In Vivien Schweitzer’s “delicious history, ‘Mad Love: An Introduction to Opera,’ she regales us with all you need to know about ‘musical tragedy,’ which is what opera was called before the word was coined,” writes Edward Sorel in Wednesday’s (11/28) New York Times. “Schweitzer points out that in the 18th century Mozart gave the boring nice-guy roles to the tenor and the macho arias to the baritone, but in the next century Rossini, Donizetti and others always gave the dashing romantic lead to the tenor and the role of villain to the baritone…. Opera audiences also changed…. ‘Mad Scenes and Exit Arias: The Death of the New York City Opera and the Future of Opera in America,’ by Heidi Waleson, is an intricate whodunit that seeks to find out who murdered the New York City Opera. The company was born in the middle of World War II [and] charged low prices….  It went bankrupt in 2013. In her closing eulogy … Waleson salutes those who are ‘tweaking the 400-year-old art form…. It will be up to them to capture the imagination of the next generation of opera lovers with the artistic verve and adventurous spirit that exemplified the old City Opera at its finest.’ ”

Posted November 30, 2018