The Mapleson Cylinders - Program Notes
Paul E. Eisler, The Metropolitan Opera: The First Twenty-Five Years, 1883-1908, Croton-On-Hudson: North River Press, 1984.
Ira Glackens, "The Mapleson Collection," in The Gramophone, XVI/186 (November 1938), 264ff.
David Hall, "The Mapleson Cylinder Project at the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, New York Public Library: A Preliminary Report," in Association for Recorded Sound Collections: Journal, XIII/3 (1981), 5-20 (includes "A Provisional Mapleson Cylinder Chronology").
--"A Mapleson Afterword," in Ibid, XIV/1 (1982), 5-10.
--"The Mapleson Cylinder Project," in Recorded Sound 82 (July 1982), 39-59, 83 (January 1983), 21-55, and 86 (July 1984), 5-28.
--"The Mapleson Cylinder Recordings: Live at the Met, 1901-1903," in Ovation, V/9 (October 1984), 26-33, and V/10 (November 1984), 19-21, 34.
Irving Kolodin, The Metropolitan Opera, 1883-1966: A Candid History, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966.
Tom Owen, "Audio Restoration and Transfer Technology" (Audio Engineering Society, 68th Convention, Hamburg, Germany: Preprint 1737/X3). Available from the Society, 60 East 42nd Street, New York, N.Y. 10165.
Tom Owen and John C. Fesler, "Electrical Reproduction of Acoustically Recorded Cylinders and Disks" (Audio Engineering Society, 70th convention. New York City: Preprint 1854/E1). Reprinted in Association for Recorded Sound Collections: Journal, XIV/1 (1982), 11-18.
William H. Seltsam, Metropolitan Opera Annals: A Chronicle of Artists and Performances, New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1947, with supplements 1957 (with errata), 1968. (Third supplement, New York: Metropolitan Opera Guild and James T. White and Company, 1978).
John Stratton, "The Mapleson Cylinders," in The Record Collector, XIV/3-4 (n.d.), 53-77.
--"The Recordings of Jean de Reszke." in Recorded Sound, 27 (July 1967), 209-13.
--"The Mapleson Cylinder of 'A ce mot' from Les Huguenots," in Ibid., 31 (July 1968), 319-21.
David Hall has been active as a writer on sound recordings since 1940, his byline appearing regularly in recent years in Stereo Review and Ovation magazines. His professional career has encompassed program annotation for the Toscanini NBC Symphony broadcasts; production of Mercury's "Living Presence" recordings with the Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, and Eastman- Rochester symphony orchestras in the early 1950s; the founding music editorship of Stereo Review; and the Curator's post at the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, from which he retired in June 1983. He was also Director of the Music Center at the American-Scandinavian Foundation and subsequently trustee, and has served on the board of the National Music Council and as national trustee for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). From 1981 to 1983, he was President of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections.
David Hamilton, music critic of The Nation and a contributing editor to Opus, has written extensively about music, opera, and recordings in the pages of High Fidelity, Opera News, and other publications. Co-producer with Dorle J. Soria of the Metropolitan Opera Historic Broadcast recordings, he has also programmed and annotated the Metropolitan Opera Guild's series One Hundred Years of Great Artists at the Met. His publications include a book, The Listener's Guide to Great Instrumentalists, and contributions to the three volumes of Opera on Record. Recipient of graduate degrees in music from Princeton and Harvard Universities, he also studied at University College, London, and has taught at Aspen Music School, The Juilliard School, and the Salzburg Seminars.
Since 1979, Tom Owen has been Chief Engineer and Director of Communications at the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, where he supervises audio and video restoration and communications planning. His studies of problems of sound restoration and transfer technology have been published in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, ARSC Journal, and elsewhere. Prior to joining Rodgers and Hammerstein, he served as staff producer and engineer for the Springboard, Viva, Musicor, Trip Jazz, and Sceptor labels, producing over 700 LPs, including two gold records, and winning the Ampex Golden Reel Award. Also author of four textbooks on playing guitar and banjo, he is chairman of the Technical Committee of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, and designer of the Owl I and Owl Multifilter sound restoration modules. Since 1979 he has been sound restoration engineer for the Metropolitan Opera Historic Broadcast recordings.
