Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Joseph Calleja Debut Live and Free Online

As most of you know by now, the Metroplitan Opera has been broadcasting several performances a week live via Sirius Satellite Radio, either using Sirius Radio's propritary receiver or over the internet.

Tonight, the Met is inaugurating a new Real Player stream, available directly from the Met's website. Starting at 8:00PM EDT tonight, listeners will be able to tune into tonight's performance of Rigoletto, which will feature the important debut of the Maltese tenor, Joseph Calleja.

This is the Met's effort to reach it's international audience (the Sirius feeds are not available to folks outside of North America), and we hear a rumor that they will be using the in-house feed. If true, this may mean that what you hear tonight will be a beautiful uncompressed sound. One hopes this rumor is true! Quoting from the today's Met press release: “Streaming operas live on the internet is the most immediate experience we can provide to opera lovers all over the world and a new way to introduce opera to the uninitiated,” said Peter Gelb, the Met’s General Manager. “This is a distribution platform that can reach into homes and generate an interest in what’s happening at the Met.”

We have put the link for this pioneering live broadcast up on OperaCast. We would welcome your feedback about the stream itself and the performance you hear. We also think Mr. Calleja's debut will be a very important one.

Happy listening.....

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Hope listeners are enjoying some of the special offerings today. Among the many operas playing this afternoon --

Playing now:

  • Cesky Rozhlas Vltava - Mozart's Mitridate, with Richard Croft, Bejun Mehta; Marc Minkowski conducting.

  • At GMT 1730/EDT 1:30PM:

  • NPR World of Opera (check our THIS SATURDAY page for specific stations) - From Houston Grand Opera, Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, with Oren Gradus, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Ana Maria Martinez; Patrick Summers conducting.

  • And at GMT 1800/EDT 2:00PM:

  • France Musiques - the striking Karina Gauvin stars in Handel's Rodelinda, conducted by Paul McCreesh.

Enjoy these and others!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Coming Up This Saturday - Part 2

The bottom line on today's offerings - lots of rebroadcasts of operas from this past summer's Salzburg Festival, and several American stations starting a month of Wagner's Ring Cycle - all starting today with Das Rheingold.

More lineup:

  • BBC Radio 3 - From Opera North, Verdi's Rigoletto, with Rafael Rojas, Alan Opie, Henriette, conducted Martin André.
  • CBC Two - From the Salzburg Festival, a rebroadcast of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, with Ildebrando d’Arcangelo, Bo Skovhus, Juliane Banse, Anna Netrebko and Christine Schäfer, conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
  • KWAX - Is reairing the Metropolitan Opera's Council Audition Winners' Concert.
  • NRK Alltid Klassisk & NRK P2 - From the Vienna State Opera, Verdi's I Vespri Siciliani, with Leo Nucci, Francisco Casanova and Sondra Radvanovsky, conducted by Fabio Luisi.
  • Sveriges Radio P2 - Jan Sandström's God natt Madame!, with Olle Persson, Lisa Gustafsson, Paula Hoffman, Johan Christensson and Hans Erik Sundström, conducted by Petter Sundkvist.
  • WRTI - From Bavarian State Opera, Bellini's Norma, with Edita Gruberova, Sonia Ganassi, Zoran Todorovich, Roberto Scandiuzzi, Cynthia Jansen and Markus Herzog, conducted by Friedrich Haider.
  • Cesky Rozhlas 3-Vltava - From the Salzburg Festival, a rebroadcast of Lucio Silla, with Roberto Sacca, Annick Massisová, Monica Bacelli, Veronica Cangemi, Julia Kleiterová and Stefano Ferrari, and Lo sposo deluso, with Josef Wagner, Marisa Martins, Jeremy Ovenden, Matthias Klink and Silvia Moi. conducted by Thomas Leininger.
  • DR Klassisk - From the Salzburg Festival, a rebroadcast of Mozart's Betulia liberata, with Rainer Trost, Marijana Mijanovic and Julia Kleiter, conducted by Christoph Poppen.
  • Dwojke Polskie Radio - Puccini's Manon Lescaut, with Tatiana Anisimowa, Petro Pryimak, Dmytro Popov and Serhiy Mahera, conducted by Keri-Lynn Wilson.
  • Espace 2 - From Geneva, Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea, with Martina Jankova, Marie-Claude Chappuis, Amel Brahim-Djelloul, Maya Boog, Kobie van Rensburg, Christophe Dumaux, Carlo Lepore, Sulie Girardi and Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, conducted by Attilio Cremonesi.
  • Klara - Meyerbeer's Semiramide, with Aldo Caputo, Eufemia Tufano, Federico Sacchi, Stefania Grasso and Roberto De Biasio, conducted by Rani Calderon.
  • Latvia Radio Klasika - Rossini's Adelaide di Borgogna, with Daniella Barcelona, Patricia Ciofi, Lorenzo Regazzo, conducted by Ricardo Frizza.
  • NDR Kultur - A 1993 performance of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, with Thomas Hampson, Charlotte Margiono, Barbara Bonney, Anton Scharinger, Petra Lang, Ann Murray, Kurt Moll, Philip Langridge, Christoph Späth, Isabel Rey and Kevin Langan, conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
  • WOMR - Along with KBYU and WQXR, this station will be rebroadcasting the Bayreuth Ring Cycle through the month of October, starting this afternoon with Das Rheingold.
  • Lyric FM - From Theatre du Chatelet, Paris, the first entry in yet another Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold, with Jukka Rasilainen, Sergei Leiferkus, Mihiko Fujimara and Camilla Nylund, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach.

