Synopses & Reviews
Opera has never been more popular than it is now. Four centuries after a group of Florentine intellectuals and musicians set out to revive the musical drama of Classical Greece, opera's intrinsic appeal has been greatly strengthened by the vast range and quality of recordings available, as well as by a new, young, passionate audience.
A year-by-year and sometimes month-by-month guide, The Chronicle of Opera unfolds the great eras of opera. Stile recitativo, arias, choruses, instrumental introductions, and interludes were all developed early; with Monteverdi, who wrote his first opera in 1607, this new style of musical drama achieved definitive form. During the seventeenth century comic opera found a separate existence, apart from tragic and serious opera. National styles began to emerge in France, Germany, Spain, and England, although Italian opera maintained its hold as an international style. The operatic masterpieces of the next three hundred years -- by Handel, Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi, Wagner, Richard Strauss, Moussorgsky, Berg, Britten, Gershwin, and many others -- shared the essential strengths of the basic form, despite changes in musical styles.
The text is accompanied by hundreds of wonderful, creatively researched illustrations, many as dramatic as their subject matter. Special features highlight important events and performances, from opera in eighteenth-century America to the opening of La Scala in Milan, from Maria Callas to the Three Tenors.
A comprehensive reference section includes biographies, a time line, opera house openings and premieres, a glossary, a checklist of recordings, and further reading.
Four hundred years after it began, opera's combination of grandeur and intimacy continues to beguile audiences around the world. Covering subjects as diverse as the opening of La Scala in Milan, the legendary career of Maria Callas, and the extraordinary success of the Three Tenors, The Chronicle of Opera celebrates the great eras of music and performance, mixing fact and anecdote, personalities and stylistic development with hundreds of illustrations. Opera developed quickly from its modest beginnings as the re-creation of classical Greek drama. By the seventeenth century, the time of Monteverdi, it included all the components of much later operas: choruses, arias, recitatives, instrumental ensembles, and interludes. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, artifice had been replaced by the classical perfection and wit of Mozart. The next hundred years saw the rise of romanticism, with famous masterworks by Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi, and Wagner, while the twentieth century saw the brilliant innovations of Berg, Stravinsky, Britten, and Gershwin, among many others. A new section brings the story of opera into the twenty-first century. The comprehensive reference section includes biographies, a timeline, opera house openings and premieres, a glossary, and a discography, making this an essential reference book for all opera lovers.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 240) and index.