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:'-(

Mike has been and will be missed.


On Mon, Oct 21, 2013 at 4:47 PM, Matt Sohn <[log in to unmask]> 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.