Mike Richter wrote:
> David Lennick wrote:
>> What can anyone tell me about the albums produced in the 50s by Book
>> Of The Month as "Metropolitan Opera Record Club"? Were they ever sold
>> in stores, or available only by mail order? Were they issued in the UK
>> or Europe? Were any of them derived from commercial recordings? Are
>> the rights still held by the Met or Book Of The Month?
> They were not derived from commercial release but some were released
> commercially by RCA. My understanding is that rights are retained by the
> Met, which has issued a sort of anthology. I was told that they no
> longer had masters or even good copies of the audio in some cases, but
> understand that the digitization - as far as it goes - is quite good.
Here's some of a discussion from December 2005 on this list:
Contrary to popular belief, the Met does not own the Metropoliitan Opera Record
Club recordings, nor did they ever hold the masters. The entire project was
carried out under the auspices of the Book of the Month Club, working with
Columbia and RCA (the matrix numbers reveal which company did the engineering
and pressing). The "Metropolitan Opera Record Club" was a b brand name for
BOMC. The Met merely lent its name (for a consideration) and BOMC was supposed
to use Met performers (they began near the bottom of the barrel, then
discovered that names DID make the recordings sell better. RCA later arranged
with the BOMC to issue the Périchole and the abridged Boris sung in English (in
Karel Rathaus's "realization" of Mussorgsky's orchestration), which they had
recorded, on RCA retail discs (IIRC, Bing complained in his memoirs that the
Met got none of the money from that.) Last I heard, nobody seems to know where
the masters are. And, AFAIK, all Met Opera Guild CD tracks drawn from that
series have been dubbed from LPs.
At 06:30 PM 12/9/2005, you wrote:
Mike Richter wrote:
> All the usual market forces would ensure that prices were remarkably low
> if not for the absurd extension of copyright to ensure that the
> corporations holding rights to decades-old material maintained their
> monopoly. Since they are remiss in reissues of any but the most popular
> material and unwilling to allow others to do so (with exceptions such as
> Testament), they are destroying the heritage through malign neglect.
> Let me cite one instance. In the 1950s, the Metropolitan Opera Record
> Club issued a series of recordings using featured singers and conductors
> who are otherwise almost undocumented. The Met holds the copyright and
> zealously defends it, though I am told on good authority that they not
> only have lost the masters but no longer even have good copies of many
> of the issued LPs. So Kirsten's Tosca, Tucker's Lenski and Mitropoulos's
> (abridged) Walkuere are little more than rumors in terms of legal issues.
And those discs are coming close to the 50-year mark, if we can just hold back
the copyright extensions for a couple of years......Canada isn't going to
for quite a while yet, incidentally, since there'd barely been anything
and our Parliament is now in election mode till the end of January.
And I have near mint copies of many of those Met sets.