Bizet’s Carmen Uncovered
By Richard Langham Smith
This book explores the reasons behind the French mania for Spain in the 19th century and demonstrates how the travels and writings of Prosper Mérimée, author of the novella Carmen, were incorporated into Bizet’s opera. The author considers how stereotypes of Andalusian-gypsy spectacle, banditry, and the fiestas of the bullfight — as well as Bizet’s ability to hybridize Spanish and French music — contributed to the opera’s eventual success.
Beyond the Aria: Artistic Self-Empowerment for the Classical Singer
By Neal Goren
Goren, the founder of Gotham Chamber Opera and Catapult Opera, provides singers with tools to make informed choices as they construct characters. Sample analyses of six standard arias and songs are provided as a guide. Also included are interviews with eight great singing actors, including Jonas Kaufmann, Christa Ludwig, and Audra McDonald, who share their methods of character development.
Music, Math, and Mind: The Physics and Neuroscience of Music
By David Sulzer
Columbia University Press
Written in a lively, approachable style, this book leads the lay reader through the mathematics, physics, and science that underlie music. The author, a neuroscientist and composer, explains how our perception of music encompasses the physics of sound, the biological functioning of the ear, and the physiology of emotion. Sulzer delves not only into human music-making, but also the sounds of songbirds, cetaceans, bats, and insects.