Saturday, March 13, 2004

I'm B-A-A-C-C-C-K-K-K-K!!!!

Well, anyway, I have been monitoring some of our streams again, finally. Sometimes there isn't time enough in the day...

All in all the news on stream condition is not so bad this week.

DR P2 (Copenhagen, Denmark) is still playing their streams at too low a level (but is it my imagination or have they boosted the levels just a bit?).

KLASSIKARAADIO (Tallinn, Estonia) has their stream back up and running, but it took forever to load up, so please be patient.

KPBX (Spokane, Washington, USA) has their stream back up BUT it is very distorted and transmitted at much too high a level - there is a waterfall of hiss and noise that makes this stream all but unlistenable at present (and that's with the directSound output driver set up in my preferences for WINAMP).

KUSC's stream (Los Angeles, California, USA) is DOWN again. This probably means it will be out all weekend....Too bad because Duff Murphy always plays interesting stuff.

KXLU (Los Angeles, California, USA) is still playing at only 24K mono (not the 56k stereo the station claims). If this keeps up much longer we will change the listing on OperaCast to reflect reality....

You MUST upgrade your Real Player to at least the Real One version (there is now a new Real Player out - Real 10!) in order to successfully play the stream from Radio Tre (RAI) (Italian Radio). I understand that a couple of weeks back they FINALLY fixed the distortion on their stream -- Grazie!

WCLV (Cleveland, Ohio, USA) has their stream running again, but at an unlistenably low level.

WHRB (Cambridge, Massachussets, USA) seems to have improved the balance between left and right channels on their 56k MP3 stream.

After a quick listen, the stream from WUFT (Gainesville, Florida, USA) sounds good today, with none of the distortion in the highs that sometimes afflicts this stream.

And that's it for the stream report.

A quick word about the new Real 10 -- I was reading this week in PC Magazine that this new version includes caching technology that allows one to pause and rewind while listening to a live stream (sort of an audio Tivo?) and then catch up with the stream (the online version of the PC Mag. article is somewhat different from the one appearing in the print magazine). Also the new version apparently will handle more different formats than previous versions (althoughit isn't clear from the article whether you still need to install plugins to access some formats). We will be experimenting with the new version so we can let you know the scoop on the latest Real Player. If any of you have already used this new version we would be interested in hearing both the good and the bad (and the ugly) from you. Please email us.

The Don Giovanni from the Metropolitan Opera will start momentarily, with what looks on paper to be a strong cast, although a friend has told us that Harteros struggled with Donna Anna when he saw it earlier this week (and we have heard rumors of some pitch problems from internet sources); also he was disappointed with Pape's Leporello.

More often than we would like France Musiques gets its scheduling confused. It now looks as if they will be broadcasting a baroque opera, Conradi's Ariane, with "Orchestre du Festival de Musique Baroque de Boston". I have just loaded up a new version of our Saturday page which resolves the confustion we had earlier reflected re this station's listing(s). I am now listening to this performance and it is QUITE GOOD - especially the soprano, Karina Gauvin, but all the soloists so far are more than good. Do take a listen to this one if you get the chance!

Musique 3 (Brussels, Belgium) wioll be broadcasting Respighi's Marie Victoire with Nelly Miricioiu.

The offerings this afternoon seem slimmer than usual, with fewer items of particular interest. BUt happy listening to all, whatever you choose to listen to.



Saturday, March 06, 2004

It's been two weeks (!) since I last posted here - poor health and work pressures have conspired to keep me away.

It is good to report that at least the Met Broadcasts will continue through next season. And the Met has announced the start of a fundraising drive to raise $150 Million to fund these broadcasts for the forseeable future. Opera in America wouldn't exist without the Met broadcasts - the number of singers and musicians who got their start in music by listening to these broadcasts is legion. If these broadcasts are as important to you as they have been for us, we urge you to support the Met's efforts to raise the money to keep them coming. To get information about making a donation, either call 1-800-MET-OPERA (638-7737) or visit the Met's website.