One of the many, many things I love about the United States is the existence of Classic Arts Showcase. When all other television is a wasteland – and it happens with disturbing frequency – CAS is always there to rescue me, with its constant supply of fine arts video clips. It's like YouTube without the need to make decisions and without my own personal bias, showing me wonderful stuff I might never have found, or thought to watch, on my own. And all with the stated mission of encouraging viewers eventually to turn off their TVs, go out, and experience these art forms in the flesh.
Classic Arts Showcase has become a bit of a standby in our household when we're back in the U.S., and particularly on those nights when jetlag has us awake at stupid hours, in need of entertainment. And one night last week, it gave us this lovely woman: American contralto Eula Beal. Maybe you've heard of her; I certainly hadn't. Her career was fairly shortlived and localised – though she did manage to sing "Kindertotenlieder" in its LA Phil premiere – and might well have left no recorded legacy, had it not been for the film Concert Magic, from which CAS's two excerpts were drawn. I can't seem to find either of them on YouTube, but there are others, so allow me to share a couple.
"Erbarme dich" (in English) with Yehudi Menuhin playing the violin, and Antal Dorati conducting the Symphony Orchestra of Hollywood.
Schubert's "Erlkönig", accompanied by Marguerite Campbell.