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The Operas of Verdi: Volume 1: From Oberto to Rigoletto Paperback – September 3, 1992

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • The Operas of Verdi: Volume 1: From Oberto to Rigoletto
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  • The Operas of Verdi: Volume 2: From Il Trovatore to La Forza del Destino (Clarendon Paperbacks)
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  • The Operas of Verdi, Vol. 3
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The three volumes of studies of Verdi's operas by Julian Budden are rightly classics of the genre. This is owing to their scope of information on the genesis, circumstances, variants, and specifics of the operas themselves--certainly the fullest description these works have ever been given--as well as to the wealth of surrounding information about the composer, his life, his friends, and his times. It is a measure of the excellence of Budden's achievement that this cornucopia of information is surveyed in very readable prose--readers get a picture of each work within its context. Budden's knowledge of 19th-century opera--both in Italy and in France--is wide-ranging, and he is able to place Verdi and his works in comparison with those of Donizetti, Pacini, Mercadante, and Meyerbeer. He discusses how the great operatic genius emerged from the background of early-19th-century opera and how Verdi's own early, uneven works blossomed into the glory of his later ones. Budden, thankfully, is not a hagiographer, and he recognizes Verdi's faults as well as his strengths, but few--if any--writers have managed to demonstrate how Verdi both blended in with his musical surroundings and stood out from them. These studies, with all their richness, are a good source of information about a host of lesser composers of the time. Budden includes many musical examples to highlight his writing in this, a work of scholarship of the highest order. --Patrick J. Smith

Review

'Where on earth did Verdians turn before Budden? When the first volume of his chronological study of the complete 31 operas appeared in 1973, it was already clear this could prove the standard work...With Verdi productions proliferating in the run-up to the centenary of his death in 2001, this great study grows ever more necessary.' BBC Music Magazine
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Product Details

  • Series: Operas of Verdi (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Clarendon Press; Rev Sub edition (September 3, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198162618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198162612
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,578,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

It is a pity that Vol. 3 of Julian Budden's <The Operas of Verdi> (Oxford, 1973) is no longer available except through secondhand dealers on and off the internet. But just the first two volumes are a terrific research tool and reference source for any one truly interested in enjoying and fully appreciating the operas of Verdi.
Volume 1 covers "Oberto" to "Rigoletto," 2 covers "Il Trovatore" to ""La Forza del Destino," and 3 "Don Carlos" to the final "Falstaff." The revised edition, which is now available in paperback format, begins with an introduction to Verdi and his times and a general consideration of the early operas. Volume 2 offers two chapters on the changing traditions in Italian opera and Verdi's maturing in his craft; while Volume 3 (in the hardcover edition I managed to find) plunges directly into the operas.
Each opera is handled in two sections. First an in-depth narration of the circumstances leading to the creation and opening night of each work, and then a scene by scene analysis of plot and music. This differs from the organization of the one-volume Charles Osborne book, "The Complete Operas of Verdi," which treats the music separately from plot. As much as I admire and have used that work for years, I believe the Budden volumes--so much fuller and therefore so much more useful--will supplant it from this time forward.
I can only urge Oxford to reissue that 3rd volume as soon as possible.
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I finally ordered this book, and I love it. I wish I had got it years ago. Covers the history, the music, and story of each Verdi opera up to Rigoletto. After reading about one of the operas, you will find that you enjoy it more the next time you hear it. If you like Verdi, you should have this book in your library!
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Like another review here, this one really relates to all three volumes of Budden's traversal of Verdi's operas. I can't think of many books in which works of art (whether literature, painting, drama, or music) are as effectively contextualized as they are here. The context is historical in several senses: it is attentive to the particular political and social circumstances in which Verdi's operas were created, but it's attentive too to the "politics" of the Italian (and at times Parisian) opera world in which Verdi , Donizetti, Bellini, Rossini, and a host of minor figures belonged. We hear about managers, impresarios, singers, opera houses, and of course librettists, and Budden quotes tellingly from Verdi's ample correspondence with all these groups. We get a sense, therefore, of Verdi, not only as composer, but as businessman and collaborator, and we get a sense of his energy and personality and decisiveness. Its an attractive portrait: a touchy, principled, ambitious, and , of course, highly gifted man. But Budden gives us more: the musical context is also made clear in excellent general essays at the beginnings of the first two volumes, before Budden embarks on individual chapters on every opera. In the individual chapters, we get accounts of the genesis of the operas, plenty of information on their sources (often with ample quotation), including descriptions of how the opera plots modify the plots of the originals, and some account of the early reception and early performance history of each opera. Then there's the musical analysis itself, and the text is replete with musical examples.Read more ›
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I'm reviewing the first volume, but this is really about all three volumes. After a
general introduction situating Verdi in the Italian opera structure of his time, the
author present a separate chapter on each title, first giving the background of the
project and then analyzing the action scene by scene, with plenty of musical examples.
Instead of following a recording with the libretto, you can follow it using Budden's
precis, for much enlightenment on how Verdi created music drama. It's really an
amazingly detailed excursion. Had you heard about Budden's plans before he actually
started writing, you might guess that no one life is long enough to allow an author to
lay out so much detail, so much thought and insight. There are many great books. But
this one is astonishing.
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The Operas of Verdi: Volume 1: From Oberto to Rigoletto
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