VIENNA – With museums, theaters, sport centers and restaurants all closing their doors to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, the Vienna State Opera has stepped into the cultural and entertainment void by providing free online broadcasts of some its best known performances from recent years.
In a statement on its website, the Opera said “in this difficult situation we open our livestream archives, so that music lovers all over the world will still be able to enjoy opera and ballet.”
Starting March 15, a program of operas and ballets will be available to watch, free of charge, via the Opera’s streaming platform www.staatsoperlive.com.
The broadcasts will start at 7:00 pm or at 5:00 pm for those performances that last longer, such as “Siegfried” or “Götterdämmerung,” by Richard Wagner.
Each show will be available to watch online for 24 hours.
The streaming services of past performances will be available until April 2, the provisional date until which the Opera will remain closed, according to government guidelines on slowing the COVID-19 outbreak.
Among the other performances available to stream on the Opera’s web platform are the four-opera cycle of Wagner’s “The Ring of the Nibelung”; a “Tosca” by Puccini with the Spanish baritone Carlos Alvarez; “Romeo y Julieta,” directed by Placido Domingo and starring the Peruvian Juan Diego Florez; or Verdi’s “Falstaff” with Zubin Mehta as director.
The Vienna State Opera launched its streaming service in 2013 due to high demand, which allows people to follow performances live as well as access a sprawling archive of works in high definition.
Austrians will see their freedom of movement severely restricted starting from Monday, after the government suspended rights of assembly and limited travel to the minimum necessary, meaning travel for work, to the shops for groceries or to visit people who require assistance, such as the elderly and infirm.
Fines of up to 3,600 euros ($4,000) will be imposed as part of the government’s punitive measures to slow the virus’ spread.
Police will begin monitoring people’s movements on Monday to guarantee the public’s compliance with the measures.
The Government has clarified that it people are still allowed to go for a walk, but only alone or in the company of people with whom you share your home, according to the national APA agency.
The Police will require groups of people who together are on the street to disperse, a restriction that is already being enforced on Sunday.
Austria has so far recorded one death and 800 cases of the new coronavirus, a third of them in the Tyrol region, where regional authorities have asked that no one leave their homes if it is not absolutely necessary.