This time capsule was un-earthed and opened last Christmas.
Technicians spent a year extracting the fragile records from the glass plates and asbestos inside which they had been packed. The 78rpm grooves were read optically and transferred to digital storage.
The collection was put on the internet yesterday as extracts were played to experts and the public in a vaulted salon while snow fell outside on the great Opéra staircase.
The Paris Opera will be burying a new time capsule with the best recordings from the 21st century, which is to be opened in 100 years.
You can click here and get to the webpage that has links to clips from all the recordings as well as information on the artists and musicians featured. The site is in French though. It is a great thing to be able to say these records lasted for 100 years, allowing us a window to the music and times of Paris after the turn of the 20th century.
Here are a few links to specific artists and performances.
Charles Guonod - Faust (Act III - Serenade)
Francesco Tamagno - Verdi's Otello (Act IV)
Luisa Tetrazinni - Rossinni's Barber of Seville (Act I)
Emma Calvait - Bizet's Carmen (Habanera)
Maybe the coolest damn thing about all this is that the labels were preserved nearly perfectly, as the records were encased in a leaden jar, with asbestos and glass discs between each record. Amazing. Here are a few of those beautiful record labels.
A compilation compact disc will be released of all these recordings next month. Amazing! Try keeping some flaky ass janky CD's in an urn for 100 years! Ha! Vinyl forever!! This is a record collector's Wet Dream I tell ya!