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The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century Opera

This Companion celebrates the extraordinary riches of the twentieth-century operatic repertoire in a collection of specially commissioned essays written by a distinguished team of academics, critics and practitioners. Beginning with a discussion of the century's vital inheritance from late-romantic operatic traditions in Germany and Italy, the text embraces fresh investigations into various aspects of the genre in the modern age, with a comprehensive coverage of the work of individual composers from Debussy and Schoenberg to John Adams and Harrison Birtwistle. Traditional stylistic categorizations (including symbolism, expressionism, neo-classicism and minimalism) are reassessed from new critical perspectives, and the distinctive operatic traditions of Continental and Eastern Europe, Russia and the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and United States are subjected to fresh scrutiny. The volume includes essays devoted to avant-garde music theatre, operettas and musicals, filmed opera, and ends with a discussion of the position of the genre in today's cultural marketplace.
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Table of Contents

A chronology of twentieth-century opera Nigel Simeone; Part I. Legacies: 1. Opera in transition Arnold Whittall; 2. Wagner and beyond John Deathridge; 3. Puccini and the Italian tradition Virgilio Bernardoni; Part II. Trends: 4. Words and actions Caroline Harvey; 5. Symbolist opera: trials, triumphs, tributaries Philip Weller; 6. Expression and construction: the stage works of Schoenberg and Berg Alan Street; 7. Neo-classical opera Christopher Walton; Part III. Topographies: 8. France and the Mediterranean Nigel Simeone; 9. Austria and Germany, 1918--1960 Guido Heldt; 10. Eastern Europe Rachel Beckles Willson; 11. Russian opera: between modernism and romanticism Marina Frolova-Walker; 12. American opera: innovation and tradition Elise K. Kirk; 13. Opera in England: taking the plunge Christopher Mark; Part IV. Directions: 14. Music theatre since the 1960s Robert Adlington; 15. Minimalist opera Arved Ashby; 16. Opera and film Mervyn Cooke; 17. Popular musical theatre (and film) Stephen Banfield; 18. Opera in the marketplace Nicholas Payne; 19. Technology and interpretation: aspects of 'modernism' Tom Sutcliffe.

About the Author

Mervyn Cooke is Professor of Music at the University of Nottingham. His books include studies of Britten's Billy Budd and War Requiem (Cambridge University Press), Britten and the Far East, Jazz, and The Chronicle of Jazz; he has also edited The Cambridge Companion to Benjamin Britten and (with David Horn) The Cambridge Companion to Jazz. He is currently writing a history of film music for Cambridge University Press, and is a co-editor of the ongoing and critically acclaimed edition of Britten's correspondence published by Faber. He is also active as a pianist and composer, his compositions having been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Radio France, and performed at London's South Bank and St John's Smith Square.


'... gives readers a wealth of insight into the thriving world of opera in the last century.' Contemporary Review

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