Record Companies and Lists of Recordings
Given the volatility of the recordings market with CD's and DVD's now supplemented by downloads and streaming and the availability of www.google.com and www.amazon.com for searching for recordings, only a few specialist sites are included below.A recording of Donizetti's Songs written in the Bass Clef sung by Ian Caddy with Melvyn Tan at the fortepiano (Meridien CDE 84143) is available from the Society. Please link here for song listing, sound extracts and to order.
Opera Rara specialise in opera recordings of this era. Dynamic and Bongiovanni also issue quite a lot of bel canto works. Victorian Opera Northwest specialise in recordings of English opera of this era and a little later. The more mainstream companies:- Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Sony, Virgin etc. offer both new recordings and from their back catalogues but usually of the more common works.
The Oriel Music Trust offer recordings in English. As of October 2013, they include Rossini's Cinderella, The Silken Ladder, The Thieving Magpie, The Italian Girl in Algiers and Count Ory, Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Le Convenienze, The Night Bell, Rita, La Romanziera and Francesca di Foix and in adaptations for radio of L'elisir d'amore and Daughter of the Regiment. Contact Oriel Music ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) for their latest list.
The late Brian Capon's compilation of Donizetti and many other composers' opera recordings can be found at http://www.operadis-opera-discography.org.uk/ . It runs up to the end of 2009 and is not being updated with new recordings but is a valuable resource for old ones, particularly of the LP era. Another source of that lists recordings including unofficial ones is http://www.esdf-opera.de/ .
The Fondazione Donizetti site, http://www.donizetti.org/fd/gaetano-donizetti/discografia/ includes an extensive list of Donizetti recordings.
Gramophone Magazine has made its online archive of all its reviews available at http://www.gramophone.co.uk/ but do charge a fee.
Remember when buying a DVD to check that it is playable in your country, as some are restricted by region
Video and Audio Recordings available on the Web
Video clips from operas by Donizetti (and many other composers) can be found at http://www.youtube.com/ by putting either the composer or the piece required in the Search box. As the files are very large, you will really need broadband (DSL). The voice/picture coordination is not always good but it gives the chance to see excerpts of performances that you may not have seen.
The Opera Platform and Culturebox both broadcast videos of a changing set of operas including some bel canto. http://www.operacat.com/ offers links to a number of opera videos, although of varying quality. Audio recordings of operas and arias are available at http://archive.org.
http://www.operacast.com/ have details of opera broadcasts on the web as well as information on the New York based Vocal Records Collecting Society. Associated with the site is Norbeck, Peters & Ford who sell a wide range of historic recordings. Pristine Classical offers a considerable amount of historic material for download, although not too much of that is operatic and most is at a price, although quite modest.
The University of California’s Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/ has placed the music from some 8000 cylinders on line as well as interesting articles on their history and the project. There are several hundred opera recordings, although this includes quite a few arrangements for band or various instruments. Currently, there are 40 Donizetti pieces. There are some well known names such as Bonci, Ancona and Kurz but the bulk of the singers are towards the more journeyman or woman end of the music business of the cylinder era. Perhaps few absolute jewels but a wonderful insight into its time nevertheless.