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Grand Opera, Mirror of the Western Mind

Eric A. Plaut

3 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1566630347 / ISBN 13: 9781566630344
Published by Ivan R. Dee, Chicago, 1993
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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Author's first book. Signed "To Mary P. Wells, Fellow opera lover." Opera from the viewpoint of an M.D. Psychologist. Bookseller Inventory # 004249

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Grand Opera, Mirror of the Western Mind

Publisher: Ivan R. Dee, Chicago

Publication Date: 1993

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition, First Printing

About this title

Synopsis:

Employing a remarkable combination of expertise in music, opera, and psychological insight, Eric Plaut explores the great operas and their composers from the time of the French Revolution to the onset of the First World War. He sees opera as the preeminent medium for expressing human willfulness, its characters driven by emotions of passionate intensity. The great composers of opera were also governed by their feelings and heavily influenced by the life of their time. Weaving together these social, psychological, and historical strains, Dr. Plaut investigates the meaning behind eighteen of the greatest operas, including Tristan and Isolde, Madame Butterfly, Tosca, Die Fledermaus, The Barber of Seville, Aida, Tales of Hoffmann, Fidelio, Lucia di Lammermoor, Carmen, Boris Godounov, Otello, Salome, and Faust. At the same time he looks into the lives of their composers, seeking those experiences and characteristics which help to explain both the opera in question and the composer's larger body of works. The result is an unusually satisfying and perceptive view of grand opera, a book that will be essential for opera lovers and informative and entertaining for general readers.

From the Back Cover:

No medium can compare with opera in its expression of human willfulness nor in the intense passions of its characters. The great composers of opera were also governed by their feelings and heavily influenced by the life of their time. In this fascinating book, Eric Plaut employs a remarkable combination of expertise in music, opera, and psychology to explore the great operas and their composers from the time of the French Revolution to the onset of the First World War. Weaving together social, psychological, and historical strains, Plaut investigates the meaning behind eighteen of the greatest operas and their composers. They include Mozart's Don Giovanni, Beethoven's Fidelio, Rossini's The Barber of Seville, Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, Gounod's Faust, Wagner's Tristan and Isolde and The Ring, Verdi's Aida and Otello, Moussorgsky's Boris Godounov, Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus. Bizet's Carmen, Saint-Saens's Samson and Delilah, Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann, Puccini's Tosca and Madame Butterfly, and Richard Strauss's Salome and Der Rosenkavalier. Looking into the lives of the composers, Plaut shows how their personalities and life experiences help to explain the particular opera as well as the composer's larger body of works. The result is an unusually satisfying and perceptive view of grand opera, a book that offers new perspectives on some great operas while providing intriguing glimpses into the psychological motivations of the great composers.

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