And that's it for this Saturday

Coming Up This Saturday - Part 1

Here's the first installment of the Saturday afternoon lineup for October 7th:

  • Bartok - From Parma, Donizetti's Alina, with Daniela Dessi, Adelisa Tabiadon, Rockwell Blake, Paolo Coni, Andrea Martin and Sergio Bertocchi.
  • Deutschlandradio Kultur - From Frankfurt, Glanert's Caligula, with Ashley Holland, Michaela Schuster, Martin Wölfel, Gregory Frank, Jurgita Adamonyte and Hans-Jürgen Lazar, conducted by Markus Stenz.
  • DR P2 - Handel's oratorio, Israel in Egypt, with Johanette Zomer, Cécile Kempenaers, Robin Blaze, Alex Potter, James Gillchrist and Yoshita Ogasawara, conducted by Marcus Creed.
  • Espace Musiques - Through the month of October, they will be airing a repeat broadcast of the Canadian Opera Ring Cycle, starting today with Das Rheingold, with Richard Paul Fink, John Fanning, Judit Nemeth, Julie Makerov, Robert Pomakov, Phillips Ens, Thomas Rolf Truhitte, Julian Tovey, Richard Berkeley-Steele, Robert Kuenzli and Mette Ejsing, conducted by Richard Bradshaw.
  • France Musiques - From Opera Bastille in Paris, Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, with Natalie Dessay, Matthew Polenzani and Salvatore Cordella.
  • KBYU & WQXR - In October, both stations will be rebroadcasting the Bayreuth Ring Cycle, starting this afternoon with Das Rheingold.
  • Musiq3 and Radio 4 Netherlands - From the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Shostakovich's The Nose, with Vladislav Sulimsky, Edem Umerov, Tatiana Kravtsova, Andrei Popov, Mikhail Latyshev, Sergei Semishkur,Ilya Bannik, Gennady Bezzubenkov, Larisa Shevchenko and Tatiana Pavlovskaya, conducted by Valery Gergiev.
  • RDP Antena 2 - A rebroadcast of Mozart's Idomeneo from the Salzburg Festival, with Jeffrey Francis, Magdalena Kozena, Robin Leggate, Ramón Vargas, Ekaterina Siurina and Anja Harteros, conducted by Roger Norrington.
  • NPR World of Opera (on numerous stations) - From Washington National opera, Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri, with Olga Borodina, Juan Diego Florez, Ildar Abdrazakov, Lyubov Petrova, Leslie Mutchler, Bruno de Simone and Valeriano Lanchas, conducted by Riccardo Frizza.
More to come....happy listening

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Sirius State of the Met

We had sat back, until now, without commenting on the rejuvenation of the Metropolitan Opera. The new intendant, Mr. Gelb, has already implemented several new tools for marketing the operatic message to a wider (and eventually, one hopes, a younger) audience. So far he has created an admirable buzz.

