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Books about the divas, the operas, the composers, the conductors and the theatres that are home to the greatest lyrical theatre will satisfy the opera maven or opera queen. All the opera guides from the great Grove and Kobbe to the hippest Rough Guide.

Singer and ActorSinger and Actor: Acting Techniques for Opera
Alan E. Hicks
Deftly combining theory and practice, Singer and Actor gives singers of all levels of experience the means to prepare dramatically for the operatic stage. Softcover, 196 pp. $22.99.

Julie Taymor: Playing With FireJulie Taymor: Playing With Fire

Third Edition
Eileen Blumenthal & Julie Taymor
Julie Taymor is one of the most imaginative and provocative directors and designers working in the performing arts. Throughout her award-winning body of work she has created some of the most arresting images ever seen on the stage and screen. What better way to pay tribute to her career than with this highly visual biography, illustrated, cover-to-cover, with eye-popping images. This new edition of this classic volume has been updated to include all new sections on her Oscar-winning film Frida, the movie-musical Across the Universe, and the opera Grendel. Hardcover, 274 pp. $34.99.

Opera: The Great Composers and their MasterworksOpera: The Great Composers and their Masterworks

Joyce Bourne
Joyce Bourne takes us on a compelling tour de force of 400 years of the world's greatest operas. From Monteverdi and Purcell through to Philip Glass and John Adams, Opera will excite and inspire entry-level and experienced opera-goers alike. Hardcover, 224 pp. $38.50.

The Rough Guide to OperaThe Rough Guide to Opera

Matthew Boyden
Covering the full range of opera, from Monteverdi to Thomas Ades, this Rough Guide provides lively biographical information of some 150 composers plus detailed discussions of over 340 operas. As well as a synopsis and a short essay for each opera, the guide includes reviews of the finest available CDs -- both the latest releases and the best historical recordings -- and DVD recommendations for the top 60 operas in the repertoire. In addition, there is a "who's who" of opera's finest singers and conductors, a glossary of the most useful technical terms, and scores of superb illustrations. Softcover, 733 pp. $31.00.

The Penguin Concise Guide to OperaThe Penguin Concise Guide to Opera
Amanda Holden
Whether you are an opera aficionado or simply a novice, The Penguin Concise Guide to Opera is the perfect one-volume companion. Exploring the careers of the greatest composers, including all of their most popular operatic works, this book covers the earliest classics right up to the present day. Also included are recommended recordings of all the discussed operas. Softcover, 593 pp. $22.00.

Alan Riding & Leslie Dunton-Downer
If you have ever wanted to learn more about opera, but weren't sure where to start, then look no further than this fact-filled overview. Filled with full-colour photographs and a finely written text, Opera is an ideal introduction to all the key composers, works, singers, and performances. Softcover, 432 pp. $32.00.

Mozart's Operas: A CompanionMozart's Operas: A Companion
Mary Hunter
This wise and friendly guide to Mozart's operas encompasses the full range of his most popular works -- Figaro, Don Giovanni, Cosi, Magic Flute, Seraglio, Clemenza di Tito -- as well as less known works like Mitridate and Il re pastore. Music historian Mary Hunter provides a lively introduction to each opera for any listener who has enjoyed a performance, either on the stage or in a video recording, and who wishes to understand the opera more fully. Hardcover, 268 pp. $43.95.

Challenges: A Memoir of My Life in OperaChallenges: A Memoir of My Life in Opera
Sarah Caldwell
Founder and long-time director of the Opera Company of Boston and the first woman to conduct the Metropolitan Opera, Sarah Caldwell was one of America's best known and most adverturous conductors and opera directors. This engaging biography is based on a series of interviews Rebecca Matlock conducted over a period of three years before Caldwell's death in 2006. This intimate memoir gives us Caldwell's perceptions in her own unique, indomitable voice. Hardcover, 239 pp. $34.95.

The Opera CompanionThe Opera Companion

George Martin
The Opera Companion is a classic reference book for opera lovers, whether devoted of casual, and the best introduction for beginners. It contains synopses of forty-seven operas, a catalog of major operas including lists of composers and librettists, and in depth explanations of the various techniques of opera such as overture, melody, aria and recitative. A short history of opera and an informative glossary are also included. Softcover, 693 pp. $19.95.

Wagner: Beyond Good And EvilWagner: Beyond Good And Evil
John Deathridge
Celebrated scholar John Deathridge presents a critical view of Richard Wagner based on recent research and some less familiar sources, including hitherto seldom discussed letters and diaries and previously unpublished musical sketches. Rather than taking the course of least resistance by regarding him blandly as a 'classic' in the Western art tradition, Deathridge engages the debates that have raged about him and moves far beyond them. Hardcover, 302 pp. $47.95.

