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2020: Free Streaming during COVID-19 Crisis


Helene
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This is the final week to watch La Scala's Covid streams on Raiplay. So if you haven't yet watched the Nureyev production of The Sleeping Beauty with Polina Semionova, the Nureyev production of Don Quixote with Natalia Osipova, the Holmes production of Le Corsaire with Nicoletta Manni, Mauro Bigonzetti's Mediterranea with Massimo Murru or any of the opera broadcasts, this is your chance.

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4 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

This is the final week to watch La Scala's Covid streams on Raiplay. So if you haven't yet watched the Nureyev production of The Sleeping Beauty with Polina Semionova, the Nureyev production of Don Quixote with Natalia Osipova, the Holmes production of Le Corsaire with Nicoletta Manni, Mauro Bigonzetti's Mediterranea with Massimo Murru or any of the opera broadcasts, this is your chance.

Also Jiří Bubeníček's Carmen for Rome Opera Ballet, featuring Amar Ramasar. NYCB has a Bubeníček ballet in its repertory: Toccata, choreographed in 2009. I appear to have liked it just fine when I saw it. I haven't done more than scrubbed through the video to get a sense of what Bubeníček was up to. This review suggests that Ramasar and Susanna Salvi were worth watching, at least:

"Susanna Salvi as Carmen was dancing with former New York City Ballet principal dancer Amar Ramasar. She didn’t allow him to steal the show, which is to her credit, as Ramasar is impressively charismatic, a fine actor, and moves beautifully contrasting his noble line with more modern contortions, most notably during his Flower Song solo which Bubeníček has constructed with loving care. He has a twinkle in his eye, style in his body and warmth in his heart. Salvi has a lot of spark and was fiery without being hand-on-the-hips ordinary as often happens on the opera stage. She has a personality that hits you between the eyes and was never obviously trying to be sexy unless she was deliberately teasing. It was clear why Don José was smitten by her and the chemistry between Salvi and Ramasar was winning."

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It's interesting to see just how popular some of the free streams are.  The National Theatre Live production of A Streetcar named Desire with Gillian Andersen is currently showing on YouTube as having 835 thousand views. That's a massive audience.  It's not easy to tell just how many views there are of some of the productions that are only available for a couple of days.  But it does make you think that if there is that appetite out there then maybe some creative minds can come up with new and better models for streaming live performance to an audience prepared to pay. 

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Realistically, I think it helps to have Hollywood actors, especially those millions have watched on television, if audiences can see them in something they wouldn't have a chance to stream on Netflix, and would probably never have an opportunity to see in person. The theater streaming platforms that already exist may indeed get a boost now. But I suspect the key to their viability is having a large library of performances to offer subscribers, because I can't imagine people sticking with a platform if they get through the archive in a matter of a few months.

Edited by volcanohunter
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The National Theatre Live screenings are very popular where I am, even without big name actors. Of course, when there is a popular actor starring, they get wider releases (mainstream theater vs. art house or college cinema). To me, the series seems to have a stamp of approval. You know you'll get a quality product, even if you like one vs. the other. People have been clamoring for an at-home way to rewatch the shows for years. 

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1 hour ago, Dale said:

People have been clamoring for an at-home way to rewatch the shows for years.

I don't doubt it. But Digital Theatre, which began by offering West End shows, has struggled with that mandate, first offering, and then rescinding the possibility of downloading the productions. (I bought a few of the downloads myself and now they're just taking up space on my computer because they're locked.)

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54 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

I don't doubt it. But Digital Theatre, which began by offering West End shows, has struggled with that mandate, first offering, and then rescinding the possibility of downloading the productions. (I bought a few of the downloads myself and now they're just taking up space on my computer because they're locked.)

Yeah, I would say the quality at NTL is a bit better. I went to a few in-theater screenings of productions that wound up on Digital Theatre. Good shows. I think it's the difference between offerings/libraries. Like, I think Met HD streaming service is a good example. They have a huge catalogue. Not just of the Met Live in HD theater broadcasts but all those years of the productions that would get filmed for PBS. And audio/radio recordings. It really does make it worth the price. Whereas, say, Medici TV - doesn't have that big library. I will say that, for example, Amazon Prime Video makes it very easy to pick up and then drop services (easier than with cable - they call it "churning"), so I could see myself add Broadway in HD for a month or so and then drop it when I've exhausted my possibilities. [forgive my long-windedness on the topic - the streaming television industry is one of my specialties at work] NTL has a smaller library than Met in HD - they've been at it a lot less time and do fewer productions a season than the Met. Still, with their star power (not just in actors - Tom Stoppard and David Hare have shown off their latest plays on NTL), they could do well, especially if they partner up with other British theaters. 

ETA, a deep catalogue is another reason NYCB might be successful. They not only have everything they've recently recorded (which is you look at those "Anatomy of a Dance" or "Flash Footage" series, is quite a bit) but all the old house camera library (which dates back to the late 80s/early 90s). If they can get people/unions to sign off, they could have a pretty deep library. 

 

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Premiering at 5pm Eastern/2pm Pacific Time:

Virtual Pillow: Celebrate Isadora Duncan with Lori Belilove & Sara Mearns

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iPL8GtcQDE

"Performed by Lori Belilove and the Isadora Duncan Dance Company, with guest artist Sara Mearns of the New York City Ballet, this outdoor presentation on the Pillow’s spectacular Inside/Out Stage from Festival 2019 showcases Duncan’s work in an unforgettable setting.

Tune in on Wednesday, May 27 at 5pm to hear Lori Belilove and Sara Mearns in conversation with Director of Preservation Norton Owen, all of whom will be online after the 40-minute video to respond to your questions and comments directly in the chat."

