A happy birthday to our dear Facebook friend, Nelly Miricioiu, who represents a style of singing mostly absent today. She was born on Mar.31, 1952 in Roumania, which seems to be a country where the 'air" produces some of the most exciting artists(Guess who else!)

Category:general -- posted at: 7:42pm EST

La Boheme  Two Debuts

On Sept.29, 1965 both Mirella Freni and Gianni Raimondi made their Met debuts in La Boheme,under Fausto Cleva. The tape is a bit distant in sound, but it was a special performance and I know that you will enjoy it. Others in the cast were as follows:

Heidi Krall             Musetta

Calvin Marsh        Marcello

John Macurdy       Colline

Clifford Harvuot    Schaunard

Lorenzo Alvary      Benoit

Andrea Velis          Alcindoro

Direct download: Boheme_Freni_deb.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:34pm EST

Frida Leider, Vol.2

More superb singing from the great Frida Leider. As I had said, sometimes a great singer "escapes" notice, owing to all there is,but here we have some more excerpts from her repertory.

1. Oberon  "Ozean,du Ungeheuer

2. The Wagner Wesendonck Songs

3. Ariadne  "Est gibt ein Reich"

4. Don Giovanni  "Or sai chi l'onore

5. Schubert: Erlkonig and Auf dem Wasser zu singen

6. Schumann   Widmung

7.Tristan und Isolde   Liebestod

Direct download: Leider2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:48pm EST

Compilation 11

I know you enjoy my pot-pourris and i hope you will appreciate this one as well:

1. Meta Seinemeyer        Tristan und Isolde        "Liebestod"    (so sad,she died at 33.)

2. Cesare Siepi                  L'Italiana in Algeri       "Le femmine d'Italia"

3. Diane Soviero                Risurrezione (Alfano)   "Giunge il treno"

4. Steber/DelMonaco       Fanciulla act two duet (with opened cut, which I love.)

5. Stella/Guelfi                   Aida Nile Duet   (They are superb)

6. Rise Stevens                   Orfeo                   "Che faro"

7. Luisa Tetrazzini              Semiramide       "Bel raggio"

8. Richard Tucker                 Andrea Chenier      "Improvisso"

9. Pavarotti/Millo                 Ballo Love duet

10.Leonard Warren              Forza Cabaletta (He was about to sing this when he died.I will never forget it.)

11. Zinka Milanov                 Forza          "La vergine degli angeli  (1965 concert.)

12.Giuseppe di Stefano       Carmen      "Flower Song"

13. Magda Olivero                Manon Lescaut      "In quelle trine morbide"

14.Titta Ruffo                         Pagliacci Prologue  (a force of nature.)

15. Beverly Sills                     Tabarro aria (her only Trittico)

16.Riccardo Stracciari           Traviata   "Di Provenza "  (Charlie's favorite baritone)

Direct download: 11th_Comp.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:43pm EST

Sergei Lemeshev 1902-1977

I love this guy!!!! He is one of my five all-time favorite tenors, of those I never saw live. I find the Russian "high vocal placement' so appealing, Here he sings (In Russian) arias from:

Fra Diavolo, Huguenots, Martha, Luisa Miller, Lohengrin, Faust, Mignon, Roussalka (Dargomijsky),

The Demon (Rubenstein), Onegin (act one), May Night (2 arias), Onegin (Kooda,kooda), Pique Dame

Here is some material I fouind interesting about "rivalry."                         (71 Min.)


Lemeshev’s talent, artistry, acting skills and conspicuous charm very quickly made him a public idol. Almost all his performances during the 1930s and 1940s were accompanied by crowds of fans followed him through the streets, spending days and nights near his house. [1]

While Lemeshev was one of the leading tenors of the Bolshoi Theatre, he was admired by female fans, who were jokingly called "lemeshistki." The theatre lobby was a venue for scuffles between the "lemeshistki" and the "kozlovityanki" (female fans of Lemeshev's rival Ivan Kozlovsky).[2]

Additionally, the film "The Musical Story" (1941) [3] in which he played the main role, brought him the Stalin prize, and even more widespread furore and fame all over the USSR.

