The Crafty Art of Opera: For those who make it, love it or hate it

The Crafty Art of Opera: For those who make it, love it or hate it

by Michael Hampe, Chris Walton


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Opera is nowadays performed worldwide. But as an art form it is little understood by performers and audiences alike. The Crafty Art of Opera wants to change that. Here, Michael Hampe brings glimpses of the director's work to a wider audience, uncovering the many techniques and rules that should inform an opera's staging: the need for singers to know their orchestra, the importance of space around singers, the gestures of languages, what we all can learn from Mozart, and the primacy of sense over effect, to name but a few. He shows how stories, through music, become tangible and real. Packed with many anecdotes from the author's luminous career, this book is dedicated to opera-lovers who want to understand 'how it is done'; to opera-makers who want to better understand their craft; and, last but not least, to those who loathe opera, in order to prove them wrong. Eminently readable, it brings both insight and wit from a life spent in opera as director and teacher. MICHAEL HAMPE is an internationally acclaimed opera stage director. The Crafty Art of Opera was published in German as Opernschule.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781783270972
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
Publication date: 08/18/2016
Pages: 197
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Note on the English edition viii

Acknowledgements viii


What is opera? 1

The heart 11

The seven 'W's 15

Sense and sensuality 21

Bodies in space 27

Movement 35

Le physique du role 47

Discomfort and inconvenience 51

Bank robbers 55

Pretend theatre 59

The 'trizophrenic' upbeat 65

The complete music-actor 69

Mozart 73

Recitative 85

Being comic 95

'Too many notes …' 99

Dramaturgy 107

Breaking the rules 121

The harmony of the spheres 129

In place of an epilogue: My teachers 135

Appendix 1 All the 'useful rules' in overview, for those who make opera 151

Appendix 2 A masterclass in opera, for those who love it or hate it 163

Index of names and works 183

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