Medici.tv

By Berg, Gregory | Journal of Singing, January/February 2016 | Go to article overview

Medici.tv


Berg, Gregory, Journal of Singing


If you have not yet visited the web streaming site Medici.TV, then you are missing out on what may be the most astonishing musical treasure trove currently available on the world wide web. YouTube is many times larger, but there is so much to sift past in order to unearth the riches housed therein; moreover, one must tolerate ever more intrusive ads at every turn. The Metropolitan Opera's on-demand service on its website is a spectacular archive, but is obviously limited to operatic performances from its own vast yet ultimately limited legacy. For a library that touches on every aspect of classical music, including the full range of classical singing, Medici.TV wins the gold medal for the depth, breadth, and consistent excellence of its offerings.

Medici.TV is a two-tier subscription service that seems to have been designed with the budgetary constraints of ordinary people in mind. The Classic rate of approximately $12 per month (roughly three cups of coffee at Starbucks) grants the subscriber essentially unlimited access to more than 1500 different classical music offerings. Also available is the Classic-Plus package of about $20 per month, for which one receives those offerings in high definition quality and with no on-screen ads whatsoever. It also means unlimited smart phone and tablet access, as well as full access to Medici.TV apps that simplify the process by which one can view the material on one's television. Whichever rate one chooses, the cost is certainly reasonable, considering the quality of what one gets in return.

The archive includes over 500 documentaries, many of which take the viewer behind the scenes of noteworthy opera productions. Other documentaries include old PBS offerings such as "Jessye Norman Sings Carmen," and "Aida's Brothers and Sisters," a celebration of African American opera singers. Among the more than 100 educational films are engrossing master classes by luminaries such as Jose Van Dam, Julia Varady, Christa Ludwig, and Denise Duval. There are also more than 300 artist portraits films, profiling past greats such as Enrico Caruso, Beniamino Gigli, and Montserrat Caballe, as well as current luminaries like Diane Damrau, Bryn Terfel, and Rolando Villazon. More than 150 archive films serve up superb performances by the likes of Tito Gobbi, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, and Maria Callas. Nearly 100 complete operas are offered, with rarities such as Mozart's Zaide, Lully's Theseus, and Rossini's La pietra del paragone to augment the most popular chestnuts of the standard repertoire. In addition to these other films, Medici.TV gives access to live streaming of performances from the Salzburg Festival, the Verbier Festival, Carnegie Hall, the Tchaikovsky Competition, and Placido Domingo's Operalia competition, along with other concerts and recitals. One of the headline events of the summer of 2015 was an open air concert in downtown Munich featuring Anna Netrebko, Jonas Kaufmann, and Thomas Hampson, who stepped in for Dimitri Hvorostovksy when the latter was forced to withdraw because of his recent cancer diagnosis. …

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