Direct download: Lemeshev.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:49pm EST

Germaine Lubin 1890-1979

A great French soprano,who had a sad experience as to possible collaboration with the Nazis during the war, but acquitted.(I have her own words below.).

She sings arias from: Tannhauser,Siegfried,Walkure,Tristan und Isolde,Freischutz, Sigurd (Reyer), Tosca, and songs as follows:

Chopin: Tristesse     Schubert: Erlkonig      Faure:  Au bord de l'eau

Debussy:  Beau soir and Je tremble en voyant ton visage.                 (55 min.)

For her part, Lubin denied all ties to Nazi Germany, and grew deeply bitter over her treatment at the hands of the French government. She once said that

I have suffered an enormous injustice. They curtailed my career by ten years — my own people! The fact is that I knew some of the Germans when they came to Paris during the occupation. This gave my enemies the chance to satisfy their envy … If I saw the Germans in Paris —and they had been more than kind to me— it was to save my compatriots. It was my way of serving my country at that particular moment. Nobody knows how many prisoners I had released … When I spent three years in prison, they confiscated my château at Tours and my possessions. Did anyone bother to ask me why I did not accept Winifred Wagner’s invitations to sing in Germany during the occupation? But my trial was a complete vindication: I was completely cleared. Yes, they gave back most of what they had taken …[5]

Direct download: Lubin.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:08pm EST

Here is one of Sam's great roles!  (Sam,put a shirt on!!)

Category:general -- posted at: 8:08pm EST

Category:general -- posted at: 8:05pm EST

It was our first Bolena rehearsal in 1970.This young guy, born Mar.28, 1942, opened his mouth and we heard for the first time someone who would become one of the great singers of our time.Sam always spoke of Treigle,and he ended up inheriting many of his great roles. We sang in Hoffmann,Bolena,Barber,etc..and i am so happy to have known him all these years..,Bravo,Sam!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 8:03pm EST

The Greatest Chenier I ever saw!!!!

Do you think it was easy spending  NINE DOLLARS on a box seat on Mar.5, 1960? Well,it turned out to be worth it, as the incredible cast of Milanov,Bergonzi,Bastianini, and our beloved contralto, Belen Amparan (Madelon) gave a sensational performance, conducted by Fausto Cleva. It was also a sad time for us, as the night before,we had witnessed the untimely stage death of Leonard Warren. At least this phenomenal performance took us temporarily out of our sadness.

Here are some special notes that might help you to pinpoint some of the reasons we were so thrilled:

1. Bergonzi's amazing sense of phrasing. The ultimate example of "slancio," where the man was a vocal GOD to us, as he has been for so long.

2. Zinka's double attack on the act two pianissimo on "ora soave" and the "U" vowel on the word "sventura"in the third act aria, which was one of the examples of her brilliant placement.

3. Bastianini's remarkable "Nemico della patria," offering us at least another great baritone sound, having sadly lost another.

4. Belen Amparan's true contralto tones. We loved her so much.

5. The stunning last act duet (in the high key) and in particular, Zinka's "Abbracciami, Baciami, AMOOOOOORE" which to this day I retain in my mind.

      Listening to this, I again told myself I am glad I was there for shows like this, and again repeat that there is NOTHING in this repertory today (at least not at the Met) that can compare.

Direct download: Chenier2_1960.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:45pm EST

  I just spoke briefly to Magda, a bit tired with all the birthday phone calls. Her "treno" arrived 104 years ago, and we are so very fortunate to have "caught her train" of love for music. Bless her forever!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 12:01pm EST

Salvatore Licitra, In Memoriam

Sadly, the marvelous tenor Salvatore Licitra passed away at age 43 of a brain hemorrhage while on his motor scooter. We loved his exciting voice and in his memory, I wish to present some arias:

Cavalleria, L'Arlesiana, Andrea Chenier,Fedora, Turandot, Fanciulla, Butterfly, Macbeth, and Trovatore.

                                            May the dear man rest in peace.

