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Dr. S. J. Wyatt (UK)
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Selected Works: Sorrows of Young Werther: WITH Elective Affinities, Faust and Italian Journey (Everyman's Library classics)
Selected Works: Sorrows of Young Werther: WITH Elective Affinities, Faust and Italian Journey (Everyman's Library classics)
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MIXED BAG, 28 July 2012
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Everyman Library for some reason rarely gives clear information about the translations they use, which in case of a volume like this is fairly crucial. The news is mixed. David Constantine's modern version of Elective Affinities is good (also available from OUP separately). Elizabeth Mayer and WH Auden's highly regarded version of Italain Journey and Mayer's of Werther are also fluent and readable. The selection of poems in parallel German/English includes translations by Christopher Middleton is well worth having. So if you're interested in this material, this is a good buy. But there's one big "but". The translation of Faust, Goethe's masterpiece, is by somebody called Barker Fairley, written in flat, stilted prose. It reads like a literal translation planned to be read in conjunction with the original and is virtually unreadable on its own. It seems a perverse decision to include this in view of the quality of everything else.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 21, 2013 12:13 PM GMT


Handel: Rinaldo [Glyndebourne 2011] [Sonia Prina/ Varduhi Abrahamyan/ Tim Mead/ Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/ Robert Carsen/ Ottavio Dantone] [Opus Arte: OABD7107D] [Blu-ray] [2012] [Region Free]
Handel: Rinaldo [Glyndebourne 2011] [Sonia Prina/ Varduhi Abrahamyan/ Tim Mead/ Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/ Robert Carsen/ Ottavio Dantone] [Opus Arte: OABD7107D] [Blu-ray] [2012] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Sonia Prina
Price: £27.11

11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A DISAPPOINTMENT, 20 July 2012
After Glyndebourne's imaginative and illuminating productions of Handel's Theodora, Rodelinda and Giulio Cesare, this Rinaldo is a real disappointment. The singers, orchestra and conducting are up to the usual high standard but Robert Carsen's production is not. His "concept" is that the opera is a fantasy in which a public schoolboy takes revenge on his cane-wielding teachers and bullying schoolmates. Cue St Trinians schoolgirls and "teachers" in bondage gear. There's obviously a problem in finding a visual equivalent for the heroic world of the opera but Carsen's interpretation is both distracting and belittling. The production divided audiences but I'm with the Independent music critic who said it would be better enjoyed in the Proms concert performance without decor or costume. This DVD is therefrore a very mixed blessing.

(Revised version of earlier review)
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 15, 2012 2:06 PM BST


Gaetano Donizetti: Roberto Devereux
Gaetano Donizetti: Roberto Devereux
Price: £12.74

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DONIZETTI ON HIS WAY TO VERDI, 3 July 2012
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This is a full-blooded not particularly subtle performance of this opera. I'm writing this because given the number of opera afficioados arguing elsewhere about the merits of Sutherland, Sills, Gruberiva etc nobody's got round to reviewing these cds. I saw this opera conducted by Bonynge at Holland Park Opera and was struck by its energy and concision, qualities associated with early Verdi. Others could probably analyse the singers on these cds to death witn endless comparisons. This is a gutsy performance of an opera which must be one of Donizetti's best. If you want to explore, at this price don't hesitate.


J M Barrie'S Plays And Stories
J M Barrie'S Plays And Stories
by R L (ed) Green
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars BARRIE AS A MAN OF THE THEATRE, 2 April 2012
The interest here is that Roger Llancellyn Green offers the plays in acting editions instead of the much expanded "novelised" editions with their copious and literary stagee directions available elsewhere. In Dear Brutus, for example, it's far easier to understand the actual staging of the play here than in the usual published text and to appreciate Barrie's stage craft. So far as I know, no other selection of Barrie's plays has taken this decision so this edition is worth seeking out for the different perspective. Personally, I'd rather read the plays this way though many (including the editor of the OUP selection) would disagree.


