Tuesday, March 31, 2009

OperaTV, Would It Work?

I have been thinking that there ought to be a cable or satellite channel devoted specifically to opera audio and video performances and recitals. It sounds crazy, does it not? Remember Viva La Voce.com? They did an internet radio station on the same principles, and it lasted for three or four years; I believe one of the reasons they had to discontinue their operation was the availability of new media sources such as Rhapsody and others (more on that later). Would it not be great if this theoretical station aired the Met's Live in HD series shortly after they were simulcast into cinemas? This would eliminate the need for PBS to air them on all but the local affiliate stations, and this would allow more viewers to see them since the local PBS stations do little advertising of their showings of such performances. Their airing rights would not end there, however; moreover, the station could feature video performances from around the world and commercial video airings of performances, thus providing far more exposure to the little-known DVD titles in some recording company's catalog than they could ever have received otherwise. The possibilities are endless! Imagine it: 24-hour-a-day programming with break in spots for commentaries or interviews and relatively commercial-free. I am liking this idea more and more as I write about it...

About Rhapsody: we all already know that they offer music track for all of the other cheaper MP3 players that are not iPods, but they also offer free internet radio! There is a variety of classically themed stations from which one may choose (Right now I am listening to a Renaissance themed one to satisfy my thirst for that sub-genre.), and they do not take up your Rhapsody plays, either! Music for free? Sure, I will take all I can get!

As for Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music, there is absolutely no better place to become acquainted with it than to listen to the radio program Harmonia. Hosted by Angela Mariani, it is a valuable show to gain insight into "ancient" music. Lately, they have departed somewhat from their roots by playing Beethoven arrangements, though on a harpsichord, nevertheless, but I like their showcases of vocal ensembles singing Medieval music best. Check out their website.

As for news from the Met, Renee Fleming's "vocally sumptuous and unabashedly show-stealing Thais" (See, the New York Times thought she stole the show,too.) is now available to view on MetPlayer in its original HD quality and splendor. Is there anyone who subscribes to this service? Well, if there is, they can watch it for a pretty reasonable price after they pay their $14.99 monthly rate for the privilege to watch and hear broadcasts on the platform in the first place. If one asks me, it sound very close to charging a person twice for the service, but that is only my opinion. People will invariably say that this is no different from cable's On-Demand viewing option, but before they do, I never said that I thought that they entertained good business practices either.

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