Direct download: Licitra3.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:39am EST

I have discussed this ad infinitum, but I was there and at 65, we just could not believe what we heard. Listen especially to the final "Rimuuuuuuneri cosiiiiiii" where she has the breath control of a 25 yr.old.....This to me was a triumph I will never forget. Listen for my "brava" at the end. Applause is cut...it went on forever.

Category:general -- posted at: 9:45pm EST

  I always call Magda on her birthday, and she was incredibly lucid all these years.Last year was less than lucid, but look, how many of us will be lucid at 104????  This clip is from 1993, when she was a baby at 83...An amazing woman, and a miracle of opera. I will call,and at least give my message to her friend and caretaker. Bless her!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:41pm EST

The "P" tenors

 It seems there is a great number of tenors whose names start with "P." I thought it might be an offbeat,but valuable podcast, and they are magnificent:

1. Antonio Paoli                   Robert Le Diable/Poliuto (w. Honoria Popovici)

2. Alfred Piccaver                Meistersinger/Turandot

3. Nino Piccaluga                 Werther/Fanciulla

4. Piero Pauli                         Walkure/Boheme (Leoncavallo)

5. Julius Patzak                    Schubert: Staendchen/Freundliche Vision

6.Tino Pattiera                      Martha/Trovatore

7.Sigismund Pilinszky          Le Prophete

8.Gotthelf Pistor                    Walkure/Parsifal

9. Giacinto Prandelli              Fedora

Direct download: P_tenors.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:12pm EST

 Sorry,folks!!!  I love to go to the opera, but I really do know the difference between most of the singers (not all) and what you see here!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:50am EST


When I first Met Dolora Zajick, born Mar.24, 1952, I spoke to her of the RARITY of her kind of voice…She works with young artists,trying to get some of them to sing in the “old style” if the term is valid…For me it is. She is a rarity, and I hope we have more singers of her kind.
Based on my conversations with her over the years, she had me once do a “mini-class’ for her students, illustrating the kind of singing that great singers exhibited in their recordings.
She still has plenty of voice!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:22am EST

Compilation No.10

I hope you are enjoying my compilations. I think they represent a wide variety of material.

1. Marilyn Horne           Semele            "Iris,hence away."   (Breathtaking technique)

2. Dorothy Kirsten         Mme.Butterfly  Farewell

3.   She can sing pop also, and very well.       "Embraceable you."

4. Tiana Lemnitz           Nozze di Figaro            "Porgi amor"

5. Leyla Gencer              Aida                                " O Patria Mia"

6. George London           Boris Monologue    (How we miss him!)

7. Germaine Lubin         Tannhauser                "Dich theure halle."

8. Christa Ludwig           Frau act 2 finale w.Berry,Rysanek,Dalis.  (My all-time favorite singer in a given role. It was something I cannot forget.)

9. Regina Resnik             Andrea Chenier       "La Mamma Morta" (she started as soprano.)

10.Lauritz Melchior         Pagliacci                  "Vesti la giubba"

11.Aprile Millo                  Forza                        "Pace"

12.Joan Sutherland/Sherrill Milnes   Rigoletto act three duet (WOW!!!)

13. Martha Moedl             Parsifal                     "Ich sah das Kind."

14. Edna Moser                 Zauberflote              "Der holle Rache."

15. Callas/Bechi               Nabucco  duet  (a kind of singing long absent)

16. Birgit Nilsson               Tosca                      "Vissi d'arte"

17. Rosetta Pampanini     Manon Lescaut     "In quelle trine morbide." (Another example of a lost art.)

18.   Luciano Pavarotti       NINE high C's    (Guess what opera!)

Direct download: Tenth_Comp.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:35am EST

Mme.Butterfly with Victoria de los Angeles

From New Orleans,1954, under Walter Herbert, we present the great Victoria de los Angeles as Mme.Butterfly,with Walter Fredericks,Richard Torigi, and  Rosalind Nadell. (73 min.)

