Upgrade to the Flash 9 viewer for enhanced content, including the ability to browse & search through your favorite titles.
Click here to learn more!
In America today, opera has never been more popular, and one reason for this is, no doubt, that American opera singers are fixtures on every leading opera stage throughout the world. In this lively and engrossing account, Peter G. Davis, music critic for New York magazine and a leading opera authority, tells the story of how these plucky, resilient and supremely talented American singers have transformed this venerable European-born art form and made it their own.
Starting with opera's arrival in America in the early nineteenth century, Davis shows how American singers grew in sophistication and stature along with the country. From the nineteenth-century pioneers who crashed the gates of Europe's elite opera circles, to the glamorous singers of the early twentieth century who were also Hollywood stars and publicity magnets, to the highly professional singers since World War II who not only have gained European acceptance but now dominate the industry, this lively and highly readable account chronicles the extraordinary lives and adventures of these larger-than-life personalities. Included are Maria Callas, Beverly Sills, Richard Tucker, Leontyne Price, Marilyn Horne, Lawrence Tibbett, and a galaxy of others whose stories are as dramatic and compelling as the roles they sang on stage.
Full of prima-donna antics, hilarious backstage anecdotes, and performance lore, The American Opera Singer will delight anyone who has felt the magic of opera, and will provide a new canon of American singing sure to provoke spirited debate among aficionados.
"What a pleasure to read The American Opera Singer, a rare study based not on breathless sycophancy but on organized concern. And what a good writer he is, Peter G. Davis, with his long experience as major critic and historian....The book is in a class by itself."—Ned Rorem, composer and author
"Peter G. Davis has long been regarded as one of America's most astute, most literate and most fearless music critics....In The American Opera Singer he reveals himself as a superb historian....Much has been written over the decades about individual American singers, but nothing to my knowledge can compare with the breadth of Davis's sweeping panorama."—Martin Bernheimer, Pulitzer Prize-winning former chief music critic for the Los Angeles Times
"Peter G. Davis has told the tale with a wry wit, an eye for the telling detail, a nose for the relevant fact, and an ear for the sound of a voice. For all who are interested in our cultural identity, this book will be indispensable for decades to come."—Conrad L. Osborne, music critic
"That Mr. Davis is a brilliantly informed, always scintillating and occasionally stroke-inducing critic makes The American Opera Singer essential for the opera lover. But I bet anyone who can read will find it impossible to put down."—Albert Innaurato, playwright and music writer