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Tag: DVDs (Page 1 of 3)

When Love Goes Wrong….Composers and Librettists Go “Yay!”

We would like to remind those who will be alone on Valentine’s Day that the Music Library will be open from 9 am to 10 pm, and our audiovisual stacks offer a wide array of reminders that the course of true love does not run particularly smoothly. For the Taylor Swiftian who just knows that if you’re nice and helpful enough, your beloved is bound to leave hir current stormy relationship and start dating you, La Gioconda offers a warning (also a reminder that Les Miserables is far from the only bizarre Victor Hugo plot rendered into popular musical entertainment.)  Take it from Lucia di Lammermoor‘s Arturo: if she doesn’t want to be with you, she really doesn’t want to be with you!

Found your perfect mate? Sure nothing can go wrong? Otello and his bride might have something to say about that. Elsa from Lohengrin would probably advise you to be happy with what you have and not ask too many questions, while Judith from Bluebeard’s Castle might modify that recommendation and suggest you ask the questions before you and your intended are isolated together in a gloomy stronghold. Does s/he have controlling, overbearing relatives? Does s/he have a problem with drinking, drugs, gambling or infidelity?  Does s/he just have problems, full stop?  And if you doubt the need for a pre-nup, consider the fate of Elisabetta in Don Carlo: don’t let your prospective father-in-law substitute himself for your bridegroom at the last minute.

If you and your Ms. or Mr. Right are thinking of having kids, Peter and Gertrud from Hänsel und Gretel would urge you to find competent and reliable child care.  Asking Kostelnička Buryjovka or Azucena from Il Trovatore, for example, would be a bad idea. Make sure your babysitter clearly understands and follows all instructionsBandits, pirates, enemy soldiers and other wanderers are everywhere, just waiting to seize your precious little bundle and raise him or her as one of their own.  (And if you must split up, you’ll probably want a better custody plan than the one in Medea.)

If, on the other hand, your beloved just wants somebody who isn’t you (and you don’t feel comfortable stabbing, betraying or poisoning them) why not be like two of the greatest characters in all opera and graciously let them go?  The beautiful music you get to sing, and the respect from other characters in the opera, might make the whole thing worth it!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sarah Barton

New in the Recordings Collection (January 2011)

Dinah Washington… The fabulous Miss D!

cover image, AC 36777

Dinah Washington, The Fabulous Miss D! AC 36777

We recently received this fine Hip-O-Select collection that brings together in one place all of Dinah Washington’s Keynote, Decca and Mercury singles from 1943 to 1953. The book/CD package has great photos, reproductions of record labels and album covers, and detailed discographical notes for each single. The introductory essay was written by Marc Myers, who pens the Jazz Wax blog.

Find it here: Loeb Music Library AC 36777

The Rake’s Progress

cover image, CD 38218

Igor Stravinsky, The Rake's Progress. CD 38218

Just in on CD is this landmark recording from 1953, the first complete Rake’s Progress conducted by the composer. Stravinsky leads the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus and a cast including Hilde Gueden as Anne, Blanche Thebom as Baba the Turk, Eugene Conley as Tom, Mack Harrell as Nick Shadow, Martha Lipton as Mother Goose and Norman Scott as Trulove.

Find it here: Loeb Music Library CD 38218

Menotti in German

Cover image, DVD 1780

Gian Carlo Menotti, Operas. DVD 1780

We recently acquired an Arthaus DVD that contains 1960’s German-language studio recordings of Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief and The Medium. Elisabeth Höngen and Hilde Konetzni are featured in both operas, along with the Orchestra of the Vienna Volksoper. The DVD also includes an interview with stage director Otto Schenk.

Find it here: Loeb Music Library DVD 1780.

Venus Records

cover image, CD 38226

Eddie Higgins Trio, Essential Ballads Best. CD 38226

Over the past few years we’ve received a number of jazz titles on Japan’s Venus Records. This label has primarily been marketed to a Japanese audience, but is becoming more visible here in the U.S. Cambridge-born pianist Eddie Higgins, who died in the summer of 2009, was a favorite of the label’s owner and is featured on many Venus titles. A recent release culls “essential” ballads from some of those recordings.

Find it here: Loeb Music Library CD 38226.

– Peter Laurence

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