A History of Opera

A History of Opera

Book - 2012
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A History of Opera, 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.Yet the book's message is one of celebration. Even if the majority of opera's most popular and enduring works were written in what is now a remote European past and in circumstances very different from our own, and even if the viability of contemporary opera is ever more in question, opera as an art form remains extraordinarily buoyant and challenging. It continues to transform people physically, emotionally, and intellectually, and to articulate human experience in ways no other art form can match.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780393057218
Branch Call Number: 782.1 Abbate 11/2012
Characteristics: xix, 603 p. :,ill. (some col.) ;,25 cm.
Additional Contributors: Parker, Roger 1951-


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Oct 03, 2013

Abbate and Parker's history contains lots of interesting information. The problem, for me, was, although I'm an opera fan, I don't read music. Given the amount of technical discussion in the book, they appear to assume that their readers do. Luckily, my partner was a professional singer for over thirty years, and he's now a professor of voice. So when he was sitting beside me on the couch, I had a resource to explain both the concepts and the jargon. When I was on my own, it was more difficult. Glad I persevered, however. One refreshing thing is that the authors aren't afraid to take a position (unusual in this kind of writing). While I'm not sure I agree with their conclusions, I applaud their boldness.


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