Opera 101 is recognized as the standard text in English for anyone who wants to become an opera lover. It is a clear, friendly, and truly complete handbook for learning how to listen to opera, whether on the radio, on recordings, or live at the opera house. Fred Plotkin, an internationally respected writer and teacher about opera, who for many years was performance manager of the Metropolitan Opera, introduces listeners, whatever their level of musical knowledge, to all the elements that make up opera.
The major part of Opera 101 is devoted to an almost minute-by-minute analysis of 11 key operas, ranging from Verdi's thunderous masterpiece Rigoletto and Puccini's electrifying Tosca to works by Mozart, Donizetti, Rossini, Offenbach, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner, and to the psychological complexities of Richard Strauss's Elektra. Once you have completed Opera 101, you will be prepared to see and hear any opera you encounter, thanks to this book's unprecedented detail and enjoyable method of revealing the riches of opera.
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What a disappointment
Can you imagine someone publishing an audiobook with the subtitle "a complete guide to learning and loving opera", a playing time of more than 18 hours - and without a single second of opera music in it? Nor could I. But after more then an hour of tiresome listening to boring birth- and death-dates, dates of premieres and whatever I gave up hope for any shred of music. As far as I can tell after this approx. 65 minutes of boredom it's just that someone reads the more than 500 pages of the printed version to you. Nobody can learn to love opera this way in my humble opinion. Instead I would highly recommend you the Thomson Smilie Opera Series. It's one audiobook per opera, each takes about one hour. The operas are presented in a very entertaining way, with some historic background and - most important: with wonderful excerpts from the music. Just search vor Thomson Smilie on audible...
- Galina Bernhardt
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