Opera: A New Way of Listening

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9781899883721: Opera: A New Way of Listening

With the help of dozens of extracts on the accompanying music CD, Alexander Waugh examines the different categories of voice and how to recognize them, and explores the relationship between the words and the music. He looks at the elements of live performance - from the star singers and producers to the chorus and orchestra - before taking a unique look behind the scenes at an opera house, following the preparations for an opera through rehearsals and set-building to the opening night.
The heart of the book explores eight of the world's best-loved operas, including Mozart's action-packed Don Giovanni, Bizet's sensuous Carmen, and Puccini's impassioned Tosca. A key song from each opera is featured on the CD and analyzed moment-by-moment on an annotated "timeline," while the text discusses the musical and dramatic importance of the opera as a whole and looks at other celebrated operas by the same composer. With a listeners' guide to a further fifty essential operas, Opera: A New Way of Listening provides everything you need to know to enjoy the drama and beauty of this rich art.

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Review:

This well-constructed introductory book is a companion volume to Waugh's Classical Music: A New Way of Listening, sharing with it a format of many handsome pictures, a time line, basic plots and notes on popular arias and a more than 70-minute compact disc of some of the music discussed in the book.

From Library Journal:

These two works take a fresh look at opera?the works, singers, composers, and recordings. Both succeed in making opera accessible and interesting for the adult opera newcomer. Avoiding the elitist attitudes sometimes found in books on the subject, the authors rely instead on humor and fresh perspectives to enliven opera as a viable, modern entertainment. Goulding (Classical Music: The 50 Greatest Composers and Their 1000 Greatest Works, Fawcett Columbine: Ballantine, 1992) writes the more comprehensive guide, covering 100 works with plot summaries, discussions of the music, and recommended recordings and videos, all with wit and marvelous economy of language. With this book, a reader could become an instant expert on all the operas likely to be heard today. Waugh, an opera critic and author of other books on recorded music, examines eight masterworks in detail here, with 50 additional thumbnail sketches. Lavish use of graphics helps make Opera: A New Way of Listening a multimedia presentation, similar to what one might encounter in a well-taught opera appreciation course. The book must be used in conjunction with the accompanying 72-minute CD, which includes excerpts (linked to the text) of 43 recordings by some of opera's best-known performers. These opera books succeed in presenting solid musical information for the uninitiated and also have much to offer connoisseurs. For most libraries with opera collections.?James E. Ross, WLN, Seattle
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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