I last saw a live show in a theatre on March 13th. Eight months later I’ve watched a lot of web content as well as continuing to review commercial opera recordings. A month ago I wrote in Opera Canada that “there’s no substitute for live” and I stand by that view. I do think though that there’s an opportunity and a need to rethink how opera and song is produced for webstreaming.
We are starting to see full length, made for streaming content appearing rather than the rather variable quality, mainly amateur efforts of a few months ago. Here a couple of examples:
- Jeff Crompton’s new chamber opera based on the life of jazz musician Buddy Bolden was due to premiere in Atlanta in June. It’s now been recorded and mixed with visuals for an online release on October 16th. It’s a 45 minute piece for five singers and saxophone trio. More details here. I think this one is free. I checked out bits of the free press preview and it seems interesting and well produced.
- Decameron Opera Coalition; a collective of nine smaller opera companies in the US have come up with an innovative idea for a series of opera evenings. It’s based on Boccaccio’s Decameron, which tells of ten people who, in time of plague, isolate themselves and tell stories (some of them quite naughty as I recall). So, in our time of plague, each company has created a short opera plus there’s a collective intro and ending. They will go online on four Friday nights in October (9th/16th/23rd/30th) and stay available for a while. This one isn’t free. A ticket is $15 (US presumably) and covers all four shows. More details.
It seems like as soon as the lockdown started there was a great rush to get content up online. Companies big and small were at it and so were individual artists and groups of friends. Some of the content was performance, some was interviews and some was just plain quirky. Since then we’ve seen specially staged concerts and attempts to monetize the streams among other things. It’s four months on and what have we learnt?
There are now many organisations and individuals regularly posting free online content to tide us over the “lockdown”. Here are some of the ones I’m keeping track of:
Youtube channels. Best followed by searching for the channel name and then subscribing. That way you will get notified of new stuff whenever you sign into Youtube. Continue reading
There are a couple of new streams coming up today. At 3pm EST Opera North is releasing a recording of Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti from a couple of years ago. The main local attraction is that Dinah is played by Wallis Giunta. That one is on Youtube. At 5pm husband and wife Alexander and Jimin Dobson are performing in the NAC’s Canada Performs series. This link should get you there.
There were a couple of fun things posted yesterday too. Ian Cusson performed in the NAC series playing 10 of the Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues. It’s still up on Facebook. Also the Kingston Symphony produced a very clever video of the finale of Beethoven’s Eroica with each musician performing their part at home and Evan Mitchell editing to create a complete video. It’s very clever and it’s up on Youtube.