Direct download: De_Los.Butt.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:05am EST

Magda will be 104 on Mar.25

    I am writing this in advance of Magda Olivero's 104th birthday,which we will celebrate on Mar.25. Sometimes certain thoughts occur to me at a given time (like this morning), and so I feel like putting them down as I recall them clearly.
    In all the years in which I have been attracted to the vocal art, I am singling out Mme.Olivero because I have never felt that anyone has quite achieved her level of vocalism and deep-felt emotion. Imagine that someone who was once told something like "Don't quit your day job," owing to a vocal quality that surely does not possess the fullness of a Tebaldi or a Ponselle, and whose rather "wide vibrato" might not be pleasing to all ears.
     However, let us reflect on some of the so-called "Kunst divas" who made an indelible mark upon the opera scene, and who may not have necessarily produced the "golden tones" that perhaps the average opera lover appreciates, without delving into the depth of the soul of artists such as Callas, Moedl, Scotto, Jones, Albanese, Rysanek, and other so-called "flawed divas," or in the case of male artists, what a Gobbi, a Chaliapin, a Rossi-Lemeni who achieved so much more than pure vocalism, which may thrill, but which may lack the depth of emotion of artists such as the above.
      In the case of Olivero, I use my "Martha Moedl reading the Dresden telephone directory" and still be riveting to audiences for many years. Olivero has had an uncanny ability to phrase and emote in such a way as to tear at your heartstrings every time. In one of our phone calls,I asked her about  the manner in which she utters the name of "Nina Micheltorena" in Fanciulla, with a mean-spirited jealousy "between the teeth" that only a very special artist could think of. The very great interpreters "decide" what special effects they can make with merely a word or phrase. Such is Magda Olivero, who lifted me out of my seat in a Fedora with the with words,"Loris,ove sei" in her final moments.
       I will forever recall her Met debut at age 65, in which she sang the last phrases of the aria in such a way as to bring everyone to tears. Run to Youtube and find the clip, and pay attention to the final "rimuneri,cosi," where the "u" vowel is held in such a way as to produce the most devastating effect, and then a giant SWELL on the last "cosi," where most sopranos barely make it.
       These are but two examples of why I feel that "non posso imagginare un mondo senza Magda" ("I cannot immagine a world without Magda."). However, like the present generation, future generations will learn from what she has contributed as a lesson in how to combine vocalism with emotion, and if you will sample her many contributions to music in roles like Tosca,Fedora, Adriana, Minnie, etc. you may better comprehend what I and so many others feel about this "miracle' of opera.
                                                With my sincerest love for this great lady,

Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

 What a fitting day for me to have discovered this marvelous young soprano, who studies with birthday girl Diana Soviero!!!!!

   Now that I have posted clips in various places, individuals have written me that she is a rising young star , and this is a great thing. Remember that 35 years ago when I heard Soviero's Mimi, and almost fell out of the balcony, I KNEW she was special, and this young lady appears to be following in her footsteps.

   A big BRAVA to her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 9:58pm EST

 Gigli and Melchior celebrate today!!!!!   Imagine what a day that was for opera!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 7:04pm EST

  March 20, 1890. BOTH Gigli and Melchior were born!!!!!! The GODS must have been in a good mood!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 7:01pm EST

La Forza Del Destino w.Bergonzi

 The remarkable Carlo Bergonzi, whose performances have proven to be "singing lessons," appears in this Liceo,Barcelona Forza from 1971 under Ugo Savini. Raina Kabaiwanska, Nicolai Herlea, Gwynne Howell,and the young Juan Pons as the Alcalde, complete the cast.  (73 min.)

Note: I skipped the narration this week,because you wouldn't want to hear what my voice sounds like.

Direct download: Forza_Bergonzi.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:44pm EST

 I again post this ten handkerchief clip in celebration of Diana Soviero's March 19th birthday (shared with my ma). After 35 years of friendship, I still feel that she represents the most remarkable combination of vocalism and emotion imaginable. I treasure what she has meant to me, and to the opera world.

Category:general -- posted at: 2:34pm EST

 What a joy!!!! However, crabby Zinka sits there as if she is the only star in the world..Just kidding!!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 6:14pm EST

 I do not care who or what you are!!!! I ORDER you to do this....It can be in the shower, in your yard, in the car, etc..... Let me knoiw if they take you away by force!!!!!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 3:10pm EST

I know you just ADORE my compilations, so I present no.9,with a few choice comments. If you played any at parties, did anyone ever guess ALL of them?

