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Subject: Re: favorite opera books
From: Alain Letort <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Alain Letort <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 10 Feb 2018 18:10:47 -0500
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Dear Listers and Bob,

The Kobb is indeed a very valuable resource, and for some time it was the only opera-
related book that I owned.  I did not list it as a favorite, however, because it has been 
rather out of sight, out of mind of late.  It is one of a large number of books I took with 
me to Saudi Arabia and that I still have not unpacked, several years after my return from 
that country, because quite simply I have run out of space !!!  I have so many books, CDs 
and DVDs in my apartment that I still have not figured out what to do with all the stuff I 
took to Saudi Arabia with me.   My partner Lynne Price nags me all the time to get rid of 
this and of that on my shelves so that I can unpack everything that is stored in the 
basement of my condo, but every concrete suggestion of hers elicits howls of dismay from 
me because I cannot bear to part with *anything* !!!

Does anyone else have this problem ?  How do you deal with it ?

A particular feature of the Kobb that I like very much is the detailed synopses, with actual 
musical quotations.   Thank goodness I did not take all my opera books with me to Saudi 
Arabia (and before that to Brazil and Japan) otherwise I would not have any at home.

The Kobb is also available in languages other than English, such as French, Italian, and 
Portuguese, so I guess Americans are not alone in finding it valuable ! 

The English-language edition was revised and updated several times after World War II by 
George Lascelles, Earl of Harewood, a cousin of the British Queen, and most recently in 
1997 by Antony Peattie.

Cheers and all the best,

Alain

Alain Letort
Washington, D.C.
Des Ungeheuers Hhle

=====================================================
On Sat, 10 Feb 2018 17:53:53 +0000, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Donald and list
>
>I'll add two that I think have not been mentioned and which
>have been invaluable reference guides over the years.
>
>The New Kobbe's Complete Opera Book - over 1600 pages of
>synopses, musical quotes and important revivals of just
>about any opera worthy of the name. I bought my first in 1960
>and have purchased updated versions several times. Its first
>edition was in 1919. They must be doing something right!
>
>The Metropolitan Opera Guide to Recorded Opera - which has
>been  my primary guide to studio recordings since 1993, the
>year of its publication. Most, though not all of the recordings
>worth owning were available at that time.
>
>The Kobbe is unique and should be part of every opera lover's
>library. It has no equal, at least none of which I am aware.
>
>Bob
>
>On Sat, Feb 10, 2018 at 12:26 donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Thank you; I must look for Weaver's Puccini book.  I only hope
>> it proves to be as comprehensive and readable as the heretofore
>> unmentioned treatment of G.VERDI, HIS LIFE AND WORKS by
>> Francis Toye.
>>
>> Has OPERA ON RECORD "edited" by Alan Blyth been mentioned,
>> or Paul Gruber's GUIDE TO RECORDED OPERA?  for those not afraid
>> to admit the value of experiencing opera without visual stimulation,  they
>> are invaluable additions to the bookshelf.
>>
>> dtmk
>>
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 12:27 PM, k youngmann <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>> > Has this ever been discussed? I’m thinking about my favorite books about
>> > opera.
>> >
>> > At the top of my list is Peter Conrad’s “A Song of Love and Death.” It’s
>> > been years since I read it so now might be a good time to dust it off
>> > again. From the Amazon page: “A Song of Love and Death: The Meaning of
>> Opera
>> > Graywolf's updated edition of this classic book on opera includes a new
>> > afterword by author Peter Conrad.
>> >
>> > Arguing that opera's deepest roots lie in our most fundamental human
>> > rituals, Peter Conrad shows us the faces of the gods that still hover
>> over
>> > the pageant--gods of music, abandon, evil, love. then, with the dizzying
>> > skill of a practiced literary and cultural critic, the author takes us
>> on a
>> > ride through the repertoire of operas past and present. Finally, he
>> brings
>> > us to the climactic moment of the form: the performance. We meet the
>> great
>> > personalities—from Puccini to Bernstein to Domingo—in their element, and
>> > see anew how their celebrity and their artistry affect us all." There’s a
>> > lot more to read about it so here’s the link: <
>> >
>> https://www.amazon.com/Song-Love-Death-Graywolf-Rediscovery/dp/1555972411>
>> >
>> > Also up near the top of my list is Lanfranco Rasponi’s “The Last Prima
>> > Donnas.”
>> >
>> > William Weaver’s “The Puccini Companion” ranks high as does Julian
>> > Budden’s monumental 3-volume “The Operas of Verdi.”
>> >
>> > These are the ones that pop into my mind right away.
>> >
>> > I’d like to hear what books other Opera L folk recommend so I can see if
>> > I’m missing anything.
>> >
>> > Kurt Youngmann
>> >
>> > "Nothing is so firmly believed as what is least known." - Michel de
>> > Montaigne
>> >
>> >
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