Evenings at the Opera : An Exploration of the Basic Repertoire

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-03-01
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard Corp
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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."

Author Biography

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

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
The Evolution of Comic Opera
Mozart, the Serious Comicp. 3
The Renewal of Comic Operap. 17
The Final Frontierp. 31
Bel Canto and Beyond
The Rebirth of Italian Opera Seriap. 47
Hybrid Operap. 65
The Beginning of the Endp. 81
Italian Opera in Revolution
New Directions in Italian Operap. 97
Opera as Autobiography
A Case of Self-Salvationp. 119
When Is Opera Not Opera?p. 135
Shakespearean Opera
Rewriting Shakespearep. 155
Adaptation and Form in Late-Nineteenth-Century Operap. 173
From Literature to Opera
A Hero's Transformationp. 193
Two (of the Three) Manonsp. 211
Symphonic Opera
Wagner, Strauss, and the Question of Operatic Formp. 229
French Grand Opera
A Foreigner's Viewp. 245
A Misjudged Masterpiecep. 259
Verismo Opera
A Sociological Interpretationp. 275
The Not-So-˘Shabby Little Shocker÷p. 289
Fairy-Tale Opera
The (Un)solved Riddlep. 303
The Influence of Wagner
The Exorcism of Wagnerp. 321
Approaches to Twentieth-Century Opera
Looking Ahead While Looking Back: Bartˇk, Berg, and Brittenp. 339
Glossaryp. 365
Bibliographyp. 369
Indexp. 371
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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