In 2006, the Metropolitan Opera was the first to try this form of art dissemination. His broadcasts reached Lithuania in the fall of 2009.
There were glitches during them, but they were quickly forgotten. Unfortunately, this season, the quality of broadcasts has repeatedly disappointed the audience. Forum Cinemas marketing manager Dainius Beržinis agreed to comment on the situation.
– On January 14, a part of the audience of the “Forum Cinemas Vingis” opera left the hall before the end of the session, although a work unheard of in Lithuania, which returned to the New York stage after a quarter of a century, was shown – Umberto Giordano’s opera “Fedora”. What caused the major streaming disruptions?
– According to our technicians, – Outages on the Metropolitan Opera server in New York and the GOFILEX server in Belgium. Many cinemas in Western Europe broadcast operas via satellite, which is quite reliable, so there are few problems. However, such a broadcast of one opera costs as much as 300 dollars to one movie theater.
Since the more northern countries – Finland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania – are at the edge of the satellite broadcast connection and are more at risk of broadcast interference due to unfavorable weather, we received permission to broadcast operas over the Internet. Internet broadcast receivers are provided by the broadcaster, it is much cheaper – a session costs 75 euros.
Before the session, we don’t specifically show anything in the hall so that the technicians can catch and adjust the signal, check its quality. The technique is overloaded before the session. Unfortunately, the last time, only after reloading it repeatedly during a break in Vilnius and Kaunas, the broadcast improved.
We apologize to the viewers, we hope that together with the GOFILEX partners we will find solutions to avoid future disruptions.
– The audience was also confused by the broadcast of another rare opera – Luigi Cherubini’s Medea – in Vilnius, because the Italian composer’s work was shown without subtitles.
– Live broadcasts of operas are a risky thing. At that time, the technicians at the “Vingio” cinema failed to properly set the broadcast format, although both servers and receivers worked flawlessly, all broadcast parameters on the monitor were perfect. But there were no credits on the cinema screen.
In this case, as in several others, the cinema technicians were hesitant to stop the broadcast for 8-9 minutes during the session to reload all the equipment, especially since this would not guarantee perfect picture and sound quality after the reload.
On the other hand, we also broadcast live pop music concerts and various premiere events in Forum Cinemas cinemas. Most of these broadcasts are successful. Opera broadcasts only account for about 20 percent of our total live broadcasts.
– Some viewers in “Fedora” complained that “Forum Cinemas” does not invest enough in equipment and technology. Is there any truth in that?
– Not really. We have the most modern technical equipment. The providers of the GOFILEX service provided us with state-of-the-art internet streaming servers and receivers and modernized the programs just last fall.
– Maybe replacing live broadcasts with recordings would help to avoid problems?
– Many viewers prefer live broadcasts – we can see this from customer letters and advance ticket purchase trends. At first, part of the audience was interested in the recordings due to the lower ticket price (12 euros) and the earlier start and end of the session: we did not show the recordings from 8 pm, but from 6 pm, and the sessions ended by 11 pm. At that time, live operas often end after 24 hours.
But in the long run, the flow of viewers to the rebroadcasts decreased significantly, and during the pandemic they did not remain. Now, a week after the live broadcast, the tickets are not redeemable at all. So, even though it was a risk, we decided to broadcast the performances only live, so that the audience in our hall would feel like a part of the Metropolitan Opera audience.
We are constantly hesitating whether to continue showing operas at all, because after transferring the broadcasts from the big hall of Forum Cinemas Vingis to twice the smaller one, it is not profitable, not to mention the sessions where the broadcast fails, when we have to refund the money for the tickets to the audience. But we are still motivated by a group of regular viewers who follow broadcast news, respond to current events, are the first at the ticket counters and the last to leave the hall, thanking for the spectacle.
– What is the procedure for compensating the defect?
– Interference may occur during live broadcasts (both online and satellite). Most of the time, they are very small, barely noticeable and only a few. But if the interference of the broadcast is great (distortion of the video, loss of sound), we treat it as a broadcast defect. In this case, we immediately refund the money for the tickets.
Returns are our normal practice. This is stipulated by the internal rules of Forum Cinemas. If the viewer is not satisfied with the quality of the broadcast, he must contact the box office, which is open until 10 p.m., without waiting for the end of the show – not after the show or the next day.
In the case of “Fedora”, due to a clear flaw, we apply an exception: money for tickets can be refunded until December 27, by filling out the form: https://www.forumcinemas.lt/About/grazinimas/ and sending it to the address [email protected]
We have sent an e-mail to all viewers of this show who bought tickets online with explanations, offers and information that the above-mentioned opera show will be repeated.
I am delighted to announce that we have received permission from the organizers of the Metropolitan Opera broadcast to show Fedora from the recording again. This session will take place on February 7. 6 p.m., ticket price – 12 euros.
Those who have not received a refund for their old tickets and have saved them can exchange their tickets for new ones free of charge before the show. For all questions, we suggest contacting: [email protected]