Opera and the Morbidity of MusicOpera and the Morbidity of Music

Joseph Kerman
The death of classical music, the distinguished critic and musicologist Joseph Kerman declares, is "a tired vaccuous concept that will not die." In this wide ranging collection of essays and reviews, Kerman examines the ongoing vitality of the classical mmusic tradition from the days of Guillaume Dufay, John Taverner, and William Byrd to contemporary operas by Phillip Glass and John Adams. Hardcover, 373 pp. $33.00.

Never Sang for Hitler: The Life and Times of Lotte Lehman Never Sang for Hitler: The Life and Times of Lotte Lehman

Michael H. Kater
Rather than a traditional biography, this book aims to be both a descriptive narrative of Lotte Lehman's life and a critical analysis of the interconnections of the artist and society. Michael H. Kater describes the varying phases of Lehmann's life, as well as the sociocultural settings in which she finds herself - whether in the Wilhemine Empire, the First Austrian Republic, Nazi Germany or the United States. Kater's use of Lehmann's personal and other papers reshapes much of what is known about her life and career. Hardcover, 394 pp. $36.95.

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The Toughest Show on EarthThe Toughest Show on Earth: My Rise and Reign at the Metropolitan Opera
Joseph Volpe
A fascinating, anecdote-filled, behind-the-scenes look at more than forty years of the highlights, successes, and day-to-day inner working -- all about productions, the divas, and backstage dramas - of New York's Metropolitan Opera House by Joseph Volpe, the only general manager to have risen through the ranks. The Toughest Show on Earth is the ultimate insider's chronicle of the art, personalities, productions, and politics of the Metropolitan Opera in our time. Softcover, 303 pp. $21.00.

The Man Who Wrote MozartThe Man Who Wrote Mozart: The Extraordinary Life of Lorenzo Da Ponte

Anthony Holden
Anthony Holden's marvelous biography gives a full account of the many lives and tall tales of Lorenzo Da Ponte- librettist of Mozart's three great operas, the Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Cosi Fan Tutte - a great collaborator: the man who wrote Mozart. Softcover, 238 pp. $18.95.

Opera and Modern Culture: Wagner and StraussOpera and Modern Culture: Wagner and Strauss
Lawrence Kramer
Opera and Modern Culture is a helpful guide to comprehending the impact of the modernist aesthetic in the still-influential operas of Wagner and Strauss. Softcover, 257 pp. $25.95.

Mozart and his OperasMozart and his Operas

David Cairns
Here, David Cairns distils a lifetime of knowledge to tell Mozart's story afresh through some of his greatest works - the operas. From the early works to The Magic Flute, he shows us how Mozart's operas can deeply enrich our experience of his music as a whole, and transform our understanding of the man. Softcover, 290 pp. $20.00.

Jean Stilwell and Patti LoachCarmen Unzipped
The incomparable pairing of the operatic/musical theatre genius of Jean Stilwell with the extraodinary musical direction of pianist Patti Loach has produced an outstanding CD of Carmen Unzipped which received 4 stars from CBC's Rick Phillips. The live performances of Carmen Unzipped sold out a month in advance in Toronto, but the magical musicality is captured on Carmen Unzipped. Cabaret performance at its finest, now available. $20.00. For more, visit their website.

The Opera Lover's CompanionThe Opera Lover's Companion
Charles Osborne
Written by a well-known authority, this guide focuses on 175 of the most popular operas. Each entry establishes the opera within the context of its composer's career, outlines the plot, discusses the music, and gives relevant background information on the libretto, the staging, and the most famous and influencial interpreters of the principle roles. This engaging guide is certain to enhance the experience of every opera lover. Softcover, 627 pp. $27.95.

The New Grove Guide to Mozart and his OperasThe New Grove Guide to Mozart and his Operas
Julian Rushton
One of the best known and most admired figures in European music was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. His short but colorful life is of enduring interest, and his works remain central to the repertories of classical music. This book gives a concise and scholarly account of Mozart's activities as a composer of operas. It includes a concise biography, orientated toward the operas; an essay on Mozart's operatic contribution and style; a separate synopsis and historical account of each opera; and three essays which bind into narrative form the dictionary entries on librettists, interpreters, and venues. There is a new introduction, a glossary of relevant terms, a list of operatic roles and a guide to listening. Softcover, 233 pp. $18.95.

The New Grove Guide to Verdi and his OperasThe New Grove Guide to Verdi and his Operas
Roger Parker
Here is a compact guide to Verdi's life and operas. Roger Parker has based this volume on articles in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, featuring up-to-date information on the life of Verdi, his works, librettists, and interpreters, and the places where his works have been performed. Parker compiled these meticulously researched articles into an organized narrative, designed to make finding information on Verdi as easy as possible without sacrificing readability. He has also added a new introduction, a new section on modern Verdi productions, and an up-dated bibliography. In addition, this marvelous resource includes a suggested listening guide and an eight-page insert containing relevant illustrations. Softcover, 252 pp. $18.95.

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Last modified July 18, 2012.
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