A concise but comprehensive guide to understanding and enjoying opera
Opera is a wonderful musical form--but the prospect of attending performances can be quite daunting for the uninitiated. The sense of insecurity about the entire enterprise--What is the plot about? What is the music like? What should one listen for? What should one look for on the stage? What are the best recordings and videos to buy?--can discourage would-be fans from making that first step into this extraordinary world.
In A Pocket Guide to Opera, Rupert Christiansen, a leading music critic, addresses all these questions head-on to provide a highly readable guide to eighty of today's most popular operas, ranging from the Baroque operas of Gluck and Cavalli through the classical operas of Mozart and the nineteenth-century masterpieces by Wagner, Verdi, and Puccini, and on to twentieth-century works from Strauss, Stravinsky, and others. In addition to offering a pithy synopsis of each opera, A Pocket Guide to Opera also includes short sections on the history of each work, descriptions of the main characters, and guidance on what to look for in a performance and what to listen to in a recording, as well as recommendations for the best recording, video and DVD. The resulting book is today's best one-volume introduction and guide to opera--a concise but comprehensive volume that every opera fan should own.