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The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera (Oxford Paperback Reference) Paperback – May 23, 1996

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Editorial Reviews Review

This is a handy, portable guide to opera: composers, artists, national trends. The authors have done a good job of ferreting out information and putting it together. If you just need to check which opera has a prima donna called Isabella (Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri) or the definition of a covered tone, this is a good book to grab.


Praise for The Oxford Dictionary of Opera:

"The most authoritative single-volume work of its kind."--Indpendent on Sunday (London)


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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Paperback Reference
  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 3 edition (May 23, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192800280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192800282
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,881,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Lanigan-O'Keeffe on August 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
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On the first reading I had close to 147 objections by the end of letter C and most of these were factual errors. I wrote to OUP and received what I perceived as smug replies.

Eight basses (De Vries p190, Krivchenya p386, Piragov p557, Reysen p597, Rossi-Lemeni p612, Shalyapin p655, Gustav Siehr p658 and David Ward p758) are credited with Mozart's Don Basilio in their repertoires while the lyric tenor Lemeshev is credited with "Mozart's Count Almaviva".

The entry "chorus" states "Verdi's Nabucco (1842) where the opposing factions of Egypt and Israel" Wrong country, wrong continent.

Check the musical ranges under "soprano", "mezzo-soprano", "contralto" , "tenor", "baritone" and "bass" against the score and you will find it a laborious chore. It is possible that Messrs Warrack and West found similarly because the ranges given are not always correct. In a profession where the difference of a semitone can make a role possible or impossible, we read that Dandini and the Count in Capriccio range from c to a flat', when Dandini is actually G to f', a fourth out at the bottom and a minor third at the top. The Count in Capriccio is from A flat on page 159 of the score to g' on page 120.

Jupiter in Orphee aux Enfers is credited with the bass range from the Amateur Operatic Society Version of the score instead of the baritone range in the professional. Perhaps the authors could go to Offenbach's various professional versions and correct me here.

On pages 12, 16, and 230 we read about "vocal chords" instead of "vocal cords", a common mistake, a chord being two notes sounded together and vocal cords being the vibrating strips of flesh which produce speech and song.
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Format: Paperback
In this ( now much expanded ) second edition of 1968 , Harold Rosenthal and John Warrack have undertaken a heroic task in attempting to list and classify operas and opera houses and great opera singers in the western world. That they succeed, and succeed well is a miracle given the enormity of the task and the sometimes conflicting sources they face.

They have attempted to bring in a wider audience opera in the wider English speaking world, so we see entries for Australia, Brazil, Czechoslovakia and other smaller countries where opera companies have been established.Each page is presented in a two column format which makes it a lot easier to follow with page and topic headings in bold and alphabetical listings.

Presented in a glossy small format,this publication is a handy reference for your library for the casual opera goer like me or the student of opera.
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