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.and#160;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and detailed glossary by editor Stefano Castelvecchi, this translation illuminates Baseviandrsquo;s musical and historical references as well as aspects of his language that remain difficult to grasp even for Italian readers.and#160;Making Baseviandrsquo;s important contribution to our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.
"Essential reading for all who love this most ambitious of art forms." Daniel Snowman, author of < em=""> The Gilded Stage: A Social History of Opera < m="">
"This book is not only a total delight to read, but its insights are so varied, its arguments so wonderfully precise and unpredictable, its prose so generous and engaging, that it is an utter delight to re-read." David J. Levin, executive editor, < em=""> Opera Quarterly < m="">
"An extended duet of intertwined voices, this inspiring book is at once a history of opera and a poetic meditation on the genre itself, its complexity, depth, and allure." Ellen Rosand, George A. Saden Professor of Music, Yale University
"A revealing genealogy of a living tradition that will speak vividly to those who continue to fall for opera’s mad charms, and entice those who might be about to." Christopher Morris, author of < em=""> Reading Opera Between the Lines < m="">
"Experts and beginners alike will enjoy what is sure to become a classic work." Andrew Moravcsik, director, European Union Program, Princeton University
"[T]his is the best single volume ever written on the subject, such is its range, authority, and readability." Times Literary Supplement
"Their fantastically clear-sighted and down-to-earth history focuses on what opera is and was rather than what it should be or would like to have been. ...Their virtuosic spring-clean of opera's past reveals an art form quite different to the one that we come across today." The Telegraph (UK)
"There's reason to applaud a new volume like..., in which vast scholarly authority is put to the service of a narrative both lucid and sweeping." Jeremy Eichler
"Unfailingly intelligent ...their coverage of every period in opera's history is scrupulous and provocative." Boston Globe
" will surely become essential reading for anyone seeking an engaging and highly informed chronicle of the great composers and their works." Kirkus Reviews
"Parker and Abbate have written ... a highly idiosyncratic and personal history of opera. [It] has a brio, insouciance, and even irreverence that are very much their own." Daniel Snowman Opera
"[F]resh... brave, challenging and, above all, useful." G.W. Bowersock The New Republic
and#160;and#8220;Baseviand#8217;sand#160;Studio sulle opere di Giuseppe Verdiand#160;represents an extraordinary testimony to a new and important way of writing music criticism in mid-nineteenth-century Italy, and Baseviand#8217;s terminology and expressions have served as the foundations for influential analytical methods. This translation is polished, elegant, and eminently accessible to a modern reader. Castelvecchi provides a strong introduction, a wealth of explanatory notes, and a glossary that together make The Operas of Giuseppe Verdi a thoroughly engaging and vastly informative book, granting access to a fundamental nineteenth-century source for opera students and lovers.and#8221;
and#8220;Basevi had much to say that was novel about how Verdi dealt with issues of melodic construction, orchestration, and form. Schneider and Castelvecchi have done an excellent job in making the text correspond well to the sense of the original, using intelligent and very readable English, and the critical apparatus is superb. The glossary is particularly helpfuland#8212;readers can better understand what these terms meant to Basevi and how those meanings can differ from todayand#8217;s usage. This book will be important for scholars in any field of music.and#8221;
A bold, engaging exploration of opera's fundamental nature and enduring appeal, from the sixteenth century to the present.
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.
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.
About the Author
Abramo Basevi (1818andndash;85) was a composer, music promoter, scholar and critic who played a major role in the cultural life of nineteenth-century Florence. He published extensively on music and philosophy, and founded the periodical Landrsquo;armonia, where his study of Verdiandrsquo;s operas first appeared.and#160;Edward Schneiderstudied music at Oxford and has translated several books on music and cooking. He was an editor at United Nations Headquarters.
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