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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.
> 
>   http://www.metoperafamily.org/shop/display.aspx?ID=10062&CatID=20
> 
> Mike

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.

David

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.
     >
     > Mike


     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 
change
     for quite a while yet, incidentally, since there'd barely been anything 
proposed
     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.

     dl