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Streamed Audio and Video from WNO: Welsh National Opera offers free downloads from its web site (BK)




Welsh National Opera has become the first European opera company to create free music downloads and video streaming from its own live performances. Never afraid to experiment, the company launched the new service from March 5th. From the Ukraine to Usk (as the company says) it is now possible to listen to extracts from WNO’s latest production The Flying Dutchman – whether you are commuting to work, filing your tax return – or taking a bath.


There are four free music downloads currently available from the WNO website. They feature music from The Flying Dutchman – the Overture, the Spinning Chorus, the duet from Act II and the Sailor’s Chorus. There is also video streaming – including The Dutchman’s first monologue, both the Spinning and Sailor’s Chorus and the Act II duet. The downloads and streamingvideo are available until April 15, 2006 – the day of the company's 60th anniversary – when WNO completes its Spring tour.


“Although there is nothing better than the live experience of opera, these quickly expanding technologies enable everyone in the world.. to access what we are doing in our country, in our city and in our Company,” says Carlo Rizzi, WNO’s Music Director and conductor of The Flying Dutchman. “The Dutchman downloads are part of a wider strategy to bring something extra to all our audiences – the regular opera goer who might want a memento of a great evening out in the theatre, or a newcomer who is intrigued to try something new, but wants a taster of what to expect. We are also really interested in whether this will reach a younger audience.”


WNO has long adopted a policy of taking opera beyond the main stage – most recently James MacMillan conducted the Orchestra of WNO in a programme of his own music in leisure centres the length and breadth of Wales specially for schoolchildren and young composers. With the free music downloads, the Orchestra can now “perform” in the living room.


“This is a great way of bringing out the operatic in everyone – we can cross boundaries of age, community and geography with the pressing of a button (or two),” adds Carlo Rizzi.”


In addition to the video streaming of extracts from the performance, there are interviews with Bryn Terfel – who sang the title role in performances at the London Coliseum on March 7 and March 9 - and with director David Pountney. The performance and interview video were created by Opus TF  production for S4C.


Making available on-line classical music complements other initiatives pioneered by WNO recently, including the hugely popular £5 tickets for every WNO performance at the Wales Millennium Centre,  and WNO MAX’s commissioning and presenting of new work beyond the main stage.


Full Details of the streamed audio and video are available here.



Bill Kenny




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