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Vienna State Opera webstreams

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The Vienna State Opera streams performances online, albeit for a fee. This season it is planning a mind-boggling 45 streams, including a complete Ring cycle. This being Vienna, ballet is the poor relation. But if you've got the spare cash, there will be three ballet streams.

Sunday, December 7 - MacMillan/Liszt: Mayerling

Friday, December 26 - Nureyev/Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker

Saturday, February 14 - Neumeier/R. Strauss: Verklungene Feste and The Legend of Joseph

The pricing options are €14 per stream, €88 for any eight streams, or €320 for the whole kit and caboodle. The streams can be watched live or at one of three (I think) time-delayed start times.

http://www.staatsoperlive.com/en/live/

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€14 per stream is a bit pricey, but I think it's great the effort VSO (WSO?) is making to present their productions to a wider audience. I see that program guides and subtitles will be available as iPad/Android apps.

It isn't clear if there will be areas where the stream will not be available (and I'm sure there that will happen).

Has anyone watched a VSO streaming production to comment on the quality of the video/audio feed?

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As a promotion, the Vienna State Opera offered its webstream of The Cunning Little Vixen free of charge last season. The stream quality was very good, though not quite perfect, with excellent sound, very good HD image quality, multiple camera angles and good direction. I couldn't get the subtitles to work. But based on what I saw I couldn't venture to give an endorsement to its ballet streams, because I haven't seen any yet, and they really would require uninterrupted stream quality and an on-the-ball director.

For reference, I have basic high-speed internet with 25 Mbps download speed, and I used a wireless connection to watch the opera, but this is adequate for the streams I watch.

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I watched two streams this week. (Another promotion.) I would have wished that the picture had been brighter, but the fault was probably with the lighting of the productions themselves. The stream had a little trouble staying in HD mode. From time to time the picture would stop for a second, resume in somewhat lower definition and eventually snap back into HD. But as I'd written previously, I don't have super-fancy Internet. I was watching through a laptop, connected to my TV set and stereo, that was receiving a wireless signal from about 10 feet away via a pretty basic two-antennae router, with no other competition for the signal. Perhaps if I had more sophisticated internet and equipment, the streams might have been perfect, but I'm not sure I'd invest in that sort of upgrade in order to watch more paid content. I do watch more streams than television, and normally I fare just fine as is.

I still wouldn't venture to speculate how the stream would deal with much more rapid stage movement. Nor am I in a good position to guess just how precisely the image and sound would be synchronized. The operas didn't give me especially good clues in this regard. But right now I am leaning toward purchasing the 8 for €88 package, because there's enough in the program I'd be interesting in seeing. I could give Mayerling a whirl, and if the stream weren't up to the task, I could still find alternatives in the season program for the other two ballets.

P.S. There seems to be a lot more choice in the way of delayed start times this season. It seemed to me there were about 25 options within 72 hours of the live broadcast.

P.P.S. And not that it would apply to ballet, but I still couldn't figure out how to get subtitles. At these prices, I'd think the opera house would be obliged to provide them and in the language of your choice.

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This interview with Christopher Widauer, who is in charge of the Vienna State Opera's webstream offerings, raises a few interesting points. One, made by the interviewer rather than Widauer himself, is that the live-to-cinema market is already saturated by the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House and Paris Opera. I suspect this is true, and even more so where ballet is concerned. A few weeks ago La Scala beamed a live performance of Don Quixote, with Natalia Osipova and Leonid Sarafanov, to movie theaters, and as far as I could tell, it was shown in 10 (!) cinemas in Italy, 12 in Portugal and one in Sweden. Apparently, that is the extent of La Scala's cinema reach these days. Despite calls from Alastair Macaulay on down to screen New York City Ballet in cinemas, I honestly think it would have difficulty elbowing past the players already on the market (never mind that I would much rather watch Balanchine, Robbins et al. than Grigorovich). Instead Widauer sees the future in streams, which are increasingly replacing traditional television content, especially in France and China.