We went to the Open House and Final Dress Rehearsal of Madama Butterfly on the Friday before the Opening Night. While waiting in the line for the free tickets the previous Wednesday morning, I had occasion to talk with one of the choristers (she had stopped by to visit with her sister who was also in line for tickets) who said that she was thrilled with the new Butterfly production and was proud to be a part of it. Rehearsing the first entrance of Butterfly with the line of geishas was very difficult, she said - Minghella and Choa apparently spent hours making sure they were all comfortable moving in the costumes and were in sync on their entrance.

Well, all that rehearsal paid off. The production is quite wonderful, with luminous lighting, gorgeously colorful costumes and a simple but very effective set (dark mirror above, dark lacquered floor below, with shoji screens sliding across the stage and minimal props). I like the idea of the Bunraku puppet playing Cio-Cio San's child, Trouble. When real children are cast in this part, it always strikes me that they are a distraction from the real point and they almost always upstage the adult characters on stage. The puppet was so expertly manipulated (by three black-clad puppeteers), that he (it) became an important part of the action. Mr. Minghella is a director, thank heavens, who appreciates and listens to (!) the music. If you get a chance to see this production, don't miss it.

Gallardo-Domas acted well, but her singing, even in the Dress Rehearsal, was strained and pushed too much of the time. Like Scotto in her later years, she was most moving in the quiet moments when the voice did not need to strain to soar over the orchestra. Giordani was more relaxed, I think, in the Dress Rehearsal than he was in the Opening Night performance, based on what I heard over the Internet of the Opening Night. In particular the top notes really rang out with a sort of sunburst effect that one totally missed over the air (the compression can't have helped). Zifchak was probably the best Suzuki I had ever seen. Dwayne Croft as Sharpless gave a nicely nuanced performance. His voice is in much better shaped than it has been in the last couple of years. The voice is beautiful again, although it seems smaller than it once was. We were glad to see him in refulgent form once again.

The Met will be broadcasting four live performances per week over Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 85). Thanks to Parterre Box for the season's schedule of these live broadcasts. In addition, the Met's Sirius channel will be airing old broadcasts from its voluminous archives. When all of this started last week, there was quite a lot of confusion. One correspondent asked if the regular Saturday matinee broadcasts would still continue on free radio and internet - yes, they will continue. Someone else told us of difficulties accessing the stream (Sirius' new internet streams are apparently not yet compatible with MACs, although they are working on that) and still other folks went to all the trouble of purchasing Sirius Satellite Radio receivers, only to discover that Sirius had, just in time for the Opening Night broadcast last Monday, put in place an internet only stream (so one doesn't have to buy the receiver to get the broadcasts).

And while all of our opera-going friends were excited by the prospect of all-Met-opera-all-the-time, there was chagrin in the land of opera fanatics. There was no schedule of which archived broadcasts would be aired when. Several people we know are thus severely sleep-deprived from having stayed up until all hours for the past week listening to everything so they wouldn't miss something important.

Pleas were sent to Gelb and, glory be, answered. Sometime yesterday afternoon the Sirius schedule began showing the next day's broadcast schedule. And this morning when I checked the schedule, they had listings all the way through Sunday. So nice work and thank you, Mr. Gelb! Also of note, on Sunday evenings at 9:00PM EDT the channel will be offering NPR's World of Opera, adding yet another source for those who miss this valuable program the first time around on Saturday afternoons.

Sirius offers two streams - a 32k Windows Media Stream and a 128k Windows Media Stream. The 128k stream sounds very good (we did experience some small dropouts during the Opening Night Butterfly broadcast, but the stream had been steady since then). Unfortunately, the feed they are using for both the live and the acrhival stuff is compressed (one supposes they may have decided to compress things because many Sirius subscribers listen in their cars). Sirius is charging $12.95 per month to suscribe to the 128k stream. Although OperaCast does not carry schedule listings for streams/stations that require registration or charge a fee to listen, we have included a listing at the bottom of our Station List page, with links to the schedules now available.

Also encouraging to note, we hear that Chicago Lyric Opera may again be broadcasting some of their performances starting later this year. They are working out with their unions a new deal similar to the Met's new union arrangements.

Happy listening to all....