• The History of Opera

  • By: Richard Fawkes
  • Narrated by: Robert Powell
  • Length: 5 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 09-01-00
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.0 (44 ratings)

Regular price: $20.29

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Publisher's Summary

Opera, said Moliére, is the most expensive noise known to man. From its beginnings in the 16th Century, through to today when there are as many musical styles as there are composers, opera has fascinated, infuriated, delighted, been censored, been banned, excited riots, even won a nation its freedom. Here is the colorful story of sometimes temperamental composers and even more temperamental singers working in an art form which has produced some of man's noblest artistic creations. This absorbing history is illustrated by over 100 musical examples by Naxos artists as well as some of the greatest singers of the 20th century including Enrico Caruso and Fyodor Chaliapin.
©1999 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd. (P)1999 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.
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Critic Reviews



Indie Award Winner
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Walter on 02-01-04

somewhat disappointing

I would recommend this volume to anyone with little or no knowledge of the history of opera, but not to anyone moderately familiar with this musical genre. The last half-hour consists of opera anecdotes, which, for the most part, are disposable. Also, many times, a musical illustration is announced, only to not be actually played. An alternate recommendation is 'The History of Classical Music', by the same author, which held my attention throughout. It even has an excellent section on opera.

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22 of 22 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Alexandra on 02-24-06

Missing the music

Many of the musical illustrations appear to be either missing or cut out, making it a poor listen, and the history itself, while covering the major names with brief biographical detail and few technical terms, offers little depth or insight.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Flaminia on 11-06-12

Very enjoyable read

This book is a pleasure to listen to. Musical extracts are nicely chosen and makes you feel like you want to listen to more music, which in fact I did, buying some operas I knew of but never rally listened to carefully.

I recommend this book especially to those who love opera but are no musicians since it will give them a key to better enjoy their listens.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By KHF Riley on 04-16-18

Overall, a good introduction

This was an entertaining book, but there were a few obvious factual errors presented which did make me doubt some of the other ‘facts’ I wasn’t so sure about. Those kinds of things should have been picked up before production but overall, an interesting book. Just don’t use it as your definitive source.

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