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A Night at the Opera: An Irreverent Guide to the Plots, the Singers, the Composers, the Recordings (Modern Library)by Denis Forman
Synopses & Reviews
With an encyclopedic knowledge of opera and a delightful dash of irreverence, Sir Denis Forman throws open the world of opera--its structure, composers, conductors, and artists--in this hugely informative guide. A Night at the Opera dissects the eighty-three most popular operas recorded on compact disc, from Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur to Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. For each opera, Sir Denis details the plot and cast of characters, awarding stars to parts that are "worth looking out for," "really good," or, occasionally, "stunning." He goes on to tell the history of each opera and its early reception. Finally, each work is graded from alpha to gamma (although the Ring cycle gets an "X"), and Sir Denis has no qualms about voicing his opinion: the first act of Fidelio is "a bit of a mess," while the last scene of Don Giovanni "towers above the comic finales of Figaro and Così and whether or not [it] is Mozart's greatest opera, it is certainly his most powerful finale."
The guide also presents brief biographies of the great composers, conductors, and singers. A glossary of musical terms is included, as well as Operatica, or the essential elements of opera, from the proper place and style of the audience's applause (and boos) to the use of surtitles.
A Night at the Opera is for connoisseurs and neophytes alike. It will entertain and inform, delight and (perhaps) infuriate, providing a subject for lively debate and ready reference for years to come.
With a lively and stylish pen, Sir Denis Forman, who for nine years was deputy chairman of the Royal Opera House in London, dispenses his opinions freely on operas and their composers and artistic interpreters. Forman explains the historical circumstances of the works, then grades them from alpha to gamma, except for one to which he gives a thumbs-down "X".
The refreshingly readable guide to the whole world of opera, available in paperback for the first time. Perfect for opera buffs, and opera novices.
Sir Denis Forman has provided the least intimidating guide to opera yet. With a lively and stylish pen, Sir Denis, who for nine years was deputy chairman of the Royal Opera House in London, dispenses his opinions freely on operas and their composers and artistic interpreters. He has taken the eighty-three most popular operas on CD (from Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur to Mozart's Die Zauberflote) and detailed each plot, explaining what is happening at any given moment and highlighting parts worth special attention. He explains the historical circumstances of the works and grades them from alpha to gamma (apart from the Ring cycle, which receives an X).
A Night at the Opera also includes brief biographies of the great composers, conductors, and artists; a glossary of musical terms; and a guide to "Oprania" — the special world of opera.
This is an entertaining and informative guide to opera, and a subject of ready reference and lively debate for years to come.
About the Author
Sir Denis Forman was for nine years the deputy chairman of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden in London. He was a founding member of the Granada television franchise in the United Kingdom and became its chairman and chief executive, responsible for its acclaimed drama program, which included The Jewel in the Crown. Sir Denis lives near London.
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Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Opera