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The History of Opera

Narrated by: Robert Powell
Length: 5 hrs and 17 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©1999 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd. (P)1999 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very well read!

Very interesting thoroughly enjoyed. As an aspiring tenor learning the history of my art I thought it was an excellent concise history.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Walter
  • 01-02-04

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.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Alexandra
  • 24-02-06

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.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 28-05-12

loved it

Would you consider the audio edition of The History of Opera to be better than the print version?

yes the print version couldn't have the music

What did you like best about this story?

The musical examples

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no

Any additional comments?

I would recommend this for anyone interested in opera or history in general

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Helen
  • 07-05-06

Missing Music Ruins This One

Probably would have been a favorite if it didn't skip a lot of the music! Very irritating to have a piece of music introduced and then skipped. I wouldn't recommend this one to anyone as a result.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-04-16

Great overview!

This book provided just the overview I wanted. I studied violin in an orchestra and privately for years but somehow missed any history of opera completely; my music education didn't even include it.

Now that I am pursuing opera as a hobby this book provided fast and interesting insight to the historical context of many operas and composers. At times it was over whelming; I'll never remember these new names! But the book moves fast enough that you don't get bored and provides enough to keep you interested and wanting to look up more on your own.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 21-03-14

Great Material Horrible Chapter Organization

I liked the material and the reading of thus book. I also found the music examples very useful. Unlike other reviewers, I had no trouble with the music samples. My major gripe about this audiobook is that it is organized into 6 sections which make no logical sense. It would have been much better if the audiobook was divided by chapters that matched the accompanying PDF. Navigation between the chapters would have been much better.