PE0009. Broadway through the Gramophone, Vol. I, incl. Brunswick, Columbia & Victor Light Opera Companies presenting excerpts from The Bohemian Girl, Maritana, Erminie, The Belle of New York, The Fortune Teller, The Wizard of the Nile, Florodora, The Prince of Pilsen, Babes in Toyland, Mlle. Modiste, The Red Mill, Algeria, etc. (England) 2-Pearl 0082, recorded 1909-24. Transfers by Roger Beardsley. Long out-of-print, Final copy! - 727031008224
“The Broadway cast album was a concept that didn't catch on with record labels until the 1940's, but musicals served as a source for popular recordings long before that, and one precursor of cast recordings was a series of medleys of show scores performed by all-star (but anonymous) studio groups. Victor Records was the leader in this genre, which flourished from 1909, when the company introduced it, to the early '30s. The Victor Light Opera Company featured major stars of the day, such as Billy Murray and Ada Jones, singing the choruses of several of the major songs from a show, with the results released on a single as ‘Gems From the MERRY WIDOW’, or whatever the show was. And the records were popular: Chart researcher Joel Whitburn's book of chart reconstructions, Pop Memories, lists 24 ‘Gems from…’ chart singles for the Victor Light Opera Company between 1909 and 1925. Naturally, other labels followed suit. This CD reissue, the first of four volumes, presents 35 of the medleys, putting them in chronological order by show. The labels quickly ran out of current musicals to summarize and began looking back in history. The opening track here presents excerpts from six songs from the 1844 show THE BOHEMIAN GIRL, recorded in 1923 by the Brunswick Light Opera Company, and the set doesn't get to 1909 musicals until its last six selections. The result is a previously unheard history of musicals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, clearly tracing a development from European operetta to more contemporary American styles. The advent of Victor Herbert with THE WIZARD OF THE NILE in 1895 is crucial. Sound quality on these transfers from records originally released between 1909 and 1924 is not great, of course, but the chance to hear this rare music is.”
- William Ruhlmann, Rovi
"Victor Light Opera Company, consisting primarily of Victor in-house artists, appeared in Victor catalogs from 1909 to 1940. Initially, the group performed only light opera and music from Broadway shows. For a brief period, beginning in 1917, the word "Light" was dropped from the name and the Victor Opera Company recorded several grand opera selections. Among the regular members of the Victor Light Opera Company were Elise Stevenson, Elizabeth and John Wheeler, Billy Murray, Olive Kline, Harry Macdonough, and Reinald Werrenrath."
- Loyal Bluto