R.I.P. Ed Rosen
It is with a very heavy heart that I must share with you all that Ed Rosen has died.
For those of you who don't know him, Ed was one of the first people to make live recordings available to the public.
I first found out about Ed when I was 15 years old and an acquaintance gave me his catalogue of tapes. Leafing through those pages, a whole new world of opera opened up for me. It was a world that didn't give an unfair advantage to singers who had better P.R. machines to advance their mythology. It was a world in which Maria Callas stood next to lesser known singers like Teresa Zylis-Gara, Marisa Galvany, Mattwilda Dobbs to name a few. I could finally hear these artists, warts and all, in a manner that most accurately approximated what it must have been like to experience them live and in a range of repertory that I could not have imagined.
I would go on to become a buyer for his label Lyric Distribution when I worked at HMV in the 90s, and then I would work for him at Premiere Opera. Without his years of experience I would never have been able to start this company.
Ed was the first to release the video of Nilsson and Windgassen in Tristan und Isolde. He was the first to release the famous Lisbon Traviata with Callas and Kraus and he was the first to release the Die Walküre from the Met in 1941 in which a young Astrid Varnay made her operatic debut next to Lauritz Melchoir.
His contribution to the legacy of singers of the past as well as his promotion of those just starting their careers cannot be overstated.
If you would like to remember Ed may I suggest an end of the year donation to the Richard Tucker Foundation. Tucker, as many of you may know, was a tenor that Ed idolized both on and off the stage. I take comfort in the possibility that they are together listening to old tapes once again.