Face the Music: September is Classical Music Month on hoopla!

We’re past Labor Day Weekend now, and autumn is in the air. For some of us, the transition may bring back memories of previous Boston Symphony Orchestra seasons, which typically begin in September. But while the concert hall may be dark this fall, the music hasn’t stopped. Not only is there much to sample on the BSO at Home website, but one of hoopla’s latest collections will be music to your ears!

With its Classical Music Month collection, hoopla offers everything from themed compilations to acclaimed artists’ recordings to child-friendly albums. You’ll find the top 100 or top 40 cello classics, songs from musicals, and “most relaxing” pieces. If your chief goal is stress relief, then Classical Music for Relaxation (featuring Beethoven, Mozart, and Chopin) might fit the bill. You can thrill to the best of the best with recordings from the likes of superstar pianist Lang Lang, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and violinist Hilary Hahn. If you or your little one is having trouble drifting off to dreamland, press play for Beethoven at Bedtime: A Gentle Prelude to Sleep. Or perhaps you’d like to share some creative downtime with the kids. If so, the rather unique album Color Me Classical: Calming Classics for Coloring can help you get into the flow!

For opera buffs, there are a few fabulous albums to take you to another world for a while. Bask in Diana Damrau’s rich coloratura soprano performances, Andrea Bocelli’s Passione, and the late, great Luciano Pavarotti’s Greatest Hits. And if you’d like a helping of pop with your classical, consider a couple of crossover titles: Classical Beatles with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, which features many of the greats (“Michelle,” “Hey Jude,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” to name a few), and Sarah Brightman’s A Winter Symphony

By the way, once you’ve found an artist that you love, you can always click on the hyperlinked name and get a collection of his/her available albums. And don’t forget that hoopla offers at least 23,860 classical titles, so you should never be at a loss for inspiring listening!

If you’re new to hoopla, please do have a look at our FAQs section to get started. Need a Marblehead library card? You can go here to get one!

The Majesty and Magic of Live Performance

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players
—W. Shakespeare, As You Like It

Live performances – operas, ballets, musicals, plays, concerts, and comedy shows – and documentaries about how they were created and the people who created them – are available on hoopla, a free service brought to you by the Abbot Public Library. You only need your library card to access hoopla.

Learn to play a musical instrument, or learn more about your favorite band or musical group – you can find all that and more on hoopla, including some of these gems:

Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Rigoletto tells a tragic story of love, passion, deceit, and sacrifice. A 1946 recording of this performance showcased the best Italian operatic voices of the time. 

The Phantom of the Opera, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and lyrics by Charles Hart: this legendary musical won numerous awards and is the longest-running Broadway show. 

This gorgeous, full-cast production, accompanied by over 200 musicians in the orchestra, was performed at the musical’s 25th anniversary celebration at the Royal Albert Hall.

Another legendary musical and spectator favorite, Les Misérables, composed by Claude Michel Schonberg, with lyrics by Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer, won many awards and is the longest-running musical in London’s West End. This production, performed for the 25th anniversary of the show, features an all-star cast that includes Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers.

Although there have been numerous film adaptations of Charles Dickens’ works, Great Expectations has never been produced for the theater, being considered too difficult to stage. This is the first – and very successful – staged performance of Dickens’ most popular book, which you now have a chance to experience.

A one-man show of Beowulf performed in old English, accompanied on the harp.

If you do not mind having Christmas in May, we suggest the gorgeous Nutcracker ballet, probably the most popular performance in the world around Christmas time.

And if you love The Nutcracker Ballet and wonder what it takes to produce such an eternally beautiful spectacle and to perform in it, then the documentary Getting to the Nutcracker is for you.

If you are interested in learning more about opera or classical music, we suggest the following documentaries:

Check out hoopla’s musical section, where you can find dozens of opera and ballet titles, as well as classical music, for listening. 

And if the classics aren’t to your taste, hoopla also has many other musical selections, from rock to gospel to pop.

Overdrive/Libby also has something to offer to the live performance experience: download and listen to recordings of live performances and full-cast audio plays of popular titles.

Black Water is a recording of a live performance of the chamber opera, created by Joyce Carol Oates (based on her novel) and composer John Duffy.

Angels in America is an audiobook performance of the National Theatre’s 2018 Broadway revival of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The production features the entire cast, including Tony winners Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane. 

BBC Radio 4 has full cast dramatizations of the horror tale The Birds by Daphne du Maurier, and of Agatha Christie novels.

A variety of books (fiction and nonfiction) on the performing arts are also available through Overdrive/Libby, including: