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Sign-off for the Old Met: The Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts, 1950-1966 [Hardcover]

Paul Jackson


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Book Description

Oct 1997
For more than 65 years, the live Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts brought the productions of one of the world's great opera companies to a worldwide audience. Paul Jackson's "Saturday Afternoons at the Old Met" described the broadcasts of the first 20 seasons. This volume chronicles the broadcasts from the coming of the iron-willed Rudolf Bing in 1950 to the final broadcast from the old house on Broadway in 1966, after which the Met moved uptown to Lincoln Center and the start of a new era. As well as his accounts of each broadcast, Jackson delves behind the scenes to discuss the Met's strengths and weaknesses, to present highlights of the broadcast intermission features, and to share his many insights into the magic of grand opera.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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The venerable Met, a shopworn but triumphant centenarian, saw cause to celebrate. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The long-awaited sequel was worth the wait 6 Nov 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Those operaphiles who know Jackson's first volume, "Saturday Afternoons at the Old Met", have been waiting a number of years for this sequel. The format and style remain the same. One problem faced by Jackson in the sequel was the sheer magnitude of his task. In the earlier book many of the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts between 1931 (they began Christmas Day 1931) and 1950 were not preserved. Virtually all of the broadcasts (and then some) between 1950 and 1966, the years covered by this book, are preserved. Naturally, Jackson notes the highlights, those afternoons that live in the memories of those who heard them, but he also fairly notes those that, for whatever reason, fell short of the Gold Standard. He also shows the slow decline of the Met that began when true operatic giants like Bjoerling, Melchior, Flagstad, Bodanzky, and so forth left either no replacements or the replacements were in the hand (or, rather, throats) of a select few, such as Richard Tucker who upheld the standard for many years before his death. Mr Jackson not only provides an excellent narrative but also an appendix listing broadcast dates and casts. Highly recommended. The only sour note comes from the Metropolitan Opera itself whose Brownshirts work to prevent the legitimate sale of these out-of-copyright treasures except those that the Met sells at outrageous prices. Recordings of these are available in Europe and are well worth the effort to read Jackson's words and hear the actual performance.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE WHOLE SERIES HAS SPAWNED MY PASSION FOR THE MET BROADCASTS ----AND HAVE BOUGHT AND RECORDED MANY OF THEM!!!! 24 May 2009
By L. Mitnick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Mr. Jackson's three-book series on the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts have opened a whole new world to me in my passion for opera. I use all three of them for reference, and in the instances where he praises and raves about a particular broadcast, I've sought it out via Sirius broadcasts, or have actually been able to get my hands on the broadcast via other means. It is Mr. Jackson's books that have spawned my passion, which have resulted in my owning over one hundred and fifty Met broadcasts spanning the years 1940 through 2009. I do not always agree with Mr. Jackson's opinions about a particular singer's performance on a particular afternoon, but his opinions always have stimulated my interest. I owe him much. It has been his wonderful books on the Met broadcasts that made me a man on a mission: I simply HAD to hear what he was talking about. As a result, I've been able to hear three broadcasts of Licia Albanese's Butterfly (a role she never recorded commercially), multitudes of Zinka Milanov's broadcast roles (some of which SHE never recorded commercially), and the list goes on and on and on. These Jackson books have set me on the road to building a Met broadcast library-----and I always use his books as a reference. Again I repeat: I do not always share his opinions, but many times I do. He's a master and a scholar. I also admire the fact that he never bashes any artist. He's a complete gentleman in his evaluations of the broadcasts, and I admire him tremendously for stimulating in me such an interest and passion that was so much part of the Metropolitan Opera in the 1940's through the 1970's. These three books must have taken him years to put together, and I am in awe over what he has accomplished. Anyone who has spent as many years with the Met broadcasts as I have should be without any of these three books. They are truly treasures beyond measure.
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any lover of opera or Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. 5 July 2014
By Leeber Cohen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the second of three volumes that Jackson wrote on Metropolitan Opera Broadcast's from the 1930s to about 1976. Jackson has a highly experienced and sensitive ear which reviews both the singers and conductors in these broadcasts. This is wonderful reading for lovers of opera. You may not agree with his impression of every singer's voice but overall his remarks are intelligent and fair. Like many opera fans I grew up hearing these broadcasts and attended the Met frequently while in school in New York. With so many casts per year the broadcasts can range from weak to incredible. With the release of the two large Verdi and Wagner boxes of broadcasts it is fascinating to read Jackson's insights into the performances. You can also look for historical broadcasts which you can add to your collection. There are clearly many gem broadcast performances which can be heard through the Met's online archives and other sources. These books are a superb guide.
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