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Evenings at the Opera: An Exploration of the Basic Repertoire is a collection of essays based on Jeffery Langford's lectures at the Manhattan School of Music and inspired by his pre-performance talks at the Metropolitan Opera Guild. It presents a unique view of the stylistic development of nearly 200 years of opera history (from Mozart to Britten), with special attention to the question of how the genre's competing components of action, music, and text combine to make effective music drama. Taking a thematic (rather than a purely historical) approach to this exploration of selected works from the standard repertoire, Langford engages the reader in the fundamental question of how the shifting aesthetics of opera from one composer to another, one country to another, and one era to another have resulted in vastly different solutions to the problem of how to make a dramma per musica (drama in music), as the Italian inventors of opera first called it. Going beyond mere plot synopsis, he guides the reader through analysis of specific issues of musical form, style, and technique to shed new light on the perennial question of "how opera (sometimes) works."
Jeffrey Langford is Assistant Dean for Doctoral Studies and Chair of the Music History Department at Manhattan School of Music, where he has taught courses in the history of opera for nearly thirty years. He also frequently presents preconcert lectures at the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Professor Langford has written articles on the operas of Verdi and Berlioz, and he is the author of the annotated bibliography Hector Berlioz: A Guide to Research (Garland Press). He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
|The Evolution of Comic Opera|
|Mozart, the Serious Comic||p. 3|
|The Renewal of Comic Opera||p. 17|
|The Final Frontier||p. 31|
|Bel Canto and Beyond|
|The Rebirth of Italian Opera Seria||p. 47|
|Hybrid Opera||p. 65|
|The Beginning of the End||p. 81|
|Italian Opera in Revolution|
|New Directions in Italian Opera||p. 97|
|Opera as Autobiography|
|A Case of Self-Salvation||p. 119|
|When Is Opera Not Opera?||p. 135|
|Rewriting Shakespeare||p. 155|
|Adaptation and Form in Late-Nineteenth-Century Opera||p. 173|
|From Literature to Opera|
|A Hero's Transformation||p. 193|
|Two (of the Three) Manons||p. 211|
|Wagner, Strauss, and the Question of Operatic Form||p. 229|
|French Grand Opera|
|A Foreigner's View||p. 245|
|A Misjudged Masterpiece||p. 259|
|A Sociological Interpretation||p. 275|
|The Not-So-˘Shabby Little Shocker÷||p. 289|
|The (Un)solved Riddle||p. 303|
|The Influence of Wagner|
|The Exorcism of Wagner||p. 321|
|Approaches to Twentieth-Century Opera|
|Looking Ahead While Looking Back: Bartˇk, Berg, and Britten||p. 339|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|