The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s live stream of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazadeon Monday was a roaring success, with 5,500 watchers tuning in live from around the world. Less than a week later, the video has already been watched more than 64,000 times, while the MSO’s live stream of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, conducted by Benjamin Northey last night, has already had more than 21,000.

Benjamin Northey Benjamin Northey and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Photo © Laura Manariti

While the musicians found it a strange experience playing to an empty hall on Monday night, they were impressed by the numbers, the MSO’s Managing Director Sophie Galaise tells Limelight. “5,500, it’s two Hamer Halls – it’s like the size of Hamer Hall sold out twice,” she says. “They were so excited when I gave them the numbers at the end of the concert.”

With the ban on mass gatherings only flagged on the Friday, the MSO had to scramble to set up the stream. “We had been working for months on a plan to go digital and make a shift in our business model, and this was going to be rolled out in a couple of months from now,”...

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