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A night at the opera : an irreverent guide to the plots, the singers, the composers, the recordings

Author: Denis Forman
Publisher: New York : Modern Library, 1998.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : Modern Library pbk. edView all editions and formats
Summary:
With an encyclopedic knowledge of opera and a delightful dash of irreverence, Sir Denis Forman throws open the world of opera--its structure, composers, conductors, and artists--in this hugely informative guide. A Night at the Opera dissects the eighty-three most popular operas recorded on compact disc, from Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur to Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. For each opera, Sir Denis details the plot and cast  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Humor
Stories, plots, etc
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Denis Forman
ISBN: 0375751769 9780375751769
OCLC Number: 38966201
Notes: Originally published: The good opera guide. London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1994.
Includes index.
Description: xiv, 959 pages ; 24 cm
Other Titles: Good opera guide
Responsibility: Sir Denis Forman.
More information:

Abstract:

With an encyclopedic knowledge of opera and a delightful dash of irreverence, Sir Denis Forman throws open the world of opera--its structure, composers, conductors, and artists--in this hugely informative guide. A Night at the Opera dissects the eighty-three most popular operas recorded on compact disc, from Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur to Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. For each opera, Sir Denis details the plot and cast of characters, awarding stars to parts that are "worth looking out for," "really good," or, occasionally, "stunning." He goes on to tell the history of each opera and its early reception. Finally, each work is graded from alpha to gamma (although the Ring cycle gets an "X"), and Sir Denis has no qualms about voicing his opinion: the first act of Fidelio is "a bit of a mess," while the last scene of Don Giovanni "towers above the comic finales of Figaro and Così and whether or not [it] is Mozart's greatest opera, it is certainly his most powerful finale." The guide also presents brief biographies of the great composers, conductors, and singers. A glossary of musical terms is included, as well as Operatica, or the essential elements of opera, from the proper place and style of the audience's applause (and boos) to the use of surtitles. A Night at the Opera is for connoisseurs and neophytes alike. It will entertain and inform, delight and (perhaps) infuriate, providing a subject for lively debate and ready reference for years to come.

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