Parsifal, the epic, final opera by Richard Wagner, stunned audiences and set the stage for the decline of modern civilization. For more than one hundred years, Parsifal has been one of the most controversial dramatic works in the world, not only moving the world's top composers and writers to tears and inspiring generations of creative geniuses, but it was also admired by Adolf Hitler.
Wagner's retelling of the myth of the Holy Grail and the knights who protect it showed the secret path to liberation from suffering, but no one understood it. Wagner himself never explained Parsifal, and in his wake thousands of writers, critics, and artists have attempted to penetrate its mysteries yet have failed, since they were not initiated into the secret tradition it came from. Finally, in this book by Samael Aun Weor, the meaning of Parsifal is fully revealed, and the genius and spiritual accomplishments of Richard Wagner are made radiantly clear.
"The year 1914 will always be a memorable date among the remarkable dates of this humanity, because of the explosion of the First World War and the simultaneous debut of Parsifal in all the civilized world." - Samael Aun Weor
• A complete exposure of the spiritual archetypes hidden in Parsifal, with examples from other religions and mythologies
• Detailed instructions for sexual transmutation, including postures and mantras
• Includes the complete libretto of Parsifal
A New York Times Notable Book
A Washington Post Notable Book
A Publishers Weekly Book of the Year
As seen on CBS This Morning, NPR's Fresh Air, and People Magazine
A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Library Journal Nonfiction Pick of September
The New York Times bestseller about a young black man's journey from violence and despair to the threshold of stardom. "A beautiful tribute to the power of good teachers."--Terry Gross, Fresh Air
"One of the most inspiring stories I've come across in a long time."--Pamela Paul, New York Times Book Review
Ryan Speedo Green had a tough upbringing in southeastern Virginia: his family lived in a trailer park and later a bullet-riddled house across the street from drug dealers. His father was absent; his mother was volatile and abusive.
At the age of twelve, Ryan was sent to Virginia's juvenile facility of last resort. He was placed in solitary confinement. He was uncontrollable, uncontainable, with little hope for the future.
In 2011, at the age of twenty-four, Ryan won a nationwide competition hosted by New York's Metropolitan Opera, beating out 1,200 other talented singers. Today, he is a rising star performing major roles at the Met and Europe's most prestigious opera houses.
SING FOR YOUR LIFE chronicles Ryan's suspenseful, racially charged and artistically intricate journey from solitary confinement to stardom. Daniel Bergner takes readers on Ryan's path toward redemption, introducing us to a cast of memorable characters--including the two teachers from his childhood who redirect his rage into music, and his long-lost father who finally reappears to hear Ryan sing. Bergner illuminates all that it takes--technically, creatively--to find and foster the beauty of the human voice. And Sing for Your Life sheds unique light on the enduring and complex realities of race in America.
This volume explores how operas on Indigenous subjects reflect the evolving relationships between Indigenous peoples, the colonizing forces of imperial power, and forms of internal colonization in developing nation-states. Drawing upon postcolonial theory, ethnomusicology, cultural geography and critical discourses on nationalism and multiculturalism, the collection brings together experts on opera and music in Canada, the Americas and Australia in a stimulating comparative study of operatic re/presentation.
Divas and Scholars is a dazzling and beguiling account of how opera comes to the stage, filled with Philip Gossett’s personal experiences of triumphant—and even failed—performances and suffused with his towering and tonic passion for music. Writing as a fan, a musician, and a scholar, Gossett, the world's leading authority on the performance of Italian opera, brings colorfully to life the problems, and occasionally the scandals, that attend the production of some of our most favorite operas.
Gossett begins by tracing the social history of nineteenth-century Italian theaters in order to explain the nature of the musical scores from which performers have long worked. He then illuminates the often hidden but crucial negotiations opera scholars and opera conductors and performers: What does it mean to talk about performing from a critical edition? How does one determine what music to perform when multiple versions of an opera exist? What are the implications of omitting passages from an opera in a performance? In addition to vexing questions such as these, Gossett also tackles issues of ornamentation and transposition in vocal style, the matters of translation and adaptation, and even aspects of stage direction and set design.
Throughout this extensive and passionate work, Gossett enlivens his history with reports from his own experiences with major opera companies at venues ranging from the Metropolitan and Santa Fe operas to the Rossini Opera Festival at Pesaro. The result is a book that will enthrall both aficionados of Italian opera and newcomers seeking a reliable introduction to it—in all its incomparable grandeur and timeless allure.
This book continues the work Martial Singher has done, in performances, in concerts, and in master classes and lessons, by drawing attention “not only to precise features of text, notes, and markings but also to psychological motivations and emotional impulses, to laughter and tears, to technical skills, to strokes of genius, and even here and there to variations from the original works that have proved to be fortunate.”
