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.
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.
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.
Verdi's Operas: An Illustrated Survey of Plots,
Characters, Sources, and Criticism
Richly melodic and powerfully dramatic, Verdi's operas occupy a unique place in the repertoire. In this complete, authoritative guide, each of the 26 works is studied in detail, with an act-by-act plot summary and analysis of its subject matter. The authors also set each opera in the context of its period and Verdi's artistic development, and discuss the composer's literary sources and his relationship with his librettists. The guide is illustrated with colour photographs from modern productions.
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.
Bel Canto Bully: The Life and Times
of the Legendary Opera Impresario Domenico Barbaja
Domenico Barbaja – gambling magnate, 'greatest man in the Kingdom of Naples' and 'the Napoleon of music impresarios' – promoted the finest voices of the bel canto period and was responsible for the emergence of the opera composers Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti. Eisenbeiss reconstructs Barbaja's life and travels, traces his rise from coffee waiter to millionaire and follows his passionate but sometimes fraught professional negotiations against the backdrop of the changing political powers of his day.
The Chronicle of Opera
Derided by Dr Johnson as 'an exotic and irrational entertainment', opera has captivated audiences for four centuries. This handsome 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.
The History of Opera
From the origins of opera in the 16th century to the works of Britten and Birtwistle, this audio guide to the art form tells the story of its development across Europe. The text by the award-winning writer and librettist Richard Fawkes is read by actor Robert Powell and accompanied by more than 100 musical examples, including performances by some of the 20th century’s greatest singers. 4 CDs; running time 5hrs 17mins.