Saturday, February 02, 2008

BPN 996 Opera Lohengrin as cross-media experinece

I am writing this posting while I am viewing and listening to the Music of Robert Wagner’s opera Lohengrin, performed as a musical event (opera concertante) by the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Great Broadcast choir under the direction of conductor Jaap van Zweden (the new conductor of the Houston Orchestra). On the top of the left side of my screen, I have a small inserted screen, showing the direct performance. It is a performance in the framework of the Saturday Matinee Concerts, which are broadcasted by radio. However this time the performance has an extra dimension as it is televised on the digital theme channel Cultura.

Lohengrin is one of the most successful operas by Wagner, which was performed for the first time in Weimar (Germany) on August 28 1850, under the conductorship of Franz Liszt. The story is based on the Parcival epic by Wolfram von Eschenbach and the Medieval legends of the Holy Grail. The opera is often seen as fight between Christianity and paganism and between the artist and the society around him. (Tomorrow also Mozart’s opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail will be presented tomorrow in Amsterdam; this opera is a fight between Christianity and islam). The parts in the Lohengrin performance of February 2nd, 2008 are rendered by Anne Schwanewils, playing Elsa, Klaus Florian Vogt, playing Lohengrin and Eike Wilm Schulte playing Telramund.

The opera has been announced as unique in its crossmedia approach. So far no opera has been surrounded with so many media and features. The opera has its own URL and site (in Dutch). The basic story of the opera is summarised (in Dutch) The libretto text in German is available to follow during the performance; it is also translated in Dutch and dubbed live in the performance and the music score is available. There are videos and audio fragments available of interviews with the conductor and the singers as well as historic parts. There are biographies, blogs, guestsbook comments and even a puzzle available. The opera will be available in the very popular Missed broadcast section of the public broadcast system for on demand retrieval.

So far no broadcast music event has been surrounded by such a selection of media elements, which all contribute towards a better understanding and appreciation of the opera in question. Organisationally it also means that the various departments of the public broadcasting system are working together to develop new formats for this type of major events. The opera in question has become a media-rich event with various artefacts. The experience, even for someone participating remotely from home, is very informed and enjoyable.

Blog Posting Number: 996

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