Nine Famous Operas

What’s Really Going On!

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About the Book

This book contains analyses of the stories and music of nine operas, presented in chronological order from 1791 to 1928. These great works are most readily approached with an understanding of the conventions of the several operatic genres as well as the social conditions that influenced the composers and librettists. The popular and intellectual movements that influenced the operas and the original source material are also discussed. The operas are Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Beethoven’s Fidelio, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, Verdi’s Rigoletto, Bizet’s Carmen, Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, Strauss’ Salome, and Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera.

About the Author(s)

Iris J. Arnesen is a lecturer on opera and editor of The Opera Glass, a performing arts periodical that covers opera, theatre, dance, and concert music. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Bibliographic Details

Iris J. Arnesen
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 202
Bibliographic Info: glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-5896-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-6006-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

1. Let There Be Light: Mozart’s The Magic Flute      5
2. Judgment Day: Beethoven’s Fidelio      25
3. The Horror! The Horror! Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor      43
4. Until the End of Time…:Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman      59
5. Nice Guys Finish Last: Verdi’s Rigoletto      85
6. The Madonna and the Whore: Bizet’s Carmen      103
7. Déjà Vu: Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci      133
8. The Love That Dares Not Speak Its Name: Strauss’s Salome      149
9. Crime Does Pay! Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera      171

Conclusion      189
Glossary      191
Bibliography      193
Index      195

Book Reviews & Awards

“commentaries…aim to increase appreciation of the stories by pointing out their most poignant and symbolic elements”—The Beethoven Journal.