Wouldn’t it be nice to hop around Europe for weeks at a time, sampling the extraordinary high quality of its opera companies and orchestras in a variety of elegant settings?
Medici.tv can take you on a tour around Europe. Via its website, iPad and iPhone apps, you can hear Toulouse’s well-regarded Orchestre National du Capitol in a concert version of The Damnation of Faust recorded at the Wiener Musikverein. You can watch the Teatro Real Madrid world premiere of Philip Glass’ latest opera, “The Perfect American.” You can hear the Orchestre de Paris under Paavo Järvi at Paris’ Salle Pleyel. There are a few American concerts, too. In all, Medici brings 80 live-streamed performances a year which are then kept available for some months. (And using your iPad’s HDMI output you can see them on a larger screen.)
It also promotes a paid service, with a library of 1000 concerts and musically-related films. You can, the site says, rent them one by one – for $3.99/€2.99 or $4.99/€4.99 – for 48 hours. Or you can subscribe for as little as €7.90 a month. The full catalog is here. You have to do it at the Medici website, not via the app or iTunes. Our first effort failed, but we didn’t find that out until we got an email nearly 48 hours later. The only route to customer service is via an email on the site, and a response to our query took a few days to arrive.
As of two years ago, Medici had reportedly gained only about 2,500 regular subscribers, against a break-even target of 25,000. The last update to the app was in March of 2011. So perhaps the paid effort has taken a back seat to the free performances.
Medici was launched from Paris in 2008 by Hervé Boissiere, a recording-industry veteran, with support from various European public entities.