I've just watched archival footage of the lovely Maria Callas singing Bellini in Paris. And this just seconds after I checked out some of the current offerings from the Aspen Music Festival and the great summer music at this year's Aix en Provence in France.
So, did I just teleport myself to Colorado and Provence?
Hardly. Used the Internet, of course.
I visited http://www.medici.tv.
The European-based webcaster (a collaboration between EuroArts in Leipzig and Ideale Audience, among others), now in its third year, is offering free webstreams of current and archived performances of summer classical music festivals, and other concerts.
The webcaster typically charges about 25 euros ($40 give or take) for the streamed concerts and other offerings. But this summer it is trying to entice subscribers with the free streams.
Right now it's fronting archival footage of Claudio Abbado conducting Mahler's Sixth Symphony with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. It's a vivid performance of the symphony and Abbado is coaxing a highly nuanced performance from the players.
In addition to the live-concert webcasts, medici.tv also offers a library of music on film consisting of more than 150 titles, with 200 additional coming. Subscribers can choose 24-hour, one-month, and six-month packages.
One of the more appealing aspects of this webcaster is that it also offers a wide variety of documentaries focusing on the lives and careers of composers and performers, including the likes of Philip Glass, Glenn Gould and Yehudi Menuhin.
The website is also seeking to become a community destination for those that love classical music, as evidenced by a soon-to-launched on-line magazine, plus artists and tastemaker blogs.
You've got to like the proactive nature of the whole thing.
But frankly, given the state of the plunging dollar against the Euro, it remains to be seen how affordable medici.tv will be to the U.S. market.
That's why you've got to tap into the free offerings now. As they say 'it's cheap at twice the price'.