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Subject: Re: favorite opera books
From: ANGELO MAMMANO <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:ANGELO MAMMANO <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 11 Feb 2018 15:22:57 -0500
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I enjoy my The New Kobbe's Opera Book - (1997 edition with 2000 amendments)

very much.  It has so much more than others of its type.  The musical illustrations

are good and the pictures are interesting and unusual.  What is also interesting is

how I got to receive it. A number of years ago I was listening to a Traviata Met b'cast

and during the intermission while the opera quiz was on I suddenly had the feeling

that they were going to use  questions that I had sent in several months earlier. 

I was thrilled when I heard my name mentioned. A week or so later I received

in the mail a large box with the Kobbe book and lots of CD's including the 1937

Salzburg Toscanini Meistersinger.  The questions I sent in were to name the character

who sings the same note over a long period of time.  For example: Desdemona repeats

the note E flat again and again at the beginning of Ave Maria.  The pianist played the

notes in correct rhythm but with no accompaniment. None of the panelists were able to

answer correctly which is not surprising.  The accompaniments would have helped.

I really miss those every- week opera quizzes.


Angelo from Boston













On February 10, 2018 at 6:10 PM Alain Letort wrote:


Dear Listers and Bob,

The Kobbé 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 Kobbé 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 Kobbé 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 Höhle


---------------------------------------------
On Sat, 10 Feb 2018 17:53:53 +0000, Bob Rideout 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 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 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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