Synopses & Reviews
Opera is the fastest growing of all the performing arts, attracting audiences of all ages who are enthralled by the gorgeous music, vivid drama, and magnificent production values. If you've decided that the time has finally come to learn about opera and discover for yourself what it is about opera that sends your normally reserved friends into states of ecstatic abandon, this is the book for you. Opera 101
is recognized as the standard text in English for anyone who wants to become an opera lover--a clear, friendly, and truly complete handbook to learning how to listen to opera, whether on the radio, on recordings, or live at the opera house. Fred Plotkin, an internationally respected writer and teacher about opera who for many years was performance manager of the Metropolitan Opera, introduces the reader (whatever his or her level of musical knowledge) to all the elements that make up opera, including:
- A brief, entertaining history of opera;
- An explanation of key operatic concepts, from vocal types to musical conventions;
- Hints on the best way to approach the first opera you attend and how to best understand what is happening both offstage and on;
- Lists of recommended books and recordings, and the most complete traveler's guide to opera houses around the world.
The major part of Opera 101
is devoted to an almost minute-by-minute analysis of eleven key operas, ranging from Verdi's thunderous masterpiece Rigoletto
and Puccini's electrifying Tosca
through works by Mozart, Donizetti, Rossini, Offenbach, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner, to the psychological complexities of Richard Strauss's Elektra
. Once you have completed Opera 101
, you will be prepared to see and hear any opera you encounter, thanks to this book's unprecedentedly detailed and enjoyable method of revealing the riches of opera.
Written by an opera insider and featuring an introduction by Placido Domingo, here is a thorough, friendly, and truly complete guide to learning how to love and appreciate the opera. After a brief history of opera, the book includes a guide to operatic terms, a minute-by-minute listener's guide to 11 central works, a list of recommended books and recordings and much more.
Opera housesand#151;temples to the art of Mozart, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, and moreand#151;have been created by some of the most talented architects and designers of their generations, inspiring centuries of veneration from audiences, filled with royalty and commoners alike. In this sumptuous book, photographer Guillaume de Laubier and journalist Antoine Pecqueur explore more than 25 of the worldand#8217;s most beautiful opera houses, from Tokyo to Covent Garden, from Oslo to Chicago, from Milan to New York. The buildings are described in their historical contexts, while stunning photography reveals the theatersand#8217; most captivating spaces. In addition to offering sweeping views of ornate auditoriums and facades, the book opens doors normally closed to the public, entering the artistsand#8217; dressing rooms, rehearsal halls, scenery workshops, and more, presenting a wide-ranging and compelling look into a spectacular world.
Praise for The Most Beautiful Opera Houses in the World:
and#147;Performance spaces take the spotlight in The Most Beautiful Opera Houses in the World and you donand#8217;t need to be a music buff to appreciate their range. The photographs by Guillaume de Laubier capture 32 theaters across the globe in rich detail . . . Who knew empty stages made for such good theater?and#8221; and#151;Wall Street Journal
and#160;and#147;With the growing popularity of massive arenas, it is often difficult to think back to a time when going out for a night of music was synonymous with elegance. But a new book has rediscovered the high art of these exquisite theater spaces. The Most Beautiful Opera Houses in the World contains hundreds of photographs showing the exteriors and auditoriums of these cultural treasuresand#151;and is a reminder why these architectural wonders are worth a visit.and#8221; and#151;FOXNews.com
About the Author
Fred Plotkin is the author of the bestselling and acclaimed Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera, which is the standard text in North American for discovering the glories of opera. He writes for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Opera News, Das Opernglas, and Gourmet. He lectures on music for leading institutions, including Columbia University, the Juilliard School, and the Smithsonian. Plotkin is a popular guest on the intermission features of the Chevron Texaco-Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, and many shows on National Public Radio. An expert on Italy, he has written five definitive books on Italian food and wine.