Review: Gossett, Divas and Scholars

April 19, 2007

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Adding to the long list of positive reviews of Philip Gossett’s new book Divas and Scholars: Performing Italian Opera, in this month’s Literary Reviewcritic Patrick O’Connor rains his praise on Gossett’s extraordinary study of the Italian opera. O’Connor writes:

[Divas and Scholars is] a very personal and wide-ranging study of the great nineteenth-century Italian composers, and the problems and challenges facing those who decide to study their music beyond the available printed scores.… The depth and scope of Gossett’s book, on which he has been working for over twenty years, makes it one that will be of immense value to anyone approaching the subject of opera in the so-called age of bel-canto. Although the minute detail of some of the individual music examples he chooses may be beyond even the informed opera aficionado, he writes so clearly, and with such vigor, that the arguments about transpositions, cuts, translations and interpolations, take on something of the feel of detective work.

And indeed Gossett’s work is both extensive enough to enthrall aficionados of Italian opera and passionate enough to captivate newcomers seeking a reliable introduction to it—in all its incomparable grandeur and timeless allure.
Read an excerpt.

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