Metropolitan Opera Stories Of The Great Operas

Metropolitan Opera Stories Of The Great Operas

by John W. Freeman
     
 

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“Explores a large area of repertory that lies beyond the basic, with considerable attention paid to American opera, but includes also the less familiar operas of Rossini, Verdi, Massenet, and Wagner. Freeman has organized his material in fastidious though not excessive detail and presents it in a down-to-earth, conversational manner. His highly informative

Overview

“Explores a large area of repertory that lies beyond the basic, with considerable attention paid to American opera, but includes also the less familiar operas of Rossini, Verdi, Massenet, and Wagner. Freeman has organized his material in fastidious though not excessive detail and presents it in a down-to-earth, conversational manner. His highly informative essays on the composers are particularly valuable.” —George Jellinek
The opera-goer's indispensable guide. About to see Rossini’s William Tell, Verdi’s I Lombardi, Gluck’s Alceste, Philzner’s Palestrina, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream? The stories of these operas and 120 others are told, clearly and concisely, in this companion volume to the highly successful Metropolitan Open Stories of the Great Operas. Opera News associate editor John W. Freeman untangles and summarizes the often complicated plots and provides, in addition, an informative biographical sketch of each composer, world and U.S. premiere dates, lists of characters, and other background information. The works included here are selected from the repertory of European and American opera companies. They span more than three and one-half centuries, from Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria (1640) to Philip Glass’s The Voyage (1992), and are set in venues as diverse as the legendary Palace of Time (Lully’s Atys) and twentieth-century Manhattan (Anthony Davis’s X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X). The operas are arranged alphabetically by composer and indexed by all the usual versions of the title (e.g., Der Zigeunerbaron, The Gypsy Baron). Published jointly by the Metropolitan Opera Guild and W. W. Norton, the book is not only a most valuable resource but also, as Beverly Sills notes in her foreword, immense fun just to read.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Freeman, associate editor of Opera News and author of the first volume of The Metropolitan Opera Stories of the Great Operas (LJ 11/15/84), presents this second volume of stories from 125 more operas, this time covering less familiar works, such as early pieces (Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in partria, 1640) and contemporary ones (John Adams's Nixon in China, 1987). The entries are arranged by composer, with a brief introduction providing background on the life and works of each. Because Freeman focuses on less familiar works, he includes Verdi's early operas (I Lombardi, Stiffelio, I due Foscari) rather than the works often performed today. Many of the operas are known more from references in the literature of opera (Halvy's La Juive, 1835) or because of well-known excerpts from otherwise forgotten works (Catalani's La Wally, 1892). However, these works are part of the vocabulary of opera, so there is a need for the hard-to-find information presented here. The biographies and shorter synopses of many of these pieces are available in standard reference works, but this is still a good selection for larger music collections with a need for in-depth materials.-James E. Ross, WLN, Seattle

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393040517
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
07/01/1996
Series:
Metropolitan Opera Series
Pages:
500
Sales rank:
818,393
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 1.06(d)

Meet the Author

Beverly Sills (b. 1929 – d. 2007) was an American opera singer, general manager of the New York City Opera, Chairman of Lincoln Center, and Chairman of the Metropolitan Opera.

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