Cover image for A pocket guide to opera
A pocket guide to opera
Christiansen, Rupert.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Faber, [2002]

Physical Description:
x, 394 pages ; 18 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML1700 .C558 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A handy, readable and easy-to-use opera guide, containing entries for over a hundred works, both familiar and unfamiliar. Features include: Snapshot plot summaries; Easily understood background information; Straightforward pointers to help your appreciation of the music and production; Recommended recordings (CD, video and DVD); A brief over-view of the history of opera

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

London-based critic Christiansen enters the crowded field of opera guides with this informative and engaging traversal of the form's history and key works from Monteverdi to John Adams. Grouping the operas by period (baroque and classical) or geography (Italian, Slavic), with a chapter on operetta, he provides short synopses, historical context, some musical details, comments on various producers' and directors' stagings, and suggested audio and video recordings. Though Christiansen includes all the major operas one would expect (e.g., Mozart's Don Giovanni, Puccini's La Boheme, Verdi's Aida, and Wagner's Tristan and Isolde), some of his choices reveal a slightly British bias and result in odd imbalances. He treats almost the entirety of Benjamin Britten's oeuvre other than church parables, while he is much more parsimonious with American titles, referring only fleetingly to such composers as Philip Glass, who have made significant contributions to the genre. Also, Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore would probably be a more familiar title worldwide than Iolanthe. Fortunately, Christiansen confesses that he is not able to do as much justice to certain aspects of the topic as he would like in his chosen pocket format. Despite some disconcertingly snide remarks and a few errors of fact, this title is recommended as a reasonably priced companion to M. Owen Lee's The Operagoer's Guide, which covers much of the same repertoire from a more direct North American viewpoint. Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Baroque and Classical OperaClaudio Monteverdi and Francesco Cavalli and George Frideric and Handel Christoph and Willibald von Gluck and Wolfgang and Amadeus Mozart
Part 2 German OperaLudwig van Beethoven and Carl Maria von Weber and Richard Wagner and Engelbert Humperdinck and Richard Strauss and Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg and Kurt Weill and Hans Werner Henze
Part 3 Italian OperaGioachino and Rossini Gaetano and Donizetti Vincenzo and Bellini Giuseppe and Verdi Pietro and Mascagni Ruggero and Leoncavallo and Umberto Giordano and Giacomo Puccini
Part 4 French OperaHector Berlioz and Charles Gounod and Ambroise Thomas and Georges Bizet and Camille Saint-Saeuml;ns and Jacques Offenbach and Jules Massenet and Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel and Francis Poulene
Part 5 OperettaJacques Offenbach and Johann Strauss and Arthur Sullivan and Franz Lehaacute;r
Part 6 English OperaHenry Purcell and Benjamin Britten and Michael Tippert and Harrison Birtwistle
Part 7 Slavic Opera ModestMussogursky and Bedrich Smetana and Piotr Ilyich and Tchaikovsky Antonin and Dvoraacute;k Leoš Janaacute;cek Beacute;la Bartoacute;k Dmitri Shostakovich Sergei Prokofiev Igor Stravinsky
Part 8 American OperaGeorge Gershwin and Gian Carlo and Mentotti Leonard and Bernstein Carlisle and Floyd Stephen and Sondheim and John Adams
Index of Operas
Index of Composers