For each aria, the author gives the dramatic and musical context, advice about interpretation, and the lyric—with the original language (if it is not English) and an idiomatic American English translation, in parallel columns. The major operatic traditions—French, German, Italian, Russian, and American—are represented, as are the major voice types—soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass-baritone, and bass.
The dramatic context is not a mere summary of the plot but is a penetrating and often witty personality sketch of an operatic character in the midst of a situation. The musical context is presented with the dramatic situation in a cleverly integrated way. Suggestions about interpretation, often illustrated with musical notation and phonetic symbols, are interspersed among the author's explication of the music and the action. An overview of Martial Singher’s approach—based on fifty years of experience on stage in a hundred roles and in class at four leading conservatories—is presented in his Introduction. As the reader approaches each opera discussed in this book, he or she experiences the feeling of participation in a rehearsal on stage under an urbane though demanding coach and director.
The Interpretive Guide will be of value to professional singers as a source of reference or renewed inspiration and a memory refresher, to coaches for checking and broadening personal impressions, to young singers and students for learning, to teachers who have enjoyed less than a half century of experience, and to opera broadcast listeners and telecast viewers who want to understand what goes into the sounds and sights that delight them.
The star of the Metropolitan Opera's recent revival of Dvorak's Rusalka, soprano Renée Fleming brings a consummately beautiful voice, striking interpretive talents, and compelling artistry to bear on performances that have captivated audiences in opera houses and recital halls throughout the world. In The Inner Voice—a book that is the story of her own artistic development and the “autobiography” of her voice—this great performer presents a unique and privileged look at the making of a singer and offers hard-won, practical advice to aspiring performance artists everywhere. From her youth as the child of two singing teachers through her years at Juilliard, from her struggles to establish her career to her international success, The Inner Voice is a luminous, articulate, and candid self-portrait of a contemporary artist—and the most revelatory examination yet of the performing life.
Whether you're a curious neophyte, a music lover interested in branching out, or an aficionado eager to compare notes with a brilliant fellow opera buff, you'll prize Ticket to the Opera as an essential volume in your music library.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In the second edition of English and German Diction for Singers, Amanda Johnston continues her comparative, modernized approach to lyric diction. This comprehensive resource offers a thorough analysis of the German and English languages and includes extensive oral drills, word lists, tables, charts, musical examples, and even tongue twisters. Unique to this publication is the illustration of the rhythmic timing and release of consonants within the International Phonetic Alphabet transcriptions in all musical examples.
This book is designed for both undergraduate and graduate courses in German and English lyric diction and is an invaluable resource for classical singers, vocal coaches, and voice teachers alike.
Improvements to the second edition include:
An online workbook that includes extensive written exercises suitable for classroom or independent useChapter-by-chapter video clips that demonstrate the concepts addressed in the text Expanded chapters address the schwa, the treatment of monosyllabic incidental words, the use of R, and the correct formation of the elusive upsilon and extended epsilonConsideration of loan words and stressed vs. unstressed closed German vowelsIntegrated practice drills for mastering challenging and unfamiliar phonemesEnlarged musical examples show the rhythmic timing and release of voiced and voiceless consonantsAn expanded appendix on suggested repertoire for diction studyInclusion of specific diction choices suitable for musical theatre repertoireExpanded discussion of healthy glottal onsets, including the concept of junctureUse of the latest resources, namely Deutsche Rechtschreibung (2014) and Cambridge Pronouncing Dictionary, 18th edition (2011)For all users, there is a WORKBOOK. Access the workbook here.The ANSWER KEY is available for instructors. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The collection opens with Mary Ann Smart's introduction, which provides an engaging reflection on the state of gender topics in operatic criticism and musicology. It then moves on to a foundational essay on the complex relationships between opera and history by the renowned philosopher and novelist Catherine Clément, a pioneer of feminist opera criticism. Other articles examine the evolution of the "trouser role" as it evolved in the lesbian subculture of fin-de-siècle Paris, the phenomenon of opera seria's "absent mother" as a manifestation of attitudes to the family under absolutism, the invention of a "hystericized voice" in Verdi's Don Carlos, and a collaborative discussion of the staging problems posed by the gender politics of Mozart's operas.
The contributors are Wye Jamison Allanboork, Joseph Auner, Katherine Bergeron, Philip Brett, Peter Brooks, Catherine Clement, Martha Feldman, Heather Hadlock, Mary Hunter, Linda Hutcheon and Michael Hutcheon, M.D., Lawrence Kramer, Roger Parker, Mary Ann Smart, and Gretchen Wheelock.
