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PDF Documents
All documents at this web site are of type PDF (Portable Document Format). When I began collecting information thirty years ago, the natural goal was to have data that could be printed on paper. It did not seem probable then that these documents would eventually become so large that printing would be impossible.

They have been created with groff, a GNU version of the nearly forty-year-old Unix typesetter that was called troff. Groff generates postscript that is then converted to PDF with Adobe's Acrobat Distiller.

Even today, HTML does not provide strict enough control over a document's physical format (appearing differently on FireFox, Explorer, and Netscape) to encourage me to re-engineer them, so they remain as PDF.
 
CALLAS
The Callas project, first in this series, began at a time in the late 1980s when copies of the Arthur Germond book (out-of-print and pulped after a short life in the stores) were so expensive (about $350) and impossible to find, that I copied it word-for-word into my work-place computer from a copy that I had borrowed from the Music School Library of the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Germond's chronology was so comprehensive and error free that most of it remains here unchanged. My contributions have been to add the chronology from the Athens years, which to my knowledge is still the only source for the Greek programs in the Latin alphabet; I was able to obtain a list of all the student names from the Juilliard School, while Germond's work already provided the dates and content of each master-class; I added the names of the production designers; created two comprehensive indices; and created the compact disc and DVD discographies.
 
CORELLI
As with the Callas project, the data for my Corelli work began with theft of statistics from another book, this one by Gilberto Starone. However, in this case many corrections were made, and missing casts were added and fleshed out to include as many of the comprimario roles as could be found, etc. I created the index of his repertoire and performance history as well as comprehensive discographies of compact discs and DVDs.
 
DI STEFANO & GOBBI
Returning to New York after three years in Frankfurt, I met Thomas Kaufman in Baltimore, who may own the most comprehensive collection of opera house chronology books in the world. I used his collection to research Di Stefano and Gobbi from scratch. In addition to many newly published books (unavailable at the time of Germond's and Starone's research), some house chronologies, such as La Scala's, began to appear online. At Tom's insistence, I also began newspaper research, first with international papers at the Library of Congress, then at the NY Public Library.
 
PHILADELPHIA
While researching the singers, one brick wall could never be overcome or ignored, the utter absence of information for the city of Philadelphia. Philadelphia was an important opera city. Because of its proximity to New York City many singers engaged at the Metropolitan would also travel there to perform, whereas Boston, for example, was five hours away.

I could almost ignore Philadelphia while researching Di Stefano and Gobbi, but not Corelli. Fellow researchers had said that Philadelphia could not be done because of the endless number of changing companies that compeatively performed there. I took this as a challenge, and my singer research came to an end, as I decided to document a city rather than additional individual careers.

Initially, the scope of this project was the Twenieth-Century, the period when most of the artists contemporary of my generation performed.

Not long after beginning the project, I learned from Tom Kaufman that Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia had been documented by a man named John Curtis. This unpublished work, residing at the Pennsylvania Historical Society, was for the purpose of any extensive research all but inaccessible. Because of their short hours due to limited funding, access to it could not be had on weekends (I lived and worked in NYC). The historical society would not allow more than a few pages to be photocopied during each visit, but would indeed fight resisting anyone's requests for photocopies at all.

Soon I would discover the first half of the John Curtis work was available in carbon-copy format (from his own typewriter) at the Free Library. Much later, someone made the other half available from photocopy, which I in turn photocopied. The urge to make the statistical portion of his work, the non-copyrightable performance data, available at my web site became overwhelming. John Curtis' long narrative covering the history of Philadelphia's opera companies, opera houses, impresarios, and biographical sketches of the performers remains unavailable here because of copyright. My contribution to the Curtis years has been two comprehenive indices for works and performers.
 
DISCLAIMER
Perhaps this summary should have begun with the Disclaimer... In any case, all documents featured here should be used as a starting point for research and not as a conclusive source.

Accuracy has been paramount, but time has not allowed exhaustive search in materials that I have not had readily at hand. For example, I have not been able to visit Boston University to explore Tito Gobbi's personal papers archived there; I did not have access to microfilm of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin while living in New York, so my Philadelphia research derives principally from one major newspaper, the Inquirer. The Pennsylvania Historical Society also has a large cache of theater programs which remains unexplored by me. I have not yet written to the major opera houses for which no published day-by-day chronologies exist, Naples being the most important (the Di Stefano and Gobbi chronologies suffer greatly because of this).

I am always greatful for corrections and additions no matter how small from anyone, and am eager to give full credit to volunteers who which to add their own research.
 
E-MAIL    fh@FrankHamilton.org
HOME    http://FrankHamilton.org
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