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A musical challenge to our view of the past

Music and the Exotic from the Renaissance to Mozart

In Musical Exoticism (Cambridge 2011) Ralph P. Locke undertook an extensive appraisal of the portrayal of the ‘Other’ in works dating from 1700 to the present day, an enquiry that embraced a wide range of genres from Baroque opera to Algerian rap, and which was at once musical, cultural, historical, political and ethical.

Coughing and Clapping: Investigating Audience Experience

Is it okay to tweet during a concert, if it allows those who couldn’t attend to engage with the performance and the music? Or is it really just distracting, on top of all the coughing?

How to Write About Music: The RILM Manual of Style

RILM Abstracts of Music Literature is an international database for musicological and ethnomusicological research, providing abstracts and indexing for users all over the world. As such, RILM’s style guide (How to Write About Music: The RILM Manual of Style) differs fairly significantly from those of more generalized style guides such as MLA or APA.

Book Review: Opera in the British Isles, 1875 – 1918

Opera in the British Isles might seem a rather sparse subject in the period 1875 to 1918. Notoriously described as the land without music, even the revival of the native tradition of composers did not include a strong vein of opera.

Diary of a Redneck Opera Zinger

Heldentenor Jay Hunter Morris tells us about the lean times when the phone did not ring, as well as those thrilling moments when companies entrusted him with the most important roles in opera.

Weill's Musical Theater: Stages of Reform

Commonly viewed as a ‘second-rate’ composer — a European radical persecuted by the Nazis whose trans-Atlantic emigration represented a sell-out to an inferior American popular culture —

Opera from Cambridge University Press

Although part of a series entitled Cambridge Introductions to Music, Robert Cannon’s wide-ranging, imaginative and thought-provoking survey of opera is certainly not a ‘beginners’ guide’.

James Melton: The Tenor of His Times

Those of us of a certain age have fond memories of James Melton, who entertained our parents starting in the 1930s and the rest of us in the 1940s and beyond on recordings, the radio, and films.

Essays on Italo Montemezzi - D'Annunzio: Nave

An important new book on Italo Montemezzi sheds light on his opera Nave. The author/editor is David Chandler whose books on Alfredo Catalani have done so much to restore interest in the genre.

Alfredo Catalani — A new perspective on later Italian opera

Assumptions about later Italian opera are dominated by Puccini, but Alfredo Catalani, born in the same town and almost at the same time, was highly regarded by their contemporaries. Two new books on Catalani could change our perceptions.

The Sopranos — Dissecting opera’s fervent fans

I was feeling cowed by Herr Engels. The four of us had retired from the Stravinsky performance to a Billy Wilder-themed bar in Berlin, the least horrible late-night option in the high end mediocrity of Potsdamer Platz.

Opera Remade, 1700-1750

This substantial book is one of the latest in the Ashgate series of collected essays in opera studies and draws together articles from a disparate group of scholarly journals and collected volumes, some recent, some now difficult to locate.

Operatic Advice and Counsel…A Welcome New Reference Book

Vincent Giroud’s valuable new French Opera, a Short History, is in hand and very welcome it is.

Lotfi Mansouri: An Operatic Journey

The noted operatic impresario and stage director, Lotfi Mansouri, with the professional help of writer Donald Arthur, has issued his memoirs under the title Lotfi Mansouri: An Operatic Journey.

Cosima Wagner — The Lady of Bayreuth

Originally published in German as Herrin des Hügels, das Leben der Cosima Wagner (Siedler, 2007), this new book by Oliver Hilmes is an engaging portrait of one of the most important women in music during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Operatic Italian

Robert Stuart Thomson’s Italian language learning text, Operatic Italian, promises to become an invaluable textbook for aspiring operatic singers, voice teachers, coaches and conductors.

Musical Exoticism: Images and Reflections

Ralph Locke’s recent book on Musical Exoticism is both an historical survey of aspects of the exotic in Western musical culture and a discussion of paradigms of the exotic and their relevance for musicological understanding.

Magic Flutes & Enchanted Forests: The Supernatural in Eighteenth-Century Musical Theater

Readers may recognize the author of this book, David J. Buch, a specialist on the origins of the libretto to Mozart’s Magic Flute.

