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First Nights at the Opera [Paperback]

Thomas Forrest Kelly

Price: £12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 May 2006

What was it like at the opening night of Mozart's "Don Giovanni or "Wagner's "Das Rheingold? "This glittering introduction to the world of opera takes us behind the scenes during premiere performances of five extraordinary operas.
"A rare and wonderful cultural history."--Philip Kennicott, "Washington"" Post"
"An absorbing tangle of minutiae about performing circumstances, personalities, conventions, expectations, critical responses, gossip. . . . This book is readable. Addictively."--Michael White, "Opera Now"
"This thoroughly enjoyable and informative book will delight all opera lovers; highly recommended."--"Library Journal"


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Review

"A book to keep going back to, it contains everything you ever wanted to know about the operas and much more besides. By the end, you appreciate just what everyone involved in putting on each opera had gone through. It's an addictive page-turner that will delight all opera-lovers." -- Classical Music, October, 2007

About the Author

Thomas Forrest Kelly is Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music at Harvard University.

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost Like Being at the Premiere 4 Nov 2004
By Timothy Kearney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Thomas Kelly's FIRST NIGHTS AT THE OPERA is bound to be loved by opera aficionados as well as people just beginning to be fascinated with a musical form that is both intricate and beautiful. Kelly selects five operas: Handel's Gulio Cesare, Mozart's DON GIOVANNI, Mayerbeer's LES HUGUENOTS, Wagner's DAS RHEINGOLD, and Verdi's OTELLO, and brings the readers to their premieres. Kelly gives us information about each composer, the story of the works themselves, a history of how each work was composed and the difficulties surrounding each production, the effect that each work had on the musical world of its day and how the work is still relevant today. We also get a good deal of information of the performance itself, those who sang the principal roles, the conductors, impresarios, and anyone else involved in the production. Much of Kelly's information is not unique to his book, though his presentation is original and his inclusion of interesting graphics and a number of relevant historical documents regarding each work make this work an invaluable resource. His writing style makes the subject approachable, something not all authors who attempt to write about opera can claim.

As I read the book, I began to long for December and the beginning of live opera broadcasts from the stage of the Met. The in depth analysis of each work presented in a user friendly format made reminded me of the intermission features which are presented during the radio broadcasts from New York's Metropolitan Opera House. These broadcasts introduced me to the world of opera and Kelly's book reminds me why I love this form of music so much.

If you love opera, you owe it to yourself to add this book to your collection. If someone you love enjoys opera, this book will be the perfect gift that will be enjoyed for years to come.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific book for opera lovers 16 Feb 2007
By Stanley Hauer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a simply marvelous book: well written, interesting, and informative. Prof. Kelly is that rara avis, an academic who can write. I highly recommend this book to the operatic newcomer and professional alike.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting! 6 Mar 2013
By Sally Lumpkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a class requirement for me in 3rd year classes for
a Bachelor's degree in music - written like a novel but real
events so was both enlightening and enjoyable.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars book content 24 Aug 2013
By Juanita Ongkowijoyo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The shipment for this book is really fast. This book does mentions all kinds of opera from 16th century until 20th century and does a great job on the detail explanation
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