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SSO takes to YouTube to spread the Tristan and Isolde message

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Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) launched the first of a three-part YouTube release of Wagner’s tragic opera Tristan und Isolde today.

The performance, filmed on June 20 and 22 at the Sydney Opera House, celebrated the 150th anniversary year of Tristan und Isolde’s first performance in Munich. Ten cameras were used to film the production.

The three-part HD series will be available on the SSO YouTube channel, with behind-the-scenes features and interviews released in conjunction with each act. The first act includes interviews with Chief Conductor and Artistic Director David Robertson and American soprano Christine Brewer, who plays Isolde in the production.

“We definitely don’t see [internet streaming] as a replacement for the concert experience, but as an augmentation of it — either for those who have already heard the concert live and want the chance to hear it again because it was so special, or for those who just don’t have the possibility to come to the opera house to hear us,” said SSO director of artistic planning, Ben Schwartz.

The YouTube videos are free, and the SSO doesn’t receive any revenue from the project.

“It’s something that we see as important enough that we invest in it… as part of our fundamental activity,” Schwartz said.

The SSO has previously released other web-streaming projects for concerts, including a video collaboration around the complete cycle of the Beethoven piano concertos with Emanuel Ax and David Robertson in June 2014.

“One of the things that’s really important to us is that we provide as much of an opportunity for as wide a spectrum of people to appreciate [the SSO’s performances] as possible,” says Schwartz.

Schwartz thinks that social media is “enormously important” in promoting arts events, to cultivate the SSO’s relationship with its audience.

“Nothing replaces the concert experience… but what social media allows us to do is to contextualise that experience, to remind people of that experience… and for them to be connected to what we have coming up.”

Acts II and III of Tristan und Isolde will be released on August 31 and September 14. The performance will be available on YouTube for one year.

[box]Main image: Christine Brewer in Tristan and Isolde with the SSO at Sydney Opera House on June 20. Photo by Ken Butti.[/box]

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