Launched on 8 May 2015 with a live transmission of Verdi’s La traviata from Madrid’s Teatro Real, this new live and on demand streaming initiative from Opera Europa and ARTE is likely to be a game changer in the the way opera lovers, new and seasoned, consume this all-consuming of art forms. 15 operas will be screened live at an average of one per month from May 2015 from 15 different European opera houses and then be available on demand for six months at the new Opera Platform website. And the even better news it that it is FREE to view.
It does come at a price, however, and that is 3,937,166 euros. The European Commission’s Creative Europe programme, believing in the cross-border mobility of the arts and that this is likely to attract new audiences to opera as well as promote European culture world wide, decided to support The Opera Programme to the tune of almost 50% of the budget (from its pretty sizeable 1.46 billion euro 2014-20 budget). The balance is being provided by the 15 partner companies whose work is being screened.
In addition to the audiences – and it is aimed at those who know and love opera as well as those who might be curious to try it for the first time – there are also benefits to the opera sector. The webcasts will offer screenings to comanies whose work is not being seen in cinemas, and within those companies staff will also benefit from considerable professional development opportunities enabling the sector’s capacity to adapt to the digital age.
The platform is available in three languages (English, French, German) and the operas will have subtitles in a choice of six (English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish). This means that around 70% of EU citizens will be able to access the work in their mother tongue.
In addition to the transmitted operas, there will be a growing body of additional content provided by the 15 initial partners as well as many of the rest of Opera Europa’s 155 members.
This is a massive leap of faith into the digital unknown by Opera Europa and ARTE as well as their partners and the European Commission’s Cultural Programme. In the immortal words of W S Gilbert “Faint heart never won fair lady”: their initiative is hugely exciting for opera lovers in Europe and worldwide, and is to be congratulated and supported. Let’s get viewing!
8 May 2015 – La traviata Teatro Real, Madrid
16 May 2015 – Król Roger The Royal Opera, London
23 May 2015 – Kullervo Finnish National Opera, Helsinki
30 May 2015 – Valentina Latvian National Opera, Riga
7 June – Götterdämmerung Wiener Staatsoper, Vienna
10 July – Alcina, Aix-en-Provence
12September 2015 – La bohème, Den Norske Opera
October 2015 – Aida, Teatro Regio, Torino
Additional partners (dates & repertoire TBA)
La Monnaie/De Munt, Brussels, Belgium
Opéra national de Lyon, France
Komische Oper Berlin, Germany
Oper Stuttgart, Germany
Dutch National Opera, Holland
Teatr Wielki/Opera Nardowa, Warsaw, Poland
The Royal Opera, London,UK
Welsh National Opera, Cardiff, UK