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A Night at the Opera: An Irreverent Guide to The Plots, The by Sir Denis Forman

By Sir Denis Forman

With an encyclopedic wisdom of opera and a pleasant sprint of irreverence, Sir Denis Forman throws open the realm of opera--its constitution, composers, conductors, and artists--in this highly informative consultant. an evening on the Opera dissects the eighty-three preferred operas recorded on compact disc, from Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur to Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. for every opera, Sir Denis information the plot and forged of characters, awarding stars to elements which are "worth searching for," "really good," or, sometimes, "stunning." He is going directly to inform the historical past of every opera and its early reception. eventually, each one paintings is graded from alpha to gamma (although the hoop cycle will get an "X"), and Sir Denis has no qualms approximately voicing his opinion: the 1st act of Fidelio is "a little bit of a mess," whereas the final scene of  Don Giovanni "towers above the comedian finales of Figaro and Così and even if [it] is Mozart's maximum opera, it truly is definitely his strongest finale."
The consultant additionally provides short biographies of the good composers, conductors, and singers. A thesaurus of musical phrases is incorporated, in addition to Operatica, or the fundamental components of opera, from the correct position and magnificence of the audience's applause (and boos) to using surtitles.
A evening on the Opera is for connoisseurs and neophytes alike. it's going to entertain and tell, satisfaction and (perhaps) infuriate, delivering a topic for energetic debate and prepared reference for years yet to come.

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Additional resources for A Night at the Opera: An Irreverent Guide to The Plots, The Singers, The Composers, The Recordings (Modern Library Paperbacks)

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Yet when he steadies up and settles down to it there are some really effective and indeed touching items in Chénier – the Act II duet between Chénier and Maddalena, Gérard’s assessment of his own character in Act III and above all in Act IV Chénier’s pre-death solo and the final duet as the two lovers await the tumbrils. Chénier does not purge the soul with pity and terror nor does it fill the mind with wonder and admiration, but it is always enjoyable, sometimes touching and never for a moment dull.

And we are into the histrionics of the Act end (and very effective too). Act III MINUTES FROM THE START 1: Dumouriez traditore * 6: Son la vecchia Madelon *** 14: La coscienza nei cuor ** 20: Se ancor di me * 24: Io t’ho voluto ** 26: Voce piena d’armonia * 28: Mamma Cadet! * 31: Si, fui soldato * The courtroom scene1 opens with sonorous chords (terror of the Revolution) and addresses by Mathieu and Gérard are all good solid stuff. Suddenly Madelon’s offer of the last male in the family6 strikes a chord of genuine pity and terror: both the gesture itself and the tender music cast a spell – until we get to a patch of goo (when Gérard horns in).

CAST Andrea Chénier, poet, liberal sympathies Tenor Countess de Coigny, aristo Mezzo Maddalena, her daughter Soprano Bersi, Maddalena’s maid Mezzo Carlo Gérard, revolutionary, butler then activist Baritone Incredibile, a spy for the revolutionaries Tenor Roucher, Chénier’s friend Baritone Mathieu, rank-and-file revolutionary Baritone Madelon, blind old woman Mezzo Fléville (writer), the Abbé (poet), Dumas (Tribunal President), Fouquier-Tinville (Tribunal prosecutor), Schmidt (jailor), Major Domo, newsboy.

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