It seemed like a big change to hear that David Gockley set up a screen in the Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco and 8000 people came to see free live opera.
Now Peter Gelb, the new manager at the Metropolitan, has made this all seem small potatoes. Gockley only needed to string cables across the street some way, but Gelb is proposing an entire network of movie theaters around the country to show operas at the same time they are playing on the stage in New York. Propriatary internet networking is probably the mechanism. Companies don't own actual network hardware any more, but have developed methods to transfer private data over the standard public internet. It's faster and cheaper.
Gockley's idea didn't require permission from the unions because the 8000 people didn't pay to sit on the grass. For the first time ever the musicians union has decided to forego up front fees and collect based on ticket sales. This was the crucial bit that made this idea possible.
That means these six operas will be filmed. This is an exciting change. Let's hope the ticket prices in the movie theaters are cheaper than real opera tickets.
The vast library of audio broadcast performances from the Metropolitan is also being made available for streaming over the internet. This is all mind-boggling. The new electronic world has come to opera.
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