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HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICEon November 10, 2006
The connection between opera and food is such a natural that food historian Francine Segan has a field day with the lavish format of her eminently entertaining cookbook. Each chapter reflects a specific operatic work or theme (e.g., Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess", German opera) or the overall work of a legendary composer like Puccini and Mozart. From that basis, Segan offers the appropriate menu, whether it is a casual brunch, a formal five-course dinner, or in the case of Mozart, a collection of delectable sweets like Figaro's Orange Cake or Linzertorte Music Bars. The tastiest-looking recipes include the tapas inspired by Bizet's "Carmen", including Serrano Ham with Drunken Melon and Melty Manchego with Spicy-Sweet Tomato Jam, and the down-home, "Porgy and Bess"-inspired dishes like Maple Buttermilk Biscuits and Butternut Squash "Hash" with Southern Comfort.

There are over 125 recipes included, all meticulously chosen for their compatibility with the music, and Segan offers such relevant facts as how Mozart's Don Giovanni offers tapas-like nibbles throughout Act I as a means to divert attention from his philandering. In true Food Network fashion, she also provides entertainment and presentation tips to complete the picture. Moreover, to fortify the opera connection, she enlisted world-renowned soprano Renée Fleming to write the foreword and baritone Gerald Finley to act as a wine sommelier for some of the recipes. There is also a nice collection of archived photographs from past Metropolitan Opera performances to see the specific inspirations for the food, as well as loads of trivia and historical facts about the operas themselves. Mark Thomas provides the stunning culinary photographs. This book is obviously most ideal for opera lovers who aspire to become the next Martha Stewart.
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VINE VOICEon January 17, 2008
This book was given to me as a gift by a friend who knows that I love opera and food. I'm going to have to pass this book on, however. The recipes are impractical, goofy, and have a kind of playing-with-the-food quality to them. Every chapter starts with a long series of cocktail recipes. You get the feeling that this book is really about drinking. And these are STRONG cocktails, from the look of the recipes!
Many of the ingredients for the recipes might be hard to find even in a big city (I live near Washington, D.C.).
To give you some idea - I have a Michel Richard cookbook, and even though this great chef requires a huge amount of slicing and reorganizing of ingredients, his cookbook is more practical and realistic than this one!
But the pictures are nice, both the food pictures and the opera photos.
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VINE VOICEon August 14, 2011
With chapters arranged around operas, this book is a practically a series of dinner parties in one book. Gorgeous enough to grace your coffee table, it's filled with fun trivia about famous shows and lists everything you need from pre-dinner cocktails through dessert to have a themed party based around your favorite shows.

If you're not an opera fan, it's still worth paging through the suggestions for some unique and decadent recipes. Some of the ingredients are hard to find or quite expensive, but there are plenty of recipes anyone can do. If you're looking for something different, this is a great choice!
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on December 23, 2013
Got this for my dad, I know he is gonna LOVE it. Only bad thing I have to say is the book cover was slightly damaged in the box. But, GREAT CHOICE!
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on August 18, 2010
This book is so gorgeously photographed, you want to eat IT. I want to make the cake on the cover!
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on January 5, 2015
Great recipes aND ideas for a opera inspired event
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on January 4, 2016
One of the most beautiful and interesting cookbooks that I own. With that said, there are few practical recipes for everyday cookery. These menus are for a special event, and the recipes are very expensive. An experienced cook could make some substitutions here and there and make more of the recipes work on a regular basis, but the exquisite snobbery of this food is part of the fun.
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