Pietro Mascagni and His Operas Hardcover – May 16 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
The first serious English-language biography of the influential Italian opera composer (1863-1945), Pietro Mascagni and His Operas traces the career of this flamboyant figure of fascist-era Italian culture. Author Alan Mallach, a pianist, composer and independent scholar, makes a case for the maestro's lesser-known operas, such as L'Amico Fritz, Guglielmo Ratcliff, Iris, Parisina and Il Piccolo Marat. He also documents Mascagni's talent for alienating everyone in his life, from his long-time mistress to Il Duce himself. The book includes a useful discography skewed toward recent recordings of Mascagni's works. While the book might be a little too insider for readers new to opera, enthusiasts will surely take notice.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Opera scholar Mallach fills a gap in the musical literature with this welcome discourse on Italian composer Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945), now chiefly remembered for his 1890 opera Cavalleria Rusticana. Drawing on the composer's correspondence as well as family reminiscences, contemporary reviews, European archives, and secondary sources, the author creates a vivid portrait of a creative artist. Within a chronological framework, he explores Mascagni's experiences as a student at the Milan conservatory and teacher at the Liceo Rossini in Pesaro, work as a traveling conductor, tours of the United States and Argentina, political affiliations ranging from Bolshevik to Fascist, struggles with bipolar disorder, and relationship with Anna Lolli under the gaze of his long-suffering wife, Lina. Mallach addresses each opera, providing historical context, synopses, character descriptions, and musical analysis accessible to the lay reader. The useful appendixes include a list of first performances and a selective discography. The only drawbacks are some inconsistencies and a tendency toward overstatement. Recommended where interest warrants and as a complement to Mascagni, an autobiography ably translated and edited by the late Metropolitan Opera chorus master David Stivender. Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Mascagni's later operas are flawed works - poor libretti, lack of hit tunes - but they are not insignificant works. Mallach traces the life of Mascagni and provides details on all his musical works. Aside from composition Mascagni was also a conductor, music school director, and doting father. Mallach paints a picture of a man who saw himself as the defender of Italian opera.
This is an excellent book for those who are interested in the man who wrote "Cavalleria Rusticana" but also provides interesting details on the Italian opera scene in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
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