An old art form gets technology better than many businesses
NET RESULTS:I’ll come clean right away: I did not manage to do an ounce of work on Monday.
Oh, I intended to. I needed to get some writing done and also had a post-Christmas house project to finish up.
But no. Instead, I spent an entire day watching live opera rehearsals, joining a couple of masterclasses on singing, learning how to stagefight with a razor, and viewing some children warming up their voices for a performance that evening.
I met a composer as he saw his work being rehearsed, and watched, from backstage, the start of the third act of Wagner’s Die Walküre.
All from my sitting room, and in the company of tens of thousands of others around the world who, like me, ended up glued to their computer screens for one of the most addictive online events I’ve ever seen: the Royal Opera House’s daring “Royal Opera Live” day, streamed from the famed Covent Garden opera house all Monday long.
Yet again, one of the world’s oldest and most venerable art forms showed it gets technology, and can figure out truly fresh, innovative and exciting ways to use the internet, leaving many more contemporary types of entertainment – and for that matter, businesses – looking like web noobs.
I’ve been intrigued for a couple of years by the way classical arts organisations have led the way in exploring how they can use technology to expand their audiences, and reach those who cannot make it to live productions.
See how they’re doing it by checking out the rich variety of offerings available in Ireland throughout the year. People can dip a toe in, or satiate a passion for, opera, ballet and symphony by attending movie theatre high-definition broadcasts from New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Bolshoi Ballet and other famed companies.
Slum it and view
They make use of multiple, state-of-the-art cameras that provide incredible views, broadcast in clear stereo sound, and are an easy and relatively inexpensive way to see some of the world’s top performers – while slumming it in jeans and enjoying a box of popcorn.
But the Royal Opera Live day – #ROLive on Twitter – was something else again. It followed a similar event the ROH did with the Royal Ballet last March, which had more than 200,000 viewers.
The opera day, hosted by BBC newscaster Kirsty Wark, proved to be utterly compelling viewing.