Classical Revolution Operas, Symphonies Join Rush to DVD

By Gowen, Bill | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 18, 2003 | Go to article overview

Classical Revolution Operas, Symphonies Join Rush to DVD


Gowen, Bill, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Bill Gowen Daily Herald Classical Music Critic

The latest home entertainment revolution has arrived, and devotees of classical music have an opportunity to join the parade.

That revolution is the DVD, which is in the process of pushing the venerable videocassette into also-ran status.

As Daily Herald home video columnist Jeff Tuckman notes, "The DVD is the fastest-growing home entertainment format in history."

Tuckman backs that up with an amazing number: In slightly more than 5 1/2 years, the DVD format has grown from virtually nothing to more than 50 million DVD players now in American homes.

"That's an amazing figure, it really is," Tuckman said. "And I think it really caught the home entertainment industry by surprise."

And now, the world of opera and the symphony orchestra is hoping to join the rush to DVD.

Hundreds of classical music and opera performances are on DVDs available in stores and on the Internet. The new format's ability to include "extras" such as documentaries, interviews and subtitles in various languages, along with the emergence of relatively inexpensive home surround-sound systems, could give a huge boost to the popularity of classical music.

"I see it as a natural progression, but I think we're going to have to wait and see what the market really is," said Henry Fogel, president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, who also reviews recordings for the classical music magazine Fanfare. "The DVD medium has potential, if it is done properly. We're just going to have to wait and see."

Fogel is a longtime record collector, dating back to the 1960s when he was the manager and program director of classical music radio station WONO-FM in Syracuse, N.Y. He has seen peaks and valleys in the classical music recording industry over the years. Right now, because of the sluggish economy and the high costs of making audio recordings in the United States, the record industry could use a shot in the arm. Will the DVD provide it?

"I'm usually more ahead of the curve and it took me awhile in this case, but I finally bought a DVD player, and I told Fanfare that I can now review DVDs," Fogel said. "The first one they sent me was a recent concert with (bass-baritone) Bryn Terfel, recorded at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam under conductor Edo de Waart. In addition to the performance itself, there is a lot of interesting side material - you can play the concert straight through, or go to each individual piece and select portions of an interview with Terfel commenting on that particular music.

"He's a magnetic enough personality, that even though the program was just one singer and an orchestra, it worked well as a video," Fogel said.

It is the "extras" that really have made the DVD a hot ticket with movie buffs. Directors' commentaries, "making of the film" documentaries and interviews with actors are common.

The other thing DVD offers is its adaptability to the emerging home-theater phenomenon. A movie can be an overwhelming experience when viewed on a 55-inch widescreen TV, equipped with a surround- sound system.

A so-called "home theater in a box" can be purchased for under $400. The package includes (depending on price), a main center speaker, surround speakers, a subwoofer to boost the bass sound, along with a receiver and DVD player.

Of course, custom-installed home theater systems can cost $10,000 and up, but the compact "in a box" systems are an excellent place to start.

Many opera and orchestral DVDs now available are reissues of programs previously available on VHS tape.

"My guess, although I can't speak to each individual contract, is that a company can reissue a concert or opera in a new format without any additional payment to anybody, which makes it an inexpensive reissue," Fogel said. "They're not paying the orchestras again, they're not paying the artists again. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Classical Revolution Operas, Symphonies Join Rush to DVD
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.