Synopses & Reviews
A guide to one of Mozart's most significant and popular operas is presented alongside critical commentary and a rare glimpse into Mozart's personal letters
Beginning with a discussion by Michael F. Robinson on the comic elements of the opera, this complete and fascinating guide presents a varied selection of scholarly criticism on one of Mozart's most famous works. An overall view of the score by David Wyn Jones follows the introduction to show how Mozart maintained dramatic momentum over two long acts and provide an overview of the dramatic pacing and orchestration in some of the most important scenes. Christopher Raeburn concludes the commentary with an engaging portrait of Da Ponte, Mozart's "libertine librettist," and his relationship with the composer. Also included is a selection of unique letters between Mozart and his father written during the opera's composition.
This famous opera ends, after the hero is dragged down to hell, with a warning that evil shall not go unpunished. "Hardly," as Michael F. Robinson notes, "one's usual idea of a 'comic' subject!" So this Guide opens with a brief look at what is actually comic about it. David Wyn Jones gives an overall view of the score: he shows how the musical keys are arranged so that the dramatic momentum over two long acts is maintained and, without commenting on every scene, he discusses orchestration and dramatic pacing in certain important ones. Christopher Raeburn contributes a lively portrait of the "libertine librettist" who, after his Vienna triumphs, was hounded out of London for his debts and eventually died in New York "revered as the father of Italian studies in America." The full original text is given, with a pointed modern translation.
The English National Opera Guides were originally conceived in partnership with the English National Opera and edited by Nicholas John, the ENO's dramaturg, who died tragically in an accident in the Alps. Most of the guides are devoted to a single opera, which is described in detailwith many articles that cover its history and information about the composer and his times. The complete libretto is included in both the original language and in a modern singing translationexcept where the opera was written in English. Each has a thematic guide to the most important musical themes in musical notation and each guide is lavishly illustrated. They also contain a bibliography and a discography which is updated at each reprint. The ENO guides are widely regarded as the best series of their kind and excellent value.
About the Author
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (17561791) was born in Salzburg, and began composing at the age of five. His subsequent prolific output, which included Idomeneo, The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro, and his Requiem secured him a reputation as one of the world's foremost Classical composers.