Have you ever taken a group of students to the opera for the first time and watched as their eyes widened, their jaws dropped, and suddenly they got it? Suddenly this art form that has captured imaginations for centuries has enchanted even more, and you wished that somehow you could bring this experience back to the classroom?
And what about the ballet? Students can hear the music easily enough, but how often do they have the opportunity to see how it interacts with the movement of masterful dancers as they glide gracefully about a carefully lit and designed stage? That breath that catches in the throat as the ballerina nails a massive grand jeté right at the peak of the music’s crescendo—how often do your students get to experience that?
How often do you wish that your students could be in the midst of the great orchestras of the world just to observe their tremendous technique and inspiring virtuosity in action and up close? Do they get to watch the most skilled conductors at work to pick up valuable insight that they can then apply to their own conducting?
Believe it or not, all of this and more is available through Naxos Video Library (), which features over 1,675 full-length videos for streaming on demand as of this writing. This ever-expanding database possesses a wonderfully diverse range of content, including:
Opera – Currently there are over 285 full-length operas available to watch, with libretti and subtitles in up to five languages for most. The great opera composers are all represented, including Donizetti, Handel, Monteverdi, Mozart, Puccini, Rossini, Verdi, and Wagner (including a number of Bayreuth Festival performances!). Many of the classic operas are presented multiple times, allowing for comparison of productions.
Ballet – Not only are a wide variety of ballets available in full (including performances of all three Tchaikovsky classics by the Royal Ballet), but a number of films highlight specific dance groups and pay tribute to famous individuals.
Orchestra and chamber ensembles – Over 380 full-length videos portray performances by orchestras, chamber groups, choirs, and soloists. Highlights include three cycles of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, cycles of Beethoven’s symphonies by Abbado and Karajan, and Bernstein’s Mahler symphony cycle.
Documentaries – A considerable assortment of feature-length documentary films profile composers, conductors, performers, and dancers. Others highlight moments in music history or inspiring music education stories of today, while still more go behind the scenes of opera productions. There is something for everyone here.
Educational – Along with a couple series of films dedicated to discussing individual symphonic works, Naxos Video Library includes a number of videos that explore periods of art history and many of the geographic and historic wonders of the world. Also featured are the A Musical Journey series, which combines video tours of locations around Europe and Asia with classical music characteristic of those places, and a selection of complete stage productions from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London.