Opera
A Night at the Opera: An Irreverent Guide to the Plots, the Singers, the Composers, the Recordings
A Night at the Opera
An Irreverent Guide to the Plots, the Singers, the Composers, the Recordings
Paperback      ISBN: 0375751769
"Delightful and anti-reverential"--Sunday Times (London)

With an encyclopedic knowledge of opera and a delightful dash of irreverence, Sir Denis Forman throws open the world of opera--its structure, composers, conductors, and artists--in this hugely informative guide. A Night at the Opera dissects the eighty-three most popular operas recorded on compact disc, from Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur to Mozart's Die Zauberfl te. For each opera, Sir Denis details the plot and cast of characters, awarding stars to parts that are "worth looking out for," "really good," or, occasionally, "stunning." He goes on to tell the history of each opera and its early reception. Finally, each work is graded from alpha to gamma (although the Ring cycle gets an "X"), and Sir Denis has no qualms about voicing his opinion: the first act of Fidelio is "a bit of a mess," while the last scene of Don Giovanni "towers above the comic finales of Figaro and Cos and whether or not it] is Mozart's greatest opera, it is certainly his most powerful finale."

The guide also presents brief biographies of the great composers, conductors, and singers. A glossary of musical terms is included, as well as Operatica, or the essential elements of opera, from the proper place and style of the audience's applause (and boos) to the use of subtitles.

A Night at the Opera is for connoisseurs and neophytes alike. It will entertain and inform, delight and (perhaps) infuriate, providing a subject for lively debate and ready reference for years to come.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera Companion
Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera Companion
Paperback      ISBN: 186205763x

One of the most successful musicals of all time, Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'The Phantom Of The Opera' has now been adapted for the cinema. This book traces the 'Phantom' legend from Gaston Leroux's original story, covering both the history of the stage musical and the making of Joel Schumacher's film adaptation.

The Metropolitan Opera Presents: Puccini's La Boheme: Libretto, Background, and Photos
The Metropolitan Opera Presents: Puccini's La Boheme
Libretto, Background, and Photos
Paperback      ISBN: 1574674447

There's a reason La Boh me has been staged at the Met more often than any other opera: Puccini's enticing music perfectly conveys the enchantment of new young love and the anguish that comes with loss and death. La Boh me, the passionate and timeless story of love among impoverished young artists in Paris, can stake its claim as the world's most popular opera. It has a marvelous ability to make a powerful first impression (even on those new to opera) and to reveal unexpected treasures after dozens of hearings. At first glance, La Boh me is the definitive depiction of the joys and sorrows of love and loss; on closer inspection, it reveals the deep emotional significance hidden in the trivial things (a bonnet, an old overcoat, a chance meeting with a neighbor) that make up our everyday lives. This touching story of tenderness and tragedy never fails to move audiences and melt hearts. This gorgeous souvenir libretto includes extensive background notes and photos from productions through the years.

Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family
Sing for Your Life
A Story of Race, Music, and Family
Paperback      ISBN: 0316300632
The New York Times bestseller about a young black man's journey from violence and despair to the threshold of stardom: "A beautiful tribute to the power of good teachers" (Terry Gross, Fresh Air).

"One of the most inspiring stories I've come across in a long time."-Pamela Paul, New York Times Book Review

Ryan Speedo Green had a tough upbringing in southeastern Virginia: his family lived in a trailer park and later a bullet-riddled house across the street from drug dealers. His father was absent; his mother was volatile and abusive.

At the age of twelve, Ryan was sent to Virginia's juvenile facility of last resort. He was placed in solitary confinement. He was uncontrollable, uncontainable, with little hope for the future.

In 2011, at the age of twenty-four, Ryan won a nationwide competition hosted by New York's Metropolitan Opera, beating out 1,200 other talented singers. Today, he is a rising star performing major roles at the Met and Europe's most prestigious opera houses.

Sing for Your Life chronicles Ryan's suspenseful, racially charged and artistically intricate journey from solitary confinement to stardom. Daniel Bergner takes readers on Ryan's path toward redemption, introducing us to a cast of memorable characters -- including the two teachers from his childhood who redirect his rage into music, and his long-lost father who finally reappears to hear Ryan sing. Bergner illuminates all that it takes -- technically, creatively -- to find and foster the beauty of the human voice. And Sing for Your Life sheds unique light on the enduring and complex realities of race in America.
Verdi's Shakespeare: Men of the Theater
Verdi's Shakespeare
Men of the Theater
Paperback      ISBN: 0143122223
Look out for a new book from Garry Wills, What the Qur'an Meant, coming fall 2017.

Riveting . . . a double-barreled salvo that hits two bull's-eyes. --The New York Times Book Review

This dazzling study of the three operas that Giuseppe Verdi adapted from Shakespeare's plays takes readers on a wonderfully engaging journey through opera, music, literature, history, and the nature of genius. Verdi's Shakespeare explores the writing and staging of Macbetto (Macbeth), Otello (Othello), and Falstaff, operas by Verdi, an Italian composer who could not read a word of English but who adored Shakespeare. Delving into the fast-paced worlds of these men and the hands-on life of the stage that at once challenged them and gave flight to their brilliance, Wills, in his inimitable way, illuminates the birth of artistic creation.