I also like the idea of at home viewing parties. That could be an effective way of offsetting the high price tag of the Vienna State Opera's streams.

http://opera-digital.com/2014/10/vienna-state-opera-live-streaming-strategy-interview-christopher-widauer/

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Right now I think the cinemas don't really know how to market the "live" broadcasts, and so they do best with events like the Met that arrive with an audience already in place.

I understand the ease of streaming, but since I don't have a large television screen hooked up to my computer, I watch on my computer screen, which isn't very exciting for big group things.

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You're quite right. I'm guessing the people watching more streams than TV would be the ones with large-screen Smart TVs or perhaps television sets physically connected to laptops (in the case of semi-Luddites like me). Then it really is quite comfortable. I would be very surprised if the Vienna State Opera expected anyone to fork over money if they weren't going to watch the performance on a large screen and through a stereo system. The convenience of watching from your living room outweighs any hassles connected with making a trip to the movie theater only if the audio-visual experience is close to comparable. The key for anyone stuck behind a computer screen would be to find someone else nearby with a huge Smart TV who'd be willing to split the costs and share. smile.png

No doubt the Vienna State Opera is also trying to market its greatest asset, namely, the huge number of works it performs in any given season. So they can program streams of 38 different operas (plus a paltry 3 ballets and a couple of concerts). Even the Metropolitan Opera doesn't perform that many operas per season. Among ballet companies, it's New York City Ballet that boasts the largest repertoire of works, so perhaps it, too, could try to use that to its advantage, plus the fact that audiences get to see a large number of company principals on any given night, as opposed to the two or three the Bolshoi will show you at most performances.

I know it's wishful thinking where NYCB is concerned, but I'd be willing to pay to watch its streams.

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By the way, the package of eight streams is valid until the end of 2015. I don't know whether it will take you as far as the December 31, 2015 performance of Die Fledermaus, but it will roll over into the beginning of the 2015/16 season. This season the Vienna State Opera will have presented more than a dozen streams before the new year.

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This is casting for the webstream of Mayerling on December 7. Somehow it seems fitting to leave the German-language titles.

Kronprinz Rudolf - Gregor Hatala
Baronesse Mary Vetsera - Nina Poláková

Kronprinzessin Stephanie - Natasche Mair

Kaiserin Elisabeth - Dagmar Kronberger

Marie Gräfin Larisch - Ketevan Papava
Bratfisch - Richard Szabó

Mizzi Caspar - Alice Firenze
Katharina Schratt - Aura Twardowska

http://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/Content.Node/home/spielplan/Spielplandetail.en.php?eventid=961874609&month=12&year=2014&

http://www.staatsoperlive.com/en/live/127/mayerling-2014-12-07/

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What I didn't realize until the ballet ended was that this was the retirement performance of Gregor Hatala. Naturally this had much greater meaning for the Viennese audience that had spent the last 25 years watching him on stage. No confetti shower, but a half dozen bouquets were thrown from the audience onto the stage, and there were lots of curtain calls. flowers.gif

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The live webstream of The Nutcracker on December 26 is to star Liudmila Konovalova as Clara and Vladimir Shishov as Drosselmeyer/Prince. I wonder what sort of effect this casting may have on viewership. A performance with the same pair is already available on DVD, and it can be viewed in the library of the Staatsoper Live web site for a substantially lower price than the live broadcast. I mean, maybe someone really wants to see a different pair of lead snowflakes...

http://www.staatsoperlive.com/en/live/130/der-nussknacker-2014-12-26/#tab_0

http://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/Content.Node/home/spielplan/Spielplandetail.en.php?eventid=961874857&month=12&year=2014

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The last stream from the Vienna State Ballet this season is a double-bill of ballets by John Neumeier to music by Richard Strauss on Saturday, February 14.

