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The Pen and the Baton

Divas and Scholars: Performing Italian Opera by Philip Gossett

Reviewed by G.W. Bowersock
The New Republic Online

"At the end of Voltaire's tragedy about the Babylonian queen Semiramis, her son Arsace kills his own mother. The great bel canto composer Rossini later took over the story for a tragic opera, and his work also ended with the same fearful matricide. But when La Scala in Milan mounted a new production of Rossini's Semiramide in December 1962, the conductor Richard Bonynge coolly changed the plot to make Arsace kill the villain Assur instead, leaving his mother standing on her own solid feet at the end — ready for the applause." Read the entire The New Republic Online review.

One Response to "The Pen and the Baton"

    Eunice Riemer October 12th, 2006 at 10:56 am

    Another very long review from The New Republic, but this time it is well worth the time one needs to read it. G. W. Bowersock clearly knows what he is writing about and he has the ability to make it both clear and interesting. Yes, he does cite outside references, some even from other disciplines, but they serve only to make his points, not snow the reader with his vast knowledge.

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