From Publishers Weekly
Murray, who eventually became a staff writer for the New Yorker
and the author of some 30 books, including several racetrack-themed mysteries, initially had planned a career in opera (he died earlier this year at age 78). Writing this study of a year in the life of an entering class at Chicago's Lyric Opera Center, one of the world's top programs for training young opera talent, was both his way of experiencing his own "road not taken" and an opportunity to explore modern techniques of operatic training. Murray went to Chicago for the school's 2003–2004 season and sat in on everything—master classes, rehearsals, auditions and opening nights—talking with students, coaches and directors. Inevitably, some performance would remind him of an anecdote about one of opera's larger-than-life stars, its "sacred monsters." While hard-core opera aficionados may already know Murray's Pavarotti stories, and may even be able to trump his Zeffirelli tales, in the opera world, stories grow better the more they're told. This affectionate, appreciative tribute to the world of opera and its next generation of stars should please fans—and help their dates make better cocktail party conversation. 8-page b&w photo insert.
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About the Author
William Murray was a staff writer at The New Yorker
for more than thirty years and authored more than twenty novels and works of nonfiction, including City of the Soul
and The Last Italian
. He died shortly after completing this book.