According to Katz, opera's origins in Renaissance Italy can be traced to numerous characteristics of life at that time. Among them are: the belief of the Humanists that the magical properties of music could be harnessed; the transition from polyphony to monody that gave musical expression to individualism; the melodramatic propensity of Italian culture reflected in its literary and theatrical arts; and the salons of Florentine aristocrats, scientists, and artists whose agenda included the challenge to rediscover how the ancient Greeks succeeded in heightening the rhetorical power of words by allying them with music. Katz discusses each of these factors in detail.
In her new introduction, Katz reconsiders her original work by discussing three topics. The first has to do with the perception that there has been a major change in the academic climate for this kind of analysis. The second relates to her concern with the eighteenth-century expansion of the Florentine comparison of the attributes of the arts, from which music emerges as the purest of all, for being freest of external reference. Third, she reconsiders her initial impression that opera was on the wane. The Powers of Music is an intriguing study that will be of interest to sociologists, cultural historians, and scholars of communication and popular culture.
In More Opera Scenes, the Wallaces have reviewed 100 additional operas and have chosen over 700 scenes. The popular "Table of Voice Categories" providing more than 300 combinations is also featured in this volume.
Drawing on a select, but highly representative, group of compositions from Tchaikovsky’s vast output, from his groundbreaking ballet Swan Lake to his great opera Eugene Onegin, Experiencing Tchaikovsky: A Listener’s Companion offers in-depth explorations without technical jargon. In addition to looking at his ballets and some of his operas, Schroeder probes the many other genres in which Tchaikovsky worked, from his chamber music pieces and symphonies to his other orchestral works and concertos. Throughout, Schroeder draws connections among the works, painting a fuller, more coherent picture of Tchaikovsky through his thematic interests, musical techniques, sonic signatures, and literary and cultural focuses. For context, Schroeder describes the works of personal significance for the composer through such contemporary literature as Tchaikovsky’s letters to Nadezhda von Meck, the wealthy patroness whom he never met.
Experiencing Tchaikovsky: A Listener’s Companion is for anyone who left a ballet performance whistling themes from Swan Lake or humming melodies from The Nutcracker. It is the ideal work for concertgoers, music students, opera buffs, ballet enthusiasts, and anyone who appreciates this musical master.
My Life with Wagner chronicles his ardent personal and professional engagement with the great composer, whose work has shaped his thinking and feeling from early childhood. Thielemann retraces his journey around the world with Wagner—from Berlin to Bayreuth via Venice, Hamburg, and Chicago—and combines his analysis with revealing insights drawn from his many years of experience as a Wagner conductor.
Thielemann discusses each of Wagner's operas in turn, and his appraisal is illuminated by a deep affinity for the music, an intimate knowledge of the scores, and the inside perspective of a world-class practitioner. And yet for all the adulation Wagner's art inspires, Thielemann does not shy away from unpalatable truths about the man himself, explaining why today Wagner is venerated and reviled in equal measure.My Life with Wagner is a richly rewarding read for admirers of a composer who continues to fascinate long after his death.
Smith begins by showing how gestures were encoded in the musical language that composers used in ballet and in opera. She moves on to a wide range of topics, including the relationship between the gestures of the singers and the movements of the dancers, and the distinction between dance that represents dancing (entertainment staged within the story of the opera) and dance that represents action. Smith maintains that ballet-pantomime and opera continued to rely on each other well into the nineteenth century, even as they thrived independently. The "divorce" between the two arts occurred little by little, and may be traced through unlikely sources: controversies in the press about the changing nature of ballet-pantomime music, shifting ideas about originality, complaints about the ridiculousness of pantomime, and a little-known rehearsal score for Giselle. ?
In Stand Up Straight and Sing!, Jessye Norman recalls in rich detail the strong women who were her role models, from her ancestors to family friends, relatives, and teachers. She hails the importance of her parents in her early learning and experiences in the arts. And she describes coming face-to-face with racism, not just as a child living in the segregated South but also as an adult out and about in the world.
She speaks of the many who have inspired her and taught her essential life lessons. A special interlude on her key relationship with the pioneering African American singer Marian Anderson reveals the lifelong support that this great predecessor provided through her example of dignity and grace at all times.
