From Glyndebourne to the King’s Head, in the flesh and streamed online: opera is reaching a broader audience than ever before. With over 400 years of history, and a beguiling mix of musical motifs, costumes, storytelling and song, opera has fascinated and enthralled audiences for centuries. However it can also cast the impression of an intimidating high-art form, inaccessible to the uninitiated.
How to Enjoy Opera is an engaging, illuminating primer which will demystify the world of opera. John Snelson, who has worked at London’s world-famous Royal Opera House in Covent Garden for over 15 years, gives his expert insight into how to absorb an opera and understand its inner workings.
Aimed at newcomers to the art form as well as long-time fans, this book will help the reader to absorb and understand any opera: with examples drawn from more than 45 composers and just over 100 operas included. There are references to some of the most famous of all opera moments, sometimes from less familiar perspectives, but also to lesser-known works.
This book decodes many of the elements that opera composers and librettists put into their operas that give enjoyment to audiences, in the hope that readers can gain greater enjoyment from their future viewing and listening too.
John Snelson is Commissioning Editor at the Royal Opera House. He studied music at the universities of Nottingham, Redaing and Birmingham and has worked extensively in both music performance and publishing. He was a Senior Internal Editor for the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (second edition), to which he also contributed many articles.