The Prima Donna and Opera, 1815–1930 (Cambridge Studies in Opera)

The Prima Donna and Opera, 1815–1930 (Cambridge Studies in Opera)

  • £42.99
  • Save £50

Susan Rutherford
Cambridge University Press
Edition: Illustrated, 8/10/2006
EAN 9780521851671, ISBN10: 052185167X

Hardcover, 394 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.5 cm
Language: English
Originally published in English

This book is concerned not so much with the 'prima donna' as with prime donne: a group of working artists (sometimes famous but more often relatively unknown and now long forgotten) and the circumstances of their professional lives. It attempts to locate these singers within a broader history, including not only the specificities of operatic stage practice but the life beyond the opera house - the social, cultural and political framing that shaped individual experience, artistic endeavour and audience reception. Rutherford addresses questions such as the multiple discourses on the image of the singer and their impact on the changing profile of the professional artist from figlia dell'arte at the beginning of the era to middle-class woman at the end; the aspect of the 'stage mother' and patronage; issues of vocal training and tuition; professional life in the operatic market-place; and performance (both vocal and dramatic) conventions and practices.

1. Sirens and songbirds
2. Superdivas and superwomen
3. Tutors and tuition
4. The supporting cast
5. Professional life
6. The vocal and theatrical landscape
7. The singing actress

Review of the hardback: 'This is a comprehensive and articulate study, intelligently constructed and stylishly written. It's also a valuable corrective to those endlessly gushing descriptions of bouquets, champagne and jewels, many of them the work of the prima donnas themselves. BBC Music Magazine