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This meticulously researched book offers a complete operatic education, including history, definitions of key musical terms, opera lore and gossip, portraits of famous singers, as well as pithy introductions to the greatest operas of Europe and America and their composers.
The personal histories, grand indulgences, lavish spending, glamour, foibles, fame, and excesses of the larger-than-life three tenors--Pavarotti, Domingo, and Carreras--comes complete with stories of ex-wives, ex-lovers, business intrigue, and lavish lifestyles on estates from the Adriatic to Acapulco.
You want orchestral color and an exotic setting for your grand opera? Nothing says it better than Aida, which is, in the grand operatic manner, a tragic tale of love and war with a nifty death scene at the end. Few moments in opera can touch the Triumphal Scene for sheer bombast, but sometimes bombast is a lot of fun. Verdi's use of brass here is instructive; with the full score, you can see exactly what is called for. Full scores are always more fun for armchair conducting, but they're not as useful for working singers who just need the vocal lines and piano accompaniment. Dover Scores, being reprints of out-of-copyright editions from other publishers, sometimes contain errors that have been corrected in more recent versions, but they're still the biggest bargain going in printed music.
Fifteen years ago, Pavarotti joined with Wright to tell, in the New York Times bestseller Pavarotti: My Story, of his rise to success in the opera world. Now the same two have collaborated again to update the singer's millions of fans on all that has happened since: the fortunate events and the regrettable ones, both personal and professional. of photos.
When it comes to operas in which, for once, nobody dies, Gioacchino Rossini's great comedy Il Barbiere di Siviglia (the Barber of Seville) is perhaps the most popular of all time. It's got it all: funny plot, great tunes (including nine of the most immediately recognizable notes in Western music: "Figaro, Figaro, Figaro!"), irresistible characters, and an overture that provided Bugs Bunny with one of his greatest moments on screen. Have you ever wondered about the scoring of Lindoro's sweet first act aria, or the requirements for the boom in Basilio's celebration of calumny? Check it all out with this complete orchestral score from Dover Publications. As is standard with Dover, this score is a reprint of a German original, and because it offers the complete orchestration it will be more useful to the music student than to the working singer.
With wit and insight, Bravo! tackles what can be a daunting subject and presents it in delicious and easily digested bits of biography, history, and lore, making it the perfect introduction to opera for readers of any musical persuasion. Tracing the fascinating development of opera through all of its major works and composers, Bravo! covers everything from the differences between various opera styles to the nature of different voice categories and their major roles. Infusing his narrative with informed opinion, provocative asides, humorous anecdotes, and extraordinary love of the music, Scherer also touches on such interesting topics as the origin of the diva, the roles of madness and death, opera etiquette, and why we shout "Bravo!" when we are thrilling moved. From the sweeping grandeur of Verdi's Aida to the artful enchantment of Mozart's Magic Flute, Scherer explains what to listen for during a performance and how to further your knowledge of this vast subject.
Through the magic of recording, opera lovers have heard pretty much the same repertoire of music sung over and over by the finest talents of the 20th century. This repetition makes it hard for a young singer to break through, because fans are resistant to hearing their beloved arias rendered in a new way, however thrilling. The combined power of lung, larynx, and soul allowed Cecilia Bartoli, still only 30 when her (first) biography went to press, to break through, selling more than 1 million compact discs in the jaded 1990s. Kim Chernin and Renate Stendahl tackle the whys and wherefores of Bartoli's rise to diva through talent, luck, good looks, and masterful publicity. Bartoli hasn't had any swashbuckling adventures or doomed Callas-esque romances--yet. So the biographers mine what they can from her parents' unhappy marriage, then go on to analyze the technical development of her expressive, authoritative voice. The book includes reviews, programs, and 60 photos, including her controversial publicity shots in lace and black leather.
Derived from the highly-praised Oxford Dictionary of Opera and containing more than 3,500 entries, this up-to-date dictionary presents plot synopses, first performance details, bibliographies of works about opera, information about singers, technical terms, and more. "Invaluable." Gramaphone
There are lots of books that detail operatic plots, but this is the classic. It offers more than most such guides including historic background and musical examples of major themes. Now revised, this is a good first resource for the operagoer who wants to know exactly what s/he is going to see and hear.
The latest in Phaidon Press Limited's fine 20th Century Composers series, this biography plows ground that's already been gone over many times, but does so very well. Like the rest of the books in this series, it's aimed at the more-than-casual but less-than-expert reader, and puts the composer's life and art into perspective, assisted by assorted photographs. This is a particularly good starting place for someone captured by Puccini's music dramas who's interested in how it all came about. There are no musical examples, which can be a positive or a negative depending on one's point of view and whether one reads music. New listeners may find the overly brief discography in the back of the book a useful guide.
