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A History of Operaby Carolyn Abbate
Synopses & Reviews
Abramo Basevi published his study of Verdiandrsquo;s operas in Florence in 1859, in the middle of the composerandrsquo;s career. The first thorough, systematic examination of Verdiandrsquo;s operas, it covered the twenty works produced between 1842 and 1857andmdash;from Nabucco and Macbeth to Il trovatore, La traviata, and Aroldo. But while Baseviandrsquo;s work is still widely cited and discussedandmdash;and nowhere more so than in the English-speaking worldandmdash;no translation of the entire volume has previously been available. The Operas of Giuseppe Verdi fills this gap, at the same time providing an invaluable critical apparatus and commentary on Baseviandrsquo;s work.
As a contemporary of Verdi and a trained musician, erudite scholar, and critic conversant with current and past operatic repertories, Basevi presented pointed discussion of the operas and their historical context, offering todayandrsquo;s readers a unique window into many aspects of operatic culture, and culture in general, in Verdiandrsquo;s Italy. He wrote with precision on formal aspects, use of melody and orchestration, and other compositional features, which made his study an acknowledged model for the growing field of music criticism. Carefully annotated and with an engaging introduction and detailed glossary by editor Stefano Castelvecchi, this translation illuminates Baseviandrsquo;s musical and historical references as well as aspects of his language that remain difficult to grasp even for Italian readers.
Making Baseviandrsquo;s important contribution to our understanding of Verdi and his operas available to a broad audience for the first time, The Operas of Giuseppe Verdi will delight scholars and opera enthusiasts alike.
"In this sometimes plodding, sometimes energetic, but always fascinating history of opera, music historians Abbate and Parker conduct us on a captivating journey from the birth of opera in the 17th century up through the most recent technological innovations that bring operatic performances to wider and wider audiences. While the authors cover the breadth of operatic history — bringing to view important composers such as Monteverdi and Meyerbeer whose historical significance outweighs their presence in modern performances of their work — they focus their attention on the composers whose works are most performed today: Verdi, Mozart, Puccini, Wagner, Rossini, Donizetti, Strauss, Bizet, and Handel. The authors praise opera's complex glories, demonstrating through their lovingly crafted survey that as long as performers are willing to devote themselves to singing the operas and as long as suitable spaces exist to host the performances, opera will continue to be brought to life, articulating some of the complexities of human experience in ways that no other art form can match." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A bold, engaging exploration of opera’s fundamental nature and enduring appeal, from the sixteenth century to the present.
, the first new, full-length, single-volume history of opera for more than a generation, provokes in-depth discussions of many works by the greatest opera composers, from Monteverdi, Handel, and Mozart to Verdi and Wagner, to Strauss, Puccini, Berg, and Britten. There are lively discussions of opera’s social, political, and literary backgrounds, its economic cicumstances, and the almost continual polemics that have accompanied its development through the centuries. Central to the book is an exploration of the tensions—between words and music, character and singer—that have always sustained and enlivened opera. In a polemical final chapter, Carolyn Abbate and Roger Parker examine the problems that opera has faced in the last half century, when new works—once opera’s lifeblood—have shrunk to a tiny minority and have largely failed to find a permanent place in the repertoire.
Why does opera continue to attract new audiences at a time when the stream of original works that was once its lifeblood has dried to a trickle? Carolyn Abbate and Roger Parker answer this question in their modern retelling of the history of opera, examining its evolution over several centuries and its continued appeal to generations of audiences. Integral to this nuanced and engaging narrative is the ongoing exploration of the tensions that have sustained opera over four hundred years: between words and music, character and singer, the surreal and the believable. As this pair of experts argue, though the genre's most popular and enduring works were almost all written in a distant European past, opera continues to change the viewer--physically, emotionally, and intellectually--with its enduring power.
About the Author
Carolyn Abbate is a recipient of awards from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.Roger Parker, a professor of music at King's College London, was a founding coeditor of the Cambridge Opera Journal and is a frequent opera commentator on radio and television. He lives in Havant, Hampshire.
Table of Contents
2. I Lombardi alla prima crociata
4. I due Foscari
5. Giovanna dand#8217;Arco
9. I masnadieri
11. Il corsaro
12. La battaglia di Legnano
13. Luisa Miller
16. Il trovatore
17. La traviata
18. Giovanna de Guzman [Les vand#234;pres siciliennes]
19. Simon Boccanegra
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