Just in: Europe launches free opera streaming platform

Just in: Europe launches free opera streaming platform


norman lebrecht

May 07, 2015

Opera Platform was launched today at the Opera Europa conference in Madrid.

Supported by the European Commission’s Creative Europe programme, the website links cultural broadcaster ARTE and 15 opera companies including Covent Garden and Welsh National Opera in the UK. The aim is to offer free content, including live performances from the 15 opera participating companies.

First up is La Traviata tomorrow from Madrid followed, on May 16, by Szymanowski’s opera Król Roger from Covent Garden.

Bookmark the new site here.


Although no-one’s saying it, Opera Platform is, in part, a bid to break the Met’s global streaming hegemony.

The founding participants are:

·         Wiener Staatsoper

·         La Monnaie/De Munt Brussels

·         Finnish National Opera, Helsinki

·         Festival d’Aix-en-Provence

·         Opéra national de Lyon

·         Komische Oper Berlin

·         Staatstheater Stuttgart

·         Teatro Regio di Torino

·         Latvian National Opera Riga

·         Dutch National Opera and Ballet Amsterdam

·         Den Norske Opera og Ballett Oslo

·         Teatr Wielki/Opera Naradowa Warsaw

·         Teatro Real Madrid

·         The Royal Opera

·         Welsh National Opera

Programme of the opening six months

8 May Launch of The Opera Platform

Live transmission from Teatro Real de Madrid of La traviata de Verdi, conducted by Renato Palumbo and directed by David McVicar, with Ermonela Jaho, Francesco Demuro and Juan Jesús Rodríguez

16 May Live transmission from Royal Opera House Covent Garden of Król Roger by Karol Szymanowski, conducted by Antonio Pappano and directed by Kasper Holten, with Mariusz Kwiecień, Georgia Jarman and Saimir Pirgu

23 May Transmission from Finnish National Opera Helsinki of Kullervo by Jean Sibelius, conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste and directed by Tero Saarinen

30 May Transmission from Latvian National Opera Riga of Valentina by Arturs Maskats, conducted by Modestas Pitrenas and directed by Viesturs Kairish

7 June Live transmission from Wiener Staatsoper of Götterdämmerung by Richard Wagner, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and directed by Sven-Eric Bechtolf, with Evelyn Herlitzius, Stephen Gould, Falk Struckmann, Boaz Daniel and Caroline Wenborne

8 July Live transmission from Festival d’Aix-en-Provence of Die Entführung aus dem Serail by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, conducted by Jérémie Rhorer and directed by Martin Kušej, with Jane Archibald, Rachele Gilmore, Daniel Behle, David Portillo, Albert Pesendorfer and Tobias Moretti

August Focus on Festivals dedicated to and founded by composers, including features on Rossini Opera Festival Pesaro and Britten’s Aldeburgh Festival

September Focus on Norway : new horizons for opera. Transmission from Den Norske Opera og Ballett of La bohème by Giacomo Puccini, conducted by Eivind Gullberg Jensen and directed by Stefan Herheim, with Marita Sølberg, Jennifer Rowley, Diego Torre and Vasilij Ladjuk

October Focus on Italy: birthplace of opera

Aida from Teatro Regio Torino conducted by Gianandrea Noseda and directed by William Friedkin


  • pooroperaman says:

    Erm, surely ‘first up’ is tomorrow’s Traviata, as your own listings make clear…

  • Peter says:

    The Met have proved it’s possible to get people to pay for cinema and internet streaming of opera. I’ve no idea if it makes them a profit, but that’s not the point. The ‘competition’ now seek to challenge their leading position by offering a free model. That will lead to only one thing – the devaluation of the product so everyone expects it for free. Is that really the way to go?

    • Marg says:

      The Met makes relatively little from the streaming … I checked that out a couple of years ago and found that the bulk of the ticket price goes to the company that promotes the HD series in each country. The local movie theater gets pennies on the dollar from streaming it. However, I think the Met’s grip is pretty tight – I have seen plenty of Paris opera, Royal OPera House, and now ENO on HD and none of them come close to the standard of the Met’s HD. Like me, my friends really like the backstage peeks into the props dept, how the scenery is built, etc etc. No-one comes close to the Met for that side of it. Plus, their casting always includes big names known to the public which is a draw even if other opera houses have fabulously good singers … but people respond to the known names.

  • Alvaro Mendizabal says:

    When facing the state of the arts, the fist to blame are the government, the public, but its NEVER the unprepared, incompetent people that run the game. Look at the leadership of every orchestra and art center and you’ll find ex artists who changed professions with the click of a mouse. In spite of a handful of exceptions these leades to a beaurocracy of mediocrity, which leads to very stupid decisions like this one.

    I wonder why De Beers doesnt copy this (pardon the pun) “SOUND” strategy and gives away free diamonds to “EDUCATE” their clientele and “reach younger audiences”. Watch what happens with the price of Diamonds…The whole “we need younger audiences” has been the biggest strategic failure in the history of modern man, worst than any move in industry I can think of.

  • Wilhelm says:

    It’s a terrible mistake to share all this high quality material for free. Who will want to travel as excessively to see the best of the operas now after this? MetLive has already done enough damage to the value of live performances. I really hope they will make it subscription for a minimum of 10-20£/month like DCH as soon as possible. Otherwise this is eventually going to kill the live opera as an art form in the long run.

    • Francisco says:

      Or they could include a little advertising. As a grad student struggling to make ends meet, I can tell you I really appreciate this, and wouldn’t mind a little advertising if that was what it came to.

    • Phelps Potter says:

      Yes, just as how broadcasting opera on radio for free destroyed live opera back in the 1930s, or how telecasting opera on non-commercial TV destroyed opera back in the 1970s, right?

  • Francisco says:

    Magnífica iniciativa. Soy estudiante mexicano de doctorado viviendo en Atlanta. Si tuviera que pagar por esto, sería muy complicado para mí. Pero entiendo también los argumentos de aquellos que se preocupan por la calidad de las producciones. Por ver algo así, no me importaría que incluyeran algunos comerciales en el streaming; sin iniciativas como ésta, la ópera seguirá siendo un espectáculo reservado a élites muy pequeñas.

  • Phelps Potter says:

    The Met does not do “streaming opera,” at least not on video. The HD program is in theaters, not on computers, and the “Met Player” is not streaming in the usual sense but rather on-demand.

    The Met does do some audio-only streaming of live performances, about three or four times a month during the season.

    The streaming and HD presentations are complementary, attracting very different audiences.

  • Thomas Koeller says:

    A couple of things highlighted by the previous posts. De Beers don’t give the diamonds away as tasters because, as a diamond is forever, it can be traded or cashed in at a pawnbrokers or elsewhere and these lines of action are open to all that might receive such free diamonds and this would diminish their value and appeal. Everyone, from a young age, is bombarded with the concept of the value of diamonds and how they are a girl’s best friend etc etc, and so this is now the general perception: everybody wants one or give one to someone else.

    The streaming of operatic content is very different and will serve to advertise operas, their story lines and melodies to people who have never heard of them because they are not selfies or on youTube. Hopefully, this will in due course have the same effect as De Beers efforts and many more people will eventually feel that they should save up and go to a live performance near them and experience the real thing.

    The constant TV cooking shows (free to watch) have actually enhanced popular appreciation of good food etc etc etc.

    The founders of this new streaming service are all well established opera companies looking to enhance the public’s experience of opera and obviously hoping that this will translate into more ticket sales. I’m certain it will and I congratulate them for their their vision [sic} and courage.