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Classicaltv.com is betting $10 million on fans' online appetite

September 6, 2009 |  9:00 am

Watching a four-hour Wagner opera in a plush concert hall with a stage as wide as a jumbo jet can be a transporting and immersive experience unlike any in the performing arts.  But how well does that marathon journey translate on a cramped laptop screen?

Classicaltv.com, a $10-million online start-up that launched a few months ago, is betting that people won't mind trading in the grandeur of the concert hall for the smaller but more convenient -- not to mention cheaper -- alternative of watching it on your computer.

The for-profit site has partnered with such major classical institutions around the world as the Metropolitan Opera, the Salzburg Festival and the Paris Opera Ballet to present full-length videos of high-profile performances.

Most of the videos are available for free -- a short commercial precedes each selection. But there is also premium pay content that users can purchase and generally keep for 72 hours.

Read the full story behind Classical TV in Sunday's Arts & Books section. And check out a sample of the site's offerings in the above trailer from Julie Taymor's production of "The Magic Flute" by Mozart.

-- David Ng

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