OperaVision celebrated its third birthday in October. Each year since our launch in October 2017, the number of views accumulated across OperaVision channels has doubled and currently totals over 13 million. OperaVision continues to benefit from its current phase of funding form the European Commission until December 2021. What lessons can we draw from recent experience?
Diversity, in several senses, has been key to OperaVision’s success. The 160 opera productions streamed to date have come, in the largest part, from the 28 core contributing opera companies, supplemented with additional titles (30% of them) from other Opera Europa members. Diversity was the hallmark of the recent World Opera Day weekend. We streamed four concerts in as many time zones; a celebration concert with young artists from Australia to America, from Saudi Arabia to South Africa. The Olyrix review concluded: ‘a perfect reminder that music is a universal pleasure playing with all our differences but speaking in one and the same language’. Birmingham Opera Company’s Fidelio streamed the same weekend was a fine example of compelling drama made with and for a diverse local community.
The pandemic has shown the relevance of our venture in a number of ways. In spite of the crisis, we managed at times to stay live. The recent stream of Carmen from Hannover brought viewers around the world right into the here and now of an empty Staatsoper for a vibrant adapted staging, closed to all but the cameras. Finnish National Opera’s delightful and funny Covid fan tutte could not be more ‘of the moment’, a viral success that has won fans worldwide. ‘The Finns in their Covid fan tutte have set the Mozartean standard of turning laughter into earned tear’ enthused Los Angeles Times reviewing OperaVision’s stream. Our new commission with Walpurgis of animated version of Fidelio shows how opera can reach beyond the stage when creative imagined in digital form. ‘An ideal format to introduce young people to Beethoven’s opera about love and humanity’ commented Belgium’s RTBF.
OperaVision has made efforts to extend its reach through partnership. Recently, we collaborated with the Spanish Network Ópera XXI, which celebrated World Opera Day with an award ceremony on OperaVision. Opera Europa’s sister networks, Opera America and Ópera Latinoamérica, relayed the World Opera Day celebration concerts throughout the Americas. We shared the concerts with three other platforms - Medici.tv, MyOperaPlayer, NCPA Beijing - which each played a part in establishing World Opera Day and finding new audience for OperaVision content.
But we should not spend too long admiring the burning candles! It is already time to shape the next phase of OperaVision and there is a meeting on Monday 18 January for Opera Europa members interested in shaping it with us. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.