Recently in Books
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.
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.
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 —
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vincent Giroud’s valuable new French Opera, a Short History, is in hand and very welcome it is.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Readers may recognize the author of this book, David J. Buch, a specialist on the origins of the libretto to Mozart’s Magic Flute.
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.
Chinese bass Hao Jiang Tian was 30, when he enrolled as an undergraduate at the University of Denver 1983.
Two excellent books on opera have come to hand, providing many hours of entertaining reading. I combine notice of them with a few thoughts about composer Paul Moravec’s CDs, and his forthcoming opera premiere at Santa Fe Opera in 2009.
Claudio Monteverdi. Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in patria. Edited by Rinaldo Alessandrini. Urtext. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2007. BA 8791. A vocal score is available as 8791a.
Published in 2007, Riccardo primo, Re d’Inghilterra (HWV 23) and Tolomeo, Re d’Egitto (HWV 25) mark two of the latest installments of vocal-score editions of Handel’s operas based upon Bärenreiter’s Urtext editions.
02 Feb 2006
DAVIES & JAHN: Care of the Professional Voice
This second edition, co-authored by D. Garfield Davies, Consultant Emeritus Otolaryngologist to The Middlesex and University College Hospitals, and Anthony F. Jahn, Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, was published by Routledge in 2004.
It is a concise, practical guide for anyone who is a professional singer, speaker, actor or voice teacher. All of the essential aspects of the care of the voice are discussed in a manner that is quite accessible, even to the singer/actor who may just be embarking on a professional career. Forewords to this edition by Bryn Terfel, James Morris and Sir Anthony Hopkins all are in agreement as to the value of this volume for both students and professionals alike.
In addition to a basic description of the anatomy and physiology of the voice, including laryngeal disorders and their diagnosis, treatment and prevention, this volume covers a much broader range of topics, including the physiological aspects of anxiety and artistic temperament and the effects of these and other factors on the voice. I used this edition as a supplement for my vocal pedagogy course and found many chapters to be filled with information that is not readily available elsewhere, including a great deal of information about a long list of common medications and their effects on the voice. There are also nineteen color illustrations, including photos from laryngoscopy of healthy and diseased tissue. Also included is a wonderful chapter detailing what every singer will undoubtedly face at some point in their career, a visit to the laryngologist. In addition to a step by step description of a visit, including a first visit, examination, techniques of laryngoscopy, this chapter also gives great insight to the singer who is searching out a laryngologist and what to look for when doing so. Several pages are also devoted to a number of surgeries of the vocal tract and a variety of surgical options open to the singer. Perhaps the most valuable of chapters for the seasoned performer is the chapter by Anat Keidar, Ph.D, Director of Vox Humana Voice Laboratory, entitled “A Singer’s Guide to Self-Diagnosis.” This chapter lists several symptoms and the possible reasons for the problem.
I would recommend this book to everyone who uses their voice in a professional manner on a daily basis – it is quite an invaluable tool for continued vocal health.
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater