1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maskerading as
Terry Pratchett's satirical eye doesn't spare anybody or anything, and in his nineteenth Discworld book "Maskerade," it's opera's turn to suffer. In his typically barbed prose, he gleefully spoofs the "Phantom of the Opera," lampoons opera in general, and takes the opportunity to take everyone's favorite witches out to Ankh-Morpork.
Magrat Garlick is newly...
Published on Aug. 3 2007 by E. A Solinas
3.0 out of 5 stars Mid-Level Pratchett
Mid-level Pratchett, not up there with INTERESTING TIMES or down there with ERIC. The somewhat claustrophobic action takes place entirely in the Ankh-Morpork Opera House, and Pratchett is mainly out to satirize opera, opera singers, and opera lovers, as well as all the variants of Gaston Leroux's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. The hard-to-take Granny Weatherwax dominates the...
Published on May 9 2001 by Rory Coker
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maskerading as,
Magrat Garlick is newly married and crowned. As a result, Granny Weatherwax is moody and bored, while Nanny pens an erotic cookbook -- and when it turns out that she's being cheated of royalties, Granny decides to go to Ankh-Morpork and confront her publisher. Meanwhile, the primary witch-maiden candidate, Agnes Nitt, has also gone to Ankh-Morpork to become an opera singer.
But the opera isn't all it's cracked up to be -- Agnes finds herself providing the voice for pretty, airheaded Christine, and the opera ghost is causing some major disasters. Granny and Nanny immerse themselves in the backstage -- and onstage -- drama of the opera, trying to figure out who the Phantom is... and why he's a friend one minute and a foe the next.
It's obvious that the opera holds no awe for Pratchett. Sure, the novel is a spoof of Gaston Leroux's novel, but Pratchett's real intention here is to constantly make fun of the opera, both as entertainment and art form. The entire climax of the book is devoted to making fun of opera's illogic, lack of acting, and such time-honored traditions as a dying person flawlessly singing for about fifteen minutes before expiring.
But it's not all opera spoofery. Despite some grisly deaths and the psycho Phantom (who sends notes filled with maniacal laughter), getting the witches out of Lancre gives the whole story a light, fun feel. It has some darker scenes, such as Granny playing cards with Death for a baby's life, but most of it is dedicated to the witches doing the sort of weird things they'd never do at home (impersonating duchesses, for one).
Pratchett sprinkles the storyline with hilarious dialogue, wacky situations (Nanny Ogg moonlights as the world's fattest ballerina), and some swashbuckling. And he includes a small message as well, about being the sort of person we actually want to be -- and how "masks" on the outside can change us.
Agnes Nitt has a lot of pagetime, but she seems rather fussy and pallid next to Granny and Nanny -- we get to see just how strong their friendship really is, despite their bickering. Granny shines especially, courtesy of a shopping spree, some coach rides and some dodgy darkish magic. And we have a wide array of timid janitors, annoying managers and airheaded sopranos to round out the cast.
"Maskerade" is a gleeful, glorious spoof of opera in general, and a fun outing for the Lancre witches. Definitely a solid entry for Pratchett.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Phantom of the Opera Meets Bewitched,
Certainly if you haven't read Pratchett before, this is not the book to start with, and if you are looking for hard-core fantasy, this is not for you either. Discworld is a reflection of our own world, a vehicle to parody our own foibles. It is not a place for heroic quests and sorcerely legerdemain (music lovers looking for such are recommended Greg Bear's "Songs of Earth and Power")--any tasks of daring-do are sure to go awry in as comical a fashion as possible. But for those in quest of a laugh, and without too refined a sense of humor, Discworld is a fine place to visit.
