After an overzealous blogger recently chastised me by blocking me and or one of my posts for being an “anti-Regie-Opera” zealot, I have begun to weigh my words when posting casual commentary on either my blog or my Facebook Group Page.
When it comes to a proper review, there I draw the line and let my readers know that I am sharing my views in the spirit of civilized discourse.
So, in that very spirit here I share some opinions and some basic information on the subject of Opera on the small screen, in the hope that it will provide some guidance given the wealth of options available to those of us who listen to and watch as much Opera on our computers and laptops as we do in the Opera House or at the Cinema.
The pluses are many. At $19.95 you get unlimited access to over 1,800 operas, concerts, ballets, films and documentaries about music, available in HD and watchable on any home screen.
Some of the offerings are impressive: Salzburg Festival operas with top-notch casts and conductors… Recitals by Ashkenazy or Barenboim…
The minuses are occasional transmission glitches that kick in at the worst possible times, and having to endure productions like Peter Sellars abysmally ugly La Clemenza di Tito for Salzburg along with some strange casting which I fail to comprehend.
Try it: https://www.medici.tv
What’s not to like when it’s free? Recently I watched a very interesting Macbeth from Venice, a well-sung Lucia from Madrid’s Teatro Real, and an impressive gala concert from the Lithuanian National Opera. Check it out at: https://operavision.eu
VIENNA STATE OPERA
I have never tested the HD presentations of the Vienna State Opera, but you certainly can.
They have an entire RING coming up at $15.95 per opera, which makes it more pricey than most on line Opera. I find it somewhat limiting that one has to catch the transmission on their terms, with little flexibility and a limited run of a few days.(www.staatsoperlive.com)
Many of us who could not afford to buy the complete Opera sets on LP available before the advent of the compact disc, had to depend on pirated copies of secretly recorded concerts and operas sold for a fraction of the price of the real thing. It wasn’t legal for the seller or probably for the buyer but we all did it so we could listen to Callas’ Venice Lady Macbeth or her Mexico City Aida.
And so, there is the touch and go You Tube with all those annoying commercials and often mediocre sound and visuals but with things that one will not easily find elsewhere and certainly not for free.
Rafael de Acha