During the last decade of his life Leoš Janá?ek sent hundreds of passionate letters to Kamila Stösslová, a married woman half his age. Selections from their correspondence are translated in this volume, with linking commentary, photographs and a decoding of the lovers’ erotic references. Their words reveal how much this relationship inspired the composer’s final, greatest works – including the String Quartet ‘Intimate Letters’ – and shed valuable light on his personality.
An Archaeological Study of the Bayeux Tapestry
The Landscapes, Buildings and Places
Trevor Rowley, an authority on the Normans and landscape history, focuses on the mid 11th-century landscapes in North-western France and England in which the epic events portrayed by the Bayeux Tapestry took place. Following those events, from Earl Harold’s journeys to Bosham and France to the Battle of Hastings, Rowley describes, with photographs and diagrams, the archaeological evidence and existing sites of the buildings and places represented and sometimes named on the Tapestry.
Edward III's Round Table at Windsor
The House of the Round Table and the Windsor Festival of 1344
In 1344, Edward III proposed forming a secular order of knights, the Order of the Round Table, and building a home for its gatherings. This book describes the archaeological evidence for that fabled Domus Rotunde Tabulae, unearthed by the BBC’s Time Team in 2006.
The Crafty Art of Opera
For Those Who Make It, Love It or Hate It
Acclaimed director Michael Hampe presents ‘useful rules’ for staging opera, giving examples from his work with singers and conductors. He discusses such questions as how to move on stage and how to convey comedy, aiming to help performers realize the art form’s full potential.
Histories of Modernist Music Drama from Parsifal to Nono
Beginning with the composer’s final stage work, Mark Berry traces the impact of Wagner on 20th-century opera. In particular he identifies how music drama, staging and political engagement intersect in the work of five composers with very different conceptions of a Wagnerian tradition.
Composing an American Life
One of America’s foremost composers reflects on his life and times, from the marching bands of his 1950s childhood to his acclaimed 2005 opera Doctor Atomic. He also explains the interplay of tradition and innovation in his own compositional process and the work of fellow-musicians.
Many of the great operatic singers of the 20th century led lives as extraordinary as the characters they portrayed on stage. In this refreshingly readable survey, acclaimed tenor and BBC presenter Nigel Douglas assesses the lives and careers of 14 great singers, from Enrico Caruso to Kirsten Flagstad, from Lotte Lehmann to Fritz Wunderlich. The book provides anecdotes and recollections from those who knew them, and also recommends the best CDs of their work.
Britain's Medieval Episcopal Thrones
History, Archaeology and Conservation
Six episcopal thrones survive from 14th-century cathedral churches. In this scholarly volume, Charles Tracy presents in-depth studies of the timber thrones in Exeter, St David’s and Hereford Cathedrals and the impressive, canopied oak bishop’s chair in Lincoln; and Andrew Budge contributes a chapter on the two stone episcopal thrones at Wells and Durham Cathedrals. There is much additional information in appendices, and the studies are lavishly illustrated with photographs, plans and line drawings of the thrones.
The Great Composers and Their Masterworks
This guide to the world of opera covers the whole history of the art form, from the early Baroque masterpieces of Monteverdi and Cavalli to works by such modern composers as Britten, John Adams and Thea Musgrave. Ranging across Europe, Russia and the United States, the book provides concise biographies of more than 50 composers, with synopses of their key works, photographs of productions and details of famous arias and choruses. Preface by Lord Harewood and foreword by Bryn Terfel.
Bizet's electrifying drama contains some of his best-known music, and its femme fatale is one of the most iconic figures in all opera. This superb recording, in which Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos conducts the Rome Opera chorus and orchestra, features a top-flight cast including Grace Bumbry, Jon Vickers, Mirella Freni and Kostas Paskalis.
In Search of England's Lost King
Francis Young, himself at the forefront of the search to locate the lost coffin of King Edmund, tells the story of the historical search for the real man behind the legendary East Anglian king killed by the Vikings in 869. The book traces Edmund’s progress from martyred king to England’s national saint in medieval times; and describes current research into Edmund’s burial in the abbey at Bury St Edmunds and the present whereabouts of his mortal remains.
Most archaeological study of medieval children has focused on the physical remains found in burials; this volume of nine papers presents new ways of exploring children’s lives. Among the topics discussed are play, particularly board and dice games; migration; children’s use of domestic and social space; evidence of children in the labour force; and ‘eaves-drip’ burials – the practice of burying babies close to the church walls.
The Chapel and Burial Ground on St Ninian's Isle, Shetland
Excavations Past and Present
St Ninian’s Isle is famous for the discovery of 28 pieces of Pictish silverware by Andrew O’Dell in 1958: this volume reassesses archive material from O’Dell’s work in the 1950s and describes earlier and later excavations, 1876 to 2000. Monograph 32.
Richard Wagner's Rebellious Granddaughter
As well as describing the life of Friedelind Wagner (1918–1991), the energetic and intelligent granddaughter of Richard and Cosima Wagner, this biography illuminates aspects of the cultural and musical life of her era. Translated by Chris Walton.
Stand Up Straight and Sing!
Jessye Norman is one of the finest classical singers of our age, the possessor of a glorious voice of unique range and power. In this frank, engaging and insightful memoir, she tells of her journey from small-town America to the opera houses of London, Paris, Berlin and New York. She reflects on the dedication required to master her art, on racism and her political education in the Civil Rights movement, offering a rare insight into the woman behind the voice.
The Chronicle of Opera
Derided by Dr Johnson as 'an exotic and irrational entertainment', opera has captivated audiences for four centuries. This volume charts the historical development of the art form, with features on composers from Monteverdi to Britten, key works from The Magic Flute to Wozzeck, and legendary singers such as Maria Callas. The reference section includes a timeline, discography, biographies and a guide to further reading, and over 100 colour illustrations show the magnificence of many operatic productions.
The Knowledge: Opera
In a concise introduction to opera, from its history to synopses of the most popular works, Dennis Marks (1948–2015), the former General Director of English National Opera, explains ‘what gives this strange activity the power to inspire the novice and obsess the enthusiast’. Slightly off-mint.