Rudel, program director for New York classical music station WQXR, feels that the plots of operas, often overwhelmed by the productions, display ``all the elements that go into good short stories, novels and plays.'' His 50 opera tales, recounted in present-tense synopsis form, are aimed at ``people who want to know not so much what the famous arias are, as what the characters say and do.'' Instead of introducing each opera with biographical notes on composers or background on productions, Rudel puts the emphasis on the tales, prefacing each selection with a single line on the date and theater of its first performance. The operas are grouped into three categories: ``Love and Jealousy'' (Aida, La Boheme); ``Religion and the Supernatural'' (Faust, The Magic Flute); ``History and Humanity'' (Falstaff, Boris Godunov). The book is fine for reference, but readers may wish that Rudel had chosen to break from the synopsis tradition to explore the possibilities of the fiction form, employing the past tense and standard prose techniques. Foreign rights: Marcella Berger, S & S. November
This collection, by the program director for the classical radio station WQXR in New York, concentrates on the short-story aspect of opera plots. Absent are cast lists, musical examples, and illustrations of performances. The 50 stories are organized (somewhat arbitrarily) into three categories: love and jealousy, religion and the supernatural, and history and humanity. The stories are entertainingly written, but many other collections would be preferable because they include those extra features and cover more operas. Robert W. Richart, Washington State Univ. Lib.