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Iconic Landmarks
Spring
2020

A Recovery Story - Part II

Sounds of the Opera kept in a vault for 100 years.

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On Dec. 24, 1907, 24 carefully wrapped wax records were placed inside two lead and iron containers. In 1912, other recordings and a gramophone were added. These were sealed and locked in a small storage room underneath the Opera house with instructions that they should remain undisturbed for 100 years!

The man behind this musical time capsule was Alfred Clark, a New Yorker who headed the London-based Gramophone Company who wanted to draw attention to his company's new flat-disc records to compete with the better-known cylinders.

In 2007, after lengthy examination, cleaning and digitizing of the records, EMI, the heir to the Gramophone Company, reissued them on three CDs as “Les Urnes de l’Opéra” and in the United States as “Treasures From the Paris Opera Vaults.”

Photo: Urnes de l’Opéra, 1907 / Officials in Paris on Dec. 24, 1907, preparing to fill a canister with records of famous opera singers and instrumental pieces.

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