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Opera: A History in Documents


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Preface: 1: The Medici Wedding Festivities of 1589 (de' Rossi) 2: Pietro Bardi on the Birth of Opera 3: L'Euridice, the Second Opera (Buonarroti, Rinuccini, Peri, Caccini) 4: Cavalieri's Rappresentatione di anima, et di corpo (Guidotti, Cavalieri) 5: Monteverdi Criticizes a Libretto 6: Sant'Alessio at the Barberini Palace, Rome (Rospigliosi, Bouchard) 7: Opera Comes to Venice and Goes Public (Ivanovich) 8: Lully is Granted a Monopoly on Opera in French (Colbert, Lully) 9: The Grand Siecle Absorbs the Tragedie en musique (Perrault, La Fontaine, Boileau) 10: Saint-Evremond's Views on Opera 11: The First English Operas (Dryden) 12: Handel's Rinaldo at the Haymarket Theatre (Hill, G. Rossi, Addison, Steele) 13: Pier Jacopo Martello on Opera (1715) 14: The President de Bosses in Italy (1739) 15: Metastasio on Setting Dramatic Recitative to Music 16: From Rousseau's Confessions 17: The War of the Buffoons (d'Holbach) Interlude: A Traveling Company (G. Gozzi) 18: Operatic Reform in Vienna: Gluck and Calzabigi 19: Gluck in Paris (Meister) 20: Mozart at Work on Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail 21: Gretry's Richard Coeur-de-Lion (Meister, Gretry) 22: The Making of Le nozze di Figaro (L. and W.A. Mozart, Da Ponte) 23: Kierkegaard's Don Giovanni 24: Fidelio in 1806 (Roeckel) 25: Berlioz's Estimate of Spontini 26: E. T. A. Hoffman on "Music Drama That Springs from the Heart" 27: The First Performance of Il barbiere di Siviglia (Righetti-Giorgi) 28: Der Freischutz: A German Triumph (M. M. von Weber) 29: Parisian Grand Opera: Auber's La Muette de Portici as Seen by Wagner Interlude: Madame Pasta (Hunt) 30: Verdi's Own Story of How Nabucco Was Composed 31: Verdi's Operatic Style Analyzed by a Contemporary (Basevi) 32: Wagner on the Evolution of his Style 33: Wagner's Theory of Drama 34: Divergent Reactions to Boris Godunov (Laroche, Stasov) 35: Tchaikovsky on Eugene Onegin 36: Nietzsche vs. Wagner 37: Verdi's Otello (Boito, Verdi, Morelli) Interlude: Verdi and Wagner in Vienna (J. Sulzer) 38: Verismo (Verga) 39: Four Men at Work on La boheme (Illica, Puccini, Ricordi, Giacosa) 40: Pelleas et Melisande (Mauclair, journalist, Debussy) 41: Strauss and Hofmannsthal Work on Der Rosenkavalier 42: Duke Bluebeard's Castle (Ballasz) 43: Busoni and the Reinstatement of Disbelief 44: In Defense of Kat'a Kabanova (Stuart) 45: Alban Berg on Wozzeck 46: Brecht on "Epic Opera" 47: Shostakovich and the Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk Debacle (Shostakovich, Pravda) Interlude: An Italian Claque (Montale) 48: Peter Grimes in Postwar London (Edm. Wilson) 49: Stravinsky, Auden, and The Rake's Progress 50: A First Reaction to Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmelites (Mila) 51: Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass (Page) 52: John Adams on Nixon in China Index:


Beginning with the Intermedio, which was performed at a Medici wedding in 1589, and ending with John Adams's 1987 Nixon in China, this book provides a novel view of dozens of operas over the centuries. The author, a noted scholar and authority on the history of opera who chairs the musicology department at the Johns Hopkins Peabody Conservatory, illuminates the history of opera through documents, each presented in historical context. His selection of documents includes letters, diary accounts, critical notices, playbills, and libretto excerpts that highlight fascinating aspects of the works and their performances, as well as the era in which they originated. We learn, for example, what Stendhal thought of Rossini's Barber of Seville, as well as Tchaikovsky's own thoughts on Eugene Onegin and Mozart's first ideas about his Marriage of Figaro. Opera lovers will be delighted at this new and excellent source of information and insight. Recommended for public and academic libraries. Timothy J. McGee, Univ. of Toronto Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

a most coherent, elegant, and perceptive survey of four centuries of operatic debate. This volume is a priceless addition to the literature, and the pages of my copy are already dog-eared from constant use. Music and Letters Opera: A History in Documents comes as treasure trove to the fan ... crisp, informative intros to each entry ... The extracts relating to theatres and performance are fascinating ... no true lover of opera can afford to be without this invaluable collection. Opera Now Weiss's book is a Jack Horner's pie full of plums, familiar and unfamiliar, many of them freshly and elegantly translated by Weiss himself ... a valuable and enjoyable book. Opera Weiss is head of the musicology department at John Hopkins, and the anthology that he has compiled makes up a history of opera that is learned, quirky, disjointed, spiced with the unexpected and the diversionary, and sometimes very funny; everything, in fact, that such a collection should be. Opera Excellent compilation ... a rich offering ... for students and intelligent opera lovers, the material on the operas selected will rapidly become indispensable BBC Music Magazine

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