Richard Wagner had the idea of writing an opera on the death of the Teutonic ur-hero Siegfried. Then he decided to add some additional material, and the project grew and grew to become the four-opera, 16-hour Ring des Nibelungen, one of the most astonishing accomplishments in all of western civilization. Gotterdammerung (The Twilight of the Gods) is the last and most amazing of the four operas of the cycle, as Wagner brings down the world of the gods and heroes in fire and water. What he accomplishes with his orchestral writing is nothing short of astonishing--and you can see how he does it by following along with this full orchestral score from Dover.
This first English-language biography of Swedish tenor Jussi Bjoerling incorporates recollections by widow Anna-Lisa Bjoerling, information from the family archives, and material from operatic archives the world over. Extensive interviews with former colleagues, associates, ad friends provide further insights into Bjoerling's life and career. A chronology of his career, compiled by Harald Henrysson, is also included.
Legendary Voices is a wonderfully readable account of the lives and careers of fourteen of this century's greatest singers, along with a critical evaluation of their recorded works, which are available for the first time on CD. Nigel Douglas (a British tenor and producer of more than two hundred programs on opera and operetta for the BBC) brings to Legendary Voices not only the unrivaled knowledge of the professional but the irrepressible enthusiast of the aficionado. From Jussi Bjoerling to Rosa Ponselle, from Ezio Pinza to Kirsten Flagstad, most of these great singers seem to have led more extraordinary lives than the glamorous characters they immortalized on the stage. Not that their beginnings were always auspicious: Caruso's singing teacher told hm his voice sounded like "the wind whistling through a window"; Lotte Lehman was expelled from music school for failure to profit from instruction. Nor were their endings always happy: Luisa Tetrazzini ("I am old, I am fat, I am ugly - but I am still Tetrazinni") died in poverty, and Fritz Wunderlich in a tragic accident at the age of thirty- five. Full of wonderful anecdotes, Legendary Voices is also a mine of information about the range and quality of the newly available CDs, a book readers will turn to for advice as well as entertainment.
The Little Book of Opera celebrates the sublime marriage of words and music that has dazzled audiences with an unparalleled parade of both high and low drama since the sixteenth century. This volume collects enchanting and engaging pieces by celebrated writers, including Willa Cather's striking tale of a stuffy businessman's infatuation with a prima donna, Richard Wagner's memorable tirade on the subject of conducting, and Edith Wharton's satirical look at old New York society through the prism of the opera house. With an eye uplifted to this most sublime of arts, this book takes readers from the orchestra pit to the family box to the stage itself.
The cover blurb calls The New Grove Book of Operas, "The world's definitive single volume of opera reference," and for once the hype is right on the money. The plot synopses are well done, with musical notes and historic background, some nice illustrations, and three very useful appendices: a fine and complete glossary; an index of role names; and an "Index of Incipits," or first lines, for hundreds of arias, choruses, and ensembles. This may well be the best English-language opera reference available.
Soprano Kiri te Kanawa is the most renowned New Zealander since Sir Edmund Hillary, famed around the world for a ravishing voice that is perfectly suited to performing the operas of Mozart and Richard Strauss. Made a Dame of the British Empire for her services to the crown (she sang at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana--oh, well), she's a familiar presence on compact discs and opera videos, as well as in the great opera houses of Europe and North America. Now she's produced (with the aid of writer Conrad Wilson) a book of thoughts, recollections, and observations on some well-beloved operas (along with some thoughts, recollections, and observations on colleagues, singers, conductors, and directors). This handsome and well-designed book is lavishly illustrated with wonderful production shots from various well-known opera companies.
Who inspired Carmen's fiery heroine? Was there a plot behind the hostile reception to the premiere of Madame Butterfly? What compromises did Richard Strauss make with the Nazi government to get his Die Schweigsame Frau produced? Opera Offstage brings to light the intriguing tales behind twenty-seven of the greatest operas of all time. Milton Brener ignites new appreciation for these classics and their composers by revealing the histories and human circumstances surrounding their creation. You'll find the real-life stories behind many operas to be just as passionate, whimsical, and tragic as the operas themselves. A truly delightful book, Opera Offstage offers an entertaining way for new fans to get acquainted with opera, as well as a fresh look at some old favorites for lifelong aficionados.
The centennial of the great American soprano's birth brings a gossipy yet affectionate biography. Comments by associates paint Rosa Ponselle as a classic diva, capricious in business dealings (most notably when she abruptly retired in 1937), capable of responding with fury to perceived disloyalty, bitingly honest in her assessment of her own and others' work. Reprints of interviews with Ponselle reveal her enormous charm and offer an intimate glimpse of the creative process employed to interpret Aida, Norma, and other signature roles. A performance chronology, discography, and photographic portfolio round out this delicious volume.
No longer the sole province of the elite, opera tops the charts and fills football stadiums with adoring, cheering fans. Chapin presents unique and compelling portraits of the greatest stars from the world of opera. A deft combination of text and photos, this exciting book evokes the drama and passion that is the grand opera.
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