"Like John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress (1678), Improvement (Don Leaves Linda) is an allegory for an individual's self-realization. The opera takes its imagery from the history of the Jews --beginning with their expulsion from Spain in 1492 and ending 500 years later in the United States. Improvement (Don Leaves Linda) was first conceived as a recording for Nonesuch Records (1991). Ashley followed with three other operas, making up a quartet or tetralogy under the name Now Eleanor's Idea (LCD 1009CD), and all four operas were performed often during the first half of the 1990s.
The opera was revived in 2018-19, with a new cast: Gelsey Bell as Linda; Brian McCorkle as Don, Mr. Payne, and Companion; Paul Pinto as Junior, Jr.; Aliza Simons as Now Eleanor; Dave Ruder as The Doctor; Amirtha Kidambi as Mr. Payne's Mother; Robert Ashley (on tape) as Narrator I; Amirtha Kidambi and Aliza Simons as Narrator II. Improvement (Don Leaves Linda) was presented by the Kitchen, February 7th through 16th, 2019. Live Sound and Processing: Tom Hamilton. Live cast recording by Eric Sherman and Tom Hamilton. CD mixed by Tom Hamilton.
"Improvement is engrossing because Ashley was one of the finest American prose writers of the 20th century and his writing was made thrilling Thursday night by the beauty of the performance. These new artists incorporate Ashley wholly in their musical experience, taking the work beyond the objective presentation of the opera's means, style, and form. Thursday night they were as characterful and plainly human as one will experience on the opera stage. Gelsey Bell was exceptional, the warm glow of her voice a colorful contrast with Ashley's pleasantly parched midwestern twang. She expressed vocally Linda's mix of befuddlement and optimism, her sense that her own life is a mystery -- and through some imperceptible means she outlined Linda's aging while always sounding the same. Hamilton's digital reconstruction of the original audio was superb, true to the source material and with the subtlety Ashley requires, while also having ample open space, depth, and vividness. He was just as much a member of the ensemble as the artists on stage, and just as vital to the human feeling that grew throughout the performance to a gentle but moving coda at the end of the evening." --George Grella, New York Classical Review, February 8, 2019" - Lovely Music.
After nearly a decade of false starts, multiple game plans veering off the rails, and a handful of shattered hopes and/or dreams, the odyssey is finally complete—the new Fusetron site is here.
This is the first phase of a multipart rollout that will span the next few months: the currently browsable stock includes miscellaneous new releases from the past 8+ months (we have a lot of catching up to do), plus approximately a third of our backstock. Note that we’ve reduced/slashed prices on many titles and will continue to do so in order to make room for new stock. We’ll also be expanding / tweaking / improving / debugging the site itself (for example, we still have work to do on the automated international postage system, not to mention the inevitable inventory discrepancies that come with transferring an ancient and massive database to a new system).
Over the next few months, as we take inventory, clean house, and delve into our storage, we will be uploading thousands of additional items, gradually, on a near-daily basis. This will include the majority of the LPs, as well as many titles, in all formats, once thought long-gone. Many currently “sold out” items are likely to resurface.
Finally, once our general backstock is up (probably in the next two or three months) we’ll begin making our extensive stockpile of rarities available online for the first time: tons of random out-of-print titles, "deadstock," warehouse finds, secondhand collectibles, etc., accumulated over the past few decades.
Frequent/returning customers will be getting early access to these items. Details to follow on how this will work (a priority mailing list? a 'frequent flyer'-like program?), but it will not be based on dollars spent. We want to reward those who consistently support us, especially in the discogs marketplace era (to those who show up trying to poach five copies of a one-off rarity, and nothing else, ever… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).
So—we suggest you take some time to dig through the site—even we’ve been surprised by what’s been turning up, and there’s much more to come.