Italy: An Operatic History

Italy: An Operatic History

by Francis J. Clauss


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Product description...


Italy: An Operatic History begins with a brief Prologue that relates how opera began around the year 1600 and has developed in the years since. The nine chapters that follow provide a concise history of Italy from 1000 to its complete unification as the Kingdom of Italy in 1870. Interspersed with Italy’s rich history are more than thirty operas that personalize and illuminate historical events. Just as supertitles that translate lines sung in a foreign language into English have made operas more accessible and enjoyable, so also can the operas themselves help one better understand Italian history and the changes over time in its society, culture, and political structure. Operatic music has added a strong emotional background to the historic settings that aroused audiences’ feelings of nationalism. Opera has been, in fact, a driving force in the unification of the fragmented cities and city-states of Italy, so long divided and at war with each other. Opera literally helped make an Italy — and then, having made an Italy, helped make Italians. Opera continues today to help us understand social, cultural, and political forces of both the past and the present that can divide us. An Epilogue shows how operas today, while providing pleasure and enjoyment, can also make us think, at times prick our conscience, call our attention to wrongs, and help us do better. That is why opera has been called “the ultimate art.”

Product details...

Format: 7 x 10 Color Paperback, 328 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (Oct 07, 2017)
ISBN10: 1478790415
ISBN13: 9781478790419
Genre: MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Opera

Author Information...

The author and his wife have for many years enjoyed operatic performances at San Francisco Opera, West Bay Opera in Palo Alto (the second oldest opera company west of the Mississippi River), Opera San Jose, Santa Fe Opera, the New York Metropolitan Opera, and many foreign venues. We also attended many performances and classes of the Merola Opera program of San Francisco Opera. For fifteen pleasurable years, we shared the leadership of annual week-long visits to Santa Fe Opera as part of the Adult Educational Program of De Anza College in California, during which we provided introductions for the operas our groups attended. We attended fall lectures provided by the San Francisco Opera Guild of San Jose, for which my wife served a term as president. We led several trips to Seattle for productions of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelungen. As volunteers for many years doing coffee service at rehearsals and performances of San Francisco Opera, we had an opportunity to discuss operas and composers with chorus and orchestra members and an occasional principal singer. It has been an experience that has enriched our lives. May opera also enrich yours.
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