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 Recording of the Week  Buying Opera on CD or DVD

We’ve launched two new promotions in the last ten days concerning mainly, though not exclusively, opera recordings. Both offer 40% off our normal price and include many of the best selling recordings on the Decca, DG and Philips labels. However one features CDs while the other is purely DVDs. Meanwhile some specific recordings (for example the Anna Netrebko La Traviata) appear in both.

Opera lends itself perfectly to DVD. Unlike VHS, DVDs have the same level of sound quality as CDs, but in addition you also get the pictures, the option of subtitles, and often various ‘extras’ like a behind the scenes look at how the recording was made. This combined with the fact that they are often now cheaper than the CD version (because they fit on fewer discs and don’t come with a libretto) may lead you to conclude that the days of the Opera CD are very much numbered, but this isn’t what we are finding.

I find this in some ways hard to explain when you consider the numerous benefits that the DVD has to offer. I suspect it may be that many people don’t have their DVD players configured to give a similar level of sound quality to that that they achieve through their CD players. Or it may be that the typical household has many more CD players scattered through the house (and indeed in the car) so buying the CD version gives a lot more flexibility on where you can enjoy it.

I’d love to hear your views on this, but one thing that seems beyond question is that both formats are very much here to stay.