[Videolib] Fwd: Televised Opera and Musical Comedy Database

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Wed, 25 Jan 2006 15:08:17 -0800

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>
>
>Database Covers Half-Century of Televised Opera
>
>Opera enthusiasts can now search a database of=20
>hard-to-find U.S. opera telecasts, including=20
>programming of early live presentations on=20
>experimental television stations and=20
>contemporary productions released on broadcast=20
>television, cable, and home video.
>
>The Televised Opera and Musical Comedy Database,=20
>which includes 925 records of opera, operetta,=20
>and musical comedy, is a joint project of the=20
>Indiana University Digital Library Program and=20
>retired IU faculty member Herbert Seltz.
>
>Seltz, who taught production at the university=92s=20
>Department of Telecommunications, nurtured a=20
>love of opera at the acclaimed Indiana=20
>University School of Music. He began work on the=20
>database in 2000. =93I changed from practitioner to researcher,=94 Seltz=
says.
>
>As part of his research, Seltz combed through=20
>the immense card file at Opera America and the=20
>archives of the Museum of Television and Radio=20
>in New York and Los Angeles. He pored over=20
>microfilmed newspapers at the Indiana University=20
>Herman B Wells Library and read old copies of=20
>music journals at the university=92s William and Gayle Cook Music Library.
>
>=93I easily talked to hundreds of people,=94 Seltz=20
>says of his research. =93Some of the greatest=20
>enjoyment for me was talking to people who=20
>produced and directed the programs.=94
>
>In the early days of television, opera was king.=20
>In 1957, for example, 34 television broadcasts=20
>featured opera productions. Broadcasts were=20
>live, and many were never recorded.
>
>Seltz recalls broadcasting IU=92s acclaimed opera=20
>productions even before the university operated=20
>a television station. As an instructor in the=20
>mid-1950s, he and his students borrowed=20
>equipment from the local commercial station and=20
>operated from the station=92s remote van, a=20
>converted bread truck. =93Things were crude,=94=20
>Seltz says of those early productions. =93It was=20
>small and primitive=ADa far cry from today=92s Live=20
> From the Met, but the same principle.=94
>
>=93This is the kind of project we=92re here to=20
>support,=94 says Kristine Brancolini, head of IU=92s=20
>Digital Library Program. =93After compiling his=20
>extensive research, Herb came to us looking for=20
>technical expertise. His needs complemented our=20
>mission to provide high-quality networked=20
>resources to the IU community and beyond.=94
>
>Seltz estimates that about 600 of the recordings=20
>described in the database are available=20
>commercially as videos or at archives. =93A lot=20
>of recordings have been lost,=94 Seltz says. =93But=20
>the good news is, as time goes on, more and more=20
>of these programs surface.=94 And because=20
>technology makes distribution so much easier, an=20
>increasing number of network programs are now=20
>finding their way to home video or=20
>DVD. =93Someone looking for an opera should go=20
>back and look for it a year later,=94 Seltz says. =93Chances are it will=
show up.=94
>
>Researchers can search the opera database by=20
>year, composer, soloists, title, and more. The=20
>database is freely available via the Internet.=20
>To view the database, go=20
>to:=20
><http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/reference/operatv/>http://www.dlib.indiana.edu=
/reference/operatv/
>
>
>
>
>Kristine R. Brancolini, Director, Digital Library Program
>Wells Library E170, 1320 E. Tenth Street
>Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405
>Phone: 812.855.3710 | Fax: 812.856.2062 |=20
>Web: <http://www.dlib.indiana.edu>http://www.dlib.indiana.edu

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley
ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

*****

"In societies where modern conditions of production prevail,
all of life presents itself as an=20
immense accumulation of spectacles."
--Guy Debord =20
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Database Covers Half-Century of Televised Opera 

Opera enthusiasts can now search a database of hard-to-find U.S. opera telecasts, including programming of early live presentations on experimental television stations and contemporary productions released on broadcast television, cable, and home video. 

The Televised Opera and Musical Comedy Database, which includes 925 records of opera, operetta, and musical comedy, is a joint project of the Indiana University Digital Library Program and retired IU faculty member Herbert Seltz. 

Seltz, who taught production at the university=92s Department of Telecommunications, nurtured a love of opera at the acclaimed Indiana University School of Music. He began work on the database in 2000. =93I changed from practitioner to researcher,=94 Seltz says.

As part of his research, Seltz combed through the immense card file at Opera America and the archives of the Museum of Television and Radio in New York and Los Angeles. He pored over microfilmed newspapers at the Indiana University Herman B Wells Library and read old copies of music journals at the university=92s William and Gayle Cook Music Library.  

=93I easily talked to hundreds of people,=94 Seltz says of his research. =93Some of the greatest enjoyment for me was talking to people who produced and directed the programs.=94 

In the early days of television, opera was king. In 1957, for example, 34 television broadcasts featured opera productions. Broadcasts were live, and many were never recorded.  

Seltz recalls broadcasting IU=92s acclaimed opera productions even before the university operated a television station.  As an instructor in the mid-1950s, he and his students borrowed equipment from the local commercial station and operated from the station=92s remote van, a converted bread truck. =93Things were crude,=94 Seltz says of those early productions. =93It was small and primitive=ADa far cry from today=92s Live From the Met, but the same principle.=94 

=93This is the kind of project we=92re here to support,=94 says Kristine Brancolini, head of IU=92s Digital Library Program. =93After compiling his extensive research, Herb came to us looking for technical expertise. His needs complemented our mission to provide high-quality networked resources to the IU community and beyond.=94

Seltz estimates that about 600 of the recordings described in the database are available commercially as videos or at archives.  =93A lot of recordings have been lost,=94 Seltz says.  =93But the good news is, as time goes on, more and more of these programs surface.=94  And because technology makes distribution so much easier, an increasing number of network programs are now finding their way to home video or DVD.  =93Someone looking for an opera should go back and look for it a year later,=94 Seltz says. =93Chances are i= t will show up.=94

Researchers can search the opera database by year, composer, soloists, title, and more. The database is freely available via the Internet. To view the database, go to:  http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/reference/operatv/




Kristine R. Brancolini, Director, Digital Library Program
Wells Library E170, 1320 E. Tenth Street
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN  47405
Phone:  812.855.3710 | Fax:  812.856.2062 | Web:  http://www.dlib.indiana.edu  

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley
ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

*****

"In societies where modern conditions of production prevail,
           all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles."
            &nbs= p;  --Guy Debord

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