Graphic designer Douglas Sardo is a graduate of the Tyler School of Fine Art of Temple University. In addition to design work for Playbill, The American Museum of Natural History, and The Paul Taylor Dance Company, he was for five years Art Director for the Metropolitan Opera Guild, where he created the Hansel and Gretel Activity Book for Children. Since establishing his own firm, he has designed the record series One Hundred Years of Great Artists at the Met for the Guild, and for the Metropolitan Opera Association, the Centennial Logo and posters and marketing campaigns. He has also conceived and designed products for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, including a Wiener Werkstätte Advent calendar.
John Stratton, by profession a teacher of philosophy on the faculty of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, Toronto, is also a specialist in the history and recordings of dramatic singing, a producer of records, and a baritone. His articles on operatic singing and the phonograph, and on individual singers, have appeared in The Record Collector and Recorded Sound; his bibliography to date includes, some fifty articles and liner notes for recordings. In 1968 he gave the opening lectures, entitled "Crisis in the Art of Singing," at the new quarters of the British Institute of Recorded Sound. Cantilena, the record label he founded in 1966, has released some forty-six LPs of rare 78s by singers of the past. In the 1950s, he studied voice with Gina Cigna and Askel Schiøtz in Toronto, and with Florence Easton and Herbert Janssen in New York; he has recorded three LP recitals of songs, operatic excerpts, and sacred works. A graduate of Trinity College, Toronto, he received a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Toronto in 1969.
Robert Tuggle became the Metropolitan Opera's Director of Archives in 1981, succeeding Mary Ellis Peltz, who had founded the archives twenty-four years earlier. He grew up in Martinsville, Virginia, and majored in music at Princeton University. After two years in the United States Army, he joined the Education Department of the Metropolitan Opera Guild and remained there for twenty years. His book The Golden Age of Opera, a study of singers and photographs in New York between 1906 and 1932, was published in 1983.
The Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, the recordings research facility of The New York Public Library, serves some 6000 users annually through its collection of more than 400,000 recordings on disc and tape, as well as through its extensive array of printed materials covering virtually every aspect of recorded sound from its beginnings to the present day.
The service facilities of the Archives are designed primarily for the specialist and scholar in the performing arts and the communications industry. Specially designed playback carrels and equipment make possible remote-controlled audition of recordings of every type, ranging from turn-of-the-century cylinders, through commercial discs of all types and periods, to current television music programs and compact discs (the rarest items are played from tape transfers). The subject matter available at the Archives encompasses every type of material relevant to sound recordings--all types and styles of music; complete plays, classic and contemporary; literary readings by major poets, novelists, and essayists; pronouncements of historic significance by world statesmen and politicians, from Gladstone to Ronald Reagan; as well as speech dialects and sound effects of special interest to actors and to theatre, film, and television producers.
Because the Archives' listening-and-reading room immediately adjoins those of the major divisions--Dance, Music, Theatre--comprising the Performing Arts Research Center, users of these divisions are able to add further dimension to their research through access to relevant sound recordings. Accordingly, the development of the Archives' collections from their beginnings has been strongly oriented to the performing arts.
In addition to the Mapleson Cylinders, the collection incorporates other significant operatic rarities, including a complete set of the Columbia 1903 Grand Opera Series, the first celebrity operatic recordings made in the United States. Of special note in the field of popular music are the discs of Irving Berlin singing his own songs, two of them originally commercial releases, the third documenting his role in a 1911 Friars Club Frolic. Theatrical and dramatic readings of unusual interest include private tapings of Tennessee Williams reading from his own works and the complete sound track from the Omnibus series television production of Marc Connelly's The Green Pastures. Many thousands of limited-edition and privately-issued recordings are available, ranging from the Metropolitan Opera debut of Kirsten Flagstad (a substantial portion of her personal tape collection forms part of the Archives) to world premieres of major operas and symphonic works, including that of the Bartók Concerto for Orchestra, with Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
The opening of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives in late 1965 as a fully staffed and equipped research facility of The New York Public Library was the result of a generous grant from the Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation--a grant making possible the organizing and partial cataloging of the collection of recordings that had been gathered and stored by the Library since the 1930s. Without the generosity of large numbers of people and organizations--record companies, philanthropic foundations and individuals, and concerned record collectors--the continuing growth of the Archives would not be possible. In company with the many other great collections that make up The Research Libraries of The New York Public Library, the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives is keenly aware of the role played in its maintenance and growth by organizations and individuals alike, and continues to welcome assistance in the form of gifts from all who value its work in collecting, preserving, and providing direct access to that special part of human existence and history preserved by the medium of recorded sound.