Edited by pherank
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Unfortunately the Jacob's Pillow film is an example of what not to do - never frame shots so that the dancer's lower legs and feet are lost from view. Never.

But then it's not much better to lose sight of a dancer's arms either (as happened in more than one NYCB video from the Digital Spring Season). That tends to happen when a woman is being lifted by her partner up above his head.

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43 minutes ago, pherank said:

Unfortunately the Jacob's Pillow film is an example of what not to do - never frame shots so that the dancer's lower legs and feet are lost from view. Never.

But then it's not much better to lose sight of a dancer's arms either (as happened in more than one NYCB video from the Digital Spring Season). That tends to happen when a woman is being lifted by her partner up above his head.

There's a comment in the live chat that the feet are there in the original and the cutting-off happened when the video was reformatted for YouTube.

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9 minutes ago, FPF said:

There's a comment in the live chat that the feet are there in the original and the cutting-off happened when the video was reformatted for YouTube.

I was wondering about that - it just didn't make any sense that so much of the trees above the stage were being shown, but not the full stage. Whoever is doing the video editing may have been relying upon some software auto-crop function that arbitrarily centers the frame. But the film needs some skilled work - and should be saved at 1080p not 720p so we can see some detail.

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12 minutes ago, pherank said:

I was wondering about that - it just didn't make any sense that so much of the trees above the stage were being shown, but not the full stage. Whoever is doing the video editing may have been relying upon some software auto-crop function that arbitrarily centers the frame. But the film needs some skilled work - and should be saved at 1080p not 720p so we can see some detail.

There's a clip from this performance from the Pillow website (also posted upthread; Rose Petals), and you can see that there is no problem there with the dancers feet being cut off, so the original footage should be fine. It is too bad that, for whatever reason, they couldn't/didn't make the YouTube version as good.

https://danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org/lori-belilove-isadora-duncan-dance-company-featuring-sara-mearns/rose-petals-art-isadora/

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For me, there are a lot of very interesting things happening and to think about.

The woman in orange with the sort of bundled-up blond hair is the one that fits my image of Isadora Duncan the most. She even slightly resembles the photo of Isadora Duncan behind Norton Owen during the discussion.

Edited by Buddy
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4 minutes ago, Buddy said:

For me, there are a lot of very interesting things happening and to think about.

The woman in orange with the sort of bundled-up blond hair is the one that fits my image of Isadora Duncan the most. She even slightly resembles the photo of Isadora Duncan behind Norton Owen during the discussion.

I think he might have said the photo was of Anna Duncan, but I'd have to go back and review the video...

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That could very well be the case and I missed it, but I still feel the same way about the dancer being closest to my image of Isadora Duncan.

Edited by Buddy
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4 hours ago, Dale said:

... They not only have everything they've recently recorded (which is you look at those "Anatomy of a Dance" or "Flash Footage" series, is quite a bit) but all the old house camera library (which dates back to the late 80s/early 90s). If they can get people/unions to sign off, they could have a pretty deep library. 
 

Is that all the farther back it goes?  In my years watching NYCB in the State Theater - 1973 into 1986 - the live monitors were already active on orchestra level and in the lobby, and when I sat in the Second Ring I noticed a small camera in the west end of the technical booth window.  Casual inquiry of company employees brought forth the explanation that not only were late-comers cared for by feeding the camera to the monitors, but the company recorded that feed as well.

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14 minutes ago, Jack Reed said:

Is that all the farther back it goes?  In my years watching NYCB in the State Theater - 1973 into 1986 - the live monitors were already active on orchestra level and in the lobby, and when I sat in the Second Ring I noticed a small camera in the west end of the technical booth window.  Casual inquiry of company employees brought forth the explanation that not only were late-comers cared for by feeding the camera to the monitors, but the company recorded that feed as well.

Isn't that where all of the NYPL video recordings come from?  I see them from later early '80's on..  (There are other videos, but I think they are from other sources, like Dance in America, etc.  Here's an example:

https://browse.nypl.org/iii/encore/record/C__Rb17055688__Sliebeslieder walzer__P0%2C7__Orightresult__U__X7?lang=eng&suite=def

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Jack and Helen, from what I read is in the 70s and early 80s, they were allowed to film but no orchestra. So you'll find videos in the NYPL collection in practice clothes with a piano but taking place on stage. There are some stage performances here and there from earlier. And the library also has catalogued donated pirated video. One year, recently, a whole pile of DVDs of Farrell in performance from the 80s was added to the catalogue. Maybe it was from the company; maybe from an admirer. I know from the mid-80s there were house cameras recording. They recorded a "close" version and a "wide" version. The lighting is a little bit dark. The "close" was to record the soloists and the "wide" the whole stage. The large-scale celebrations of Robbins and then Balanchine were recorded. Even if they couldn't get the rights to things that were on Great Performances or Live from Lincoln Center, they have a treasure trove of material, that if signed off on, could supply a sexy enough catalogue to entice people to subscribe long-term, even without new performances to add. Oh, and SAB, too. I do believe that there would be close to 40 years of workshop performances filmed. And speaking of Great Performances or Live from Lincoln Center - I was told that they would film dress rehearsals and/or other night's performances so the director and camera people could workout the shot selections. So there's some of that footage out there, too.

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Getting back to the Isadora Duncan performance for a moment, watching each of the dancers is like seeing different parts of a puzzle, each one contributes to an overall image of Isadora Duncan.

Also two themes are noticeable. One is the Greek (or cultural, artistic) Ideal and the other is Relating to Nature.

An example from the dancer that I feel comes closest to my image of Isadora Duncan can be seen at 41:35.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iPL8GtcQDE

Edited by Buddy
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