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Bayreuth on Your Desktop

Manfred Honeck at the Verbier Festival

Taking a Dip in The Online Stream

Classical Music Makes A Play for Web Crowd

By Anne Midgette
Washington Post

Of all European summer music festivals, the Bayreuth Festival may be the hardest ticket. Devoted to the operas of Richard Wagner, presented in the theater that he built, it receives so many requests for its two-month season that people wait for years to get in. Last Sunday saw the first performance this year of "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg" as produced by Katharina Wagner, the composer's great-granddaughter.

Last year, it was the talk of the season among those who had managed to see it. This year, it could be experienced live on your home computer.

For if you don't travel to Europe's festivals this summer, some of them will come to you. If the 49 euros (almost $80) that Bayreuth charged to log on to its first-ever live video transmission was too steep, you could go to the Web site, which this summer has featured live broadcasts from three festivals: Aix-en-Provence, Aspen and Verbier. That same afternoon, free of charge, it was offering a live webcast from Verbier of a chamber concert with violinist Julian Rachlin, cellist Mischa Maïsky and pianists Piotr Anderszewski and Nikolai Lugansky, among others.

Does anybody actually want to watch classical concerts on their computer screens? Evidently, yes. Last year, reached 150,000 unique viewers with its broadcasts from Verbier, according to's founder and director, Hervé Boissière. This year, he says, the numbers are even better. (Check the website for information on web cast availability.)

Read more about this at the Washington Post website:

The Metropolitan Opera

Met's cinema shows hit high note

High-def transmissions sparks new interest

By Pamela McClintock

The Metropolitan Opera's live high-def theatrical transmissions – seen worldwide by more than 920,000 people during the 2007-08 season – are creating new fans and sparking renewed interest among existing opera fans. Findings were included in a poll conducted by trade org Opera America in cooperation with National CineMedia, the Met's distribution partner.

The digital theatrical transmissions have been hugely popular over the past two Met seasons. That's good news for Hollywood studios and exhibs as they begin to look to alternative digital content to fill theater seats, particularly since they can charge more per ticket for special events.

The Met's program, whereby select operas are beamed live into theaters on Saturdays, were the brainchild of Metropolitan Opera general manager Peter Gelb, who was seeking ways to boost opera's profile, particularly in the post-9/11 period, when Met attendance dropped off.

Read more about this at the Variety website:


KUSC is making classical music relevant

The return of Rich Capparela and Dennis Bartel, and the demise of K-Mozart, boost the station in the ratings.

By Sean Mitchell
Los Angeles Time

In the last year, listeners to classical music radio in Los Angeles have noticed something different about segments of the weekday sound of KUSC-FM (91.5) – evidence of human beings talking to them live between the symphonies and concertos of Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms. It's a change from the public station's deliberately generic classical programming that for the last nine years was prerecorded for distribution to more than 50 other outlets across the country with as little trace of Los Angeles or the announcers' personalities as possible.

Now, in afternoon drive-time, host Rich Capparela serves up irreverent observations about Los Angeles and traffic, along with bits of news he has gleaned that day about the classical world – in addition to selections from the classical canon. In the mornings, another KUSC alumnus returned home: Dennis Bartel shares his quietly ironic views of just about everything alongside the music, indicative of his background as a published author of fiction and nonfiction.

Apparently reflecting public approval of these changes and combined with the demise of its only significant rival, KMZT-FM, KUSC's audience has boomed to an average weekly listenership of 525,800…

Read more about this at the Los Angeles Times website:,0,4571580.story


Radio 2 plans less weekday classical music

Guy Dixon
Globe and Mail

For the final phase of its overhaul of Radio 2, the CBC plans to play less classical music weekday mornings and late afternoons and more pop, showcasing a wider variety of Canadian music and aiming to appeal to a broader audience.

The new weekday morning show from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. will be a mix of much less classical and much more pop, leaning toward established musicians such as Joni Mitchell and Diana Krall, with around 50-per-cent Canadian content. There's no decision yet on who the host will be.

The midday show weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. will be entirely classical, playing both CDs and live performances, with around 40-per-cent Canadian content. But the drive-home afternoon show will be the biggest departure from current programming. That show from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. will ignore classical entirely and instead air a wide variety of genres from contemporary pop and world music to blues and roots, with an emphasis on newer songs and artists such as Feist and Serena Ryder.

In September, Radio 2 will also launch separate all-day all-classical, all-jazz and all-singer-songwriter stations on the Internet. Radio 3 will remain an Internet- and satellite-based service. However, one petitioner among a vocal group of listeners, musicians and composers who have criticized the overhaul argued yesterday that even an all-classical Web-based service wouldn't rectify the fact that Radio 2's on-air, non-classical programs are moving away from what had been the network's core listeners.

Read more about this at the Globe and Mail website:

SF Opera 

San Francisco Opera and the Bigger Picture Launch Digital Cinema Presentations at 121 Movie Theaters across the Country

Manhattan's Clearview Ziegfield and Brooklyn's AIX Parkside Pavilion Theatre to Offer San Francisco Opera Presentations

Spring 2008 Schedule and Theaters Announced: Multiple Showings of Puccini's La Rondine and Madama Butterfly, Saint-Saens' Samson and Delilah and Mozart's Don Giovanni To Screen Nationwide Beginning March 8

San Francisco Opera and The Bigger Picture launch their nationwide digital cinema presentations at 121 theaters beginning March 8 with four showings of La Rondine starring soprano Angela Gheorghiu in Puccini's rarely-performed gem.  The digital cinema presentations will appear at numerous major cinema chains across the country including Carmike Cinemas, the leading adopter of digital cinema technology; Celebration Cinemas; Clearview Cinemas; Galaxy Theatres; Marquee Cinemas; Rave Motion Pictures; Ultrastar; and Wehrenberg, with many other theaters pending.  Clearview Ziegfield in Manhattan and AIX Parkside Pavilion Theatre in Brooklyn are among the theaters in New York screening these San Francisco Opera presentations.