Opera’s First Master: The Musical Dramas of Claudio Monteverdi (AMADEUS)

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(Unlocking the Masters). Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) was the first great opera composer and is often hailed as the creator of modern music. His genius was often likened to that of Mozart, Wagner, and Verdi, but in many of the world's opera houses his operas often receive an almost chilly respect, far removed from the nearly universal love aroused by those later masters. This book, the first layperson's guide to Monteverdi, seeks to stimulate appreciation for his operas by examining them not as musicological relics but as the vital theatrical experiences they are. Ringer places Monteverdi's operatic works within the musical and theatrical framework of his era, offering a brief sketch of the composer's early years and detailing the complex forces that led to the emergence of opera in late sixteenth-century Florence. Opera's First Master enables opera lovers to see and hear Monteverdi's masterpieces anew, while opening new channels of inquiry into how Monteverdean opera "works" in the theater.

Product Details

  • Series: AMADEUS (Book 8)
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Amadeus Press; 1 edition (February 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574671103
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574671100
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

Customer Reviews

knowledgeable, encompassing introducton to this composer’s works

7 people found this helpful.
 on May 2, 2006
By Henry Berry
The author who is an Associate Professor of Theater at Marymount College supports his belief that “Claudio Moneteverdi (1567-1643) was the first great opera composer” by commentaries on his operas scene by scene. Ringer follows the narrative line (such as it is in opera) and profiles the characters while explaining the role and effects of the music and words on these. Introductory parts give a biography of Monteverdi focusing on his distinctive creative genius and viewing him in the context of the development of opera in Florence in late Renaissance Italy. The CD contains 13 selections from Monteverdi operas; which are annotated in back matter. Ringer’s accessible treatment of this outstanding and influential composer is an ideal introduction and companion to Monteverdi’s operas.

Covers his Life and his Three Great Works

5 people found this helpful.
 on April 24, 2006
By John Matlock
In part this book is a short biography of Monteverdi. And in part it discusses his place as the originator of opera as we know it today. But mostly it’s about the three surviving operas that he wrote: L’Orfeo (Orpheus, 1607), Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (The Return of Ulysses to his Homeland, 1640), and L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea, 1643). The stated purpose of the book is not to treat these works as merely a part of operatic history, but explaining the vital theatrical experiences that they are.

Opera’s First Master: Unlocking the Masters, No. 8

8 people found this helpful.
 on November 13, 2006
By Martin Hanson
This is a good book with engaging and thorough review of each of his operas. The reviews are so detailed that it would be outstanding study for any team planning to perform these operas. A moderate list of references is provided with references noted in the text. There is a good index. There is a recording with excerpts from recent performances. The thing I like best about this book is that all the CD, DVD and book references include very recently released works so this book is very up-to-date.

Verdi for everyone

4 people found this helpful.
 on March 17, 2006
By Arena Connery
I love this series (besides Verdi, it has Wagner, Mozart, Haydn, etc.) Being able to hear the music as you read about it makes a huge difference, and the text is written in an accessible way. It breaks the stereotype of Classical music being staid and boring.

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