Singing, Acting, and Movement in Opera is designed for use in opera and musical theater workshops and by beginning professional singers. Drawing on years of research, teaching, and performing, Mark Ross Clark provides an overview of dramatic methodology for the singing actor, encouraging the student's active participation through practical exercises and application to well-known works. The Singer-getics method emphasizes integration of the various dimensions of opera performance, creating synergies among vocal performance, character development, facial expression, and movement on the stage. The book presents important information about stagecraft, characterization, posture, historical styles, performance anxiety, aria, and scene analysis. Excerpts from interviews with performers, directors, conductors, coaches, composers, and teachers offer insights and advice, allowing the reader to "meet the artists." An appendix by postural alignment specialist Emily Bogard describes techniques of relaxation and self-awareness for the performer. This lively book will appeal to students, teachers, professionals, and general readers alike.
* Per la gloria d'adorarvi
* Amarilli, mia bella
* Alma del core
* Comme raggio di sol
* Sebben, crudele
* Vittoria, mio core!
* Non posso disperar
* Danza, danza, fanciulla gentile
* Vergin, tutto amor
* Caro mio ben
* O del mio dolce ardor
* Che fiero costume
* Pur dicesti, o bocca bella
* Il mio bel foco
* Lasciatemi morire!
* Nel cor piu non mi sento
* Se tu m'ami, se sospiri
* Nina (attributed to Pergolesi)
* Gia il sole dal Gange
* Le Violette
* O cessate di piagarmi
* Se Florindo e fedele
* Pieta, Signore!
* Tu lo sai
The Opera Manual is the only single source for the answers to these and other important questions. It is the ultimate companion for opera lovers, professionals, scholars, and teachers, featuring comprehensive information about, and plot summaries for, more than 550 operas—including every opera that is likely to be performed today, from standard to rediscovered contemporary works.
The book is invaluable, especially for opera professionals, who will find everything they need for choosing and staging operas. But it is also a treasure for listeners. Similar reference books commonly skip over scenes and supporting characters in their plot summaries, lacking even the most basic facts about staging, orchestral, and vocal requirements. The Opera Manual, based on the actual scores of the works discussed, is the only exhaustive, up-to-date opera companion—a “recipe book” that will enable its readers to explore those operas they know and discover new ones to sample and enjoy.
Because opera was new in the seventeenth century, the composers (most notably Monteverdi and Cavalli), librettists, impresarios, singers, and designers were especially aware of dealing with aesthetic issues as they worked. Rosand examines critically for the first time the voluminous literary and musical documentation left by the Venetian makers of opera. She determines how these pioneers viewed their art and explains the mechanics of the proliferation of opera, within only four decades, to stages across Europe. Rosand isolates two features of particular importance to this proliferation: the emergence of conventions—musical, dramatic, practical—that facilitated replication; and the acute self-consciousness of the creators who, in their scores, librettos, letters, and other documents, have left us a running commentary on the origins of a genre.
Universally known and admired for his great oratorio Messiah, George Frideric Handel (1695–1759) ranks among the greatest composers of all time. Over a career of more than 50 years, most of it spent in England, the German-born master composed numerous other oratorios, operas, concertos, chamber music, orchestral suites, cantatas, and more. But until now, far less has been known about the man "possessed of a central calm" but whose "driving force was incalculable."
In this immensely thorough and readable biography — considered by many scholars the definitive work on Handel — renowned musicologist Paul Henry Lang penetrates the mystery of Handel's life to paint a vivid portrait of the great composer, while offering expert analysis of Handel's music — its sources, nature, forms, and influence.
Detailed, meticulously researched discussions cover Handel's birth and childhood in Halle; his early musical training and years at university; sojourns in Italy and meetings with Corelli, Scarlatti, and other major composers; Handel's adoption of England as his home; his business dealings in London; his somewhat puzzling relations with women; the onset of blindness in 1751 and the end of his artistic career; his death in 1759 and burial in Westminster Abbey; and many other aspects of his long and complex life.
In addition to the breadth of biographical material, Dr. Lang offers detailed discussions of Handel's music, of both its general characteristics and the specific features of such masterworks as the oratorios Messiah, Israel in Egypt, Solomon and Judas Maccabaeus; the operas Giulio Cesare and Rinaldo; the orchestral suites Royal Fireworks Music and Water Music;the pastoral Acis and Galatea; the odes Alexander's Feast and Ode for St. Cecilia's Day; and many other compositions. Perceptive, extremely thorough and obviously a labor of love, this masterly biography belongs in the library of every musician, music lover, and student of music and music history.
The History of Opera For Beginners is an ideal introduction for people who are convinced that opera is solely for those refined few who were born listening to arias. Written in short, humorous, and informative chapters, and laced with some of the opera world's juiciest anecdotes, this guide is sure to convert even the most ambivalent of music lovers.
