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The New Book of Opera Anecdotes (Paperback)
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Building on the long-established success of Ethan Mordden's Opera Anecdotes, The New Book Of Opera Anecdotes continues where the original left off, bringing into view the new corps of major singers that arose after the first book's publication in 1985 -- artists such as Renee Fleming, Roberto Alagna, Deborah Voigt, Jonas Kaufmann, Kathleen Battle, and Jane Eaglen (who tested her family with Turandot's three riddles and got a very original answer). There are also fresh adventures with opera's fabled great -- Rossini, Wagner, Toscanini (whose temper tantrums are always good for a story), Franco Corelli, Luciano Pavarotti, Leontyne Price (who, when the Met's Rudolf Bing offered her the voice-killing role of Abigaille in Verdi's Nabucco, said, "Man, are you crazy?"). Almost all the stories in The New Book Of Opera Anecdotes are completely new, whether from the present or the past, taking in many historical developments, from the rise of the conductor to the appearance of the gymmed-up "bari-hunk" who refuses to play any role in which he can't appear shirtless. While most of Mordden's anecdotes are humorous, some are emotionally touching, such as one recounting a Met production of Mozart's The Marriage Of Figaro in which Renee Fleming sang alongside her own six-year-old daughter. Other tales are suspenseful, as when Tito Gobbi shows off his ability to make anyone turn around simply by staring at his or her back. He tries it on Nazi monster Joseph Goebbels, who does turn around, and then starts to move toward Gobbi, seething with rage, step by step... Mordden recounts these stories in his own unique voice, amplifying events for reading pleasure and adding in background material so the opera newcomer can play on the same field as the aficionado. Witty, dramatoic, and at times a little shocking, The New Book Of Opera Anecdotes will be a welcome addition to any opera fan's library.
About the Author
Ethan Mordden is a recognized expert on American musical theatre and the author of On Streisand, When Broadway Went to Hollywood, Anything Goes: A History of American Musical Theatre, Make Believe: The Broadway Musical in the 1920s, Beautiful Mornin: The Broadway Musical in the 1940s, Coming Up Roses: The Broadway Musical in the 1950s, and On Sondheim: An Opinionated Guide, all published by Oxford University Press. His writing has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. His numerous books include friendly introductions to opera and film, as well as five collections of short stories chronicling gay life in New York City. He lives in Manhattan.