief conductor. For his inaugural concert, he chose one of the greatest symphonic masterpieces of the 19th century: Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. (P.S. you might have the chance to see Kirill Petrnko with the Philharmoniker next year in Ann Arbor!)

Concert with Claudio Abbado to Mark the 100th Anniversary of Gustav Mahler’s Death
Exactly 100 years after Gustav Mahler’s death in 1911, the Berliner Philharmoniker commemorated this anniversary with a special concert under the direction of their former chief conductor, Claudio Abbado, with Anne Sofie von Otter and Jonas Kaufmann as soloists.

A Beethoven Evening With Daniel Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, and Yo-Yo Ma
With Barenboim playing both the piano and conducting, he is supported by his famous colleagues Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma to perform Beethoven’s Concerto for Piano, Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra in C major and Fantasy for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra in C minor.

Hélène Grimaud and Valery Gergiev
French pianist Hélène Grimaud, whose March 2020 performance in Hill Auditorium was unfortunately canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, joins Valery Gergiev, the director of Mariinsky Theater, to perform Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto. Later in the concert, Gergiev leads the Philharmoniker in Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 6.

Boulez Meets Stravinsky
This performance places Boulez’s own works in conversation with one of his major influences, Stravinsky. The program features Boulez’s … explosante-fixe … with flutist Emmanuel Pahud (who last held a recital in Rackham in 2018) as soloist. The night concluded with Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol in concert.

BBC Shakespeare Collection

3. BBC Shakespeare Plays

Between 1978 and 1985 the BBC adapted thirty-seven Shakespeare plays for television. Shakespeare is rightly called the world’s greatest playwright for the soaring beauty of his language, for his profound insight into human nature, for the truths he dramatized and for the realism of the characters he created. He was, and remains, a superb entertainer. Featuring some of Britain’s most distinguished theatrical talent, these programs are an ideal choice for libraries, literature classes, and for continuing personal enjoyment.

UMS Recommends:

Romeo and Juliet
A hit for over 400 years. It expresses love in its infinite variety more than any other work in the English language.

As You Like It
After the overthrowing of Duke Senior by his tyrannical brother, Senior’s daughter Rosalind disguises herself as a man and sets out to find her banished father while also counseling her clumsy suitor Orlando in the art of wooing. Helen Mirren stars as Rosalind in this pastoral comedy.

Perhaps his greatest triumph as a stage play. As General Othello becomes convinced that his wife is having an affair, Evil Iago plants doubt in Othello’s mind about Desdemona, and audiences are spellbound. Stars Anthony Hopkins.

Merry Wives of Windsor
When Sir John Falstaff decides that he wants to have a little fun he writes two letters to a pair of Window wives: Mistress Ford and Mistress Page. When they put their heads together and compare missives, they plan a practical joke or two to teach the knight a lesson. Features Ben Kingsley as Frank Ford.

Hamlet suspects his uncle has murdered his father to claim the throne of Denmark and the hand of Hamlet’s mother, but the Prince cannot decide whether or not he should take vengeance. In this richly costumed production, the greatest tragedy ever written maintains all the tension of a murder mystery.


4. Kanopy

Like all artistic experiences, the films that truly resonate with us do more than just entertain. They inspire us, enrich us, and challenge our perspectives. Kanopy ensures that these films reach viewers around the world. Through U-M’s library, students have access to much of the Criterion Collection, as well as features and documentaries across a wide range of topics.

UMS Recommends:

A Composer’s Notes – Philip Glass and the Making of an Opera
Philip Glass provides an intimate look at the inspiration, development, and production of his third opera, Akhnaten.

Alive Inside – A Story of Music and Memory
A joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity, chronicling the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music. His camera reveals the uniquely human connection we find in music and how its healing power can triumph where prescription medication falls short.

Itzhak – The Life of Violinist Itzhak Perlman
This enchanting documentary looks beyond the sublime musician, to see the polio survivor whose parents emigrated from Poland to Israel, the young man who struggled to be taken seriously as a music student when schools saw only his disability. As charming and entrancing as the famous violinist himself, Itzhak is a portrait of musical virtuosity seamlessly enclosed in warmth, humor, and above all, love.

Bobbi Jene – A Superstar of Modern Dance Returns Home
After a decade of stardom in Israel, American dancer Bobbi Jene decides to leave behind her prominent position at the world-famous Batsheva Dance Company, as well as the love of her life, to return to the U.S. to create her own boundary-breaking art.

Ballet – A Profile of the American Ballet Theatre
The film presents the renowned ballet company in rehearsal in their New York studio and on tour in Athens and Copenhagen. Choreographers and ballet masters are shown at work with principal dancers, soloists, and the corps de ballet.

Alexander Street

5. Alexander Street Collections

ProQuest’s Alexander Street products are curated, discipline-focused, primary-source collections, websites, and streaming media for learning and research. U-M Students have access to over 132 curated collections which include over 1300 different series.

UMS Recommends:

Classical Music in Video
1100+ videos of classical music performances and masterclasses.

Theatre in Video
Classic and contemporary plays and documentaries in streaming video.

Dance in Video
Contains over 900 hours of dance productions and documentaries by the most influential performers and companies.

Opera in Video
300 opera performances, captured on video through staged productions, interviews, and documentaries.

Art and Architecture in Video
A collection of 600+ documentaries and interviews illustrating the history, theory and practice of art, design and architecture.