The New Penguin Opera Guide (Penguin Reference Books)

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9780140514759: The New Penguin Opera Guide (Penguin Reference Books)
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Provides a a close-up look at nearly two thousand operatic works by some 850 composers, with biographical sketches containing entries for each composer's important works, each work's genre and duration, the librettist and the libretto's source, the premiere dates, a synopsis, and a musical discussion. Original.

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About the Author:

Amanda Holden has written more than fifty translations and texts for the opera, theater, and concert hall. She wrote the libretto for Mark Turnage's opera The Silver Tassie for which, with the composer, she received the Olivier Award for "outstanding achievement in opera" in 2001.

From Library Journal:

In this update of her compact but thorough guide, first published in 1993, opera translator Holden casts her net to include operetta and musical theater. Ranging from opera's beginnings in the 16th century to ventures that premiered as late as the end of 2000, she offers about 850 articles arranged alphabetically by composer. A tenth of these articles are new, representing previously unexplored territory or operas that have appeared since the earlier title. Familiar operas are addressed, as are those on the fringes of the repertoire and contributions by composers probably recognized only in their homelands (e.g., C.L. Dieter, P. Hadjiev, and J. Ruzitska). Performers are, however, excluded. After giving biographical information and background on musical training, the book presents major operas individually in chronological order, offering text sources, premiere dates, character names with voice types, synopses, and some critical remarks. Following are discographical recommendations, sources for scores and occasionally libretti, and bibliographic citations. Other operas and related works are listed at the end of each article. The operas of key figures like Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Richard Strauss, and Puccini receive separate treatment, while those of lesser-known creators or where opera was not necessarily a main focus are mentioned within the bio-musical sketch. Each entry is initialed by a leading music scholar or practitioner, often among the most highly regarded in their respective areas-chiefly British with a sprinkling of American and Canadian names. The scattered illustrations add interest, presenting either portraits of composers or scenes/costumes from operas, evoking a period or genre. There are useful indexes of librettists and titles, as well as a glossary and contributor biographies. This comprehensive title is highly recommended as an update to relevant portions of The New Grove Dictionary of Opera at a bargain price.
Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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