The Times Opera Notes is witty and opinionated, to be enjoyed by both opera buffs and those who simply need to bluff themselves through a 'cultured' night out. The Times Opera Notes has full coverage of major works by, among more than thirty others, Verdi, Wagner, Mozart, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, Handel and Strauss. Each opera has a description of the plot , principal characters and premiere details, along with a recommended recording. Light relief within each entry is provided under the headings Not Many People Know That (Did you know that Puccini was arrested as a spy by the British authorities in Malta?) and Crush Bar Gambit (The Pearl Fishers as 'an elaborate pathico-troilist fantasy, with an eternal triangle at its centre which is distinctly scalene' anyone?), plus a smattering of topical cartoons. Packed with essential information, The Times Opera Notes is undoubtedly an entertaining introduction to this most misunderstood of art forms.
By Robert Thicknesse