The King and I is the story of the thirty-six-year-old business relationship between Luciano Pavarotti and his manager, Herbert Breslin, during which Breslin guided what he calls, justifiably, “the greatest career in classical music.” During that career, Breslin moved Pavarotti out of the opera house and onto the concert (and the world) stage and into the arms of a huge mass public. How he and Pavarotti changed the landscape of opera is one of the most significant and entertaining stories in the history of classical music, and Herbert Breslin relates the tale in a brash, candid, witty fashion that is often bitingly frank and profane. He also provides a portrait of his friend and client—“a beautiful, simple, lovely guy who turned into a very determined, aggressive, and somewhat unhappy superstar”—that is by turns affectionate and satirical and full of hilarious details and tales out of school, with Pavarotti emerging as something like the ultimate Italian male. The book is also enlivened by the voices of other players in the soap opera drama that was Pavarotti’s career, and they are no less uncensored than Herbert Breslin. The last word, in fact, comes from none other than Luciano Pavarotti himself!
The King and I is the ultimate backstage book about the greatest opera star of the past century—and it’s a delight to read as well.
In the first part, Czech music scholar Timothy Cheek offers a thorough review of Czech lyric diction and inflection, describes the characters and their vocal requirements, and supplies a synopsis of the plot, an elucidation of the layers of meaning in Kvapil’s libretto, a section on musical style and dance elements, and a fascinating explanation of why such a remarkable work took so long to be embraced by Western audiences. In the second half, Cheek gives word-for-word and idiomatic English translations of the Czech libretto, including stage directions, along with the International Phonetic Alphabet for pronunciation. Rounding out the book are illustrations from the Prague National Theatre, New York Metropolitan Opera, and elsewhere, as well as an appendix listing recordings and videos.
Rusalka: A Performance Guide with Translations and Pronunciation is written for singers, pianists, vocal coaches, conductors, stage directors, translators, and opera enthusiasts—anyone who wishes to perform the work, or who is simply moved and intrigued by this stunning opera.
In this his first book, Striny confronts and explains the universal problem in singing today. This problem is at the center of an important dilemma in the world of opera today-namely, where have all the great operatic voices gone? Striny dissects the problem and offers the solution, which is a return to singing in the "Head Voice," the only true operatic sound. For the past sixty years, the knowledge that there are thirty-two muscles, bones, ligaments, and sinewy masses of tissue located around the larynx led teachers and students to chase this anatomical knowledge in search of answers to vocal theories. However, they have not learned the basic fundamental truth-those who sing in the head voice are the only true operatic voices.
The late Birgit Nilsson, international opera legend and long-time friend, mentor, and teacher to Striny, shares her insights with Striny and the reader throughout the book. Head First is a must for teachers, students, professional singers, and opera lovers who will gain valuable insight into the "voice of opera."
Baroque opera experienced a revival in the late twentieth century. Its popularity, however, has given rise to a number of perplexing and exciting questions regarding literary sources, librettos, theater design, set design, stage movement, and costumes—even the editing of the operas.
In 1980, the Dallas Opera produced the American premier of Vivaldi's Orlando furioso, which met with much acclaim. Concurrently an international symposium on the subject of Baroque opera was held at Southern Methodist University. Authorities from around the world met to discuss the operatic works of Vivaldi, Handel, and other Baroque composers as well as the characteristics of the genre. Michael Collins and Elise Kirk, deputy chair and chair of the symposium, edited the papers to produce this groundbreaking study, which will be of great interest to music scholars and opera lovers throughout the world.
Contributors to Opera and Vivaldi include Shirley Wynne, John Walter Hill, Andrew Porter, Eleanor Selfridge-Field, Howard Mayer Brown, William Holmes, Ellen Rosand, and the editors.
This collection’s essays explore Puccini’s engagement with spoken theater and operetta, and with new technologies like photography and cinema. Other essays consider the philosophical problems raised by "realist" opera, discuss the composer’s place in a variety of cosmopolitan formations, and reevaluate Puccini’s orientalism and his complex interactions with the Italian fascist state. A rich array of primary source material, including previously unpublished letters and documents, provides vital information on Puccini’s interactions with singers, conductors, and stage directors, and on the early reception of the verismo movement. Excerpts from Fausto Torrefranca’s notorious Giacomo Puccini and International Opera, perhaps the most vicious diatribe ever directed against the composer, appear here in English for the first time.
The contributors are Micaela Baranello, Leon Botstein, Alessandra Campana, Delia Casadei, Ben Earle, Elaine Fitz Gibbon, Walter Frisch, Michele Girardi, Arthur Groos, Steven Huebner, Ellen Lockhart, Christopher Morris, Arman Schwartz, Emanuele Senici, and Alexandra Wilson.