Later today, Mozart Idomeneo , re di Creta, from Wiener Staatsoper, lived streamed HERE. cast list here and an interview with Kaspar Holten, director. Thre Royal Opera House is doing the same opera in a few weeks, (directed by Martin Kusej), so it will be fun to compare and contrast. Lots of photos on the Wiener Staatsoper site, though you can never go entirely on photos. Why, one might ask, a Holten production in Vienna and Kusej in London? Actually, that's nothing unusual, given the way that the business works. Holten is a much deeper director than he gets credit for.He thinks about what he does (much more than some) so even when he does something you don't expect, he's done so for well-considered reasons. Kusej is more simplistic. The notion that audiences don't like Regie is nonsense. Claus Guth's kitschy Die Frau ohne Schatten was a huge success, though it completely recast the meaning of the opera (Please read my review here). What matters most in any production is not how decorative it looks, but how it expresses the spirit of the work.The casts are pretty much on the same level (Michael Schade vs Matthew Polenzani) and both conductors are very good indeed - Christoph Eschenbach (Vienna) and Marc Minkowski (London) both of whom I love. I'll be going for Minkowski period-informed energy.
This year the Wiener Staatsoper has increased the number of productions it's streaming. They're learning from Munich! Although HD broadcasts in cinemas bring in huge audiences, it's not an ideal system. Opera houses are at the mercy of cinema distribution chains, who have their own networks and rivalries. The arts aren't top priority for these chains, so the situation isn't going to change soon. HD broadcasts are also subject to weather conditions, and even jammed signals. Time after time shows are interrupted by technical glitches. So switching from cinemas to digital online broadcasts might be a no-brainer. The potential audience is even greater: no-one needs a convenient local cinema. The crucial issue, then, is economics. Filming is expensive, and online broadcasts don't make much money. The notion that broadcasts eat into live/DVD sales is pretty much a fallacy, Opera houses operate in different ways, so some benefit more than others.