What's the best way to hear classical music / opera online
April 2, 2016 2:10 AM   Subscribe

I'm setting my 80-year-old dad up with a laptop. All he wants from this is to hear classical music and opera online. What can I bookmark on this laptop for him?
posted by goofyfoot to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (27 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
I sometimes listen to AccuRadio while I work. There's both classical and opera channels your dad could listen to.
posted by bryon at 2:43 AM on April 2, 2016

Pandora or Spotify channel with some opera prompts.

There's a ton of great opera on Youtube-- maybe set up your own playlist for him, or poke around to see if anyone else has good opera playlists?

Many public/classical/university radio stations do live online streaming, so you could look through schedules for opera programs and bookmark some of those, as well.
posted by Bardolph at 3:41 AM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Minnesota Public Radio has a pretty good classical station that streams online.
posted by Johnny Assay at 4:17 AM on April 2, 2016

And if you're feeling exceedingly generous, you could buy him a subscription to the Naxos Music Library, which has all of the classical streaming music you could ever need. Subscriptions are $20/month or $200/year, or higher if you want the best-quality audio.
posted by Johnny Assay at 4:19 AM on April 2, 2016 [5 favorites]

My favorite source of classical vocal music, outside of my SiriusXM subscription, is Viva Ls Voce. It's run by my local public radio station WETA, which also streams classical, non-vocal music all day.
posted by bijou243 at 6:21 AM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

YourClassical.org has a number of classical music streams. I find their regular radio stream to be very listenable, and their hosts are personable and knowledgable (and not too chatty).
posted by BillMcMurdo at 6:31 AM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

In addition to the Saturday matinee program that your local station probably carries (assuming you're in North America--if you're not KMFA has a stream), so he might already listen to it, the Metropolitan Opera streams a performance weekly.

But really you could just bookmark the Radio 3 schedule page (which links to everything in the iPlayer) and be done with it.
posted by hoyland at 6:33 AM on April 2, 2016

WQXR here in NYC has a stream, and they also have a stream called Operavore, which plays nothing but opera. They don't usually broadcast full-length operas, but they play some really great stuff on there.

KING-FM in Seattle has excellent programming with a few different Internet streams -- one for their regular broadcast, one for symphonic music, and one called "Evergreen," which I think is supposed to be all mellow classical. They also have The Seattle Opera channel, which does stream full-length operas most of the day (although there tends to be a fair number of repeats).

WCRB in Boston, WGBH's classical station, also has some excellent programming on their stream. They also stream other channels, including an all-Bach channel.
posted by holborne at 7:06 AM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

YouTube playlists! There are some wonderful, wonderful things there and you could make playlists for him of some favorites, or just bookmark someone else's playlists. And then there would be an option to watch some great performances online, too, if he likes that.
posted by missmobtown at 7:21 AM on April 2, 2016

A warning that, while Spotify has a good Classical/Opera catalogue, (1) if you're not on Premium, the ads can be very jarring if they pop up in the middle of an album, and (2) the search interface is *not* set up for classical music, making it very difficult to, say, find a recording of a particular piece by a particular performer/group/company. I've also found the radio function to be a bit meh for classical music; I've had better luck with Pandora.

So, Spotify Premium + playlists of particular albums/performances that he likes would work well, but just Spotify alone might be too steep of a learning curve for a computer newbie.
posted by damayanti at 7:25 AM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have KUSC's stream going right now. Recommended.
posted by Logophiliac at 7:27 AM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

WCLV is an all-classical all day station. Thank you, WCLV!
posted by Dolley at 8:30 AM on April 2, 2016

Portland's All Classical is...all classical music! And opera. You can really easily listen to it online at their website. There's a big "Listen" button on the top of the page.
posted by linettasky at 9:25 AM on April 2, 2016

Don't miss the Met! They have both paid and free versions.
posted by Dashy at 9:33 AM on April 2, 2016

ClassicalArchives.com is subscription service that is totally worth the ~$100/yr. price tag. Spotify is bad for classical because it is so hard to search for specific pieces, not to mention conductors or soloists. CA slices and dices their catalog in everyway possible. Very simple, Web 1.0 interface, too!
posted by roll away the dew at 9:54 AM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

operacast is a wonderful site that lists (and gives links to) all of the internet vocal and opera broadcasts each week. Well, maybe not all -- who can say? -- but an enormous number.
posted by Dolukhanova at 10:23 AM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Radio Orfej is a classical station from Moscow and is usually very good (but with some cheesey interludes and occasionally interviews in a language your dad probably doesn't speak).
posted by stinker at 12:51 PM on April 2, 2016

I spend a lot of time listening to the Met Opera channel on Sirius/XM (paid subscription), and also WQXR's Operavore stream and KING-FM Seattle Opera Channel (both free streams). On reddit, /r/opera has links to videos on YouTube.
posted by matildaben at 1:16 PM on April 2, 2016

Response by poster: This is great! Thank you all so much!
posted by goofyfoot at 5:03 PM on April 2, 2016

Re Spotify, you may be able to use Spotifree to replace the audio ads with silence. The banner ads are still there, though Little Snitch can help with that if you care.
posted by tapir-whorf at 6:29 PM on April 2, 2016

Some of those sources mentioned above are great. However, one of the best, and cheapest (free!) alternatives can be found via your local library if your father lives in a major metro area. At my public library I have free access to the following: Naxos Music Library, the entire Sony Music Library (select "Classical" as the genre) and the Hoopla Digital Library. If he is able to get access to a university library I imagine the selection would be even better.
posted by storybored at 7:46 PM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

ABC's Classic FM. Though it's possible it's not available outside Australia.
posted by kjs4 at 5:18 PM on April 3, 2016

Response by poster: Storybored, that absolutely should be noted for anyone looking at this askme in future!

I'm a librarian and my dad is a daily user of our city system's branch libraries. You've reminded me that when I give Pop his laptop, I should include instructions for using the CD function.
posted by goofyfoot at 8:03 PM on April 3, 2016

The Opera Platform is AMAZING!
posted by nosila at 3:25 PM on April 5, 2016

Can't believe nobody has mentioned World Concert Hall!
posted by Orinda at 9:21 PM on April 25, 2016

Late to this, but I don't think that anyone mentioned the Berlin Philharmonic's fantastic Digital Concert Hall. There is an annual subscription fee, but it's completely worth the cost, as the content is absolutely stellar. Plus, their hall has seating around the orchestra at stage level, so it's very easy for the cameras to get great shots of the musicians as they work (play).

(For me, it's worth it just to access all those videos of Simon Rattle conducting. He's our great living master conductor. IMHO, YMMV.)
posted by LooseFilter at 6:27 PM on May 17, 2016

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