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Subject: opera on tv (was Re[2]: THE SOUND OF MUSIC)
From: Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 11 Nov 2018 02:06:08 +0000

text/plain (112 lines)

Amahl and the Night Visitors was originally a production of the NBC 
Television Opera Theatre which aired several productions a season from 
1949 to 1964 on NBC. The productions were a mix of scenes from 
well-known operas and original compositions such as Amahl, the first 
original composition in the series. Other composers commissioned for the 
series included Bohuslav Martinu and Lukas Foss. The first broadcast in 
the series was "Down in the Valley," an extended version of a radio 
opera composed by Kurt Weill.

The primary figure behind the Opera Theatre was Peter Herman Adler, 
known at the Met for a run of Ballos and another of Manon Lescaut. After 
the NBC series ended in the 60s, Adler went on to a similar series at 
NET, the precursor to PBS. Adler was responsible for most of the opera 
(what little there was) that aired on American television through the 

Supposedly, the original decision to air the Opera Theatre came after 
Adler brought Mario Lanza and George London to perform excerpts from 
Boheme for David Sarnoff. Sarnoff was left in tears and agreed to the 


------ Original Message ------
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 11/10/2018 8:25:00 PM

>I tried to watch the Sound of Music last night and within minutes found 
>myself in a stupor
>trying to think of one good reason this was allowed to go forward, and 
>wondering if the
>powers-that-be at PBS had been blackmailed, or were tethered together 
>in a room with
>guns pointed at them.  Unlike the NBC version a few years ago which was 
>wretched beyond
>belief, but at least had some comic moments - unintentional though they 
>were (i.e., Carrie
>Underwoods wooden Maria, stumbling and trying to regain her footing on 
>the "mountain" in
>the opening number), I was unable to stay for more than a few minutes 
>with last night's
>The mention of "The Sound of Music" for Telarc with von Stade and 
>Hagegard put a smile on
>my face as Erich Kunzel knew exactly how to pace this gloriously cast 
>recording and I recall
>loving it as soon as I put it in the CD machine.   It also featured 
>Eileen Farrell's powerful
>turn in "Climb Every Mountain."   Similarly, Flicka was the first Maria 
>who didn't make me
>miss Ms. Andrews in "The Lonely Goatherd," (though Roberta Peters is in 
>the running there
>as well).
>Likewise, one of my favorite recordings of anything by anyone remains 
>the EMI "Show Boat"
>project by McGlinn with von Stade, Stratas, Hadley, et al.  It remains 
>one of the most
>played musicals in my home, and it's never failed to move me as much as 
>from the first
>hearing.  Maybe even more so now.
>There have been hits and misses with opera singer-cast musicals, 
>usually the former, but
>once in a while gold is struck ass in the two above examples.
>As to the small screen projects of late, Jesus Christ Superstar was the 
>only one that didn't
>have me cringing (and I agree with Jon that Mr. Legend was not the best 
>casting decision,
>but it still worked) and wishing I'd not tuned in.  Not terribly far 
>behind that was "A
>Christmas Story" which got flambed and roasted by the critics, but 
>which I found had a lot
>of charming performances and some rather good music.
>I do wish more things were actually "created" for television than 
>"squeezed into television" -
>but that's just personal preference.  Menotti's "Amahl and the Night 
>Visitors" - for me,
>remains at the top of that small heap.  I'm still disappointed the 
>excellent film the BBC
>made of "Amahl" for Menotti's 90th birthday, was withheld from release 
>by Schirmer
>(Menotti's publisher) with the argument, they were making their own 
>film for the composer.
>Menotti's been dead nearly a dozen years and they still haven't made 
>one, nor allowed the
>BBC's to ever see the light of day.  Thanks to pirates (arrrgh matey) 
>here is Patricia Racette
>as The Mother in the aria "All That Gold" from the unreleased film.

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