Trade Ed. The Teaching Company 2004
CS ISBN 1565852141 $99.95 Sixteen cassettes
CD ISBN 156585375X $129.95 Thirty-two CDs
The title of this massive lecture suggests that some expert will come to the mike to order us to like this and dislike that. Be that as it may, what we have here is an engrossing and thorough analytic history of opera from its fifteenth-century beginnings to the mid-1920s. Even those lukewarm or indifferent to the genre may find themselves feeding the CDs into the player. Kudos to musicologist and composer Robert Greenberg. He speaks with authority, humor, clarity, and enthusiasm, illustrating his points with liberal helpings of excerpts from excellent recorded performances. (Unfortunately, the snippets are corrupted--though not destroyed--by mediocre sound quality.) While not dogmatically instructing on how to listen, he points out features well worth listening for. Will Greenberg entice you into sitting through the entire Ring Cycle? Probably not. But he will excite you about it, and about Gluck, Mozart, Rossini, Bizet, et al., plus introduce you to more obscure works of considerable charm and power. Y.R. (c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine [Published: AUG/ SEP 04]
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