Calder Opera Guides

Showing 1–12 of 49 results

    Aida

    By Giuseppe Verdi

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    Aida is, for most of us, the quintessence of Ancient Egypt but it is certainly not just for archaeologists. Michael Rose points out that it is really about patriotism – an issue of burning importance to Verdi and his contemporaries. Music critic William Mann reflects that even a short look at the sc…

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    Tristan und Isolde

    By Richard Wagner

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    ‘A Landmark in Musical History’ is John Luke Rose’s title for the introduction to this extraordinary piece of theatre. It belongs to the German tradition of mystical writing, and a short note on the poem itself by Martin Swales and Timothy McFarland elucidates some of Wagner’s literary techniques. A…

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    Il barbiere di Siviglia/Moïse et Pharaon

    By Gioacchino Rossini

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    Rossini was one of the major innovators in the field of opera. Moïse et Pharaon is a score which he revised for Paris ten years after it had been composed for Naples; the result shows the evolution of his taste over a decade – from the neo-classical sublime to spectacular Romantic grand opera. Il ba…

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    Arabella

    By Richard Strauss

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    Written in 1927, Arabella is a portrait – partly romanticized, partly factual – of Habsburg Vienna in the 1860s. It is also a celebration of the profound importance of courage, and the ability to forgive in love. Our sympathies are not only drawn to Arabella, who waits for “the right man” to come, b…

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    Turandot

    By Giacomo Puccini

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    In 1864, Lewis Carroll sent ‘Alice’s Adventures Under Ground’, a handwritten and illustrated manuscript, as a gift to Alice Liddell, the daughter of his Oxford dean. This formed the basis for Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – introducing timeless characters such as Alice, the White Rabbit, the Queen…

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    Il Trovatore

    By Giuseppe Verdi

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    In this guide to Verdi’s popular opera, Marcello Conati of the Institute for Verdi Studies points out that, although audiences have always adored it, critics are only now coming to see that it represents a step forward, not back, from the revolutionary drama of Rigoletto, completed a year before. Pr…

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    Pélleas et Mélisande

    By Claude Debussy

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    In this Guide to Pelléas and Mélisande, Maeterlinck’s original play is reprinted in full, so that the opera lover can read the scenes that Debussy did not set to music. Hugh Macdonald’s much praised English translation is published here for the first time, with an essay uncovering the musical roots…

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    Boris Godunov

    By Modest Mussorgsky

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    This famous opera has had a chequered performance history, and Professor Laurel E. Fay points out that the interpretation of the opera depends on which edition is used. Robert Oldani introduces the “Boris problem”: Pushkin’s play was not an obvious choice for a young composer, since it had been bann…

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    Un ballo in maschera

    By Giuseppe Verdi

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    “See how the drama is turned into laughter,” comment the chorus, as they witness the destruction of a marriage and a friendship. Here Pierluigi Petrobelli shows how the irony woven into the tragedy results from the meeting of French and Italian traditions. Is this really a ridiculous libretto mangle…

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    Jenufa/Katya Kabanova

    By Leoš Janácek

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    This double volume contains two masterpieces of the Czech composer Leoš Janácek. Jenufa was the opera which finally brought him international recognition – and, with it, fame at home. Based on Ostrovsky’s The Storm, Katya Kabanova contains wonderful music inspired by the composer’s love for a much y…

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    Peter Grimes/Gloriana

    By Benjamin Britten

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    This is a double volume dedicated to two masterpieces by Benjamin Britten. While Peter Grimes established Britten as a composer of international standing, Gloriana, composed for the coronation of Elizabeth II, has never enjoyed a comparable fame. The variety of mood, characterization and pace, in ea…

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    Das Rhinegold/The Rhine Gold

    By Richard Wagner

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    Das Rheingold, the opening of Wagner’s four-part The Ring of the Nibelung, stands out as more genteel and picturesque than the others. But it immediately establishes the huge scale of the overall work, and the extraordinary musical language that will be displayed throughout. It is a miracle of music…

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