I've been blogging for 9 years now, and I feel I must pause to consider.
I have a new friend who has an opera website called Classical Searchlight. It isn't really a blog. His point of view is very much the viewpoint of my contemporaries. He catalogs and evaluates primarily recordings, most of them from my youth.
I find that I own only about 30 CDs of complete operas while owning about 175 opera videos, tape and DVD. Callas recorded a lot of complete operas, while I own only 4 of them. There was a sale. I don't believe there are any films of complete operas with Callas, but there are some individual scenes. Second act of Tosca. I don't own any CDs of Sutherland or Caballe. I do have a video of Caballe's Semiramide with Horne and Ramey. This is quite spectacular.
I was collecting Bartoli, of course, and have 6 of her opera CDs. In contrast I have 11 videos of her in complete operas. The oddest thing in my opera CD collection is 2 complete Tristan and Isolde recordings--Stemme and Brewer. One was a gift, you may guess which one. The only T&I I really like is Nilsson. You knew that.
I'm not trying to get it to stop in my brain. I'm not trying to find perfection. In fact what I am doing is almost the opposite. I want to see what these new ones are going to make of our art form.
A nameless singer told me recently she never learns from recordings. And I say that is simply not possible. If you listen to them, you learn from them. It is your ears that build the music in your brain. I know what she meant though.
We each of us have our own music. This is part of the great joy that it brings to us. I want my brain to go on to hear new things, even new things in the same old recordings. I don't still like things I loved before. I used to listen all the time to the Four Last Songs in the Schwarzkopf recording. Now I love best Jessye, I think, but also Lucia and Renée.
The Verdi year has for me transformed Verdi into a German. Perhaps the young singers should find some nice Italians to listen to.
I was happier when I thought no one read it. It was just me thinking out loud.