OPERA IN PARIS, 1800-1850


More than you want or need to know about a minor era in operatic history. Even the author admits that ``the first half of the 19th century was not the most remarkable period in the history of the Paris OpÇra.'' With this lukewarm endorsement, Barbier (History/Western Catholic Univ., France) embarks on a detailed description of operatic life in Paris during this period, focusing on the relationship between politics and music; the management of the various opera-theaters; opera audiences; the roles of the composer, librettist, and director; and the often vituperative attacks by critics on works that did not fit into the expected mold. Few notable operas originated in Paris at this time; most were imports, and many were bowdlerized by the theaters in an attempt to mold them into a more ``popular'' form. Native composers like Berlioz had difficulty having their more adventurous works staged, and when they were performed they were often roundly jeered. The author offers some lively anecdotes about the period's many colorful operatic stars, as well as the audience and composers, but these are few and far between and do not make up for the many passages in which Barbier bogs down in his enthusiasms. Originally published in French in 1987, the text often suffers from a clumsy translation—``Too much importance should not be ascribed to the staging of a production'' is typical of the often literal- minded rewording. The true opera fan may find a few illuminating moments here, but the casual reader would be better served by a general history that covers more bases. The paucity of illustrations makes this less than ideal for browsers, while the academic community will be put off by its thin scholarship. The fat lady won't stay around long to sing for this one.

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-931340-83-7

Page Count: 258

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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