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The show must go online. How venues are coping with covid / The Irish Times

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Never waste a good crisis, the saying goes. And, in the self-isolating conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic, it's a message that the world of music and opera is taking to heart. There is, of course, a lot of bad news. The shutdown of concert halls, opera houses and theatres is already well under way. And it's only likely to escalate as countries try to cope with this new (to humans) and deadly disease. 

The musical losses in Ireland are already substantial. And if the less-optimistic projections about the duration of the pandemic turn out to be correct, the precautions against the spread of the virus could still be in place after the summer or even beyond. A lot of people of all generations, whether working or not, are going to be spending enforced time at home. But you can watch safely on the web.

Major international performing institutions have already taken up the immediate challenge by freeing up access to their online output. Both halls of the Philharmonie in Berlin, home of the Berlin Philharmonic, have had to close until April 19th. But the orchestra is setting out to increase its online reach. The home page of digitalconcerthall.com, its platform for streamed concerts, sets the tone. "The Digital Concert Hall, now free for everyone," it declares. "The Philharmonie is now closed – so we will come to you!" There's a voucher code offering free access to all of the site's concerts and films until March 31st. 

New York's Metropolitan Opera, whose live performances are on hold until March 31st, is presenting free, nightly streams, each of which will be available for 20 hours on metopera.org. Wednesday night's Il Trovatore from October 2015 features Anna Netrebko and the late Dmitri Hvorostvsky; tomorrow's La Traviata from December 2018 stars Diana Damrau and Juan Diego Flórez.

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