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    Operatic books

    Here is thread to share various books about opera: biographies, memories, guidebooks, academic books, everything. You may both recall what books made impression on you in the past or simply share what you're currently at.

    I'm actually reading autobiography of Carreras:



    Already somewhere in half of it and like it so far. It has a bit weird structure because the story of his life is placed in the middle of the whole thing, it begins with description of his struggle with illness and come-back in 1988, at the end of book you have his thoughts about various opera subjects. It's all very varied in content and it provides both material for thinking about life in general and curiosities from the world of opera, art of singing, also musical taste and favourite roles of the author. Honestly recommended.

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Nice, Aramis. I'll look into getting a copy.

    The next one I'll mention is a very entertaining book, more because of the way it's written than regarding the validity of the analysis - I disagree with the author in various ways regarding specific operas (he is very opinionated) but it is funny, light, and witty, with some interesting information that is hard to find elsewhere, for example, some long paragraphs about how each opera was received by the public and critic after the premiere.

    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); December 20th, 2011 at 04:14 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Festat's Avatar
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    Not exactly operatic, I'm currently reading this:


    It is about conducting in general, but there's a great deal about opera throughout the book and a whole chapter dedicated to opera conducting. Although it is almost 800 pages long, it is rather superficial and sometimes repetitive, as it often deals one conductor at a time, but very entertaining and filled with trivia, which I love. Lago clearly writes for an audience that's not used to music notation and technical terms and, well, isn't exactly a gifted writer.
    However, the bibliography is extensive (and bit overly used here and there). I have already picked (a bunch) of the referenced books to read later.

    I'm definitely adding Carreras autobio to the queue, btw.

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Great. Does it enhance one's ability to gauge a conductor's performance? I'd like to be better able to do that.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Senior Member Involved Member jflatter's Avatar
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    This is my current book.
    Attached Images Attached Images    

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    Senior Member Involved Member jflatter's Avatar
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    Don't know what is going on but with my images but even I don't think its my tech stupidity!

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Festat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Great. Does it enhance one's ability to gauge a conductor's performance? I'd like to be better able to do that.
    Yes, in a way. From my point o view, the intention of the book is to explain and expose conducting through conductors. I still don't know how effective this can be as I feel it's more about conductors than about conducting every 30 pages. He is sometimes very arbitrary and just points out "the best" rendition(s) of a given piece, without exactly explaining why it is considered unpaired.
    But I find it is a good exercise if you're able to listen to what you are reading about. In this aspect, I do think it enhances your perceptions and makes you much more sensitive to subtleties in each conductor's style.

    ETA: This are my personal feelings on the book, anyway, I still haven't finished it.

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Callas Images of a Legend
    13 x 9.5 hardcover 261 pages, best collection of high quality rare Callas photos I have seen
    Absurdly cheap at Amazon USA used $2

    Opera (Ullmann)
    12 x 9.5 hardcover 920 pages, best single reference guide for opera, loaded with photos and richly illustrated, so much great info

  10. #9
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Festat's Avatar
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    Dark_Angel, have you read any of the biographies on Maria Callas? If so, which one would you recommend? I'm looking for one but I don't know which to choose!

  11. #10
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Festat View Post
    Dark_Angel, have you read any of the biographies on Maria Callas? If so, which one would you recommend? I'm looking for one but I don't know which to choose!
    I see you are fan of Maria's Medea.......

    I have never read an entire book bio of Callas, seen/own many Callas DVDs and misc reading here or there

    I have read/own the book Callas Legacy which details her EMI recordings and some earlier Cetra label ones......nice companion to complete EMI studio boxset


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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    The inner voice : the making of a singer / Renée Fleming.



    A great book about the physical and mental discipline necessary to become a singer. Very revealing and informative. If I were a young singer starting off I'd definitely want to read this.

    And cheap as chips on Amazon US.
    Natalie

  13. #12
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jflatter View Post
    Don't know what is going on but with my images but even I don't think its my tech stupidity!
    Mine have malfunctioned as well, jflatter. I think it may have to do with the changed php handler in the server while we build up the Wordpress front pages - several images are being uploaded and they did warn us that during this operation the server might respond sluggishly.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Comprehensive survey of all of Handel's operas, benchmark reference by Handel scholars Winton Dean and John Knapp.





    An interesting book about Handel's professional relationship with his opera singers, including artistic impetus.

    Attached Images Attached Images  

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  16. #14
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    Here is thread to share various books about opera: biographies, memories, guidebooks, academic books, everything. You may both recall what books made impression on you in the past or simply share what you're currently at.

    I'm actually reading autobiography of Carreras:



    Already somewhere in half of it and like it so far. It has a bit weird structure because the story of his life is placed in the middle of the whole thing, it begins with description of his struggle with illness and come-back in 1988, at the end of book you have his thoughts about various opera subjects. It's all very varied in content and it provides both material for thinking about life in general and curiosities from the world of opera, art of singing, also musical taste and favourite roles of the author. Honestly recommended.
    English title is Singing From The Soul

    The description of his diagnosis & treatment is very emotional. I agree with Aramis, recommended.


    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

  17. #15
    Schigolch
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    If you love 19th century Italian opera, from Rossini to Verdi, you will love this book.

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