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Opera and its Symbols: The Unity of Words, Music and Staging

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Robert Donington, the noted musicologist, performer, and writer, is famous for his influential and provocative book Wagner’s “Ring” and Its Symbols, and for his indispensable reference work The Interpretation of Early Music. In this book he discusses the workings of symbolism in opera and the importance of staging opera in keeping with the composer’s intentions. Only in th Robert Donington, the noted musicologist, performer, and writer, is famous for his influential and provocative book Wagner’s “Ring” and Its Symbols, and for his indispensable reference work The Interpretation of Early Music. In this book he discusses the workings of symbolism in opera and the importance of staging opera in keeping with the composer’s intentions. Only in this way, says Donington, can we be faithful to the conscious or unconscious symbolism invested in the work by the composer and librettist.   Starting form Carlyle's premise that "it is through symbols that man, consciously or  unconsciously, lives, works and has his being," Donington interprets scenes and characters from operas by Monteverdi, Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Bizet, Puccini, Debussy, Strauss, Stravinsky, Berg, Britten, Tippett, and other composers. Time and again Donington sheds new light on operatic situations that are problematic or have become over-familiar. His lively and wide-ranging work reveals a deep knowledge and love of opera, combined with a rare insight into hidden meanings to be found in music, words, and action.


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Robert Donington, the noted musicologist, performer, and writer, is famous for his influential and provocative book Wagner’s “Ring” and Its Symbols, and for his indispensable reference work The Interpretation of Early Music. In this book he discusses the workings of symbolism in opera and the importance of staging opera in keeping with the composer’s intentions. Only in th Robert Donington, the noted musicologist, performer, and writer, is famous for his influential and provocative book Wagner’s “Ring” and Its Symbols, and for his indispensable reference work The Interpretation of Early Music. In this book he discusses the workings of symbolism in opera and the importance of staging opera in keeping with the composer’s intentions. Only in this way, says Donington, can we be faithful to the conscious or unconscious symbolism invested in the work by the composer and librettist.   Starting form Carlyle's premise that "it is through symbols that man, consciously or  unconsciously, lives, works and has his being," Donington interprets scenes and characters from operas by Monteverdi, Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Bizet, Puccini, Debussy, Strauss, Stravinsky, Berg, Britten, Tippett, and other composers. Time and again Donington sheds new light on operatic situations that are problematic or have become over-familiar. His lively and wide-ranging work reveals a deep knowledge and love of opera, combined with a rare insight into hidden meanings to be found in music, words, and action.

36 review for Opera and its Symbols: The Unity of Words, Music and Staging

  1. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    An old man tells of the enduring power of archetypes and symbols, then proceeds to bitch that most opera productions today intentionally obscure those enduring symbols. Contradictory argument, not a great read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    paulina

  3. 4 out of 5

    Duygu Kucuk

  4. 4 out of 5

    E.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Watkins

  6. 5 out of 5

    Douglas

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bobby

  8. 5 out of 5

    Istvan Albert

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dudu Fudgel

  10. 4 out of 5

    A.T. Beaune

  11. 4 out of 5

    Pat

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elliott M. Burke

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dariane

  14. 4 out of 5

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  15. 4 out of 5

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  16. 4 out of 5

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  17. 5 out of 5

    Carol

  18. 4 out of 5

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  19. 5 out of 5

    Jim Grant

  20. 5 out of 5

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  21. 5 out of 5

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  22. 5 out of 5

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  23. 4 out of 5

    James

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shermaine

  25. 4 out of 5

    K.N.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kresley

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ronald Cline

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paris Papoulidis

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dominika Doniga

  31. 4 out of 5

    BookDB

  32. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  33. 5 out of 5

    Arnulfo Velasco

  34. 4 out of 5

    LaikaUnderwater

  35. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  36. 4 out of 5

    Carlos Cesarman

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