Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Usually ships within 1 to 3 weeks.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by Gilbert's Goods
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping! Clean & unhighlighted text. Minor wear to cover and page edges.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera Paperback – January 1, 1900


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$18.00
$8.77 $0.01
Audio CD
"Please retry"
$24.50

Frequently Bought Together

Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera + 100 Great Operas And Their Stories: Act-By-Act Synopses + Opera For Dummies
Price for all three: $49.83

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Browse in Books with Buzz and explore more details on the current pick, "The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee" by Marja Mills.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 494 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1st edition (January 1, 1900)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786880252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786880256
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Just as the title says, this is a basic primer on what opera is, what to look for and what to listen to. There is nothing stuffy in Plotkin's style, which is clear and idiomatic. The book also boasts a foreword by supertenor Placido Domingo.

Review

Newcomers to opera receive a fine guide to learning about opera appreciation, written by a performance manager for the Metropolitan Opera. Eleven famous operas are reviewed in a step-by-step listener's guide which covers the basics of learning about the opera's form, style, and scene challenges. -- Midwest Book Review

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
26
4 star
6
3 star
3
2 star
2
1 star
0
See all 37 customer reviews
"Opera 101" is well written, easy to understand, and very informative.
Wish Monster
Plotkin also suggests a particular recording for each opera as a way of introducing different singers and conductors as well.
dcreader
This is the book to read if you are an opera lover and want to learn more.
Lisa C. Philip

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

132 of 135 people found the following review helpful By dcreader VINE VOICE on September 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is in effect a great "do it yourself" course on opera.
The first chapter is a history of opera. The second discusses the mechanics of opera - the various types of singers and concepts involved in opera. Next is a chapter on the mechanics of attending an opera, buying tickets, what to beware, etc.
The real heart of the book, though, is the eleven chapters covering eleven different operas. As you progress through them, you learn about new concepts such as the use of music to evoke emotion, french opera, grand opera, etc. By carefully choosing the sequence, Plotkin is careful to reveal opera's mystery in a way that will bring listeners in rather than turning them off. Plotkin also suggests a particular recording for each opera as a way of introducing different singers and conductors as well. In contrast to others, Plotkin uses the entire opera - not merely highlights.
As a companion, I'd suggest Denis Foreman's A Night at the Opera, which is a highly informative, although highly opinionated, reference guide to all the major operas.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
74 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Zeldock on April 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
*Opera 101* should be the perfect book for you if you know you want to learn more about opera but are having trouble "getting" it. The book is written by an opera expert in a light but intelligent style, and it assumes that the reader comes to it with nothing more than a genuine desire to learn and some money to spend on recordings. After a short intro chapter, Fred Plotkin begins with a 90-page history of opera that even seasoned opera-goers (of which I am one, I suppose) should find instructive. Plotkin then provides an excellent chapter on opera singers and the nuts-and-bolts of attending an opera. Almost all of the rest of the book is taken up with in-depth "lessons" on eleven key operas, each chosen to expand the reader's understanding in a certain direction. Although each of these lessons is designed for you to use while studying a particular recording of each opera, they are highly instructive if you have a recording other than the one Plotkin recommends, or even if you have no recording available at all. I would recommend this book to any serious beginner.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Judge Knott on January 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
Having read about a dozen books that tout themselves as introductions to opera, I found "Opera 101" to be perhaps the most intriguing of the bunch. In an ever-so-slight way, it is at times a bit preachy and a bit overobvious. You will feel occasionally like you are in a high-school music appreciation class, or reading an operating manual. On the other hand, Plotkin leaves absolutely nothing out, and no stone unturned, and for that he is to be commended. Every possible question is answered, and answered thoroughly. In addition, the appendices are chock full o' valuable information (a list of all the major and mid-major opera houses all over the world; books for further reading; recommended CD recordings and DVD filmings; etc.). And you have the feeling at all times that Ploktin knows what he's talking about.
This is the PERFECT book for any adult who knows absolutely zilch about opera but who wants to learn it all, and learn it all out of a single source.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 24, 1997
Format: Paperback
If you want to develop an interest or feed your growing interest in Opera, this is a terrific book. Plotkin believes that the more you know before you go to the theatre, the more you will get out of your experiences of live opera. I had never attended an opera without supertitles before reading this book, but feel comfortable doing so now.
Good information on popular operas and obscure operas, retired singers and current singers, what to look for and what to listen for. Doesn't talk down to the reader. Published in 1994 so some resources (phone numbers of opera companies) out of date.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By S. L. Mintz on December 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
I've found this book extremely helpful, and a opera-lover friend of mine looked it over and agreed that it looked like a worthy introduction to the subject (though he would have chosen La Boheme as the first opera rather than Rigoletto).
The reviewer whose complaint centers on the need to have the recording playing and libretto in front of you while reading is, I believe, misinterpreting the function of the book. It does not present itself as a book with summaries of many great operas and shouldn't be criticized for not being one. The chapters on the 11 operas it introduces you to are in depth, track by track, introductions so he can point out things to listen for, etc. His descriptions of certain passages as sensuous, etc. are indications of how he interprets the music. He often repeats that the listener needs to find/feel their own emotional reactions to the music, whether or not they agree with him.
I'm only on my second opera now (I'm spending a great deal of time with each on before moving on), but have found this book a very interesting and helpful introduction.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By John C. Wood on December 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
It is most heartening to see that opera lovers and novices almost universally agree that this book is excellent, informative, and illuminating. I was maybe 14 when I asked a salesperson in a bookstore "do you have a book that will teach me about opera?" Without hesitation, I was directed to "Opera 101".

I was skeptical. However, I am no longer!

Mr. Plotkin is experienced, informed, and well-read. So as not to belabour the structure of the book (since there are many descriptions of it) I'll say that the idea of walking someone through 11 operas is excellent. That Mr. Plotkin picks a particular recording (with commentary per track) is an indespensible fusion with the book.

That is to say Mr. Plotkin has carefully chosen themes, operas, and what he believes to be superior recordings of the above mentioned as illustrations of what opera can be to the average listener. His decisions on recordings are in no way arbitrary, and he takes special care to choose recordings more easily found than those that might be "better" but are less easily found outside of major metropolitan areas.

Let's remember, the original version of this book was written before the internet made just about any recording available in any area. He admits that sometimes he's arbitrary (especially with his recommendation for Il Barbiere di Siviglia...YUCK) but he always explains his good reasons for choosing inferior performances on disc. His are not "Gospel" recommendations, but those he thinks best illustrate the power of opera in recorded form, customs, and the sheer beauty of the human voice.

Beyond that, Mr.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search