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Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan

The Karajan Experience on STAGE+

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04/23/2024

→ Herbert von Karajan in STAGE+

Deutsche Grammophon is set to launch a new STAGE+ initiative focused on the vast and varied legacy of Herbert von Karajan. The digital project will deliver comprehensive access to the legendary conductor’s audio and visual recordings, which are among the 20th century’s richest musical treasures. STAGE+ subscribers will be able to enjoy not only Karajan’s complete DG and Decca albums and highlights from his Unitel video catalogue, but also all the films he made for his own innovative production company, Telemondial. The latter will be available digitally exclusively on the DG platform, making it an unrivalled destination for Karajan’s work on disc and film. All videos will be accessible from May 2024, while the audio recordings will be introduced to STAGE+ in 25 digital instalments, with a new volume added each week until the end of September. Enhanced metadata and careful curation will enable subscribers to navigate intuitively between related areas of audio and visual content.

“It is impossible to overstate the significance of Herbert von Karajan’s stellar career,” comments Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “His relationship with the Yellow Label spanned more than half a century, resulting in some of the greatest symphonic and operatic recordings ever made. STAGE+ subscribers will now be able to discover the full extent of his creative energy and dynamism and dig deep into the world of a conductor whose artistic achievements are unlikely ever to be surpassed. As someone who was an early adopter of the latest technology and fascinated by creating permanent audiovisual records of his oeuvre, Herbert von Karajan would undoubtedly have endorsed the comprehensive STAGE+ approach, which will enable his fans to relive so many iconic moments of music-making.”

Dr Matthias Röder, Managing Director of the Eliette and Herbert von Karajan Institute, welcomes DG’s new initiative. “This project fulfils the mission of the Karajan Institute to preserve the legacy of Herbert von Karajan, instil a passion for classical music in younger generations, and use technology and innovation to shape the future of music,” he notes. “It has been a pleasure working with DG and the STAGE+ team on this inspiring and all-encompassing Karajan resource.”

Throughout his career, Herbert von Karajan (1908–89) was intrigued by new and improved recording techniques. In 1962–63, he conducted the first complete stereo Beethoven symphony cycle, and in 1981 he took part in the press conference held in Salzburg to present the compact disc to the world, having been involved in the development of the new medium. His recording of Richard Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie was the first classical CD to be commercially released. He began making films with Unitel in the 60s before, in the final decade of his life, establishing Telemondial and producing a further series of films which document not only his unique interpretations but also his farsighted awareness of the visual medium’s potential. Working in partnership with the Karajan Institute, DG is delighted to be able to add the Telemondial productions to its existing Unitel collection. These include Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Verdi’s Don Carlo from the Salzburg Festival, Karajan’s hugely insightful late interpretations of Bruckner, and his celebrated appearance at the helm of the Wiener Philharmoniker for the New Year’s Concert of 1987.

From May 2024, then, the visual Karajan content on STAGE+ will comprise over 70 individual titles, from operas to concert films, symphony cycles to documentaries. As for the 25 volumes of audio recordings, they will contain almost 300 hours of music. Arranged for the first time in alphabetical order by composer name, they will be added to STAGE+ in reverse order, starting with Wagner-Wolf-Ferrari and ending with Adam-Bartók. Freshly cleaned-up metadata will empower and refine the STAGE+ search facility, enhancing subscribers’ ability to explore this huge and exciting collection of wide-ranging repertoire.

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