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Opera in the Twentieth Century: Sacred, Profane, Godot Hardcover – May 11, 1978

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 357 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1st edition (May 11, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195022882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195022889
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,223,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
With John Steane (The Grand Tradition, Grammophone quarterly reviews) and Andrew Porter (The New Yorker reviews), Ethan Mordden's writing on the culturally complex subject of opera represents the best that the modern school of critical commentary has to offer. His exposition on almost any aspect of opera -- like that of Andrew Porter and John Steane -- makes one want to read on, seek out and experience first hand: Ariane et Barbe-Bleau, Padmatavi, Aphrodite, Salammbo . . . who knew?! As delineated by Mordden they appear significant, not so obscure and potentially exciting.
His knowledge of these frequently obscure and often difficult opera and their cultural underpinnings is comprehensive. He possesses both technical expertise and historical perspective. Armed with the big guns of a classical education, he uses them with precision and discretion. His style is lean, compelling and assured. (his fiction is equally apt: superb short stories, for instance, read like well-crafted string quartets play.)
Such gifts illumine the unknown and are themselves rare and precious treasures in a world not overly supplied with perception, style or simple accuracy. What a shame this book is no longer in print. His "Demented: The World of the Opera Diva" is another equally worthy and likewise unfortunate casualty of the out-of-print virus. "Opera in the 20th Century" as a book is, like its subject, unique of its kind. We are therefore poorer by definition for its being absent from the shelves.
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