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Mozart and His Operas (New Grove Composers…

Mozart and His Operas (New Grove Composers Series)

by Stanley Sadie

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 031224410X, Hardcover)

Although the material in this useful new volume is culled from the New Grove Dictionary of Opera, there is no sense of dry, academic detachment. The "Interpreters" section, for example, concentrates on singers and conductors who created the canonical operas, and the juxtapositions of repertory are fascinating.

Many readers will first be drawn to the excellent synopses of the operas (including the early, unfamiliar works). Julian Rushton's contributions are exemplary. He manages to cover the sprawling plot of The Magic Flute with economy yet still find room to make an interpretive point about the Papageno-Papagena duet and address the issue of antifeminism in this work. His notes on Cosi fan tutte don't neglect the touchy subject of how the opera is supposed to end. Rushton acknowledges the difficulty of ordering the scenes in Act III of The Marriage of Figaro while still keeping the plot foremost.

The book includes a glossary (which, however, lacks an entry for buffo), an index to names of roles, and a few musical examples. Readers will want much more discussion of the performance histories of the works, but will not otherwise be disappointed. The series also includes volumes on Wagner, Puccini, and Verdi. --William R. Braun

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:52 -0400)

A guide to the life and career of eighteenth-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, providing a chronology; a biographical survey; synopses and critiques of twenty operas; profiles of the major librettists, singers, conductors, and directors with whom Mozart is most closely associated; a glossary of operatic terms; and an index.… (more)

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