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Performing Live

Journey at Home Day 41

The Met Opera held a 4-hour, mostly live gala of performances by 40 artists from around the world, and the Met orchestra and chorus. Think of it as the opera version of Global Citizen One World, Together at Home. That special was amazing, but prerecorded. Peter Gelb, the General Manager of the Met wanted the performance to be mostly live because part of the thrill of opera is not knowing whether things will come off as planned. Especially because the voice is such a personal instrument.

Similar to the Global Citizen, I found it interesting to see the singers in their own homes. Some were clearly set up with better equipment than others, as most people just used a phone-quality microphone or laptop through Skype. Wagnerian Christine Goerke couldn't perform because her voice is so strong is overloaded her iPad. (Mobile devices and laptops are never built with great microphones or speakers in them.) Other signers had a bit of distortion, but all in all the performances went off smoothly.

The truly groundbreaking performances came from the orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Each orchestra member was in their own home. Yannick said that coordinating an orchestra to perform separately typically require a click track, but click track music doesn't breathe the way a live performance does. Yannick filmed himself "air conducting" and then had the Met pianist perform a piano track. Each musician recorded themselves using the air conducting and piano track. The result is outstanding. It was obvious that each musician had a microphone better than that provided in a mobile device or laptop. I imagine that musicians at that level of excellence are likely to have a microphone at home. If not, I suspect the Met made a few equipment deliveries. Check it out. The Met will soon make the stream available for replay through their website:

Thank you Met for an outstanding day!

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