Der Fliegende Holländer
Thursday, November 2, 2017 at 9:40AM
Henry McFadyen Jr. in Opera, harmonia mundi

Wagner Der Fliegende Holländer opera to a libretto by the composer. Directed 2016 by Àlex Ollé at the Teatro Real de Madrid. Stars Samuel Youn (Der Holländer), Ingela Brimberg (Senta), Kwangchul Youn (Daland), Nikolai Schukoff (Erik), Benjamin Bruns (Der Steuermann), and Kai Rüütel (Mary). Pablo Heras-Casado conducts the Orchestra and chorus of Teatro Real de Madrid (Chorus Master Andrés Máspero). Sets by Alfons Flores; costumes by Josep Abril; lighting by Urs Schönebaum; videos by Franc Aleu; filmed by Stéphane Vérité; produced by Jean-Romain Sales. Released 2017. Grade: Help!

Early information needs confirmation and completion.

Below find the entire opera uploaded to YouTube by French media company Culturebox. Normally at this point our goal is to have a review with screenshots to help you decide if you are interested in the title in question. But with the whole opera uploaded by an official source, you can watch now as much as you want.


We know that streaming of fine-arts material is now being done, but what about the quality and versatility of the stream?

We originally found this long clip by searching YouTube from a desktop PC. When approached this way, YouTube tells you the ID is "ywkSXsiRBPY." We embedded this in our HTML code to provide you with a link. We then viewed portions of this on two different computer monitors. The picture quality is decidedly better than that of a standard DVD, but falls just short of what you'd expect from a Blu-ray. The picture is just a bit too soft. Also, one of our PCs was too old to provide a completely smooth viewing experience.

Next we found this opera clip on a high-end Smart TV. The YouTube application on the TV didn't accept the ID "ywkSXsiRBPY." We had to do a Boolean search (in French). It took a while to wade through a bunch of other clips of Der Fliegende Holländer before we could find the Culturebox upload. Perhaps a typical consumer would give up when faced with a problematical search such as this. Picture quality on the big TV was also a tad soft compared to how we would expect a Blu-ray picture to appear.

All this suggests that streaming still has a way to go before being competitive with the images we are used to from Blu-ray discs.  There are other benefits to having the Blu-ray as well: the subtitles of your choice, full surround sound (instead of stereo or mono from a stream),  more flexibility in jumping back and forth throughout the opera (as well as in starting and stopping), and an informational booklet. But one can hardly complain about a free, nearly-Blu-ray-quality option to at least test the product. Hopefully we see more of this sort of thing in the future.

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