Opera Radio Comes to the Internet

In recent years, format-driven commercial radio has pushed opera off its playlists. The few remaining classical stations concentrate on the standard symphonic repertoire with only an occasional foray into opera, to the dismay of the genre's many fans.

Internet-connected opera lovers need brood no longer, however. On October 12, London-based Operadio.com went online as what it calls "the world's first Internet portal site devoted to opera and classical music." The site features seven live streamed channels drawn from over 2000 pieces of operatic and classical music, according to a press release, and includes thousands of links to worldwide opera resources. Steaming audio channels include the Bel Canto channel, devoted mostly to vocal music; the Romantic Channel, for grand opera; the Oratorio Channel, with religious works by the great composers; and the Baroque Channel, featuring the works of Monteverdi, Corelli, Albinoni, Bach, Handel, and Mozart. The Performance Channel showcases the live stage and the Orchestral Channel highlights symphonic music. There is also an Archive Channel for revisiting legendary performers of the past.

Operadio visitors can download the Operadio.com player—a "proprietary browser and independent, multichannel sound and video-streaming device" based on RealNetworks' G2 Surestream technology. "Operadio.com is more than just a music website—it's a gateway for everyone to access and enjoy opera and classical music,'' said David Craig, the portal's CEO. "We created the site as an online channel for all music lovers, a complete resource of opera and classical music for them to use and enjoy. It's a very beginner-friendly portal that includes tons of information and links to some of the most comprehensive opera and classical sites on the Web.''

The new website is a truly global operation, with headquarters in London, its main music server at the Broadcast.com data center in Dallas, and its web server at Simplenet in California. Operadio.com hopes to broadest operatic music and information to a truly global audience—and with the "highest possible standards of audio quality." Site designers have included a provision for other music sites to include their links in a database already 1600 strong.

In addition to the links, editorial content includes interviews, music reviews, and guest columns. Opera fans can communicate with each other via the linked music organizations and societies. There are numerous resources for students and newcomers to opera, according to David Craig. "You could say that Operadio has the greatest musical talent of the century working for us," he said, "because content on our music-player channels is brought to you by Callas, Caruso, the Three Tenors, Alagna, Gheorghiu, Terfel, Fleming, Schwarzkopf, and all the great soloists and orchestras of the age. People who download our player will have access to the great opera arias and the best classical pieces recorded in this century. No matter how sophisticated or adventurous the listener, Operadio has so much content that we promise 'a voyage of discovery' for all.''