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9 Reviews
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superbly informative & witty summaries of 83 popular operas, 29 July 2001
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This review is from: The Good Opera Guide (Paperback)
I found this in a library and immediately bought it from Amazon - you get the cast list, the condensed story scene by scene, the sequence of songs with more commentary, and then news & gossip plus comment. Everything you need to know in 10 minutes flat per opera, with a liberal dose of humour to ensure the readibility.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best guide on the market, 23 Jan 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The Good Opera Guide (Paperback)
I have a lot of opera guides but this is the one I rely on most. Forman's gift is that of being knowledgable and entertaining at the same time. He is wonderfully irreverent and yet his passion for opera shines through on every page. One thing I like is how he makes intertextual references which put each opera in context ...for example, Bohème did for Grand opera what Bicycle Thieves did to world cinema...
very user-friendly and highly recommended
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable!, 15 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Good Opera Guide (Paperback)
This has, quite simply, got to be one of the best guides to anything, anywhere. It untangles the plots, points up the music and libretto and assesses the opera as a whole without once being stuffy or obscure. Foreman's enthusiasm is obvious, and very infectious.
If there's a quibble, it's with the selection - he's selected operas on the basis of "number of good recordings". This means that modern stuff, such as Brittain, is under-represented. But you can't have everything.
This should be every new opera fan's first book. It's so good, it might also be the last you need.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a useful and entertaining guide, 30 Oct 2003
This review is from: The Good Opera Guide (Hardcover)
This book is a delightful opera companion! Less comprehensive than either Kobbe or the Penguin guides, but the better for it; the space Forman is able to devote to scene by scene evaluations, as well as his own personal comments, is certainly more valuable than dry accounts of obscure works rarely performed. Most importantly, Forman makes the operas alive in a way that most other guides, especially the ones attempting objectivity, simply can't match. Informative, accessible, humourous and generally pleasing all around.
Because of the idiosyncrasy of Forman's style, it is perhaps best read in conjunction with the libretto--as I tend to do--rather than simply on its own. The humour of Forman's synopses is sometimes lost if one is entirely unfamiliar with the opera, and it is in any case more fun to see what he makes of a passage drily explained elsewhere.
One reservation, however, regarding the editions--I have looked for an edition with comments on recordings, which some apparently have, though my edition doesn't; nor do any other ones I've been able to locate. It's a shame that so useful a portion of the book has either been removed from later editions or is only to be found in american editions!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant guide! No opera lover should be without it., 3 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Good Opera Guide (Paperback)
I thoroughly recommend this excellent and humorous opera guide. It gives you, in a light-hearted way, all the information you need to really enjoy an opera. It details the plot, describes the characters and points out the important things that you might otherwise miss. I bought this second-hand as a new copy is expensive though not, perhaps, for all the information in contains.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice book for the interested but not-too-knowledgeable opera-goer., 7 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Good Opera Guide (Hardcover)
This is a very amusingly written book containing all sorts of interesting tidbits about operas in the general repertoire. A laugh out loud as well as very informative.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and funny but very very useful opera guide, 23 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Good Opera Guide (Paperback)
This outstanding volume covers the stories, librettos and lots of other information about all the main operas. It is well researched and quirkily written by someone who clearly loves his subject and is infectious about it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bad news for bank managers, 5 Sep 2010
This review is from: The Good Opera Guide (Hardcover)
This is one of those rare books which is guaranteed to cause financial crises as the reader goes out and spends money on opera CDs, or even more grotesque amounts on opera tickets, in response to the light-footed, sure-footed analysis and comment (often delightfully politically incorrect - it really does one good to see sacred cows getting treatment other than servile genuflexion, e.g., if it has Wagner attached to it, every word, every note is ethereal genius). It highlights the great, the heart-breaking, the humdrum, and makes me laugh out loud, even though this is the 6th time I have bought the book (the other 5 I gave away, or lent, to people I wanted to share delight with) and it is only a terrible shame that it is no longer, apparently, available in print. One of the very great books on music. Oh, and this one I bought for a special birthday present, so I STILL don't have one of my own.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 13 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Good Opera Guide (Hardcover)
great book everything I need to know about opera
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The Good Opera Guide
The Good Opera Guide by Denis Forman (Paperback - 19 April 2001)
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