Handel’s Messiah live streamed and accessible

Thursday, 26 November 2015 16:06pm

Streaming live events on the internet allows people who cannot attend to experience the performance. A more recent innovation is to include accessibility services to allow people with disabilities to also enjoy the show.

Handel's Messiah at the Sydney Opera House. Image credit: Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House is providing a live-streamed, fully-accessible version of Handel’s Messiah on Sunday 6 December 2015 from 12.50pm AEDT.

The performance will be streamed live from the Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House via a YouTube link. The concert, which is performed by Sydney Philharmonia Choir, features an Auslan choir directed by Alex Jones. The streaming service also includes live captioning provided by The Captioning Studio and live audio description provided by a Sydney Opera House audio describer. Both the captions and audio description will be ‘open’. This means that everybody accessing the streamed version will have the captions displayed and the description playing. That said, according to the organisers, the audio description will be more focused on setting the scene of the concert hall and over 500 choristers.

The event is previewed in an open-captioned YouTube clip and shows both the signing choir in rehearsal and commentary about the event from the conductor Brett Weymark.

Jenny Spinak, Sydney Opera House’s Accessibility Manager, sees this popular event as an opportunity to showcase its broader accessibility program.

“Handel’s Messiah is a major event in the festive calendar. To coincide with celebrations for International Day of People with Disability we wanted to make sure it was accessible to everybody through live streaming with the addition of introductory live audio descriptions and open captioning to enhance the singing and signing performance of this work. This world-first collaboration is an example of how the Sydney Opera House is dedicated to providing accessible entertainment for all to enjoy.”

There are three performances of Handel’s Messiah on 3 and 5 December at 8pm, as well as the 1pm performance on 6 December, all featuring the signing choir alongside the Philharmonia Choir. Tickets for the performances can be booked through the Sydney Philharmonia website.

A copy of the Messiah text is also available for download prior to the live streaming by emailing accessibility@sydneyoperahouse.com.

The accessible performance is a partnership between Accessible Artsand the Sydney Opera House.


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