What do you get when you cross the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series and Netflix? “Met Opera on Demand,” the new streaming service from the Met that allows unlimited streaming access to video transmissions from the company’s award-winning Live in HD series, plus hundreds of historic TV and radio broadcasts. For those of you with iPads you can download the free app, too (iTunes link), but you’ll need to purchase a subscription to gain access. The good news is that the subscription price dropped from $25/month to $14.99/month. Met Opera on Demand replaces the Met’s previous streaming service, Met Player, that was devoid of an iPad app.
If you are without an iPad, the Met Opera on Demand streaming service is still accessible via the Met’s website. You can browse through their rather extensive list of performances – 105 videos (44 from the Live in HD series) and over 250 audio only. Live in HD titles will be added to the service two to three months after their premiere in movie theaters. The streaming service allows users access to historic telecasts featuring stars like Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, Joan Sutherland, and Leontyne Price. The video library includes historic performances, such as a 1979 production of Don Pasquale starring Beverly Sills or a starry 1998 Le Nozze di Figaro telecast starring Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, and Bryn Terfel, All videos include English subtitles and many offer titles in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Digitally remastered audio streams allow users to immerse themselves completely in historic nights at the Met, beginning with a 1936 performance of Wagner’sGötterdämmerung starring Lauritz Melchior.
The Met Opera on Demand iPad app’s design is very intuitive and allows for a tiny bit of customization (you can bookmark your favorite performances). The only drawback, other than dealing with the limitations of the audio quality of an iPad, is that the performance playback stops when you try to browse outside of the app. Overall though, this is a great first effort into an app world that has very few that are opera related.
The archive offers outstanding live recordings of the greatest opera singers of the last century, including Jussi Björling, Maria Callas, Montserrat Caballé, Franco Corelli, Birgit Nilsson, Jessye Norman, Rosa Ponselle, Eleanor Steber, Risë Stevens, and Richard Tucker, in some of their most acclaimed Met performances.
What do you think of Met Opera on Demand? Will you/have you used this new service from the Met? Let us know in the comment section below.