While auditoriums around the world are temporarily dark, arts and culture organizations are offering unprecedented access to digital theater productions, opera presentations, dance performances, and museum exhibitions.
BMFI presents a curated list of websites that offer similar programs to those we present in our Stage on Screen series, with select recommendations from BMFI’s special programming team, so we can stay connected to the live arts, and each other, during our time apart.
The Cleveland Art Museum’s free Gallery Hangouts video series features teachers and educators delving into select works from the museum’s collection. Browse the archive here.
BMFI recommends: Dive in with this episode, featuring curator Heather Lemonedes Brown discussing Claude Monet’s painting Water Lilies (Agapanthus).
University of Pennsylvania’s Wolf Humanities Center hosts a robust schedule of free online events, including lectures, workshops, concerts, performances, and more. Learn more about upcoming events here.
Spend happy hour talking art with the Frick Collection‘s digital series Cocktails with a Curator. Each Friday at 5:00 pm, one of the museum’s curators discusses a piece from their collection over a beverage. Cocktail recipes are included for those who wish to join. Visit the Frick’s website to explore the archive of previous chats and learn about upcoming installments.
BMFI Recommends: In keeping with her subject’s Dutch origins, curator Aimee Ng pairs her examination of Vermeer’s Mistress and Maid with a genever-based cocktail. See the episode here.
Classical music fans will find much to discover in the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra‘s archives, which features a trove of archival performances, from classical repertoire to jazz concerts to programs geared at younger audiences. Explore their offerings here.
BMFI recommends: We have a special affinity for Martha Graham’s ballet Appalachian Spring, about a pair of young farmers in 1830s Pennsylvania. In the “Spring Turning to Summer” program, The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic performs Aaron Copland’s original score, alongside Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 1 in B Major.
The Free Library of Philadelphia offers a packed schedule of virtual events including lectures, author conversations, discussion groups, workshops, and more! Visit their webpage to see a list of upcoming events.
Learn about new innovations in dance, get insight on the thought process of a choreographer, and discover some outstanding performances with this TED Talks playlist of dance-oriented presentations.
BMFI Recommends: See elite-level collaboration in action with The Red Circle and the Blue Curtain, an improvised performance featuring dancer/choreographer Bill T. Jones, cellist Joshua Roman, and vocalist Somi.
The famed museum’s website includes a variety of online resources, including digital primers, archived performances and programs, and, occasionally, virtual events (some for free, some with a fee). Start exploring here.
BMFI recommends: Being movie buffs, we’re partial to the From the Vaults series, which features selections from the museum’s vast moving image archive. Check out films about Vincent van Gogh’s storied period in Arles, a history of cats at The Met, and much more.
Over the course of its fall 2020 virtual season, the Brooklyn-based theater highlighted Phyllida Lloyd’s trio of all-female Shakespeare productions, performances by Lou Reed and John Cale, and more. The season has come to an end, but you can still find a variety of recorded artist conversations, along with info about forthcoming offerings. Check it out here.
From February through June 2021, New York City Ballet’s Digital Season is presenting a series of new and archival performances, available for free streaming within limited windows. See the full schedule here.
Encompassing a network of cultural groups from around the region, the Delaware County Arts Consortium hosts a calendar of local cultural events on their website, including music, dance, theater performances, fine arts programs, and more.
Presented by the Noël Coward Foundation, “A Marvellous Party” is a transatlantic collection of performances celebrating the playwright’s continuing legacy, featuring stars like Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Derek Jacobi, and many more. The Foundation has made the program available for free viewing on their YouTube channel, but encourages viewers to donate the Actor’s Fund’s COVID-19 relief efforts.
Located in Chadd’s Ford, PA, the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art focuses on American illustration and painting and is best known for its collection of work by Andrew Wyeth and the extended Wyeth family. Its digital initiative, Brandywine at Home, encompasses a variety of online content updated on a weekly basis, including virtual tours, curator-led gallery talks, at-home art activities for all ages, and more.
BMFI recommends: The Collection Spotlights video series highlights individual pieces from the museum, with context and commentary offered by the curatorial staff. In the installment on Andrew Wyeth’s “Spring,” curator Audrey Lewis discusses Wyeth’s 1978 symbol-laden portrait of his friend and neighbor, Karl Kuerner.
Presented by London’s famous Royal Albert Hall, this free video series features exclusive sessions by musicians, actors, storytellers, and more from around the globe, performed from their homes.
These days, he may be best known for his roles in Star Trek and X-Men, but Sir Patrick Stewart is a seasoned Shakespearean actor. From March to August, 2020, Stewart posted daily readings of the Bard’s sonnets on his Twitter account. See the archived videos on YouTube.
The National Portrait Gallery in London is closed until 2023, but in the meantime, the museum offers a wide selection of resources via its website, including digital exhibitions, online activities for kids and families, and an archive of interviews with artists and subjects (including historic figures such as King George V, Florence Nightingale, and T.S. Eliot).
