The cover blurb calls The New Grove Book of Operas
, "The world's definitive single volume of opera reference," and for once the hype is right on the money. The plot synopses are well done, with musical notes and historic background, some nice illustrations, and three very useful appendices: a fine and complete glossary; an index of role names; and an "Index of Incipits," or first lines, for hundreds of arias, choruses, and ensembles. This may well be the best English-language opera reference available.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—This definitive update of Sadie's The New Grove Book of Operas
(Oxford Univ., 2003; o.p.) includes, as did the earlier edition, full-plot synopses, cast lists from premiere performances, and biographical data on composers, all alphabetically arranged by opera. Seven minor operas have been cut from this work (including Der Barbier Von Bagdad
), and eight new hopefuls have been added (among them Emmeline, The Mother of Us All
, and Sophie's Choice
). Otherwise, the text is, word for word, the same as the earlier edition. The illustrations have changed: new black-and-white photos are scattered throughout the text, and sections of color photographs show sets, costume designs, posters, and scenes from various productions, including some staged as late as 2005. Another change is the inclusion of David J. Levin's perceptive introduction, "Issues and Trends in Contemporary Opera Production," which discusses the pros and cons of modern staging, directing/designing innovations, the introduction of technology into the opera world, and "opera at the margins." The essay ends with a list of suggested readings supporting his opinions. An extensive glossary and three large, cross-referenced indexes complete what is, to opera fans, an indispensable companion for consultation before performances (whether live or recorded), or, for novices, a key to a specialized realm. This volume is as informative and demanding as the previous edition.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
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