Verklungene Feste

Maria Yakovleva, Vladimir Shishov, Liudmila Konovalova, Davide Dato, Kiyoka Hashimoto, Masayu Kimoto, Irina Tsymbal, Mihail Sosnovschi, Eszter Ledán, Robert Gabdullin

The Legend of Joseph
Joseph - Denys Cherevychko
Angel - Kirill Kourlaev
Potiphar's Wife - Rebecca Horner
Potiphar - Roman Lazik

The stream can be watched live starting at 7:00 p.m. CET (1 pm Eastern), or at one of 29 time-delayed starts within 72 hours of the initial broadcast. (The glitch of the web site is that changing the start time has to be done in German.)

http://www.staatsoperlive.com/en/live/139/verklungene-feste-josephs-legende-2015-02-14/#tab_1

http://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/Content.Node/home/spielplan/Spielplandetail.en.php?eventid=961398510&month=02&year=2015

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Following in the footsteps of Judith Jamison is never easy, but Rebecca Horner was sensational in The Legend of Joseph: ferocious, elementally powerful and with awe-inspiring stamina. Violent passion personified. The audience greeted her performance accordingly.

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Next season's ballet pickings are pretty slim. As far as I can tell, there will only be two streams.

Sunday, December 27, 2015 - Ashton's La Fille mal gardée
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - Manuel Legris' staging of Le Corsaire

https://www.staatsoperlive.com/en/live/

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Oh that's too bad -- both excellent works, but not particularly unique.

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If anyone is considering shelling out for the December 27 stream of La Fille mal gardée, the cast is scheduled to include Maria Yakovleva as Lise, Denys Cherevychko as Colas, Roman Lazik as Widow Simone and Dumitru Taran as Alain. There are multiple start times available within 72 hours of the live broadcast.

http://www.staatsoperlive.com/en/live/273/la-fille-mal-gardee-2015-12-27/#tab_0
http://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/Content.Node/home/spielplan/Spielplandetail.en.php?eventid=963915234&month=12&year=2015

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Vienna's Fille is a very enjoyable production. I had a feeling that Maria Yakovleva and Mihail Sosnovschi, a last-minute substitute for Denys Cherevychko, were cast more for their ability to execute the choreography than for their skill at comedy. But Roman Lazik seemed to take Lesley Collier's observation about Ashton being a ballerina at heart by showing us Widow Simone's inner ballerina, and he was that much funnier for having the tallest stature and biggest chin on the stage. Dumitru Taran has a comic knack and winning personality that serve him beautifully as Alain. Paul Connelly took the clog dance much too quickly, but otherwise I'd never heard the score sound so good. Having the Vienna Philharmonic to play it is pure luxury.

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Vienna's Fille is a very enjoyable production. I had a feeling that Maria Yakovleva and Mihail Sosnovschi, a last-minute substitute for Denys Cherevychko, were cast more for their ability to execute the choreography than for their skill at comedy. But Roman Lazik seemed to take Lesley Collier's observation about Ashton being a ballerina at heart by showing us Widow Simone's inner ballerina, and he was that much funnier for having the tallest stature and biggest chin on the stage. Dumitru Taran has a comic knack and winning personality that serve him beautifully as Alain. Paul Connelly took the clog dance much too quickly, but otherwise I'd never heard the score sound so good. Having the Vienna Philharmonic to play it is pure luxury.

Are you sure it was the Vienna Philharmonic? That surprises me. The Vienna Philharmonic tends to perform mostly at the Musikverein and not in the state opera house where the State Opera Orchestra plays normally. It would normally be a very special occasion for the Vienna Philharmonic to actually perform in the opera house, in my opinion.

They tend to play a variety of "special" concerts during the year (New Year's Day Concert, the Schonbrunn summer concerts, their weekly Sunday morning concerts, and they perform opera in Salzburg during the summer and Easter festivals), and they tour and make recordings.

As much as I love ballet I would be totally shocked that the VPO performed La Fille Mal Gardee in the opera house.

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All members of the Vienna Philharmonic are members of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. Look at the rosters and you'll see it's the same orchestra.

http://www.wienerphilharmoniker.at/orchestra/members

http://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/Content.Node/home/kuenstler/orchester/uebersichtsseite-Staatsopernorchester.en.php

One notable aspect of [the Vienna Philharmonic's] incomparability is certainly the unique relationship between the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and the private association known as the Vienna Philharmonic. In accordance with Philharmonic statutes, only a member of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra can become a member of the Vienna Philharmonic. Before joining the Philharmonic therefore, one must first successfully audition for a position with the State Opera Orchestra and prove oneself capable over a period of three years before becoming eligible to submit an application for membership in the association of the Vienna Philharmonic.

http://www.wienerphilharmoniker.at/orchestra/tradition

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It is true that the VPO members must spend 3 years in the state opera orchestra before they can even apply to the VPO but the VPO has the best performers (in the past many state opera players never made it into the VPO), and a performance of the VPO and the State Opera Orchestra has always been quite different. VPO connoisseurs rave about the unique "sound" of the VPO and they supposedly have instruments made just for them.

