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Article Published: 19 Jan 2022


Feasting and Fasting in Opera: From Renaissance Banquets to the Callas Diet
By Pierpaolo Polzonetti
University of Chicago Press

The connection between some of life’s greatest hedonistic pleasures is explored in this entertaining tome from the co-editor of the Cambridge Companion to Eighteenth-Century Opera. Polzonetti examines the long historical connection of opera-going and food, including the early practice of eating and drinking inside opera houses. He also looks at the role food plays in character and story development.

Ten Masterpieces of Music
By Harvey Sachs
W. W. Norton & Company

What makes a piece of music remain popular for centuries while others fall out of favor? Sachs explores that question by probing 10 scores from major composers such as Mozart, Schubert, Verdi, and Prokofiev, and providing a road map for engaging with them at a historical and compositional level. Part music appreciation and part exploration of history and culture, the book appeals to novice and experienced listeners alike.

Understanding the Women of Mozart’s Operas
By Kristi Brown-Montesano
University of California Press

For generations, Mozart’s men have mattered most to critics and directors. Brown-Montesano now aims to give Mozart’s women their due. The book offers a detailed exploration of the female roles in Mozart’s four most frequently performed operas. She then invites readers to reevaluate common assumptions about these individuals and proposes fresh interpretations of their lives and motivations.


This article was published in the Winter 2022 issue of Opera America Magazine.