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Cambridge Studies in Opera : Saint-Saens and the Stage: Operas, Plays, Pageants, a Ballet and a Film - Hugh Macdonald

Cambridge Studies in Opera

Saint-Saens and the Stage: Operas, Plays, Pageants, a Ballet and a Film

Hardcover Published: 30th April 2019
ISBN: 9781108426381
Number Of Pages: 446

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The stage works of Saint-Saens range from grand open-air pageants to one-act comic operas, and include the first composed film score. Yet with the with the exception of Samson et Dalila, his twelve operas have lain in the shadows since the composer's death in 1921. Widely performed in his lifetime, they vanished from the repertory - never played, never recorded - until now. With four twenty-first-century revivals as a backdrop, this timely book is the first study of Saint-Saens's operas, demonstrating the presence of the same breadth and versatility as in his better known works. Hugh Macdonald's wide knowledge of French music in the nineteenth century gives a powerful understanding of the different conventions and expectations that governed French opera at the time. The interaction of Saint-Saens with his contemporaries is a colourful and important part of the story.

Industry Reviews

'While Saint-Saens as an opera composer is primarily remembered today for Samson et Dalila, his other works for the stage have been given short shrift by critics and performers. Macdonald decisively changes this historiographical trend. He makes a brilliant case not only for the cultural significance of the Saint-Saens operas, but also for their viability in modern revival. This is an accessible account, one deeply aware of context and sensitive to musical style. Macdonald not only gives attention to the genesis and performance history of the works, but in particular lavishes special attention on what makes them compelling to the listener. Saint-Saens was one of the great musical virtuosos of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European culture. This book is a virtuoso performance worthy of its subject.' Steven Huebner, James McGill Professor, McGill University, Montreal
'Macdonald has for many years eloquently introduced English-speaking readers to neglected gems of French music. Examining the composer's legacy of a dozen full-length operas, plus a few unfinished works and ballets, he persuasively counters the received opinion that Saint-Saens's operas 'contain much agreeable and skilfully-shaped music but are deficient in theatrical effect' ... The reader will soon realise that there is more - much more - to Saint-Saens than Samson et Delilah.' Richard Langham Smith, Royal College of Music, London
'While Saint-Saens as an opera composer is primarily remembered today for Samson et Dalila, his other works for the stage have been given short shrift by critics and performers. Macdonald decisively changes this historiographical trend. He makes a brilliant case not only for the cultural significance of the Saint-Saens operas, but also for their viability in modern revival. This is an accessible account, one deeply aware of context and sensitive to musical style. Macdonald not only gives attention to the genesis and performance history of the works, but in particular lavishes special attention on what makes them compelling to the listener. Saint-Saens was one of the great musical virtuosos of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European culture. This book is a virtuoso performance worthy of its subject.' Steven Huebner, James McGill Professor, McGill University, Montreal
'Macdonald has for many years eloquently introduced English-speaking readers to neglected gems of French music. Examining the composer's legacy of a dozen full-length operas, plus a few unfinished works and ballets, he persuasively counters the received opinion that Saint-Saens's operas `contain much agreeable and skilfully-shaped music but are deficient in theatrical effect' ... The reader will soon realise that there is more - much more - to Saint-Saens than Samson et Delilah.' Richard Langham Smith, Royal College of Music, London

ISBN: 9781108426381
ISBN-10: 1108426387
Series: Cambridge Studies in Opera
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 446
Published: 30th April 2019
Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIV PR
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.77 x 17.78  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 1.04

Earn 399 Qantas Points
on this Book