As you might know by now if you’ve been keeping up with our Client Spotlight blogs, we work with some exceptional, fascinating people and organizations––and this client is no exception. In fact, when we’re allowed to bring up names and specific projects that we’ve worked on (which is rarely, for confidentiality reasons), this is one of the ones we love to name-drop. After all, who wouldn’t want to be a part of the San Francisco Opera’s efforts to preserve their storied history through audio?
That’s right––this month’s Client Spotlight is about the San Francisco Opera, and the amazing initiative to digitally preserve and share various audio recordings from its rich hundred-year history. While most organizations and businesses of the arts choose to record their stories in heavy coffee-table books, the San Francisco Opera chose a different route, more fitting to their artistic medium and infinitely more accessible: recorded audio.
Streaming the First Century: Celebrating 100 Years Through Audio
The project to digitize and make accessible the San Francisco Opera’s historical recordings, “Streaming the First Century”, features 25 audio artifacts from the last century of the Opera’s history, including full performances, excerpted operas, and oral history interviews. The oral history portion of the collection includes both archival interviews with artists as well as contemporary conversations and panels with artisans and administrators.
This treasure trove of both modern and historical audio content was released in the form of four interactive sessions, each of which contain audio commentary from Company members that help bring expert insight to anyone who would like to listen––or anyone who would like to read. That’s right––all of the audio presented in “Streaming the First Century” is available to read in transcript form, save for the opera performance audio. This means that all of the oral history content is available in both audio and text formats, which is a monumental step in ensuring that this artistically, historically, and academically rich content is accessible to all kinds of people, regardless of their preferred medium or level of hearing. We’ll actually be talking a lot more about transcripts and accessibility in a few upcoming blogs, so stay tuned for more on that subject!
As the transcription service that worked on these publicly-available oral history transcripts, we’re thrilled to see our work exhibited in an unconventional and widely accessible way. Most of the transcripts that we create are completely confidential and used for a variety of private purposes––whether it be for legal, financial, or governmental organizations––so seeing our work proudly displayed for the benefit of all on the San Francisco Opera website is something that we find pretty special. We love the idea of using transcripts as a way to make oral history accessible to all, and we hope we get to work on more projects like this one in the future!
If you’d like to check out any of the enchanting history we’ve discussed here, we definitely recommend checking out the project in its permanent home on the San Francisco Opera’s website here. There’s a wealth of beautiful performances, glamorous photos, and––if we do say so ourselves––riveting transcripts of interviews, panels, and conversations from the historical to the modern.