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Subject: Vocal Record Collectors' Society meeting: Sept. 8
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Date:Sun, 3 Sep 2017 10:18:27 -0400

TEXT/PLAIN (124 lines)

Date:  Friday, September 8, 2017
Time:  7:45 PM
Plate: Christ Church, northwest corner of 60th St. and Park Ave., 
Manhattan, NYC - Third Floor Meeting Room

The Vocal Record Collectors Society presents
By Donald Collup

Whenever Donald Collup presents a program for the VRCS, we can be sure of 
something unusual, even unique.  A decade back he gave us the honor of 
premiering his documentary NEVER BEFORE: THE LIFE, ART & FIRST NEW YORK CAREER 
OF ASTRID VARNAY, then came his second VRCS premiere, a documentary called 
FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS: A WORLD OF HER OWN. Other programs followed, including 
excerpts from his podcast called The Operatic PastCast, which is devoted to his 
interviewing at length many people from all areas of the operatic world, this to 
preserve and present operatic memories and impressions, both visual and aural. 
Another podcast is devoted to Alfred Hubay and his Met Memories from 1943 to 
1966.  The URL for The Operatic PastCast is and 
for the Hubay podcast He also presented a memorable 
program involving a close and riveting examination of the career of the late 
Italian-American soprano Elisabeth Carron. His last VRCS program was Part I of 
HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2,500 REELS, and he promised further examples from this 
wonderful treasure trove. This is, as you note, Part II.

We will let Donald tell it in his own words, describing what we will hear:

As I plan this, there will be 10 sopranos, 5 mezzo-sopranos, 5 tenors and 3 
baritones. Often, my choices turn out to be not only for the singing but for the 
conducting and/or accompanying. My presentation weighs in at 25 selections 
lasting just minutes east or west of two hours, some with vocal flaws and/or 
sonic flaws. You will hear singing from the early Baroque into the late 1960s, 
an extremely rare, complete concert of 5 selections with orchestra by a beloved 
Italian singer (3 of which from roles never sung on this side of the pond), a 
few transfachs, a final trio full of heartfelt emotion on many levels, opera and 
art song, chest voice ranges that you thought youd never ever hear, a well-known 
singer in a rare in-house recording, bullfight singing, an assortment of sobs, 
all live except for 2. The first selection of each half will not be announced. 
Its for you to guess.

In January of 2013, a noted collector of photographs, autographs and antiques 
passed away. Over the years he had hired me to record live and archive Sirius 
Met broadcasts two or three times a week, since he attended the Met almost 
nightly. He also had me transfer a handful of reels which told me he had an 
unusual collection, but I couldnt talk him into letting me start transferring 

I wrote to the executor of the estate voicing my concern about the collection, 
requesting that it not be discarded nor given to someone who would then just 
continue to store it, and learned that a friend and trusted colleague of the 
late collector was in charge of it. In June of 2013, another collector with whom 
I had traded in the past sent me dozens of pictures of stacks and stacks of 
these reels. When I responded, offering my help in transferring the reels, that 
collector responded that he had purchased that very collection! There were 
exactly 2,500 reels, half of it Met material, the other half from elsewhere.

There were several great things about the collection: 1) The collector purchased 
reels of Met broadcasts from collectors/recordists in Manhattan, which meant 
they were very often in FM, whereas the rest of the U.S. received broadcasts in 
AM only. 2) The purchased reels were not multi-generational, meaning less 
possibility of gradation of quality via copies of copies of copies. 3) Most of 
the reels Ive transferred have announcements/curtain calls by Milton Cross, 
intermission features and/or radio station signoffs. Many of the 1940s reels are 
rather pristine single-digit-generation transfers of transcription discs that 
were sent to South America and Mexico for re-broadcast, utilizing a Spanish or 
Portuguese-speaking announcer. 4) This collector took his reel-to-reel Uher deck 
into opera houses all over the world and made in-house recordings. 5) The reels 
were rarely if ever played!

About 15 years ago at the VRCS, a man named Paul Micio (VRCS note: we remember 
him well!) asked me if I was interested in buying an AKAI GX-747 DBX 4 Track 
Stereo Deck, as he was moving to France. We arranged a meeting at my apartment 
to make the sale, but when he arrived, he carried the extremely heavy deck into 
my apartment and totally surprised me with the deck as a GIFT, for which I have 
been forever grateful. Every audiophile that has seen it compliments its high 
quality. Using this, I finished transferring the entire collection in the fall 
of 2015.

After having transferred a collection of 2,500 reels, Donald must have enough 
material to keep the VRCS going, not for two hours, not even for two months, but 
possibly for two decades (dare we hope for two centuries?), so Part II may still 
be witnessing this project in its infancy!

Donald Collup has had a wide-ranging career, first as a noted boy soprano, then 
as both lyric baritone and pianist. As a pianist, he did a good deal of solo and 
accompaniment work, and then studied at both the Peabody and Curtis Institutes 
and at Yale University. He has participated in many master classes with Gerard 
Souzay, Dalton Baldwin, Hans Hotter and Martial Singher. In 1984, he garnered 
prizes in the international singing competitions of Paris, sHertogenbosch and 
Toulouse. He has given recitals across the Eastern seaboard as well as a recital 
for Netherlands Radio. He was resident baritone at the Marlboro Music Festival 
for three consecutive summers. In 1995, he also appeared as Pelleas in several 
concert performances of the Debussy opera conducted by Michel Singher, son of 
Martial Singher.

Do plan to be with us for yet another excursion through vocal excellence with 
Donald Collup!

Date:  Friday, September 8, 2017
Time:  7:45 PM
Plate: Christ Church, northwest corner of 60th St. and Park Ave., 
Manhattan, NYC - Third Floor Meeting Room

posted by
Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
blog:   Twitter: @kos2
  Listowner: OPERA-L ; SMT-ANNOUNCE ; EXLIBRIS-L ; SoundForge-users
--- My opinions do not necessarily represent those of my institutions ---

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