Opera-Media Servings

Happy to Be an Opera Engineer

October 2017 marks my 45th consecutive year as (freelance) engineer-in-charge at the media department at the Metropolitan Opera. That’s a long time to work for a company, but it’s not so special at the Met. One of our video engineers, still working on our television productions, began five years before me. On Sunday night, as […]  More

The Polish Polymath Who Came Up With Television For Opera – In 1878

  His name was Julijan Ochorowicz (though his first name was also spelled Julian or even Julien), and he was, among other things, a scientist, engineer, mathematician, inventor (credited with the first hands-free telephone), economist, linguist, Egyptologist, philosopher, poet, teacher, paranormal-phenomena investigator, and pioneer of experimental and clinical psychology.  His first thesis was on the […]  More

The Impresario Who Invented the Movie Theatre

  A long time ago, I worked on a television show featuring opera star Luciano Pavarotti singing at the Spectrum arena, home of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team. The concert was performed between games, so flooring was laid over the ice, and the stage and seats over that. It wasn’t the first time opera had […]  More

Rossini, Fax Pioneer

  A version of this was originally posted in Media-Technology and Opera History on Rossini’s 54th birthday, February 29, 2016. Gioachino Rossini, composer of such operas as Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) and Guglielmo Tell (William Tell), was born on February 29, 1792, which means today is his 54th birthday (there was no February 29 in […]  More

IEEE Proceedings: Fandom of the Opera

  This one has it all, from toxic candles to quantum entanglement, the story of how opera created the modern media world, with full references. Here’s a free link to the paper, published in the March 2016 issue of the Proceedings of the IEEE: The Fandom of the Opera Opera-house-based baseball-playing robots? A 200-ton music synthesizer? “No […]  More

The First Bootleg Recording

  Opera has a long history of bootleg recording. The “Golden Age of Opera” label, begun in the 1950s, used unauthorized off-air recordings from Metropolitan Opera (Met) radio broadcasts. Before that, Wagner-Nichols promoted recorders and recordings of those broadcasts. And Classic Editions issued an opera recording supposedly made in Italy that was, in fact, an […]  More

Opera in New York City in 2015

  Opera was alive and well in New York City, again, in 2015. I have tried to compile all of the opera performances there in that year. I’ve probably missed some. As I’m not a musicologist, and some scholars don’t consider even Bizet’s “Carmen” or Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” to be operas, I used these […]  More

The Technology of Le nozze di Figaro by Mark Schubin

The Technology of “The Marriage of Figaro” In October 2014, the Metropolitan Opera transmitted The Marriage of Figaro live from its technologically advanced stage to more than 2000 cinemas worldwide.  The opera can also be enjoyed at home via TV, radio, recordings, downloads, and streams.  The Marriage of Figaro was first performed in 1786, however, […]  More