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Subject: Met's new "Inaugural Season 1966-67" 22-CD set
From: Art McManus <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Art McManus <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 23 Nov 2016 19:27:54 -0500

text/plain (60 lines)

Yesterday I learned about the Met's new 22-CD box set "The Inaugural Season:
Extraordinary Met Performances from 1966-67."  I could find no listing of
the contents on the Met's site or on Amazon, but went ahead and ordered it,
hoping it would contain broadcasts from that historic season not already
available on Sirius and Met on Demand.

The box arrived today (kudos to the Met Shop for speedy delivery, postage
free with the $129 price of the set.) Given the lethargic state of those
archive services, I wasn't greatly surprised to find there are only two
performances new to the overall Met offerings:  Turandot (Nilsson, Corelli,
Freni; Mehta) and Rigoletto (MacNeil, Gedda, Peters; Gardelli).

The remaining eight complete broadcasts will be familiar to listeners of
Sirius:  Antony and Cleopatra (Opening Night), Frau (Rysanek, Ludwig, King,
Berry; Bohm), Lucia (Sutherland, Tucker; Bonynge), Grimes (Vickers, Amara;
Davis), Aida (Price, Bergonzi, Bumbry; Schippers), Flute (Raskin, Peters,
Shirley, Uppman; Krips), Otello (McCracken, Caballe, Gobbi; Mehta), and
Butterfly (Scotto, Shirley; Molinari-Pradelli).

The Aida, Otello and Butterfly are all also available on Met on Demand. A
"bonus" disc of highlights from other broadcasts that season includes
frustrating reminders of two performances that could have been included,
expanding the archives:  
   "Or sai chi l'onore" from the great performance of Don Giovanni with
Siepi, Sutherland, Lorengar, Gedda, Flagello, Uppman, Bohm conducting. (I
was in the audience that afternoon, my first Mozart opera, my first time
seeing Sutherland. It has appeared on various "pirate" labels.  As Robert
White has noted so many times, what is the Met waiting for?)
   The Telramund-Ortrud duet from the Lohengrin broadcast (Wieland Wagner
production) with Konya, Bjoner, Ludwig, Berry, Bohm conducting. Another
fabulous performance worth hearing in its entirety. 

FYI: the other excerpts on the bonus disc are from Gioconda (Tebaldi, Elias,
Morell, MacNeil - the last 10 minutes of Act 2), Boheme (Stratas - Donde
lieta), Traviata (Moffo, Merrill - Act II duet -- another performance not
available elsewhere from the Met), Trovatore (Tucker, Merrill, Arroyo - Act
1 trio), Elektra (Nilsson, Resnik, Schippers - Klytamnestra/Elektra scene),
Mourning Becomes Electra (5 minutes from Act 2).  Additionally, there are 12
minutes of interviews hosted by Milton Cross from the Opening Night b'cast
(including Lotte Lehmann, Cecil Beaton, Chagall).  It's nice to see the
voice of Milton Cross included in a Met historic album.  Too bad the Lucia
recording doesn't include his commentary midway through the Mad Scene. I
distinctly remember he talked a good two or three minutes as the ovation for
Sutherland after the first half seemed to go on forever.

The sound on these discs is excellent, diminished only by frustration over
the missed opportunities.

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