Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Marcella Sembrich Museum Houses Her Personal Victrola Player

A Portrait of Madame Sembrich
"In our series the Adirondack Attic, North Country Public Radio collaborates with Andy Flynn and his sources at the Adirondack Museum and other historical associations and museums in the region to bring local history stories to air. Andy recently spoke with Beth Barton Navitsky, Executive Director at The Sembrich opera museum in Bolton Landing, N.Y., about a record player once owned by opera star Marcella Sembrich. 'We’re looking at a 107-year-old Victor Victrola that was made in 1908,' Navitsky said. 'It is a standing model that stands about 4 feet high and 2 feet wide. It also has a Circassian walnut veneer on the cabinet. The Circassian walnut is an English walnut that has a pattern of swirls on the outside as well as the inside. To play the Victrola, you have to lift the lid. You have to put the needle down on the record disc. And then you need to open up the cabinet below so the built-in speakers can be sending out the sound.'....'This was given to Marcella Sembrich, and she was an internationally renowned Polish opera singer whose career spanned
Put a Needle on the Record: The very player that the soprano would listen to her own Victrola recordings.
over 40 years,' Navitsky said. 'When she retired, Madame Sembrich opened up her studio and she taught students from Juilliard and the Curtis Institute of Music, and she used the Victrola for her students to listen to other opera singers as well as her own singing. She recorded quite a few recordings also in records. And she, of course, used it for enjoyment.'...'Was this made specifically for her, or did she just go out and purchase it?' Flynn asked. 'Actually it was made specifically for her,' Navitsky said. 'It was one of the first 10 made, which was why the Victrola Repair company in Vermont has said that they feel it was of the best made because it was made for Madame Sembrich and she was well-known as a very popular opera singer of that time.' [Source] Hear samples of the soprano's Victrola recordings, after the jump.

The Opera Museum is located in the former teaching studio of the Metropolitan Opera Diva Marcella Sembrich - pianist, violinist, teacher, Polish patriot and benefactor - on the shores of Lake George in Bolton Landing, New York. Click here for more information.

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