Myths and secrets of the world’s great operas
by Brian Castles-Onion. Exisle Publishing. $30
by guest reviewer Donald Trott.
Chapters on many of the main repertoire (with a light hearted but useful précis’ of the plot) are covered from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, 1786 to Puccini’s Turandot, 1924 as are the types and foibles of the main opera voices, for example: baritones ‘can be conceited, pompous and egotistical creatures’.
Also included is a chapter on ‘the staple of every opera company’, the chorus and another on Gilbert and Sullivan and a witty glossary of opera terms often used with abandon by aficionados but which may be foreign to the casual opera goer.
Opera lovers and readers mildly interested in the art form will enjoy this publication.