David Pogue; Scott Speck Opera for Dummies

ISBN 13: 9780694519095

Opera for Dummies

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9780694519095: Opera for Dummies
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Music by Puccini, Mozart, and other renowned operatic composers demonstrates the intricacies and beauty of the opera for novices to the art form.

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Review:

Opera is growing--in the size of its audience, in the number of companies, in general interest--and is attracting a lot of attention among younger, more visually oriented people. But opera can be intimidating to the uninitiated: it's sung in foreign languages and has odd little customs (such as women singing the parts of young boys, and hefty middle-aged singers portraying teenaged lovers) that may be disconcerting at first. But opera needn't be at all intimidating, thanks to the miracle of supertitles (like subtitles, but projected above the stage), the advent of generations of singers who work at staying in shape, and the appearance of reference works like Opera for Dummies that are designed to remove the snobbery and mystery from opera. If you don't mind the flippant tone, IDG Books' Opera for Dummies makes an excellent guide for those who are new to this splendid art form. All of opera's details are explained clearly and without pretension; there's a lot of useful information packed into its 358 pages. The package includes an enhanced compact disc (listen to it in your stereo's CD player or in your computer's CD-ROM drive), with more than an hour of operatic excerpts from classic EMI releases. The illustrations, while not lavish, are adequate.

There are, however, a few glaring errors in this book that demand correction: Scott Speck and David Pogue confuse the opera chorus with the supers (the "extras" who march in armies, wait on tables, and never, ever sing), and--even worse--maintain that soloists and choristers are two entirely separate breeds. In fact, there's not a soloist alive who has never done chorus work--and choristers frequently do solo work as well. These are rather foolish mistakes for a pair of acclaimed experts to make in a book that wants to be taken as a basic guide to opera.

From the Back Cover:

"Pogue is a wonderful teacher. . . . He can teach anybody."
—Gay Talese, bestselling author of Honor Thy Father

Includes lively summaries of 74 popular operas

"Scott Speck is a great communicator of classical music."
—David Styers, American Symphony Orchestra League

If you think opera is only for snobs, think again! This friendly guide brings opera down to earth, demystifying opera-speak, walking you through opera’s greatest hits, and explaining what all the fuss is really about –unforgettable tunes, racy plots, eye-popping spectacles, and fat ladies singing their hearts out.

Discover:

  • Opera lingo explained in plain English
  • Opera’s top sopranos and tenors
  • The story of opera over the centuries
  • Fascinating summaries of famous operas
  • Tips on attending an opera

All this on the enhanced audio CD:

  • 60 minutes of opera highlights, including excerpts from EMI Recordings of . . .
    Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Verdi’s A Masked Ball, Puccini’s La Bohème, Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, and Bizet’s Carmen
  • Interactive features, including a history of opera with pictures and an excerpt from a Verdi score that you can follow as the music plays

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David Pogue; Scott Speck
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ISBN 10: 069451909X ISBN 13: 9780694519095
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Pogue, David, Speck, Scott
Published by HarperAudio (1997)
ISBN 10: 069451909X ISBN 13: 9780694519095
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