BMFI recommends: Take a digital tour through the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition, showcasing work from some of the world’s most exciting contemporary photographers.
Based within the University of Pennsylvania, the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation provides grants and other forms of support to artists, cultural centers, and other arts advocates at Penn. Check out its happenings calendar to discover upcoming lectures, performances, exhibitions, and other programs.
OperaStreaming offers a seasonal program of recorded productions from the historical opera houses of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, including streams of Don Carlo, La Traviata, and Il Barbiere di Siviglia, available for free viewing on its YouTube channel.
With its digital BUnidos program, the New York City-based company Ballet Hispánico hosts an array of streaming performances, watch parties, virtual events, learning opportunities, and more. Dive in here.
An initiative of the Dutch National Opera & Ballet, this online platform features an ever evolving selection of filmed performances, as well as song and dance workouts, games, and behind-the-scenes footage.
The acclaimed orchestra’s digital initiative, Always Playing, features free weekly performances from LSO musicians, along with interviews, activities, and more. Don’t forget to check out their YouTube channel, which hosts a considerable archive of recorded performances.
Visit the San Francisco Ballet’s webpage to see dance films and other digital presentations from leading performers and choreographers (also available for viewing on YouTube and Facebook). Updates are irregular, but the quality of the productions and talent is high.
BMFI recommends: If you’re a dance lover and cinephile, check out “Dance of Dreams”, a new six-minute film directed by Benjamin Millepied and choreographed by Justin Peck, Dwight Rhoden, Janie Taylor, and Christopher Wheeldon. Filmed in various iconic San Francisco locations, the film features the company’s dancers performing to Bernard Herrmann’s score for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. See the trailer here and watch the film for free on their website and YouTube Channel.
The National Gallery in Washington, DC is home to an expansive collection of paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, photographs, prints, and drawings, spanning the history of Western Art. Though its doors are temporarily closed, you can explore the collection from home through virtual exhibition tours, artist talks, online learning opportunities, and more.
BMFI recommends: Take a virtual tour of the Degas at the Opéra exhibition, dedicated to the painter’s fascination with the 19th-century Paris’s thriving theatrical life.
A multimedia platform created by WNET (the parent company of New York’s PBS stations), ALL ARTS offers a wide variety of arts-related information and streaming content, encompassing dance, music, theater, and more. Start exploring here.
Presented by Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, this video series presents highlights from the Curtis Institute archive, curated around themes that change weekly. New videos are added every weekday at noon, available to view for free on YouTube.
BMFI recommends: Film buffs may be most familiar with modernist composer Krzysztof Penderecki through his contributions to movie soundtracks, including The Exorcist, The Shining, and Children of Men. Get to know Penderecki’s work better with this 2019 performance of Sextet, introduced by composer and Curtis Fellow Nick DiBerardino.
BMFI recommends: If you’re working on your moves—or just looking for a fun way to move—while sheltering-in-place, dance along with the Joy of Motion series. Showcasing a wide array of styles, from Latin and Ballroom to Afro-Jazz to belly dance, each installment features an expert-led lesson for beginners.
The Barnes Foundation’s website features an array of digital content, from performances and artist conversations streamed live on Instagram to the daily Barnes Takeout video series, focusing on select pieces from the collection.
BMFI recommends: Gund Family Chief Curator Nancy Ireson joined us in February 2019 at our screening of The Mystery of Picasso. In this installment of the Barnes Takeout, Ireson offers a detailed introduction to Pablo Picasso’s 1906 painting The Peasants.
A top-tier venue for dance in the UK, Sadler’s Wells Theatre is offering a variety of online workshops (for families with young children and seniors alike), as well as select dance films via Facebook and YouTube. View the upcoming schedule on their website.
The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is home to countless artifacts, structures, and stories, connecting the civilizations of the past to the world we live in today. Their website offers numerous ways to explore the museum from home, from brief digital tours to live-streamed (and archived) lectures. Our favorite feature is the Digital Daily Dig, a series of three-minute video explorations highlighting various artifacts from the Museum’s collection.
One of New York’s premier spaces for the performing arts, the Lincoln Center’s website features a robust schedule of virtual programs, including live concerts, digital workshops, and highlights from its performance archive (including opera, dance, and music). Check in here to see what’s coming up.
Opera Philadelphia’s Digital Festival O has come to an end, but you can still find plenty of excellent content on their YouTube channel, including performance excerpts, artist conversations, making-of specials, and more.
This local orchestra’s YouTube channel hosts a number of well-filmed performance recordings, and visit their website’s podcast section to hear conversations with Music Director Don Luizzi and other orchestra members.
BMFI recommends: As cinephiles, we were delighted to discover the MLSO’s May 2019 performance of the tense, dramatic “Symphonic Suite from On The Waterfront,” composed by Leonard Bernstein. See it here.
