The world's first professional operatic podcast was announced today.

The move follows a recent BBC initiative in which 1.4 million users downloaded the complete works of Beethoven, performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

The BBC claims that project, "sparked debate about classical music in the digital world".

Today, professional opera company Hatstand Opera has announced the first of its monthly opera podcasts. It's available free through iTunes, or directly from a dedicated site, Podopera.

The first podcast is presented by Hatstand Opera director Kirsty Young. It features an interview with Australian soprano Toni Nunn discussing the problems of singing outside in Britain!
A Mac zealot, Young said: "We are delighted to present a podcast that reflects our philosophy of 'go-anywhere' opera. Now people can listen to our podcast wherever, and whenever they want. We hope its informal style and interviews will encourage more people to try out opera, wherever they come across it.
Hatstand Opera are performing live and for free in August on Thursday 11 August 2005 at Titchfield Park, Mansfield, Notts, and on Sunday 21 August 2005 at the Trafalgar Square Arts Festival.

The podcast was created on a 400Mhz Power Mac G4. Voices were recorded using a basic microphone into Bias Peak LE, then mixed in Garageband, exported to iTunes and converted to MP3 using Audion.