Unelucidating

An important new book on Italo Montemezzi sheds light on his opera .

The author/editor is David Chandler whose books on Alfredo Catalani have done so much to restore interest in the genre.

The last section of the book ties into the provided .

Perhaps the strongest part of the book, these essays walk a line between rigorous academic analysis and over-simplified commentary.

The titles give a fair idea of the content here: "Dare not Speak Its Name" for Britten and for Barber, "A Truly Perfect Failure: at the Metropolitan." The Britten essay can't offer much more than unelucidating conjecture ("Britten, undoubtedly, knew the consequences of his actions and therefore probably never acted."), and it ends with a pale argument that the questions regarding Britten's sexuality are relevant to an understanding of the music.

Since the questions mostly remain unanswerable, perhaps the point is moot.

The inclusion of a CD of selections from Naxos recordings of both composers may, however, make the volume of interest to some readers.

Felsenfeld in his introduction does offer two reasonable rationales for putting Britten and Barber side-by-side. They apparently never met, let alone had any type of professional relationship.

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Heldentenor Jay Hunter Morris tells us about the lean times when the phone did not ring, as well as those thrilling moments when companies entrusted him with the most important roles in opera.Buch, a specialist on the origins of the libretto to Mozart’s , this book consists of a series of essays by one author.The same Daniel Felsenfeld also authored the first in the series, which set Charles Ives and Aaron Copland side by side.Commonly viewed as a ‘second-rate’ composer — a European radical persecuted by the Nazis whose trans-Atlantic emigration represented a sell-out to an inferior American popular culture — Although part of a series entitled , Robert Cannon’s wide-ranging, imaginative and thought-provoking survey of opera is certainly not a ‘beginners’ guide’.Those of us of a certain age have fond memories of James Melton, who entertained our parents starting in the 1930s and the rest of us in the 1940s and beyond on recordings, the radio, and films.Most of the first half of this book is given over to biographical sketches. Some are no longer than two pages, and this is a book of relatively large print.

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