5.0 out of 5 stars A true masterpiece of laughter,
4.0 out of 5 stars A witty and hilarious addition to Discworld,
3.0 out of 5 stars Mid-Level Pratchett,
There are walkons from several Discworld regulars, such as Nobby and the Librarian, but by and large this really isn't a Discworld novel--- that is, it could take place anywhere. It is difficult to figure out how Pratchett wants the reader to take some of the humor, and some of the apparently serious moments. For example the villain has a long, operatic death scene in which he berates opera virulently, in a perfectly straight tone. Is he speaking for Pratchett? Apparently so, since the omniscient authorial remarks about opera are in pretty much the same style.
Anyway, Pratchett is clearly having some fun with opera and it is unfortunate that the reader is not likely to have quite the same level of fun, to say the least.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Music of the Night... on Discworld,
If you are a fan of Phantom of the Opera, this is your book. Pratchett celebrates and lampoons the world of theatre, all the while weaving a cunning mystery story liberally salted with humor and a ton of smiles...
A must have for any fan of the Wyrd Sisters.
3.0 out of 5 stars I want to actually give it 3 and a half, OK?,
5.0 out of 5 stars We Wear the Mask That Grins and Lies,
I think, though, that not only does it stand out among comedic fantasy books as all Discworld novels do, but it also stands out among Discworld novels! For all that I don't know opera or Phantom, the jokes I did understand had me rolling, and the idea of Nanny Ogg writing a cookbook is so priceless that it would have earned the book four stars all on its own. Toss in the translation of an opera verse and the little notes of maniacal laughter, and you've got enough funny stuff to leave a person gasping for breath between snickers.
However, it's a valid point to say that this is a story that's probably much funnier if you have some passing knowledge of opera and Phantom; I had the feeling that I was missing out on chunks of it, and really, the plot with Agnes wasn't very riveting. I thought the jokes I did understand more than made up for it, but that's a question of personal taste. This is still one of the Discworld novels that requires the most background knowledge to make most of its hits; it seems full of in jokes, and if you're bugged by that sort of thing, you might want to try a different slice of the Discworld pie instead.
5.0 out of 5 stars A tragi-comedy worthy of good libretto,
Magrat Garlick's married and out of the coven. This imbalance must be restored. Her potential replacement is a new Pratchett character, Agnes Nitt. Agnes, however, has a different career in mind. She wants to be a diva in the opera troupe in Ankh-Morpork. A lofty ambition, indeed. And a voice lofty enough to project throughout the hall - right up to the loft, in fact.
As always, the opera business is fraught with problems. Underpaid [and underfed] choir girls, prima donnas who consider their voice grander than its quality justifies, eccentric crew, and the ever present issue of money. Oh yes, and there's a ghost - with a reserved box seat.
If the Ankh-Morpork's opera team wasn't having enough to deal with, they are about to be confronted with the remnants of Lancre's witches' coven, Esme Weatherwax and Gytha Ogg. Nanny Ogg's become the Julia Childs of the Ramtops, but with variations on a particular theme. She's published a book about it, but Granny Weatherwax isn't convinced the payment justified. Esme Weatherwax as an author's agent is a formidable figure. As if this transformation wasn't enough, she also becomes a patron of opera.
Pratchett's gone slightly awry from his usual path with this book. He raises a host of pretty serious questions with the characters and the plot. It's still in the best of PTerry's style - his wit through the persona of Granny and Nanny Ogg has, if anything, improved. But there are some issues uncommon in Discworld books, and the reader is left more than just entertained. There's some post-laughter thinking required of the reader. Opera is, after all, serious business.
3.0 out of 5 stars The weakest Pratchett so far,
Pratchett certainly picked up again later and his most recent books are brilliant, but I found the series ebbed a bit here. If, like me, you're reading them all in order (I have, since "Colour of Magic" first came out), then stick with them. If not, make sure you have "Pyramids", "Small Gods", "Guards Guards", "Mort" or "Wyrd Sisters" around to read after this one.
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Maskerade by Terry Pratchett (Audio CD - Nov. 22 2005)
CDN$ 32.95 CDN$ 20.76