The Dandy: Brummell to Beerbohm
The Dandy: Brummell to Beerbohm
by Ellen Moers
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ELEGANCE, 29 Feb. 2012
If you're interested in the subject, I can't think of a better book about it. Elegantly and concisely written, Moers' book covers not only the dandies themselves but also the surprisingly rich vein of writers whose work can be illuminated by their attitude towards dandies - Disraeli, Dickens, Thackeray and Baudelaire among them. I've had a copy since it was first published in 1960 and I still refer to it as a source of information and ideas. Highly recommemded.


City of Sin: London and Its Vices
City of Sin: London and Its Vices
by Catharine Arnold
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A PINCH OF SALT, 11 Feb. 2012
This is indeed an entertaining and lively book but the author is not very scrupulous about the accuracy of her sources. Worse, at times she gets it plain wrong. Edward IV was not the son of Henry VI (an extraordinary mistake for any sort of historian to make), Davenant's Gondibert was a poem not a play, Richard Payne Knight's career did not end in ruin because of the publication of his book about Priapus. Etc. So by all means enjoy this book because much of it is very enjoyable but do take its confident factual statements with a pinch of salt.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 31, 2012 10:45 AM BST


Three Lives: A Biography of Stefan Zweig (Royal Hardback)
Three Lives: A Biography of Stefan Zweig (Royal Hardback)
by Oliver Matuschek
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A DISAPPOINTMENT, 15 Dec. 2011
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I suspect that most English readers of this book, like me, have been impressed by the Pushkin Press translations of Zweig's fiction and want to find out more about the writer and his work. If so, this biography will be a disappointment. It's obviously carefully researched and the translation is competent but Zweig obstinately refuses to come alive in its dry pages, ironic for the master of the imaginative biography. Sadly the book has also little to tell us about his fiction. Even his only published novel receives a couple of perfunctory mentions with no information about either its content or its genesis. The first time it's mentioned with only its German title with a literal translation. Only when it returns do we realise this is the book the English world knows as Beware of Pity.
There is no index of Zweig's work and no checklist of his work. The bibliograpy is so opaque that it would be difficult to relate what's described to what's been translated. What are Pushkin Press thinking of? There on the back page is a list of their pioneering and invaluable translations of Zweig's work which are of course under their English titles. And no way here to link them to the life of the man who wrote them.


Ben Jonson: A Life
Ben Jonson: A Life
by Ian Donaldson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars O rare Ben Jonson, 16 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: Ben Jonson: A Life (Hardcover)
This is a meticulously researched academic biography which is also, fortunately, well-written and filled with fascinating detail. For once, there's a generous allowance of black and white in-text illustrations as well as a well-chosen group of coloured illustrations in the centre of the book. Ben Jonson is the one Elizabethan/ Jacobean playwright whose personality has come down to us with real force and clarity and anybody looking for a biography should, as they say, look no further. And I can't help thinking that the forthright Ben would have noticed if his close associate William Shakespeare hadn't actually written his own plays and made his views known.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 10, 2012 6:13 PM GMT


Gilbert & Sullivan - The Pirates of Penzance
Gilbert & Sullivan - The Pirates of Penzance
Price: £12.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HURRAH FOR THE PIRATE KING, 16 Nov. 2011
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The only problem I have with this and the Mackerras Mikado is the cheesy sub-Disney cover design. Otherwise this is a delight. What a treat to have a tenor of John Mark Ainsley's quality singing this music. The cast and chorus are generally good and Mackerras' conducting is sharp and lively. If you're looking for a cd recording of Pirates, look no further.


Great Works: 50 Paintings Explored
Great Works: 50 Paintings Explored
by Tom Lubbock
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BETWEEN COVERS AT LAST, 20 Oct. 2011
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I always enjoyed Tom Lubbock's quirky meditations on great paintings when they were published in the Independent. Sometimes there wasn't time to really take them in and I consistently failed to cut them out to read properly later. So to have fifty of the articles between hard covers to dip into as and when is a real treat.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 27, 2011 11:51 PM BST


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