Like most arts organizations, The Dallas Opera has been forced to rethink how it produces and presents works to audiences amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 26, it took a new step to bridge the gap between traditional concert hall and at-home entertainment with the launch of thedallasopera.TV, a new subscription streaming platform.
According to a release, the new website brings together new original opera films created specifically for a virtual audience with all of TDO's existing video content — "which ranges from full opera productions for audiences of all ages to musical conversations and original opera-themed sit-com style episodes to artist-hosted series that spotlight their interests and careers, educational series, and more."
“We are so thrilled that thedallasopera.TV is launching today,” says Ian Derrer, The Dallas Opera’s Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO, in the release. “To watch this project go from idea to reality in less than a year has been amazing to see, and we’re so proud of the content that we have ready to offer our global audience. This platform truly helps redefine our company as a leader in digital content, as well as on the opera house stage. We are breaking new ground in the field while continuing to preserve the great traditions of live opera.”
Subscriptions to thedallasopera.TV cost far less than other streaming services you subscribe to and watch once or twice (raise your hand if you, too, purchased a year of Disney+ to watch Hamilton once) — $4.99 per month with a free seven-day trial. In addition, premium content — Originals — will be offered periodically by pay-per-view.
Content is made up of four categories: Originals, Stages, tdo network, and OperaKids — all available via an app for mobile devices (iOS and Android), on smart TVs via Fire TV and Roku, and on the website for desktop/laptop users.
Here's an overview of the content, as outlined in the release:
Two Originals available immediately: That Which We Love, a recital by acclaimed mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, and Vanished, a three-part art film starring countertenor John Holiday and tenor Russell Thomas with music by Gluck, Monteverdi, and Janáček assembled into a new narrative.
A third original, The Heart of the Song, featuring conversation with and performances by tenors Javier Camarena, Rolando Villazón, and David Lomelí, will be released on May 25 for a limited time. (Rental fee is $11.99. Available May 25-31 only.)
Stages content is included with thedallasopera.TV subscriptions, and will feature “greatest hits” from The Dallas Opera, including full-length operas, concerts, recitals, and archival video streams and radio broadcasts. Streaming now are the company’s 2019 production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute; “The John Holiday Experience,” a recital by recent finalist on The Voice, recorded April 9 at the Winspear Opera House; a celebration of the first five years of The Dallas Opera Hart Institute for Women Conductors, and more.
TDO network, launched in February 2020, has amassed a viewership of nearly 157 million followers from 50 countries in the past year with its ever-evolving collection of whimsical, topical, and informative original content hosted by artists and social media influencers. Access to all tdo network content is included with thedallasopera.TV subscriptions.
OperaKids offers programming for children, as well as educational resources for parents and children, all produced by The Dallas Opera’s education department and included in the monthly subscription price. Two family operas are available now — Jack and the Beanstalk and Dr. Miracle — as is Kids Opera Boot CampTM, "an interactive look behind the scenes at the opera, where viewers can learn from a series of five video lessons what it takes to make an opera, how to make an opera set, and how to learn music like an opera singer."
Content on the platform can be streamed and viewed anywhere, 24/7/365.
“What we’ve learned over the course of the past year without live performances is that there is a thirst for quality online content, and we are so happy to lead the way in producing that for our eager fans around the world,” says David Lomelí, a tenor, TDO’s Artistic Consultant, and creative force behind the initiative, in the release. “Statistics show that viewers ages 18-34 and 34-45 are online for more than 10 hours each day, and our efforts to reach that demographic — through unique and creative offerings — have proven successful, growing in just a year from 2,000 unique views in March 2020 to more than 150 million unique views today on our Facebook channel.
"Our hope is that this streaming model will reach even more.”