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A Mad Love

Written by: Vivien Schweitzer
Narrated by: Lisa Flanagan
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Publisher's Summary

A lively introduction to opera, from the Renaissance to the 21st century

There are few art forms as visceral and emotional as opera - and few that are as daunting for newcomers. A Mad Love offers a spirited and indispensable tour of opera's eclectic past and present, beginning with Monteverdi's L'Orfeo in 1607, generally considered the first successful opera, through classics like Carmen and La Boheme, and spanning to Brokeback Mountain and The Death of Klinghoffer in recent years. Musician and critic Vivien Schweitzer acquaints listeners with the genre's most important composers and some of its most influential performers, recounts its long-standing debates, and explains its essential terminology. 

Today, opera is everywhere, from the historic houses of major opera companies to movie theaters and public parks to offbeat performance spaces and our earbuds. A Mad Love is an essential audiobook for anyone who wants to appreciate this living, evolving art form in all its richness.

©2018 Vivien Schweitzer (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Dynamic. Passionate. Searing. ALIVE! Vivien Schweitzer's A Mad Love: An Introduction to Opera captures everything I love about this often misunderstood art form. She connects the stories and musical treasures from across the centuries of opera to go straight to the heart of why opera is addictive and life-affirming. This is the perfect starting point if you're a beginner, and an ideal landing point if you need to be reminded of why you fell in love with opera in the first place!" (Joyce DiDonato)

"A wonderful and welcoming introduction to an art form that can seem elusive and forbidding. A Mad Love is engaging and entertaining for anyone from the opera newbie to the cognoscenti. I was drawn in by Schweitzer's intimate conversational style, and you will be as well." (Francesca Zambello, artistic and general director of the Glimmerglass Festival and artistic director of the Washington National Opera)

"Opera composers often spin out just a thought or two into expansive arias. Vivien Schweitzer does the opposite, deftly packing centuries of music and a profusion of astute observations into this lean delight of a book. If you think you might like opera, but have no idea where to start, the answer is: right here." (Justin Davidson, Pulitzer Prize-winning classical music critic for New York Magazine)

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  • Jane9462
  • 28-08-19

Great content, great narration, but...

I really enjoyed this audio book! The content is easy to digest but not overly simple, and Lisa Flanagan's narration is very engaging. I learned a lot! My one issues is that the audiobook medium could have been a great opportunity to incorporate clips of the works being discussed. Vivien Schweitzer created a public spotify playlist, but how wonderful would it have been to hear exactly what she's talking about in context with her writing? Audiobook production has a long way to go - this could have been very innovative.

6 people found this helpful