I’m not sure how familiar J.R.R. Tolkein is in the non-Anglophone world – I mean, those movies were everywhere a few years ago, but do children in Germany or Italy or Paraguay read The Hobbit? (One of my favorite books as a child was a translation of a German one, The Neverending Story, so I’m guessing there’s a fair amount of back and forth as far as children’s literature is concerned.) I say this not because I am about to launch into a discussion of The Lord of the Rings but because – well, sometimes opera singers turn up in places you would never expect.
After listening to Serse over the weekend, I did a little search to see what recordings by Isabel Bayrakdarian the university library has. Turns out they have the Cleopatra CD, although it’s via an online streaming service that is not working at the moment because they’re doing some sort of epic database migration thing before the term starts in a few weeks. The library also has the soundtrack to those movies of LOTR – and Bayrakdarian is on it! Specifically, the soundtrack to The Two Towers. My first thought was “huh?” and my second thought was “am I going to be embarrassed to check this CD out of the library?” Turns out I’m not.
The music isn’t exciting – just the sort of ‘wooble wooble ethereal’ material that if memory serves goes along with elves in these movies. It’s probably more interesting if you’re imagining elves or replaying bits of the movie in your head as you listen, neither of which was something I felt like doing.
I have this impulse to try to turn the above into a little moral story about the importance of library catalogs, but I’m not sure that it actually demonstrates anything of the kind.