Through June 2021, New York’s Baryshnikov Arts Center will present a schedule of new and recorded dance, music, and theater performances, available for free viewing during select week-long windows. See the schedule here.
Just north of Wilmington, DE, the Winterthur Museum boasts a vast collection of decorative arts objects, as well as a magnificent 60-acre garden. While the museum is temporarily closed, you can pay a vicarious visit through their Facebook page and YouTube channel, which feature numerous virtual room tours and garden strolls.
BMFI recommends: If you’re feeling cooped up, join Garden Curator Carol Long on a calming and informative virtual tour of the flora and foliage in Winterthur’s Spring Garden.
National Theatre Live is responsible for some BMFI’s most popular theater offerings. After several months, their series of free digital presentations has come to an end, but there’s still plenty of great content on their YouTube channel, from behind-the-scenes-videos to performer conversations to craft activities.
Founded in 1798, this Amsterdam institution is among the world’s most renowned museums, featuring works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh, and many more. Its website offers a high quality virtual tour experience, allowing visitors to view selected works in high-res, accompanied by written materials and audio guides.
Launched in April by Universal Pictures, this series shares recorded performances of musical theater favorites every week. A new show goes live on their YouTube channel each Friday at 2:00 pm and remains available for free viewing for 48 hours.
Last year would have marked Merce Cunningham’s 100th birthday. Dive into the seminal dancer/choreographer’s oeuvre with an abundance of performance footage on the Trust’s Dance Capsules page, Vimeo site, and YouTube channel.
Tune in to the famed venue’s website, Facebook, and Instagram page for live-streamed performances and conversations featuring some of the world’s finest musical artists. Visit the website for a schedule of upcoming broadcasts.
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is making select performance videos available for free, presented on a rotating basis. Check the website to see the scheduled offerings.
The Met Opera continues its nightly series of archival performances, with a new stream added every night at 7:30 pm and available for 23 hours. See the upcoming schedule here.
92nd Street Y has an expansive archive of filmed concerts, dance performances, lectures, and other cultural events, available for free streaming. In the coming weeks, they will also be livestreaming some of their scheduled events
BMFI recommends: Misty Copeland tells the inspiring story of her ballet journey in this conversation with Gayle King and Nelson George. After that, just try to resist shaking a leg to this performance by New Orleans greats Rebirth Brass Band.
The Bavarian State Opera, housed in the National Theatre Munich, will be providing free livestreams of ballets, operas, and concerts from their website, some of which will be available for an additional 30 days via video-on-demand. Learn about forthcoming programs here.
CMS of Lincoln Center offers free livestreams, weekly curated playlists and daily releases of archival video and audio. Stream concerts, lectures, master classes, and Meet the Music programs
BMFI recommends: This year marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. Celebrate with this series of lectures and performances, discussing all of Beethoven’s String Quartets.
As Broadway is temporarily on hiatus, watch stage actors give live performances from the comfort and safety of their homes. The performances are free, with an option to donate directly to Broadway artists.
BMFI recommends: Need your showtunes fix? Carolee Carmello belts out “Before the Parade Passes By” from Hello Dolly, made famous on film by Barbara Streisand!
Virtually tour over 1,200 of the world’s leading museums and archives with Google Arts & Culture
BMFI recommends: Explore some of the world’s finest film archives and exhibits via these digital tours!
Silent Films: Second Life from the National Film Archive in Warsaw
Apple takes us on a 5-hour plus journey through St. Petersberg’s Hermitage Museum, captured in a single take on an iPhone.
This PBS mainstay showcases standout concerts and performances, with select productions available online in their entirety for free for a limited time. Full access is available through the PBS Passport, included with a WHYY Membership. Check out the schedule of upcoming programs on the WHYY-TV website and view the newly announced line-up of free streaming stage offerings here.
BMFI recommends: Shot on various locations around Budapest, the Royal Ballet’s film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, featuring choreography by Kenneth MacMillan and a majestic score by Sergei Prokofiev, is available to view for free online via PBS’s Great Performances series. Catch it before it stops streaming on October 9!
Tiny Desk Concerts is a free video series of live concerts hosted by NPR Music at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen.
From March to August, ROH’s #OurHouseToYourHouse initiative presented a series of free, full-length operas and ballets via its social media channels. That series has come to an end, but the company’s YouTube channel hosts an abundance of fascinating content, including performance excerpts, masterclasses, rehearsal footage, and much more.
BMFI recommends: Check out this video documenting the Doncaster Dances project, a collaboration between the Royal Ballet and the town of Doncaster, England, celebrating love, family, friendship and solidarity.
This historic company has wrapped up its series of free presentations, but Shakespeare fans can still find readings, short performances, learning resources, and other materials on their website.
Presented by the Fisher Center for Performing Arts at Bard College, this free “virtual stage” adds new content every Wednesday, including music, theater, dance, opera, and more.