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Subject: Research Before Buying
From: John Ryan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:John Ryan <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 11 Apr 2000 17:00:56 -0400

text/plain (20 lines)

    I've used Volumes 1 through 3 of Opera on Record for years to seek out
good recorded performances. and it's never led me wrong.  It covers pirates
as well as commercial recordings, and it does not hesitate to highlight
recordings that seem unusual.  For example it highly recommends a Faust from
the 1940's sung in Russian.  I resisted this recommendation for years, and
price was certainly a factor:  The current issue is 3 CD's of the $19
variety.  I finally bought it it on one of those 20 percent off everything
sales, and it more than lived up to recommendation.
    I've also noticed a paperback reissue of The Grand Tradition, Seventy
Years of Singing on Record, 1900 -- 1970  lurking on the bookshelves of my
local record store.  I've used this to seek out specific records by specific
singers.  It has never led me wrong.  For example, Tradition gives such
reviews as:  "[Meta] Seinemeyer's is the only record made in this period
[early electric--1925-35] of "Tu che le vanita," the great solo of Elizabeth
de Valois in Don Carlo, and it is possibly the best of all."  The record in
question has resurfaced on Pearl [GEM 0072], modestly titled "Verdi, the
Supreme Operatic Recordings."  The record lives up to Tradition's rave
review.  Does Seinemeyer sing it better than Callas, Caballe, Tebaldi, and
all other sopranos who have recorded the aria?  I think J.B. Steane has a
good case.                        John Ryan   [log in to unmask]

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