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.
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.
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.
First used in medieval Venice and prized for its manoeuvrability, the gondola evolved over the centuries into today's sleek, asymmetrical black boat. Illustrated with reproductions of views of Venice, Donna Leon's little book offers 'a new way to enter into the life of the city' through the stories of the gondola, its history, its makers and its songs. A CD of gondoliers' barcarole accompanies the book, recorded by Il Pomo d'Oro, with a special track by Cecilia Bartoli.
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.
Gilbert of Gilbert & Sullivan
His Life and Character
William Schwenck Gilbert is remembered as the librettist who, with Arthur Sullivan, created the comic operas that still delight audiences more than a century later. But who was he, and what drove this difficult, quarrelsome man? This sympathetic and illuminating biography charts Gilbert's multifaceted career as a journalist, dramatist and stage director, and uncovers the unhappy childhood that left him discontented with himself and the age in which he lived - a discontent that his prodigious gifts transmuted into satiric gold.
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.