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French Opera: A Short History Hardcover – June 29, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (June 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300117655
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300117653
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,146,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Giroud is] an indispensable guide to 350 years of French repertory. . . . He does a superb job parsing the bewildering taxonomy of French opera, distinguishing grand opera from tragedie lyrique, operette from opera-cominique. . . . His unapologetic advocacy and depth of knowledge make this 'short history' a rich one."—Jesse Cohen, Opera News (Jesse Cohen Opera News 2010-11-01)

About the Author

Vincent Giroud was formerly Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts at the Beinecke Library, Yale University. He is currently a professor at the University of Franche-Comté. His recent publications include William Walton, Composer; St Petersburg: A Portrait of a Great City; The World of Witold Gombrowicz; and Picasso and Gertrude Stein.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By adorian on November 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a great reference book for people interested in the long history of French opera. You will find the names of just about every French opera composer (some you've probably never heard of) and you'll encounter titles of obscure operas that might send you to amazon.com or YouTube in search of recordings. Wouldn't you love to hear Halevy's "Le juif errant" and Thomas's "Francoise de Rimini" and Lavello's "Marie Stuart" and Jonciere's "Le dernier jour de Pompei" and Delibes' "Kassya" and Severac's "Heliogabale"?

A mention of the Omelette Quartet from Bizet's "Dr. Miracle" sent me to YouTube, and I was thrilled to find it there.

Some minor complaints---There are a lot of tiny errors of grammar, spelling, word repetition, and word usage that SpellCheck could not detect. In fact, it was probably SpellCheck that changed a mention of Meyerbeer's "oeuvre" to the "over" by Meyerbeer. (p. 132) A proofreader with a knowledge of opera could have told the author about some bizarre glaring errors of fact. He claims the tenor in "Les Huguenots" does not have a cabaletta. (p. 127) Wrong. Raoul has a cabaletta in Act V. He thinks the ballet of Verdi's "Don Carlos" takes place in Act III, Scene 2, in front of the cathedral. (p. 169) Wrong. It takes place in Act III, Scene 1, in the garden. He tells us that Verdi's "I Lombardi" was reworked for Paris into a four-act opera. (p. 166) It was four acts to begin with, so it didn't need to be reworked into a four-act opera.

The heroine of Massenet's "Ariane" is referred to as Aridane. (p. 240)

These minor complaints aside, this is a very valuable reference guide. At one point early on, I took a notebook and started writing the names of every composer mentioned and those composers' operas. I plan to do more research now. And I would like to mention the excellent section of pictures. By all means, opera lovers should get this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Mr. Giroud deserves special praise for his labor of love. While one might wish for a bit more description of the
music itself (as opposed to biographical material and performance history--both well handled), this book is a valuable addition to any music lover's collection. It shares in common with Alex Ross' 'The Rest is Noise' that it makes you want to go listen--that's my idea
of a great music book.
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