The Met: One Hundred Years of Grand Opera
The Met
One Hundred Years of Grand Opera
Hardcover      ISBN: 0671470876

Illustrated with hundreds of photographs and based on research in the Met's massive archives, this history chronicles and celebrates the Met's first one hundred years and the legendary stars and conductors who have performed there



Twilight of the Wagners: The Unveiling of a Family's Legacy
Twilight of the Wagners
The Unveiling of a Family's Legacy
Hardcover      ISBN: 0312199570

In "The Ring And The Wolf", Gottfried Wagner chronicles his family's connection with National Socialism, from his great-grandfather's anti-Semitic pamphlets to his father's, uncle's and grandparent's close relationship with Adolf Hitler.

Gottfried's grandmother, Winifred, formed a special closeness to Hitler. It was Winifred who reportedly supplied the paper on which Hitler wrote Mein Kampf. Her two sons, Wieland and Wolfgang (Gottfried's father), called Hitler "Uncle Wolf".

As a young child, Gottfried discovered his family's controversial past, which has lead him on an impassioned crusade as an adult to examine the hatred and prejudice he knew growing up in Bayreuth -- a cultural and political center of German society led by the Wagner family with their annual festival in honor of Richard Wagner's operas.

With a judicious eye for telling detail and a sweeping sense of conscience, Gottfried Wagner lays bare the sins of a most powerful family.

History Is Our Mother: Three Libretti: Nixon in China, the Death of Klinghoffer, the Magic Flute
History Is Our Mother: Three Libretti
Nixon in China, the Death of Klinghoffer, the Magic Flute
Paperback      ISBN: 1681370646
The first appearance of Alice Goodman's two internationally-renowned and controversial libretti, alongside one of her masterful translations.

An NYRB Classics Original

Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghoffer played a crucial role in bringing opera back to life as a contemporary art form, and they have been popular--and, in the case of Klinghoffer, highly controversial--ever since they were first staged by the director Peter Sellars in the eighties and nineties. Both operas were conceived from the start as collaborations between composer and writer, and their power is due as much to the dazzlingly constructed and deeply felt libretti of the poet Alice Goodman as they are to John Adams's music. Nixon in China is a story, at once heroic, comic, and unnerving, of men and women making history and of their different conceptions of what history is and what it means to makes it. Klinghoffer, by contrast, has at its center the tragedy of an innocent man condemned at the cost of his life to play a part in history. History Is Our Mother, which takes its title from a line sung by the title character in Nixon in China, brings Goodman's two libretti together for the first time in book form. Included alongside Goodman's no less inspired translation of Emanuel Schikaneder's famous libretto to The Magic Flute, these vivid dramas of character and searching meditations on fate are here revealed as among the most original, ambitious, and accomplished poetic achievements of our time.
The Oxford History of Opera
The Oxford History of Opera
Paperback      ISBN: 0192840282

In its lavish amalgam of theatrical and musical resources, its flamboyant charm, its extravagant appeal to the heart and the mind, and its seemingly inexhaustible power to move and astonish us, opera is clearly the most spectacular of all the arts. Now, eleven leading authorities chronicle the full sweep of this stunning musical genre, ranging from the earliest known works to such recent experimental efforts as Robert Wilson and Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach.
The contributors--including such noted opera critics as William Ashbrook, Paul Griffiths, and Barry Millington--provide superb coverage of all the major periods. We read of the remarkable success of opera in republican Venice, where by 1650 some fifty operas had been performed, including masterworks by Monteverdi, the giant of the era. We learn of opera seria--which within the world of eighteenth-century Italian opera was the summit of prestige--and opera buffa, most noted today for three major works by Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Cosi Fan Tutti. We explore the peak of opera's popularity in nineteenth-century France, Italy, and Germany, with astute commentary on such major composers as Berlioz, Bizet, Rossini, Donizetti, and especially Wagner and Verdi. And we examine the remarkably diverse works of our own century, from Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier and Alban Berg's Wozzeck to Benjamin Britten's Death in Venice and John Adams's Nixon in China. Throughout, the contributors illuminate how opera often reflects the cultural concerns of the age, how it is part of the social fabric, and in three fascinating sections on staging, singers, and the social climate, they give us a look behind the scenes as well as a feel for what opera was like in the past. We discover, for instance, that before the late nineteenth century, patrons were not expected to arrive on time, sit still, keep quiet, concentrate on the stage action, or stay to the end (Wagner put an end to this practice by darkening the theatre).
Nowhere does the rich panoply of opera history unfold more grandly than in this volume. Authoritative, vivid, and beautifully written, it will be treasured by everyone who loves opera.

The Barber of Sevilla and Moses
The Barber of Sevilla and Moses
Paperback      ISBN: 0714540803

English National Opera Guides are ideal companions to the opera. They provide stimulating introductory articles together with the complete text of each opera in English and the original. Rossini is one of the great operatic composers, an innovator within the whole concept of what was appropriate for serious as well as comic opera. "Moses" is a score which he revised for Paris, ten years after it had been composed for Naples; the result shows the evolution of his dramatic taste over a crucial decade--from the neo-classical sublime to spectacular Romantic grand opera. "The Barber" has been a consistent favorite with the public and performers since it opened, and Marco Spada analyses how its stylish comedy has been misunderstood. Other essays throw light on the working conditions of the opera industry in Rossini's Italy, on Balzac's delightful novel concerning "Moses" and on the exceptional challenge of performing this type of music to a high standard.