The Oxford Illustrated History of Opera

The Oxford Illustrated History of Opera

Book - 1994
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Baker & Taylor
An oversized, elaborately illustrated resource chronicles the full sweep of a musical genre, covering the major periods including those of Italy, France, and Germany, and providing commentary on such composers as Mozart, Rossini, Wagner, and Verdi. UP.

Book News
In this lavishly illustrated, substantive volume, the history and social context of opera is explored by British and American scholars. The core of the book is a historical survey of opera, from its beginnings in Florence in the mid-1590s to the opera of today, with emphasis on the 19th century, the time during which most of the operas performed today were composed. All major composers' works are discussed, but the chronologically arranged chapters concentrate on opera's relationship with the other arts and its place within the broader world of culture and politics. The last three chapters are topical summaries: the staging of opera, opera singers, and opera as a social occasion. Includes nearly 300 superb illustrations, some 30 of which are in color. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

Blackwell North Amer
In this lavishly illustrated volume the history and social context of opera is explored by a group of leading British and American scholars, under the editorship of Roger Parker. The core of the book is a historical survey of opera, from its beginnings in Florence four hundred years ago, up to opera in the 1990s. The greatest coverage is given to the nineteenth century, the time during which most of the operas performed today were composed. There are also chapters on the history of staging, on opera singers, on opera as a social occasion through the ages, and a chronology.
Although all major composers of opera are mentioned, and their works discussed, the various chapters concentrate less on simple historical narrative, more on the complex development of opera, especially on its relationship with the other arts and its place within the broader world of culture and politics.
The numerous illustrations - nearly three hundred, some thirty of which are in colour - serve the vital purpose of underlining the richly visual nature of opera: the manner in which it communicates so vividly through staging and costume, and the spectacular way in which it often reflects the cultural concerns of the age. Rather than simply illustrating the text, the pictures work as a kind of parallel history, supplementing and enriching the verbal narrative.
The contributors are all experts in their chosen areas, but all of them have remained alive to the basic attraction of opera: its extravagant appeal to both the senses and the intellect, and its seemingly inexhaustible power to move and astonish us.

Baker
& Taylor

Chronicles the history of opera and covers the major periods, including those of Italy, France, and Germany, and provides commentary on such composers as Mozart, Rossini, Wagner, and Verdi

Oxford University Press
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, in this beautifully illustrated, oversized volume--boasting over 250 pictures, 30 in full color--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). Not least important are the numerous illustrations in the book, which highlight the richly visual nature of opera, the manner in which it communicates so vividly through staging and costume. Exhaustively researched and informatively captioned, these striking pictures offer an immediacy with the past that both enriches and complements the narrative.
Nowhere does the rich panoply of opera history unfold more grandly than in this volume. Authoritative, vividly written, and exquisitely designed, it will be treasured by everyone who loves opera.

Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 1994
ISBN: 9780198162827
0198162820
Branch Call Number: 782.103 OXF
Characteristics: xv, 541p. : ill. ; 26cm
Additional Contributors: Parker, Roger 1951-

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