1. Gigli, Rethberg, Pinza           Attila trio   (Need we say more?)

2. Carlo Bergonzi                        E lucevan le stelle  (a veritable vocal lesson)

3. Jussi Bjoerling                         Romeo 1947 ensemble. (Did the C sound like that live?)

4.  Alessandro Bonci                   Puritani aria

5.  Clara Butt                                 Lucrezia Borgia Brindisi  (they would laugh today.I adore this!)

6. Karen Branzell                          Erda Warning (Das Rheingold)

7. Olga Borodina                           La Favorite aria

8.  Montserrat Caballe                  Adriana Phedre Monologue  (Totally wild!)

9.   Piero Cappuccilli                      Luisa Miller aria  ( A very great man)

10. Irene Minghini-Cattaneo       Azucena aria   (sadly killed when Allied bomb destroyed her villa in WW II)

11. Julia Varady                              Mme.Butterfly  "Che tua madre."

12. Charles Dalmores                     Carmen Flower Song

13. Zinka Milanov  (who?)             "D'amor sull'ali rosee" (Trovatore)

14. Mario Del Monaco                     "No,pazzo son"(Manon Lescaut)   (Example of subtlety)

15. Merrill/Bjoerling                        Don Carlo duet  (pure gold)

16. Birgitte Fassbaender                "Suicidio"  ( even though she is a mezzo.)

17. Kathleen Ferrier                         "An die Musik"  (Schubert)

18.  Lauren Flanigan                         Lady Macbeth aria  (One of the singers who "takes chances" with repertory. One of my favorite ladies.)

19. Beniamino Gigli                            "Vedi,io piango'  (Fedora)

20.  Apollo Granforte                          Credo from Otello  (His name fits his voice.)

Direct download: Ninth_Compil.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:50pm EST

Tosca With Virginia Zeani

   A commercial recording from Bucharest,Rumania under Cornel Trailescu, featuring my beloved Virginia Zeani, tenor Corneliu Fanateanu, and the recently deceased Nicolae Herlea. I feel that Virginia proves once again that she is one of our greatest artists. It is not because of our friendship because I have gotten friendly with some artists AFTER hearing them, and it is not as if I made a friend and then "liked every breath he/she took."

  What can be a problem is when a singer you know as a person sings badly, and you have to be honest (except you cannot write about it on the internet.)

Direct download: Tosca_Zeani_Rec.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:27pm EST

Have you EVER heard a rendition of this scene more exciting??? Stella loved to cry..but look, if George London was yelling at you, would you not shed a tear or two????    Zinka who????? (Sacriledge)

Category:general -- posted at: 12:45pm EST

  Our dear Kurt Baum was born on Mar.15, 1900. Despite his having the ugliest voice in captivity and KILLED so many performances, mostly with Zinka.(Silent film acting with the two of them.),he had a great top register. This is an example. His Lohengrin recording with Traubel shows he should have done more German. We HATED the poor guy, but he was "reliable."

Category:general -- posted at: 12:08pm EST

    When us oldies discovered that thing called "opera" (and became insane), all we had for information was the friendship of others who would play records (78's to start) and the oldtimers on the standee line, where we heard about names like Ponselle and Gigli.
     Nowadays we are lucky to have at our disposal an enormous amount of information, generated by the amazing opera forums where a number of remarkable and knowledgeable individuals afford us so much knowledge, (including lots of screaming and yelling.) We have Opera-L, founded by Bob Kosovsky, and Parterre Box, the creation of James Jorden,otherwise known as "La Cieca." James organized a successful podcast site for me personally, and I am happy to report that "from Angola to Zanzibar," I have helped to awaken interest in the vocal art.
     Recently, one of the most brilliant opera aficionados, Donald Collup, has created a site known as "Operaticpastcast.com." Here we are able to listen to his magnificent interviews with some of us "who were there," and are able to recall fond memories of our opera experience. The way in which Donald intersperses music with the comments in a mark of great professionalism, as he illustrates comments with vocal examples.
     Donald also has interviewed some of our living opera artists such as Lucine Amara, Olivia Stapp, Elizabeth Carron, and Virginia Zeani. From these interviews we gain a personal insight into the careers and deep-felt feelings of some of our fine artists.
      As I write this, I am listening to the most recent interview, with a fellow named Handelman, and I am amazed at the professional manner in which my comments are so well illustrated by Donald's musical examples.
       I urge you to explore this site, not because I am a participant, but because you will be thrilled at the many memories as recalled by those professional artists and by our mere mortals.
        Many thanks to you, dear Donald, for your tremendous efforts.

