9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Best for (actually ONLY for) for the intermediate opera fan,
This review is from: A Night at the Opera: An Irreverent Guide to The Plots, The Singers, The Composers, The Recordings (Modern Library Paperbacks) (Paperback)
This is a cool book, and I imagine its author is a suave, charming, James Bond kind of guy. But this book is really only appropriate for people at the intermediate phase of opera-loving. The book gives in-depth, clever, witty analyses of 83 operas, covering probably 95% of what you might see at your local opera house. The problem is that Denis Forman's approach assumes that the reader is already a suave, charming, James Bond kind of opera fan, so he leaves out pretty much all of the basics. So...
...if you already know as much, or nearly as much, as Sir Forman (he's a real "Sir," I'm not being sarcastic) does about opera, then you don't need the book.
...if you know nothing, or next to nothing, about opera, then this book is too advanced for you, so skip it.
...if you've seen 5 or 10 operas in your life and want to see more, and/or if you've been building a little nest of cherished opera CDs and you want to take your opera knowledge to the next step, this will be a great book for you.
The book has a few neat little appendices. One is a thumbnail sketch of the greatest conductors of the last 100 years, and another is the same for the greatest singers. Plus, there's a handy little guide to terminology. The first two are brilliant, the last one prioritizes wittiness over clarity.
"A Night at the Opera" would be a great gift for anyone who is a casual, reasonably well-versed opera buff and might be itching to take it to the next level.