Title and Author(s): Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera by Fred Plotkin Release Date: Nov 09, 2004 Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc. ISBN: 9781455100132 Duration: 18 hours, 15 minutes Source: Harris County Public Library’s Digital Media Collection | Overdrive
Reasons for Reading: Originally, I learned of Fred Plotkin’s Opera 101… when I read Ann Patchett’s notes about Bel Canto. I enjoyed some live opera performances in college and thought this book might elucidate what compels people to subscribe to opera. This happened many years ago and something distracted me. Fast forward to 2013, I rediscovered this book among the many choices for eAudio nonfiction. I thought, “Wow, I can listen to a book about opera!” Thus, I checked it out and downloaded it to my Nook.
Summary: Opera 101… is an exhaustive look into a centuries-old art form. Author Fred Plotkin shares with the reader the history of opera, its many people (composers, performers, conductors, audience, etc), etiquette, and much more. After covering these aspects, Plotkin selects certain operas to describe in much more detail: Rigoletto, Tosca, Lucia di Lammermoor, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Don Giovanni, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Eugene Onegin, Don Carlo, Tannhäuser, Die Walküre, and Elektra.
One Thing I Learned from reading Fred Plotkin’s Opera 101…: In irs early days, the second biggest center for Italian opera was Naples.
What I Liked: The title of this book is most apt. It’s really a course in opera appreciation. I liked how Plotkin described the ins and outs of attending an opera. He explained why the doors close during the acts and what to wear. Also, Plotkin explained what your pre-opera meal size should be. When I finished this book, I felt I knew something about opera.
What I Disliked: I wished the reader could’ve heard the pieces Plotkin talked about in the eAudio. Also, it’s difficult to read libretto while driving.
Three Out of Five Pearls
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