"The New Pengiun Opera Guide" is a fully revised and updated edition of the most comprehensive single-volume opera encyclopaedia ever published. In the course of hundreds of meticulously researched articles, it explores the complete operas of figures as diverse as Bellini and Britten, Handel and Hindemith, Massenet and Monteverdi, Rameau and Rossini, Weber and Weill; offers fresh insights into such perennial favourites as Mozart, Verdi and Wagner; and examines stage works by composers not primarily remembered for their operas - Schumann, Faure and Schoenberg among them. It also brings the reader right up to date with the latest operas by contemporary composers worldwide, including Ades, Carter, Holliger, Macmillan, Picker, Reich, Saariaho and Tan Dun. In all it discusses nearly 850 composers and looks in detail at around 2,000 works. For every composer, there is an outline of their operatic career and an assessment of their contribution to the genre. Each of their significant operatic works has its own entry, with information about the libretto, duration, cast and orchestra, the background to the work, the plot, and musical highlights. Selected recordings are included, to guide the reader towards the best versions, and there is also information about publishers and available editions, as well as bibliographical references. Each article has been written by a leading expert in the field, for example, Tim Carter on Monteverdi, Philip Gossett on Rossini, David Cairns on Berlioz, Roger Parker on Puccini, Michael Kennedy on Richard Strauss, John Tyrrell on Janacek, Stephen Walsh on Stravinsky. For the enthusiast or novice, amateur or professional, "The New Penguin Opera Guide" is an ideal source of information and insight. It brings alive the entire rich and varied tapestry of opera, from its beginnings four hundred years ago right up to the present day.
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Amanda Holden studied music at Oxford with Egon Wellesz and has taught at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her opera translations, many of them commissioned by the English National Opera, are performed throughout the English speaking world. She edited The Viking Opera Guide (1993). Amanda Holden lives in London, N5.From Library Journal:
In this update of her compact but thorough guide, first published in 1993, opera translator Holden casts her net to include operetta and musical theater. Ranging from opera's beginnings in the 16th century to ventures that premiered as late as the end of 2000, she offers about 850 articles arranged alphabetically by composer. A tenth of these articles are new, representing previously unexplored territory or operas that have appeared since the earlier title. Familiar operas are addressed, as are those on the fringes of the repertoire and contributions by composers probably recognized only in their homelands (e.g., C.L. Dieter, P. Hadjiev, and J. Ruzitska). Performers are, however, excluded. After giving biographical information and background on musical training, the book presents major operas individually in chronological order, offering text sources, premiere dates, character names with voice types, synopses, and some critical remarks. Following are discographical recommendations, sources for scores and occasionally libretti, and bibliographic citations. Other operas and related works are listed at the end of each article. The operas of key figures like Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Richard Strauss, and Puccini receive separate treatment, while those of lesser-known creators or where opera was not necessarily a main focus are mentioned within the bio-musical sketch. Each entry is initialed by a leading music scholar or practitioner, often among the most highly regarded in their respective areas-chiefly British with a sprinkling of American and Canadian names. The scattered illustrations add interest, presenting either portraits of composers or scenes/costumes from operas, evoking a period or genre. There are useful indexes of librettists and titles, as well as a glossary and contributor biographies. This comprehensive title is highly recommended as an update to relevant portions of The New Grove Dictionary of Opera at a bargain price.
Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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