Vienna State Opera to Stream Live Ultra HD Broadcast of Placido Domingo in 'Nabucco'

The production will be streamed over the Internet with help from Samsung and video processing software company Elemental.
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Placido Domingo

The Vienna State Opera plans to present its May 7 production of Verdi’s Nabucco starring Plácido Domingo via a live Ultra HD stream for global viewing on Ultra HD TVs.

The opera company, also known as  WienerStaatsoper, produces more than 40 live broadcasts annually, and is making nearly all of its 2014-15 season productions available in HD via the Internet, smart TVs and mobile devices.

For its first Ultra HD broadcast on Wednesday, the opera company will release a Wiener Staatsopher Samsung smart TV app that offers the ability to play the Ultra HD broadcast around the world, using Vienna State Opera’s time-shift feature. In the U.S., it can be viewed at 7 p.m. CET.

Ultra HD, or 4K, means that the picture has four times the resolution of HD. But that also means more data, and the industry is still working on efficient ways to delivery Ultra HD over the internet. For this project, video processing software developer Elemental is working with the Opera House to stream the live production in 4K using a fairly new video compression standard called HEVC (high-efficiency video coding) delivered via MPEG-DASH (a streaming standard) over the Internet.

Opera has already found an audience when shown as alternative content in movie theaters. Asked if this effort could lead to the Vienna Opera House delivering its performances in live 4K to theaters, Dominique Meyer, director of Vienna State Opera, told The Hollywood Reporter: “It's not out of the realm of possibilities. ... However, our primary aim is to make Vienna State Opera programs available live at home so that opera and ballet fans in remote locations that don't have cinemas but do have Internet connections can attend our performances via live stream in the best audio and video quality. People all over the world should be able to turn their living room into an opera box."

The workflow for the 4K streaming event was designed by Elemental partner ETAS High Tech Hardware Systems. Nabucco will be shot with a Sony PMW-F55 CineAlta 4K camera (the same model that is used to lens certain TV series, such as The Blacklist). Elemental Live software will be used to encode the content and delivery will be managed by Ooyala for viewing worldwide via the Samsung app as well as a PC-based app. Elemental will also encode content for a 65-inch Samsung Ultra HDTV for public viewing at the opera house.

Elemental additionally supports the Wiener Staatsoper HD livestreaming service, as well as a its second screen app that shows subtitles and score sheets in sync with broadcasts.

Twitter: @CGinLA