There are now 300 reviews of Blu-ray and DVD recordings in the database. (70 Blu-ray, the balance DVD) As I did at 200 I took a look at how they break out. I’ve pretty much exhausted the opera dvd resources of the Toronto public library system so recent and future reviews are more likely to be of things I’ve chosen to spend money on, bar the odd review copy from record companies.
The first thing I looked at was language of performance. It’s no surprise that Italian (96) and German (72) dominate the list. French is a strong third at 55. English comes in at 40, almost all 20th and 21st century works. Other (7) is quite interesting as it mostly reflects works in multiple languages such as Tan Dun’s Marco Polo. “Other” is very much a modern category.
Logically, that leads us to century of composition. One might expect the 19th century to dominate as it does in the opera house but in my world it’s eclipsed by the 20th and is even beaten out by the 18th (just). Britten, Strauss, Mozart and Handel rule I guess. This pattern is even more pronounced than it was at 200 disks. One can see too that contemporary works are starting to get more of a look in.
Recent recordings dominate with over 200 since 2000. The biggest increase is in the very recent recording section which contributes 47 of the 100 new entries. The oldest recording is a film of Die Dreigroschenoper from 1931. There’s also a Salzburg Rosenkavalier with Schwarzkopf from the 1960s in there.
There are few patterns to be found in which houses the recordings were made in. Films remain the single largest category, boosted by the release on DVD of some of the BBC’s early Britten broadcasts. Glyndebourne (perhaps surprisingly) and Salzburg (less so) are the leading houses. The Metropolitan Opera is boosted by the the taste of whoever buys for the library. In the huge “other” category the geographical split is immense. Europe is covered from St. Petersburg to Valencia. North America from Los Angeles to Toronto to New York and Australia from Perth to Sidney. Even Beijing gets a look in.
It’s taken 15 months to get from 200 to 300. I wonder how long the next hundred will take.