Opera from the Greek

Perhaps it will be enough to tell you that I wasn’t halfway through this book before I searched the web for a copy of Professor Ewans’s study of Wagner and Aeschylus’s Oresteia, and ordered it forthwith: It has to be good.



William A. Everett: The Musical — A Research and Information Guide
07 Mar 2005

EVERETT: The Musical — A Research and Information Guide

Much current popular culture assumes that its audience is knowledgeable of the American musical. References to, and parodies of, specific musicals are frequently a part of episodes of The Simpsons and South Park, and ads for companies as diverse as The Gap and the World Wrestling Entertainment promotion recently have restaged numbers from West Side Story to plug their products or events. Rarely, if ever, are the sources acknowledged; it is simply taken for granted that a general audience will understand the quotations and parodies.

William A. Everett: The Musical — A Research and Information Guide
Routledge Music Bibliographies

New York & London: Routledge, 2004, 320 pages

ISBN 0415942950


Yet within academic circles, and musicology in particular, the musical has been one of the last genres to break free from marginalization, even within the once marginalized field of American music. Until recently, scholars who wrote on issues pertaining to musicals came from other areas of research, most often from the more "legitimate" world of Western art music. No one was a scholar specializing in musical theater. All this has changed, however, and the last five to eight years have seen the emergence of new dissertations on varied aspects of American musical theater from, among other places, Princeton (the mega-musical of the 1980s), the University of California, Berkeley (Stephen Sondheim), the University of Illinois (Jerome Kern), and The Ohio State University (Rodgers and Hammerstein), and established musicologists such as Raymond Knapp and Tim Carter, for instance, have committed themselves to exciting new work in this area. All this suggests that, as these new scholars turn to teaching and advising, they in turn will be overseeing new work that will continue to expand the horizons of research on the American musical.

This research will be aided by William A. Everett's much needed and highly valuable volume The Musical: A Research and Information Guide. This work provides a wonderful first stop for the researcher, regardless of level, and its user-friendly style suggests that the first stop will not be the last.

After a brief introduction in which Everett deals with the differences between musicals and operas, and between musicals for the stage and film musicals, the book is laid out in areas of increasing detail. Beginning with a listing of general histories of musical and theatrical genres, Everett moves to works specific to the musical. This second section is the longest, and its listing of dictionaries, encyclopedias, chronologies, and theoretical, analytical, sociological, and generic studies of the genre is inclusive. A relatively short section on the film musical follows, after which Everett lists books and, especially, articles about individual musicals. This is the section that will doubtless cause the most disappointment in users, if only because such a list must be, by its nature, somewhat subjective and cannot be all-inclusive. Everett acknowledges this in his introduction, however, and adds that, even if the user does not find a particular musical listed, the resources for finding material on that musical are included, thus expediting the search. Sections on creators - composers, wordsmiths, orchestrators, choreographers, and directors - performers, and aspects of performance follow.

The final five sections list periodicals that publish musical theater-related articles -- as of the finish date of 2003, Everett notes, there was still not "a scholarly journal devoted exclusively to the musical theater" (201) - sets of series of printed material, a discography, recorded anthologies, and other searchable resources, the latter containing a partial list of reliable websites. These final sections are good places to start if the reader wishes to pursue study of a particular work not listed in Everett's fourth section ("Works"). The listings are followed by a thorough index.

Everett is known as a scholar on the musical theater - he is co-editor, with Paul R. Laird, of The Cambridge Companion to the Musical and is working on a critical biography of Sigmund Romberg - as well as an experienced musical director. His affection for the genre is as notable as his dedication to helping new scholars in the field, and to this latter end his current work is exemplary. While the current rate of new scholarship means that the book is already missing several important entries, it is nonetheless timely and needed. Everett notes, at the end of his introduction, "My sincere hope is that this book will be a useful entryway for discovering the complex and stimulating world of the musical" (4). It is that, and more. It will undoubtedly remain the standard, essential bibliography for some time to come.

Jim Lovensheimer, Ph.D.
Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University

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