Carnegie Hall is launching an on-demand video network featuring recorded performances from classical artists known for performing at the famed venue.
Created in partnership with Unitel, Carnegie Hall+ was to launch on Wednesday night. It costs $7.99 monthly and is available through the Apple TV app and on smart TVs, Roku, Amazon Fire, and other devices.
Materials include operas from the Salzburg Festival and the 1979–80 staging of the Bayreuth Festival of Wagner’s Ring Cycle directed by Patrice Chero. Concerts and ballets are available, and featured artists include Luciano Pavarotti, Renée Fleming, Leontyn Price, Anna Netrebko and Jonas Kaufmann, and conductors Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan, George Solti, Carlos Kleber, Ricardo Muti and Claudio Abbado. .
Carnegie’s executive and artistic director Clive Gillinson said Hall began exploring a network about 15 years ago, initially as an audio-only project.
“It became very clear that the audio scene was saturated with very, very large players, so the focus shifted to audiovisuals,” he said.
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Gillinson was introduced to Unitel by Lawrence Perelman, a consultant who became a co-founder of the network. Gillinson said a pair of Carnegie trustees contributed funds to enable the startup, and they estimate the network will run on a break-even basis within 18- to 24 months.
Classical streaming marketplaces already include the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall, launched in 2008, and the Met Opera on Demand, which debuted in 2012 and has 33,000 on-demand subscribers. Forced to call off demonstrations during the pandemic, many organizations started streaming on their websites and on various platforms such as YouTube.
“There are a lot of unique projects in the market for organizations promoting and offering their work, but we felt we had an opportunity to create destinations in this area,” Gillinson said. “We bring the best of everything from around the world and present it here. We felt it would be incredibly compelling to move to the virtual world.”
Carnegie Hall+ will carry future performances from the hall, but has not decided whether they will be streamed live or as a recording. Relatively few incidents were recorded on camera because production costs in the US were higher than elsewhere. At launch, the focus is on the content rather than the locale.