Wound-Up Opera

In sorting through the old vinyl, I run across several “what was I thinking??” purchases. Curiosity, no doubt; the desire to hear “something different.”

This album is one such item (I’m conflating lots of subtitles to make a longer one): Wound-Up Opera: Great Hits From the Opera Played on Rare Antique Music Boxes From the Rita Ford Collection.

The liner notes, which include a brief history of music boxes, contains this warning to the listener about the odd noises at the start of side 2:

…for it is simply the sound of a music box being wound up [before playing] an unforgettable rendition of the Toreador Song from “Carmen,” the principal melody of which is played by the cylinder while a counter melody is chirped by an extraordinary mechanical bird right inside the box!

YouTube user “fountainhead” found a copy of the album in a thrift store and uploaded a digital recording of it, with a video both quaint and unsettling. Skip to 20:50 to hear the box being wound up, the Toreador Song, and the mechanical bird.

Discogs has an entry on this record with an easier-to-read track listing. According to the stats on that page, there are 30 users who “Have” a copy, 19 who are selling their copies, and only one who wants a copy. Albums and music boxes: insert clever yet warm-hearted comparison here.