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Molto Agitato: The Mayhem Behind the Music at the Metropolitan Opera Paperback – September 9, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
MOLTO AGITATO's subtitle says it all: "The Mayhem Behind the Music at the Metropolitan Opera." Fiedler is a witty, clever writer who keeps the pace going and although she has some obvious likes and dislikes among the stars and the office and backstage workers, she seemingly keeps her opinions on the back burner and tries, often successfully, to tell the facts. But, let's face it: the Met is a performing arts organization and, therefore every civilian who watches or listens to even one opera from the Met, becomes a financial and artistic critic.
Conductor James Levine, one of the Met's treasures, and, in fact, one of the world's musical treasures, gets the lion's share of attention and adoration, but Fielder is "relatively fair" to more famous names like Marian Anderson and Placido Domingo, Cecilia Bartoli and Beverly Sills, Maria Callas and Enrico Caruso, et al. For snide laughs, start with the gossip surrounding the firing of Kathleen Battle; for grim adventure, there is the real murder of violinist Helen Hagnes; if you believe that the Met, to survive, has got to hire more experimental directors, read about John Dexter and his defeat at Lincoln Center; if you believe that the Met, to survive, must continue to hire more lavish directors, read about Franco Zeffirelli and his opera-as-spectacle policy; if you, like most, get your only opera experience from The Three Tenors, there are pieces on all three of them and an extra long chapter on the, arguably, most famous singer of all time, Luciano Pavarotti.
Renata Tebaldi, a legendary star in our opera world is not even discussed, although she was an important part of our Met culture. The author felt very secure
, however, in coming down in full force on Kathleen Battle. Perhaps Ms. Fiedler felt that such juciest gossip would make her book more valuable.
There is merit to this book. The historical facts are valuable and the author can write well so this could be a good book for opera buffs to own, however,it would serve the author to be more objective in reporting facts rather than being so subjective. Kay Birula of Kernersville, N.C.
Here's an inside look at life at the Met, the power struggles, the artists and their issues and every single high and low that happened through the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. Opera is the Hollywood of the arts and never is this more true than in this book that captures the temperament of everyone involved in the world of opera- from agents, to conductors, to singers to producers and artistic directors. I was very surprised to discover that my favorite tenor Placido Domingo genuinely envied Luciano Pavoratti and were actually rivals at one point, long before they made it as The Three Tenors when Jose Carreras came into the picture. Carrerras, too, like Domingo and Pavoratti cheated on his wife at one time with his co-artist Katia Ricciarelli (what is it with the Three Tenors and sex ?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good stories of the MET's life. A good book for the beach and go back un history with Caruso, Callas and many other divas throughout history.Published 20 days ago by Andres Hatum
Great reading for opera buffs - wonderful to get the back ground of what goes on behind the magic of the opera stagePublished 18 months ago by Jumbucks
What an interesting history the Met has! I enjoyed reading about it, but it wasn't the expose I was expecting. Read morePublished on July 18, 2013 by Linda Kay van Marjenhoff
I truly enjoyed reading this book. By reading it, you get an insight on the whole opera scene behing the curtains, and also a little bit of insight into some of the most famous... Read morePublished on May 16, 2013 by Silvia Nasser
Fascinating history of the Met. The title is perfect. I gave it 4 stars as it is light bed time reading, although too agitato to be exactly soporific.Published on April 18, 2013 by Teresa Hermiz
I was very interested in reading about the history of the metropolitan opera. I was surprised at all the inhouse fighting that went on, but learned how that led to the production... Read morePublished on January 12, 2013 by barbara frenkel
I am passionate about opera!! This is one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read on the subject - right up there with Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett.Published on June 24, 2012 by johanna