This is sad news. Mike had a fascinating background, and was certainly a dedicated enthusiast of opera. I am happy to hear that the Northbrook public library will be making his unique collection available. Regards, Scott D. Smith CAS Chicago Audio Works, Inc. On 10/21/2013 6:47 PM, Matt Sohn wrote: > 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.