4 CD Set inklusief Buch, 19.90 Eur

When you think one single 78rpm of interest easily reaches an over 30 dollar bid on ebay this is a cheap bargain indeed for four CD’s and a booklet. Especially if your collection is not yet an extensive one this a possible opportunity to get a good survey of great vocal and often unique opera stars.
On the other hand if your collection is one to reckon with and the subject of the nazi regime and its impact on operatic history is of interest to you this release is a huge disappointment, a missed chance and not worth investing your money in.
The 54 page booklet with its subtitle ‘Die Vertreibung der “Juden” aus der Oper 1933-1945’
excels in its lack of photographs and those included are so small they can hardly been seen without using a magnifying glass. But also the text disappoints as non-Jews are taken for Jews and vice-versa and it’s too easy and cheap to solve this problem with putting ‘Juden’ between inverted commas in the subtitle to the booklet.
One of the participating authors is German ‘Stimmenpabst’ Jurgen Kesting and you would expect more from this “authority” than a three page blablabla article full of commonplaces.  
The biographies as well often miss important facts and instead of answering questions often raise them. Moreover the criteria of whom to include on the cd’s or in the biographies are Chinese to me. Only singers of German or Austrian descent or victims from the occupied territories as well? Only singers or conductors and composers too?
What this box fails to achieve in the first place is to pay homage to all those (besides the Taubers, Lehmans and Schumanns whom we all know already so well)who were great singers but ended up with careers broken or ended up in the gas chambers of Birkenau and which are thus inevitably ‘Verstummt UND vergessen’. I mean why include four recordings of the great but easily available Lotte Lehman but none of Rose Book though she’s included in the thumbnail biographies? Ditto for Magda Spiegel and Julius Guttman? And where are names such as Paula Lindberg? Hermann Schey? Lotte Leonard? Erno Garay? Wilhelm Guttmann and Herta Glaz? Hermann Jadlowker anyone? Just to name but a few serious omissions. And when the thumbnail biographies deal with a few conductors as well Oskar Fried is shamefully ignored. Ditto for operetta composers such as Emmerich Kallman and Robert Stolz.
The link above provides a lot of information on the issue and on the exhibition on which this release is partly based, soundbites, the biographies and info on the CD-release for those who nevertheless want to purchase the records.

Rudi van den Bulck, OperaNostalgia