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[ARSCLIST] Met Opera on the web
I just happened to hear this mentioned on a pseudo-classical station in
Toronto. Might be of interest..might sound awful, who knows?
The Met Opera Will Offer Performances on the Web
By DANIEL J. WAKIN
Published: October 14, 2008
In the Metropolitan Opera’s relentless quest to exploit all media, the company
next Wednesday will start making many video and audio broadcasts available for
Internet streaming on demand.
A screen from Met Player, a new online service from the Metropolitan Opera.
Met Player, as the service is called, will be available through the Met’s Web
site, metopera.org. At its inauguration, on the 125th anniversary of the Met’s
first show, users will be able to choose from 13 high-definition video
performances, 37 standard video recordings and 120 audio broadcasts dating to
1937. The company said it planned to add performances regularly, drawing on its
vast historical archives and its continuing high-definition broadcasts.
The catalog features classics like a “Lucia di Lammermoor” performance with
Joan Sutherland and one with Maria Callas; a “Walküre” with Birgit Nilsson as
Brünnhilde; a “Trovatore” with Leontyne Price and Franco Corelli; and a
“Carmen” with Rosa Ponselle, in one of her rare full-length recorded
performances. More recently, there are the “Tristan und Isolde” with Deborah
Voigt and Robert Dean Smith, conducted by James Levine, and “I Puritani” with
Anna Netrebko, each in high definition.
For $3.99 or $4.99 per streamed opera, users will have a six-hour window in
which to listen to or watch a production, once it has started. A monthly
subscription for $14.99 brings unlimited streaming, while a yearly subscription
The technical demands are relatively substantial for the high-definition videos
and what the Met calls “optimal” performance: a broadband connection,
naturally, as well as a fast processor (2.0 GHz Dual Core) and one gigabyte of
RAM. Computers less than two years old are recommended.
Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, has pushed hard to extend the Met’s
performances into the electronic realm. The company provides regular live
transmissions of performances to movie theaters, has a channel on Sirius
Satellite Radio and provides one live streaming a week.
Other opera houses have followed suit to one degree or another: the Bayreuth
Festival offered a live streaming of “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” last
summer; the Royal Opera House in London has a free streamed “Don Giovanni”
available; and the San Francisco Opera provides a few excerpts from its
productions. But the Met’s on-demand streaming effort appears to be the most
extensive of any house.
In a recent try-out offered ahead of time by the Met, the service functioned
well, despite a few glitches. First, users must log on and download the player.
Several times during the trial an attempt to stream a 2007 high-definition
performance of “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” hiccupped and caused the browser to
close. But the process worked on the next try. The sound was clear and rich,
and the video sharp.
Dragging a cursor over the titles on the catalog page brought pop-up synopses,
but the text bled into the rest of the screen, making it illegible. A Met
official said the browser or the computer being used, a relatively new model,
was at fault.
The site’s search mechanism was also clumsy, and the subtitles could not be
extinguished. The Met said future versions of the player would probably improve
The player allows users to choose tracks, mark favorite operas, fast-forward or
backward and put the image into full-screen mode. There are links to synopses
and related articles from the Met Web site.