The world’s first ever live Internet streaming of opera takes place this Thursday night (11th November 2010) when the Opening Night of Tosca by Opera Ireland will be streamed live on the Internet in HD sound and vision from Dublin’s Gaiety theatre to audiences worldwide.
Lovers of opera can watch Puccini’s tragic masterpiece featuring internationally acclaimed Irish soprano, Orla Boylan for free, from 7.30pm on platformireland.ie, a new Irish arts and cultural digital channel. Using computers or smart phones, opera buffs can watch Thursday’s performance under the baton of maestro Gianluca Martinenghi from the comfort of their homes or on the go.
Funded by Still Point Productions, Opera Ireland, the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport and Dublin City Council Arts Service, Thursday’s live opera streaming is pioneered by platformireland.ie who plan to stream further live performances from Spring 2011. Additional platformireland.ie projects include a domestic audio-visual news service in partnership with local authorities and a content development venture in collaboration with leading arts organisations, broadcasters and production companies.
Welcoming this significant development in Irish broadcasting, the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport Mary Hanafin TD said,
“This ground breaking and historic live streaming of Irish opera on platformireland.ie demonstrates the capacity and potential of the Irish creative industries. Working collaboratively across the Arts, Audio Visual and ICT sectors, we again prove that Ireland is at the forefront of digital innovation. Importantly, we are paving a new way to engage audiences, whomever and wherever they may be, with Irish arts and culture…we invite you to play your part and click play!”
Jessica Fuller, MD of Still Point Productions, producer of Thursday’s live internet broadcast and founder of platformireland.ie said that this event positions Ireland as a world leader in digital media aggregation and distribution.
“This achievement is testament to the skill and ambition of our creative sector in very difficult times. We have a team of over 50 individuals across 12 companies and national agencies involved in making this happen,” she said.
“This pilot proves that by synergising services between the Arts, Audio-Visual and ICT sectors, we can create employment, lower access thresholds to the arts and offer alternative revenue streams for the professional arts sector,” concluded Jessica Fuller.
A historically significant occasion, Thursday’s Opera Ireland Opening Night is also the final opening night from the Dublin based opera company following the announcement in March of this year of a new national opera company for Ireland from 2011.
CEO of Opera Ireland Niall Doyle commented:
“Opera Ireland has been at the forefront of bringing Opera to very large audiences in Ireland via HD satellite through its own free 'Opening Night Live' project and its bringing of 'The Met: Live in HD' to cinemas all over Ireland. We are delighted now to be pioneering live HD webcasting with Platform Ireland as another exciting way of bringing great Irish opera and opera artists to a nationwide and world wide audience.”
Sinead Connolly, Arts Officer at Dublin City Council said:
"Dublin City Council Arts Office has been working for many years to encourage new audiences for opera through our Opera in the Open programme. This new venture expands that audience in a wonderfully imaginative way. It celebrates perfectly the legacy of Opera Ireland, who have given us such enjoyment over many years, by offering free access to this historic and glorious performance of Tosca. To do this through the innovative use of technology, by tapping so much talent and through the generosity of spirit of all involved, makes it all the sweeter."
In addition to Thursday’s live streaming of the Opening Night of Tosca on platformireland.ie, a recording of the performance will be streamed to audiences in arts and community venues throughout Ireland including St. James Hospital as part of the hospital Arts Programme. Streamed screenings are scheduled to venues in the USA and a selection of international venues as part of the platformireland.ie Internet broadcast trial in November and December 2010.