- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 4140 KB
- Print Length: 1132 pages
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0171YI02W
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #373,540 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Opera Guide: 100 Popular Composers UPDATED 2017 Kindle Edition
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One of the great things about Kobbe's was the pseudo-chronological listing, which made it easier to pick up the book and just explore a time-period you were interested in. Holden's lists all the composers alphabetically, and that's very nearly a necessity for the e-book format. Some composers are covered more in depth, and you can definitely tell that many different experts with different writing styles contributed to this. But that isn't really a negative either; each contributor extols the virtues of the composer you are reading about, giving you the best, first impression of them possible before you listen and decide for yourself. For the e-book format anyway, I also appreciated that the synopses were not as detailed as in Kobbe's, and more time was spent on historical background and analysis, letting you know what to listen for. (And an approximate running time!) That's why this book is so valuable and helpful: for whatever opera you might be seeing or listening to for the first time, this is a great field guide that will prepare you for that.
As the subtitle indicates, this is not a complete reference; it is based on The Penguin Concise Guide to Opera, with fully half of the composers being active after the turn of the 20th century. While it can be argued that figures like Heggie and Henze can't be called "popular" composers, their inclusion is in keeping with David Pountey's emphasis, in his rather sour foreword, on the importance of creativity in keeping the art alive. And the earlier works are not stinted: fifteen of Verdi's operas, for example, are given full articles.
Just one caveat: the table of contents is visible in the Android app and in the PC Kindle reader, but not on my old Kindle keyboard model, which has no equivalent to the "hamburger" menu available on those devices. A side effect is that the index of operas can only be reached by scrolling forward through chapters to about the 98% point (location 17047 on my device), and then creating a bookmark. This oversight makes the book rather difficult to use for those relying on older Kindle hardware.