Courtesy of Cleveland Orchestra
At the beginning of the pandemic many different live performance venues were forced to shut their doors—ensembles largely sank into dormancy, many under threat of collapse. The Cleveland Orchestra was certainly affected by the restrictions put in place by the original social distancing guidelines, forced to keep an eager audience safe. However, rather than sit idly by and wait for crowds to be admitted back into Severance Hall, the Cleveland Orchestra unveiled its new performance streaming app, Adella, in October 2020.
Adella features many different concerts that were filmed in high definition right next to campus at the Cleveland Orchestra’s home, Severance Hall, and a few are even filmed in various locations around the world. The app has a wide range of selections, spanning the many years that the orchestra has been in practice. The first season of their “In Focus” series is available on Adella and is filled with concerts that showcase genres of music. It includes “Magical Musicians,” “Dance and Drama” and “Sonata and Serenade,” which features Grammy-winning pianist Mitsuko Uchida. Uchida recorded the recital specifically for Adella in London. The first episode of the second season of “In Focus,” “Aftersilence,” was released on Feb. 4—just in time to be enjoyed by Case Western Reserve University students on our snow day. This concert was arranged to explore the use of stillness and the effect of muted moments in music. “Aftersilence” includes the world premiere of “Vers le silence,” a piece written by acclaimed composer Hans Abrahamsen. At the height of the pandemic, it beautifully reflects on the moments of quiet that pervaded our lives during lockdown.
Unfortunately, though, the “In Focus” content comes at a price. Some features of Adella require a subscription of either $15 a month or $120 a year—not exactly an accessible price point, especially for college students. However, there are a slew of other shows and movies that are offered for free, including the 38th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert, “Remembrance and Reflection.” It includes selections from Mozart and Weinberg—even a 1977 concert performed by the orchestra in Mexico City for the Beethoven Festival. There is also a large collection of podcasts produced by the Cleveland Orchestra titled “On a Personal Note,” in which different members of the ensemble discuss their relationship to music and their story of becoming a musician. Though the price for Adella Premium may not be justifiable, the free shows are an option that is not typically available on other streaming platforms.
There are other options for students to use this platform as well. Last semester, the orchestra gifted 500 students with Frequent Fan Cards, a subscription guaranteeing a free ticket each week to qualifying shows from the orchestra, reduced pricing for extra tickets and premium usage of Adella. Although this card can be purchased, the Cleveland Orchestra greatly appreciates the patronage of CWRU students and is likely to give out these cards for free again sometime this semester—or at least sell the passes for a reduced price like they have in the past.
Adella is the perfect streaming service for those who want to support the Cleveland Orchestra and its community without braving the low temperatures and big crowds. Although it may not be perfect—a great deal of the concerts are behind a paywall—there is plenty of free content that the CWRU community can enjoy. The orchestra is critically acclaimed, so the selections provided within the service are guaranteed to delight those who choose to listen to them.