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Paperback Skeletons from the Opera Closet Book

ISBN: 1559211040

ISBN13: 9781559211048

Skeletons from the Opera Closet

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

is an appreciation and dissection, albeit humorous and light hearted, of this most lively art's weaknesses, faux pas, trumperies, unusual and uncommon manners, overlooked glories, and weird and funny... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

a very interesting book

Topics covered include humorous anecdotes, comments which opera composers have made about each other, biographies of opera composers, operas which are not recognized but should be, operas which are not recognized and should not be, and many more. The only chapter which did not interest me was the the astrology readings for opera stars, because I think astrology is baloney. My only grievance is that one of the two writers injects his presence too much. Commenting on a 12-tone composition, he says, "If it must be serial, give us shredded wheat." With a little bit of effort, you can tell the exact page where one writer stops and the other writer starts.

"Suppose you wrote an opera and nobody came"

"Skeletons from the Opera Closet" is either my favorite or second favorite book about opera, depending on my frame of mind. If I've just finished watching my "La Forza del Destino" video with Corelli and Tebaldi, I prefer the more passionate and serious prose of Peter Conrad's, "A Song of Love and Death". However, if I've just returned from a Michigan Opera Theatre production where a mylar balloon floated down from the wings and bobbed up and down next to Aida as she and Radames was expiring very musically in their tomb, then my book of choice would be "Skeletons from the Opera Closet." It is an extremely funny, editorialized history of opera, even though it leaves most of Opera's favorite sight gags (e.g. Tosca and the trampoline)to Vickers' "Operatic Disasters" and "More Operatic Disasters". My favorite chapter is, "Having an Acts to Grind" where the authors discuss their least favorite acts in some very well known operas. They set the scene thusly:"You rush off into the rain, there are no cabs, your dinner consists of a cup of cardboard coffee and a $4.00 box of stale mints at the theater, and the 'fun little opera' turns into a Germanic five-act cement dumpling, set in what appears to be outer space, and sung by the fattest cast this side of Barnum and Bailey."Groover and Conner's choices for 'cement dumplings' are wickedly funny (and not all of them are Germanic).This book's mixture of operatic history, gossip, and anecdotes is very easy to digest--the very antithesis of a cement dumpling. I enjoyed it from beginning ("How to Build a Chinese Opera House") to end ("Curtain Call"), incidentally learning along the way that it was Beethoven who wrote the opera where (almost) no one came to the premiere. The Viennese loved their music but they were about to be overrun by Napoleon's Grand Army, and so they did the only practical thing. They deserted.Maybe Beethoven should have named his opera, "Infidelio".

A witty overview for opera insiders

If you like opera, you'll love this book. It's a collection of bon mots about the standard repertoire -- irrereverent, scathing, playful. The New Yorker said, when this book first came out, that if you know opera, you'll get it. Otherwise, way over your head. Whoosh! I'd definitely recommend the book. Of course, the second author is my uncle :-)
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