This reviewer suspects that most Meyerbeer ‘opera buffs’, will be familiar with a basic outline of his life and the dating of the openings of his main grand operas. The author goes further and embraces much of Meyerbeer’s less well known music. But there is so much more in this very fine biography, whose scholarship is immediately apparent from Letellier’s consideration of his sources. This is a Critical Life, which has to take account of the music for which he dedicated his life, but also the man.
Robert Letellier’s productivity and his wonderful understanding of music, history, religion and context of time and place with regards to composition is brilliantly brought to the fore in this beautifully produced book, which offers such a wealth of easily digestible information.
The Orient in Music – Music of the Orient now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of The Orient in Music – Music of the Orient, edited by Małgorzata Grajter.
“OM”, a fundamental meditation sound present in the cultures of Buddhism, is a syllable full of philosophical and transcendental meanings. The category of the Orient, as contrasted, antithetical and complementary to the Occident (West) and its culture, appears to be one of the most interesting and long-lasting issues discussed in the humanities. European fascination with Oriental cultures has found multifaceted manifestations in science, art, fashion and beliefs. Continue reading
Richard Genée’s The Royal Middy (Der Seekadett) now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of Richard Genée’s The Royal Middy (Der Seekadett), edited by Dario Salvi.
In 1876, Richard Genée, the busiest and arguably best Viennese operetta librettist collaborated, this time as a composer, with Camillo Walzel on a new masterpiece; Der Seekadett. The final result was one of the best Viennese operettas of all time. The work was performed across the world for 80 years, before the advent of films and lighter musical theatre made it, and many other works belonging to the same tradition, obsolete. Continue reading
The fame of ‘Die Fledermaus’ is universal. With ‘Orpheus in the Underworld’, ‘The Merry Widow’, and ‘Countess Maritza’, it defines the nature and progress of the operetta genre, representing as it does, the essence of the Golden Age of Viennese Operetta. The melodies of Strauss are famous, but endemic to the success of this work are the brilliant theatrical situations and the skillfully crafted text. These were pre-eminently the work of Richard Genée.
New operas are hard to come by these days—at least that is what I have always been told. Finding an opera house or an opera company willing to take a chance in producing a new title or reviving an old work is said to be almost impossible. Everywhere you go the operas belonging to the standard canon are performed. You could travel the world for a year and see a different production of one of these standard operas every day. But how many operettas could you find and where? Continue reading
Franz von Suppé after Johann Strauss II, the most famous exponent of the Golden Age of Operetta in Vienna, is remembered today principally for his famous evergreen overtures, full of melody and orchestral panache, esp. Poet and Peasant, Light Cavalry, Pique Dame and Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna. His actual operettas have survived only in two famous instances: Die schöne Galathea and Boccaccio. Yet it was he who, following on the example of Jacques Offenbach, created the Viennese operetta with his early work Das Pentionat.