Opera 101

  • by Fred Plotkin
  • Narrated by Fred Plotkin
  • 18 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Opera is the fastest growing of all the performing arts, attracting audiences of all ages who are enthralled by the gorgeous music, vivid drama, and magnificent production values. If you've decided that the time has finally come to learn about opera and discover for yourself what it is about opera that sends your normally reserved friends into states of ecstatic abandon, this is the book for you. Opera 101 is recognized as the standard text in English for anyone who wants to become an opera lover. It is a clear, friendly, and truly complete handbook for learning how to listen to opera, whether on the radio, on recordings, or live at the opera house. Fred Plotkin, an internationally respected writer and teacher about opera, who for many years was performance manager of the Metropolitan Opera, introduces listeners, whatever their level of musical knowledge, to all the elements that make up opera. The major part of Opera 101 is devoted to an almost minute-by-minute analysis of 11 key operas, ranging from Verdi's thunderous masterpiece Rigoletto and Puccini's electrifying Tosca to works by Mozart, Donizetti, Rossini, Offenbach, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner, and to the psychological complexities of Richard Strauss's Elektra. Once you have completed Opera 101, you will be prepared to see and hear any opera you encounter, thanks to this book's unprecedented detail and enjoyable method of revealing the riches of opera.


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

unmissable introduction to the world of operas!

This book is a superb introduction for anybody who wants to have a good understanding and a better appreciation of operas. It is complete in all aspects, since it comprehends history of opera, biography of composers, analysis of major works and so forth. Besides, the narrator, who happens to be the author of the book himself, reads it as wonderfully as he wrote it. After listening to this audiobook, you will be promoted from an opera novice to an opera lover and enthusiast. Go ahead! It's a good buy.
Read full review

- Carlos Henrique Souza Vilas Boas

A Public Service for Beginners

I write that title with a caveat, which I'll explain. This book is geared to the idea that perhaps you know just a little about the world of opera and feel like maybe you're ready to be dangerous and don't know where to start. Mr. Plotkin offers his credentials as to why he's the right man to be your guide to this strange world, which are impressive, and then he leads you through the basics just as he says he will. He's one part tour guide, one part college professor, and he clearly loves opera. And he hopes you will too.

The history of opera is offered at Wikipedia speed, broken down for you in sections so you can see how it evolved into what it's become today. He'll even give you pointers on how to attend a performance and get the most out of it, which that alone is invaluable information. Where it gets dicey is that sometimes he forgets he's talking to a beginner when it comes to the actual operas, but he does bring it back down to beginner level sooner or later. A lot of the times, though, you will be expected to rise to the next level up without warning, and where this subject is concerned, that's not a bad thing if you're truly interested. He covers a handful of operas within this tome and explains why he picked them. His insights are well worth it for anyone who wants to dig deep. The thing is, and he'll tell you this up front, he's working from very specific recordings of these works that you will have to hunt down on your own, either in a library or online. Some of his explanation is specific to those recordings. Don't let that disuade you. If you can't find that recording, try another and compare it to what you learn in this book. The point of this entire thing is to help you make the leap from novice to enthusiast with confidence enough to discover more, and where you go from there is up to you. I've heard it said that for some beginners, it's many years - if ever - before they go from hearing an aria or two to listening to an entire opera with anything close to understanding. This book connects the dots if you're willing to meet the author halfway.
Read full review

- Troy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2004
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.