`Conrad is often able to deploy his literary skills to telling effect. There are many striking insights and turns of phrase'
--The Literary Review
`Erudite and witty...he's first-rate on the Bayreuth phenomenon.' --The Observer
`Has done more than any actual production I've seen to make me excited about opera ... Conrad has provided me with a means of accessing opera specifically, as well as a way of thinking about music in general'
`A scintillating and absorbing read...elegantly calculated, richly allusive prose.' --Opera magazine
'The ideas and erudition are undeniably brilliant and melodious'
--The Sunday Telegraph
`Many fascinating insights pepper the book ... no one has commented so fully on contemporary productions of the operas of both Verdi and Wagner as Conrad' --The Times Literary Supplement
`Immensely erudite and very funny in parts. A must for lovers or haters of either composer' --The Guardian
`A characteristic, often brilliant helter-skelter ride through the life, times and works of the composers, their women and their trails of posthumous influence ... fascinating enough to be scoured cover-to-cover with pencil in hand' --Gramophone
`Conrad's knowledge is encyclopaedic, his anecdotes delicious ... Every page is a cabinet of curiosities ... a work of passion ... a long and luxurious journey across 19th-century musical Europe' --Spectator
`Highly allusive, formidably knowledgeable'