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The Great Singers: From Jenny Lind and Caruso to Callas and Pavarotti Paperback – November, 1985

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 395 pages
  • Publisher: Olympic Marketing Corp; Revised edition (November 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671421603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671421601
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,653,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Alan Nitikman on January 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
It is a travesty that this book is now out of print, as Pleasant's first great book, The Agony of Modern Music, has been for a long time. This book creates a window into the past, an idea of how the greatest singers before the advent of recording actually sounded. He brings them to life again, in short, vivid chapters. When you read this book, you get a clearer idea of how Bellini and Donizettis' operas sounded when Rubini and Grisi and Malibran were actually alive and singing them for the first time. Anyone who wants a better appreciation for opera should read this book. Any classical singer who doesn't is missing a critical part of their education. Pleasants covers performance practice from the Baroque through Strauss, from vocalism to ornamentation and the shifts in the balance of power between singer, composer, and conductor (and, now, director). It is an essential book.
Henry Pleasants died this month 1/5/2000. We have lost a great man. Maybe the publishers will notice this and reprint his books. Finally.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Prada on January 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
Henry Pleasants writes beautifully and with great understanding about the history of opera, and the singers throughout history. You will get insight about the music they sang as well.

Grab a copy for your library while you can still get hold of one. This is one is a keeper.

Mine is falling apart I consult it so much.

I guess I loved it to pieces.

Roberta Prada, [...]
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Canzone on February 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
I just finished re-reading this - again. It's really too bad it's out of print, as there are few works that can match its knowledge and analysis. The only drawback for me is the frequent use of rather silly characterizations: emotional singing reflects the singer's "Italian heritage," or reference to the "coldness of Northern European singing," or the many references to "manly" singing/voices. Though written from the perspective of an earlier generation, there really is no excuse for this kind of writing. Get past that, though, and the rest is just great; I find it particularly valuable in helping to assess the current crop of singers.
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