Saturday, August 28, 2004

Back in the Groove

After cursing Bill Gates this week (it should be loads easier than it is to reinstall software onto a new hard drive when your old one fails!), I am back to opera, at last.

I still have not had time this week to check the status of the various streams, so if anyone out there is aware of a problem with any of the streams we list, please let us know....

On to the listings for this afternoon, some of which are already underway:

RADIO 4 NETHERLANDS is airing a double bill from the Holland Festival, Purcell's Timon of Athens and Galliard's Pan and Syrinx. The Swedish stations NRK ALLTID KLASSISK and NRK P2 are also carrying this program.
RADIO CLASICA DE ESPANA is running an afternoon of arias sung by new tenor sensation Rolando Villazon (I can't tell from the listing whether any of the items are "live" cuts, but this should still be an interesting introduction to this up and coming young tenor).
Bayreuth rebroadcasts for today: SVERIGES RADIO P2 (from Sweden) -- Parsifal. RADIO OESTERREICH INTERNATIONAL -- Tannhäuser.
From BBC RADIO 3 comes a Proms concert featuring Luciano Berio's final work, Stanze, and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, with Andreas Schmidt, Yvonne Naef and Anthony Dean Griffey, Christoph Eschenbach conducting.
DEUTSCHLANDRADIO is rebroadcastings the Glyndebourne performance from is past May of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, with Lisa Milne as Pamina, Pavol Breslik as Tamino, Cornelia Götz as Queen of the Night, Peter Rose as Zarastro, Jonathan Lemalu as Papageno and Claire Ormshaw as Papagena, Vladimir Jurowski conducting.
DR P2 (Copenhagen, Denmark) is airing a performance of Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande from Musikhuset Aarhus.
NPR's WORLD OF OPERA (carried by a multitude of stations) features a performance of Bellini's Norma from Washington National Opera. with Hasmik Papian (Norma); Irina Mishura (Adalgisa); Richard Margison (Pollione); Kyle Ketelsen (Oroveso).
RADIO CANADA CHAINE CULTURELLE (French CBC) is rebroadcasting a performance of Donizetti's Roberto Devereux with Edita Gruberova, Paolo Gavanelli and Zoran Todorovich.
WMCE is airing a 1968 Robert le Diable with Renata Scotto.
WICR (Indianapolis, Indiana) is broadcasting Albert Roussel's Padmavati from 1969 (London Coliseum) with Rita Gorr, Albert Lance, Gerard Souzay, and Jean Barbié, Jean Martinon conducting.
RADIO TRE (RAI) is carrying a perfoamnce from the Ravenna Festival of Richard Strauss' Salome, with Sue Patchell, Albert Dohmen, John Dickie and Margaret Hintermeier, Peter Schneider conducting.

Happy listening.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


[from Geoffrey, not Liz, my better half]

We've had severe hard disk problems, or we would have responded sooner. Regrets for the long delay.

Sarah makes some excellent points. Unfortunately, while ninety minutes can accommodate much of the repertoire -- if, that is, one remembers to go out and come back in to the signal on one's own terms during appropriate pauses rather than waiting to be yanked off at an inopportune time automatically -- ninety minutes cannot accommodate all the repertoire. Occasions like Strauss's Salome/Elektra, performances of Mozart's Nozze di Figaro that sometimes have only one intermission, the last act of Meistersinger or the first act of Parsifal, performances of all five acts of Don Carlos with only two intermissions, and so on, will often entail at least one uninterrupted chunk of over ninety minutes, sometimes over two hours. Hollaender and Rheingold, in particular, are frequently over two and a half hours of uninterrupted music. All these exceptions simply cover too much familiar repertoire, in our opinion, to be overlooked.

Consequently, we have adopted the policy of only carrying stations that permit a minimum of three hours' uninterrupted listening.

A further consideration is the sheer number of stations now carrying opera on the web. When we started this site around the turn of this century, the number of opera programs on the web came from roughly forty or so stations. Today, we are up around one hundred and growing! With all this choice (and with there being only 24 hours in the day to put all our listings together), standards eventually had to be set more strictly.

We like to encourage the kind of listening routinely vouchsafed to those in the hall. At live performances, one is in one's seat for however long an uninterrupted sequence of music takes. One sits back and savors it whole. Since so much of Internet listening is of "live" occasions anyway, we feel that the chief point of tuning in is to replicate that experience in one's home. One can only do that if any and all repertoire that is streamed affords one the same uninterrupted pleasure.


Geoffrey Riggs

Monday, August 02, 2004

SR 2

We have decided with some regret to remove SR 2 (from Saarbrucken, Germany) from the schedule listings at OperaCast. Some months back SR 2 imposed a 30 minute time limit on all their internet streams. The time limit made it impossible to listen to a complete opera without interruption and the need to reload the stream. We removed them from our listings and I emailed them at the time to complain (SR 2 did not respond). Others must have also complained, for within a few weeks the time limit appeared to have disappeared. We restored SR 2 to our schedule listings. But when I tried to listen to a complete opera, the stream dropped out every 90 minutes, so while they may have listened to their listeners, they still were imposing a time limit, albeit a longer one. A 90 minute time limit is still too short for most operas to play through without interruption, so after several weeks of wavering we have again decided to remove them from our schedule pages.

Because SR 2's streams are of good quality, we have left a listing with basic information about the station on our list of Opera Stations for those who still may be interested in listening to the station. I would also encourage any of you who wish to email the station about the time limit issue, but don't expect any feedback from SR 2.