Saturday, May 15, 2004

After a long hiatus, I am back to posting here.

The transition from the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts to the post-Met scene was a worse nightmare than I could have ever imagined. And Charles did warn me that it would be the worst week of the year -- more like the worst month -- and I still suspect that the dust has not completely settled.

The American stations that were streaming the Met (60-plus stations this past season, more than had ever streamed these broadcasts in any previous year) have split up to go their separate ways, off to carry the NPR World of Opera series, the European Opera Series put together by WFMT in Chicago, their own opera programming, or they have given up on opera entirely until next December when the Met starts its broadcast season anew. What makes this merry-go-round so much fun is trying to keep track of which stations carry these various series at what time and for what duration.

Last week we still had a few things wrong in the Saturday listings, so we have been poring over the schedules again this week to correct things. Please, please do let us know if you find any remaining schedule glitches on our pages.

During the last few days we have received messages from various OperaCast friends alerting us to difficulties with a number of streams.

In particular, some listeners may experience repeated buffering when using Radio 4 Netherlands' stream (perhaps their server is overloading?).

Also I have received an alert that the link for Musiq3's MP3 stream is causing problems for at least some listeners (I will be trying to figure out a fix or work-around, but in the meantime, try using the link on the Musiq3 site itself if you experience a problem getting into the stream).

RDP Antena 2's streams have been erratic of late - some days they work fine and other days they seem to be inaccessible.

Good news for those with dial-up connections: A friend has written to tell us that the 64K WMP stream from Radio Osterreich International is now being scaled so that is accessible for those with 28.8K connections or higher.

He also writes that the stream from Universalle Estereo in Colombia has been been unreliable in recent weeks - jumpy and distorted.

Several people have asked us whether it is worth upgrading their RealPlayer to the newest Version 10 Player. Based on a horror story which I hope to post here in coming days, it is probably not worth the hassle for most listeners - the friend who sent his horror story to me claims that Real Player 8 stills sounds better than any of the more recent versions and is easier to setup and use. More details later.

-------------Happy listening this weekend ------------

Early morning Saturday programming includes Hector's airing (to be repeated several times throughout the week) of a Vaugh-Williams rarity, The Poisoned Kiss; and Radio 4 Netherlands is featuring Nelly Miricioiu in Bellini's Il Pirata.

BBC Radio 3 will be carrying a live Rosenkavalier from Covent Garden featuring Felicity Lott as the Marschallin, Angela Kirschlager as Octavian, Simone Nold (a singer I am unfamiliar with) as Sophie, and, in a bit of luxury casting, Eike Wilm Schulte as Faninal.

France Musiques is airing a Tannhauser (from an April 28th performance at the Chatelet in Paris) featuring Peter Seiffert as Tannhauser, Ildiko Komlosi as Venus, and Petra-Maria Schnitzer as Elisabeth.

Most of the NPR World of Opera stations are carrying Joseph Bodin de Boismortier's Daphnis et ChloƩ (starting at various times during Saturday).

European Opera Series stations are carrying either Rameau's Les Indes Galantes or Mozart's Le Nozze de Figaro.

Another rarity can be found on NRK Alltid Klassisk - Mendelssohn's Antigone in a performance from London's Royal Albert Hall from last July.

WRTI is continuing its (mini)series of live operas from the Opera Company of Philadelphia, with a performance of Bizet's Pearl Fishers featuring Nathan Gunn as Zurga, William Burden as Nadir and Mary Dunleavy as Leila.

For those who may have missed this exciting performance of Wagner's der Fliegende Hollander, Cesky Rozhlas-3, Vltava (Czech Radio 3) is rebroadcasting the live performance with Nina Stemme and Franz Hawlata from Vienna with Ozawa conducting.

And, last but not least... Radio Tre (RAI) is broadcasting a live La Figlia del Reggimento (this may mean it is being performed in Italian) from Bologna (April 1, 2004) with the likes of Eva Mai and Juan Diego Florez.

For those who like to hear up-and-coming young singers vie for all the marbles, Musiq3 is carrying the finals of the Queen Elisabeth Competition from Belgium.