Album cover: A painting (artist unknown) of the interior of the Metropolitan Opera House around the turn of the century, showing the final scene of Gounod's Faust in progress on stage. In both this picture and that on the booklet cover, note the position of the conductor, close to the stage apron with his back to many of the orchestra players, and also the doors in the proscenium arch, used for curtain calls.
Booklet cover: Curtain call after a Faust performance in the 1894/95 season; the singers are Edouard De Reszke, Nellie Melba, and Jean De Reszke. This engraving (after a drawing by T. De Thulstrup) appeared on the cover of Harper's Weekly, February 16, 1895.
Pages 4, 6, 8: Lionel Mapleson was a dedicated photography enthusiast and maintained his own darkroom. One day, probably in late 1901 or early 1902, six pictures were taken backstage at the Metropolitan Opera: five were of Lionel, probably taken by his wife Helen; he himself probably took the sixth (reproduced in part on page 8), in which she is seen in front of the recording apparatus. The entire series is reproduced with commentary in Recorded Sound, 82 (July 1982), pp. 47-50. The originals were made on 4-inch by 5-inch glass negatives, most or all of which evidently came to William Seltsam with his batch of cylinders, but so far only one of the glass negatives has been located.
Page 12: Figure 3 by Steven Mark Needham
Pages 14ff.: The visual documentation of the artists in this booklet has been drawn entirely from the general period of the Mapleson recordings. Without exception, all the photographs illustrating the biographies and program notes were produced roughly between 1895 and 1905. Most of them are the work of Aimé Dupont who, although not always designated as the Metropolitan Opera's official photographer, served in that capacity from 1895 until 1910, when Herman Mishkin arrived at the house. Familiar Mishkin photographs such as those of Antonio Scotti in Tosca and Pagliacci have been excluded as having the appearance of another era.
Among the portraits in the booklet, the following are not by Dupont:
Melba as Marguerite (p. 22): Reutlinger (Paris)
Edouard De Reszke as Méphistophélès: J. Mieczkowski (Warsaw)
Melba as Marguerite (p. 24): Davis & Sanford (New York)
Edouard and Jean De Reszke in Le Cid; Edouard De Reszke in Ernani: Benque (Paris)
Gilibert as Sulpice: Davis & Eickemeyer (New York)
Gadski as Elsa: G. Gerlach (Berlin)
Gadski as Eva: W. Hoffert (Berlin)
Jean De Reszke as Siegfried: Nadar (Paris)
Ternina as Isolde (p. 66): Elvira (Munich)
Begué, Maurer, Van Cauteren, Viviani, Von Hübbenet, Nordica as Valentine and as Brünnhilde, Sembrich as Violetta: unknown
New York Public Library: Gadski as Elsa, Nordica as Brünnhilde in Götterdämmerung, Mapleson with recording equipment
Harvard Theatre Collection: Sembrich as Violetta
Opera News: Album cover, Begué, Mühlmann, Nordica, Saléza, Ternina, Seppilli, Scheff as Marguerite, Melba as Violetta. De Marchi as Cavaradossi
Metropolitan Opera Archives: Booklet cover, Gerhäuser, Marilly, Van Cauteren, Vanni, De Marchi as Radames, Eames as Aida, Anthes as Siegfried, Metropolitan Opera programs
Theatre Collection of the Museum of the City of New York: Edouard and Jean De Reszke in Le Cid
James Camner: Scheff
Charles Mintzer: Von Hübbenet
Henry Y. Porter: Nordica as Valentine
William Seward: Saléza as Edgardo
Robert Tuggle: all other photographs