Opera has been around ever since the late 16th century, and it is still going strong in the sense that operas are performed around the world at present, and known by infinitely more persons than just those who attend performances. On the other hand, it has enjoyed periods in the past when more operas were produced to greater acclaim. Those periods inevitably have pride of place in this Historical Dictionary of Opera, as do exceptional singers, and others who combine to fashion the opera, whether or not they appear on stage. But this volume looks even further afield, considering the cities which were and still are opera centers, literary works which were turned into librettos, and types of pieces and genres. While some of the former can be found on the web or in other sources, most of the latter cannot and it is impossible to have the whole picture without them.
Indeed, this book has an amazingly broad scope. The dictionary section, with about 340 entries, covers the topics mentioned above but obviously focuses most on composers, not just the likes of Mozart, Verdi and Wagner, but others who are scarcely remembered but made notable contributions. Of course, there are the divas, but others singers as well, and some of the most familiar operas, Don Giovanni, Tosca and more. Technical terms also abound, and reference to different genres, from antimasque to zarzuela. Since opera has been around so long, the chronology is rather lengthy, since it has a lot of ground to cover, and the introduction sets the scene for the rest. This book should not be an end but rather a beginning, so it has a substantial bibliography for readers seeking more specific or specialized works. It is an excellent access point for readers interested in opera.
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Scott L. Balthazar has been teaching about opera for nearly a quarter century, and he has been studying the field even longer. For the past two decades, he has been Professor of Music History at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has written numerous articles on opera and contributed to other encyclopedias on the topic.Review:
Balthazar (West Chester Univ.) has conceived this historical dictionary as an academic textbook in alphabetical format, with entries for important composers, librettists, performers, impresarios, publishers, individual keystone operas, major cities, and terms. In entries for composers and other persons, Balthazar keeps biographical information to a minimum and emphasizes commentary on their achievements. Articles dealing with composers (e. g., Mozart, Verdi), librettists (e. g., Da Ponte, Boito), and singers (e. g., Callas, Pavarotti) present succinct accounts of their unique abilities and achievements. However, several composers lack entries, including Johann Strauss II (his compatriot, Lehár, is included), Humperdinck, and Gershwin, who are still represented in today's repertoire. Included is a useful piece titled "Categories of Opera," which provides cross-references to articles on the most important types of opera and operetta. Balthazar also surveys the contributions that women have made to opera. He provides an extensive bibliography of English-language books, dissertations, and articles published during the last 50 years. This dictionary will be a valuable acquisition for academic libraries with modest budgets. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty. (CHOICE)
The latest entry in Scarecrow’s Historical Dictionaries of Language and the Arts series covers the entire gamut of opera, from the earliest productions through such contemporaries as Glass and Adams. The dictionary section contains about 350 entries, ranging from a short paragraph to three pages, and mostly focuses on composers. Fewer entries cover significant performers, impresarios, venues, works, and terminology. Every entry includes bolded cross-references, and many feature additional see also references that lead to other entries within the volume. Entries are well written . . . and all are objective rather than subjective. Coverage is heaviest in the golden age of opera, the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. . . .As with other dictionaries in the series, the current volume includes a brief timeline, a short introductory essay, and a good secondary bibliography. Although some might question the need for still another opera reference book, Balthazar does a better job with uniting information on composers, terms, and works than other excellent but more focused single-volume works. . . .This work is recommended for all music collections. (American Reference Books Annual)
Balthazar presents an accessible dictionary of opera for students, as well as enthusiasts, performers, and composers, that contains about 350 entries on composers, librettists, performers, conductors, other figures, terms, stylistic movements, selected key operas, genres, cities, and other topics. It covers the genre from about 1600 to the present in the major Italian, French, German, eastern European nationalist, and British traditions, as well as others like the Spanish and Chinese traditions. Operetta and musical theater are not covered in detail. The introduction surveys opera and its influences and trends. (Book News, Inc.)
This is a further addition to Scarecrow’s excellent Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Artsseries. Covering opera from 1600 to the present day this dictionary will join its companion volumes as a useful quick reference guide for students and, in this case, opera-lovers. . . .The 100 page bibliography that follows the dictionary sequence is a welcome part of such a book whose subject is so well-documented, and this will in itself be incredibly useful to the scholar. This series continues to offer excellent one volume fare in an accessible format while still allowing for browsing that just does not seem to work so effectively via the computer screen. It is thoroughly recommended for all appropriate reference collections. (Reference Reviews)
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Book Description Scarecrow Press, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The information in the Historical Dictionary of Opera will help the reader identify central figures, works, concepts, and trends in the history of opera through selectively chosen entries that provide essential information and integrate that content within broad social or stylistic narratives. This is done through a chronology, an introductory essay, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has over 300 cross-referenced dictionary entries on important persons, composers, individual keystone operas, cities and terms. This book is a vital reference tool for students, teachers, and to all opera lovers, performers, and composers who seek information about the development of the genre. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780810867680
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Book Description 2013. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. The information in the Historical Dictionary of Opera will help the reader identify central figures, works, concepts, and trends in the history of opera through selectively ch.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 537 pages. 0.957. Bookseller Inventory # 9780810867680
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