Category:general -- posted at: 6:09pm EST

 Do you mean I NEVER knew of this?????? I feel so dumb...i guess it escaped me,until a friend sent it.

 Leyla had a 35 year career, and when teachers today fear the idea of chest voice, glottal attacks,etc...I get angry!!!! THIS is a lesson in how to sing with fire!!!!   Love it!!!


Category:general -- posted at: 9:49pm EST

After I did the Adriana, I thought you would like to SEE Caballe in action!!!!!

Teachers today are afraid to teach singers to use the lower register,causing a lot  of BOREDOM!!!!

Category:general -- posted at: 12:23am EST

Adriana Lecouvreur from Tokyo

If you wish to hear some remarkable vocalism, listen to this 1976 Tokyo Adriana,under Gianfranco Masini, featuring prime Montserrat Cballe, Fiorenza Cossotto, Jose Carreras, and Attilio D'Orazi. Do not fail to pay special attention to the third act Phedre declamation, whish will make you almost "terrfified" in its intensity.  (73 min.)

Direct download: Adriana_Caballe.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:08pm EST

He left us far too soon. Norman Treigle, born Mar.6, 1923, was a DYNAMO onstage.For me he was one of the greatest singers  I ever heard, and I heard him live countless times. He was truly a fabulous artist, actor, vocalist, with a HUGE voice and amazing stage personality. I honor his memory!

Category:general -- posted at: 6:17pm EST


Cilea's rarely-heard "Gloria" from RAI Turino, 1969 under Fernando Previtali featuring:

Margherita Roberti (Gloria), Flaviano Labo  (Lionetto), Ferruccio Mazzoli (Aquilante), Lorenzo Testi (Bardo), Enrico Campi (Il Vescovo), Anna Maria Rota (La Senese), Alberto Albertini (Il Banditore)

(65 min.)

NOTE: I had a defective "Gloria' up there, and have deleted it.

Direct download: Gloria2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:46pm EST

We adored this "king of the comprimarios," who made the smallest role important. He was born on Mar.5, 1893 and would have sung even past his 60's, had he not died in an auto crash. One of the most delightful things he sang was the old Prisoner in Perichole, where he cracked us up with his "leeetle pen knife." He was beloved by all of us!

Category:general -- posted at: 4:18pm EST

I was just directed to the Youtube clip of this escappe from a mental institution. She is all over Youtube, and when I watched the Semiramide aria, I sent it to Joyce Di Donato,who might decide to retire,since she could never equal her rendition. I tell you one advantage of this...that I never felt so NORMAL in my life after seeing this.

In your country, are there any singers .ike this?

Category:general -- posted at: 10:19pm EST

 In the event that you just joined this site, I wanted you to have an idea of what the La Puma Opera Co.was like. It was not nice for them to throw us out at a Don Giovanni..but you can get the idea. Since they performed in an elementary school auditorium, they must have used the third-graders' orchestra. The company became a kind of "cult experience" amd attracted more and more people who wanted to pppppp in their pantalones!

Category:general -- posted at: 11:04am EST

Mario del Monaco as Siegmund

 A rarity; Mario del Monaco as Siegmund in act one of a Walkure from 1966 under Ferdinand Leitner. The Sieglinde is Hildegard Hillebrecht, and the Hunding is Otto Von Rohr. The sound is on the distant side, but I think it is intersting to hear the great Del Monaco in this opera.( 60 min.)

Direct download: DelMonaco_Walk.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:21am EST


More Great Music

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