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Forwarded message from Mitchell Heller:

Very sorry to report that Mike Richter, who many of you knew from various 
news groups, and created may interesting DVDs devoted to the history of 
opera has passed away. His obituary is below

Michael D. Richter, who died today in Glenview, Illinois following a brief 
illness, gained international recognition in two unrelated fields in his 74 
year lifetime: computer applications in space technology, and the 
preservation of opera recordings.

With only a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Chicago 
as academic training, in 1969 he was one of 100 civilian recipients of the 
Presidential Medal recognizing “those who made Apollo fly”, for his work at 
M.I.T. Labs in designing micro-computer applications in the Apollo guidance 
systems, largely done before the first micro-computers had been built. After 
a brief stop at Commodore Corporation, where he designed proprietary 
software including the first letter-merging program and the first practical 
word processor for the Commodore 64 (the first widely marketed home 
computer), he moved on to the TRW Corporation’s aerospace division in Los 
Angeles, where his work included theoretical computer applications that 
later became known as digital photography – which began when he used his own 
Commodore computer to correct over-exposed photos he had taken as a 
semi-professional photographer.

After a viral infection of the heart forced him to take permanent disability 
while still in his 40’s, Mike began what he called his “second life”, 
immersing himself the world of opera. Having been active on the internet 
since its inception as a link between the handful of universities and labs 
working on Apollo, he established “Opera-L”, which soon became the second 
most active web site for opera enthusiasts – second only to the site 
sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera. He soon established a second web site 
as a means of information exchange between the most knowledgeable opera 
supporters, performers and behind the scenes professionals. Already well on 
the way to accumulating what would become one of the largest privately-held 
opera recording collections in the world, in the 1980s, Mike turned his 
computer skills to the preservation of opera recordings. Mike’s computer 
enhanced Edison cylinders, otherwise unrecorded live performances made 
during World War II for servicemen in isolated posts onto CD’s, and rare 
vintage recordings to clarify the sound to a level better than the original. 
As rights to these obscure and often illicit recordings could never be 
obtained, he then distributed a handful of copies at cost to a few serious 
collectors, with copies available to the public at the Library of Congress, 
The University of Pittsburg and at music evenings he often hosted at his 
home in Los Angeles. Although he never claimed the credit, more than one 
member of the opera community believes that his transcription of a secret 
wire recording of a  class taught in the 1950s at the Met by Maria Callas 
was the inspiration for the Tony Award winning musical “The Master Class”.

A heart attack in 2009 forced Mike to give up these activities, transfer his 
opera recordings to a distributer who is still in the process of cataloging 
and transcribing them for public release, and relocate to Glenview, to be 
near his brother’s family in Deerfield and Highland Park. Over the last four 
years, while a resident at the Seasons of Brookdale, he has conducted both 
opera evenings and a weekly movie night for residents, even though his voice 
had been reduced in the last year to little more than a whisper. Just before 
his death, arrangements were made that his last collection of commercially 
available opera videos and recordings – numbering about 200 titles – will be 
put in circulation at the Northbrook Public Library.

No services will be held.