Of course, maybe things have changed. Maybe everything is interchangeable now but it wasn't before. Opera has gone downhill so I guess the VPO is next.

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Opera has gone downhill so I guess the VPO is next.

I'm not a Vienna State Opera regular. I have watched a dozen or so streams from the theater recently, and I've had cause to complain about the quality of the singing (and the dancing, too), but never the playing. I don't think there are grounds for burying the orchestra just yet.

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If anyone has €14 to spare, Manuel Legris' new production ot Le Corsaire will be streamed online on Saturday, April 2. The live stream will take place at 7 pm Central European Time, but it's possible to reserve one of multiple start times within 72 hours of the live broadcast. (In my experience, that switch has to be done in German.)

Since there are discrepancies in the posted casting, I'm going to assume the list on the Vienna State Opera site is up to date.

Medora - Maria Yakovleva

Conrad - Robert Gabdullin

Gulnare - Liudmila Konovalova

Lanquendem - Kirill Kourlaev

Birbanto - Davide Dato

Zulmea - Alice Firenze

Seyd Pasha - Mihail Sosnovschi

Odalisques - Natascha Mair, Nina Tonoli, Prisca Zeisel

http://www.staatsoperlive.com/en/live/288/le-corsaire-2016-04-02/#tab_0

http://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/Content.Node/home/spielplan/Spielplandetail.en.php?eventid=963915483&

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The great news is that the performance of Le Corsaire is being offered free of charge on the Vienna State Opera's live streaming site, and viewers will have a choice of watching it live or at one of about 30 start times within 72 hours of the performance.

http://www.staatsoperlive.com/en/live/288/le-corsaire-2016-04-02/#tab_0

The stream will also be offered on the Arte Concert site, but I never know in advance whether or not it will be geo-blocked there.

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The Vienna State Opera's (pricey) streaming season begins this weekend. There will be four ballet streams.

 

Tuesday, December 27 - Nureyev's production of Raymonda
http://www.staatsoperlive.com/en/live/367/raymonda-2016-12-27/#tab_0

 

Tuesday, January 24 - Ashton's La Fille mal gardée (interesting, since it was streamed just last season)
http://www.staatsoperlive.com/en/live/373/la-fille-mal-gardee-2017-01-24/#tab_0

 

Monday, March 13 - Neumeier's Le Pavillon d'Armide and Le Sacre
http://www.staatsoperlive.com/en/live/380/le-pavillion-darmide-2017-03-13/

http://www.hamburgballett.de/e/rep/pavillon_a.htm
http://www.hamburgballett.de/e/rep/sacre.htm

 

Monday, June 12 - Nureyev's Vienna production of Swan Lake

http://www.staatsoperlive.com/en/live/396/schwanensee-2017-06-12/#tab_0

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It's not cheap, but the first Vienna State Ballet livestream of the season, Nureyev's production of Raymonda, takes place today, December 27, at 7 pm Central European Time. That's 1 pm Eastern and 10 am Pacific, but if it's not a convenient time for you, the system offers 29 other start times within 72 hours of the original broadcast. The trick is that the time change has to be done in German. (So "ändern" means change, "speichern" means save, and "abbrechen" means quit.)

 

https://www.staatsoperlive.com/en/live/367/raymonda-2016-12-27/#tab_0
http://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/spielplan-tickets/detail/event/965108733-raymonda/

 

Raymonda - Nina Poláková
Jean de Brienne - Jakob Feyferlik
Abderakhman - Davide Dato
Clémence - Ioanna Avraam
Henriette - Alice Firenze
Bernard - Greig Matthews
Béranger - James Stephens

 

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