Mozart and His Operas

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $4.40
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 89%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (13) from $4.40   
  • New (4) from $24.97   
  • Used (9) from $4.40   


David Cairns—winner of the Whitbread Biography Award and the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction—has spent his life immersed in Mozart’s music, both as a performer and as a listener. This intimate biography sheds new and important light on the composer by placing his operas in the context of his life and his complete musical output. Mozart's unusual childhood as a musical prodigy touring Europe as a performer from an early age is well known. But even more remarkable is that the genius grew up to produce works of increasing maturity and originality. Cairns unravels the many myths surrounding Mozart to reveal the opinionated, passionate, and exceptionally intelligent man behind the legend.

Cairns shows that familiarity with the operas can transform our perception of Mozart's art. He demonstrates that the composer’s approach to composition was that of a consummate dramatist. Using the operas as his guide, he traces the steady deepening of Mozart's musical style from his beginnings as a child prodigy, through his coming of age with, in Cairns’s opinion, the most Romantic and forward-looking of all Mozart's operas, Idomeneo. He discusses Mozart’s later genius as displayed in the three comic operas The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte, and in The Magic Flute, the final and greatest triumph of his career.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In this immensely readable biography, David Cairns puts Mozart’s operas front and center, letting the music illuminate the creative aspects of the composer’s life. Revealing both a scholar’s understanding and an aficionado’s passion, Cairns’s commentary -- as colorful and character driven as the operas themselves -- is a true delight.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520228986
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 301
  • Sales rank: 977,197
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

David Cairns has been chief music critic of the Sunday Times and music critic and arts editor of the Spectator. He has been Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California, Davis, and a visiting scholar at the Getty Center in Santa Monica. His two-volume biography of Berlioz, published by UC Press, is the definitive work on the subject.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 Imitation, assimilation : the early operas 17
2 "Such great things in so small a head" : Indomeneo 32
3 Vienna and a new life : Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail 69
4 Lorenzo Da Ponte and the perfect marriage : Le nozze di Figaro 99
5 Prague and "the opera of all operas" : Don Giovanni 136
6 Catechisms of love : Cosi fan tutte 169
7 Mozart the visionary : The magic flute 194
8 Propaganda and parable : La clemenza di Tito 229
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)