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Opera Nights and Nightmares

Robert Anderson

ISBN: 978-83-7099-202-6


Number of pages: xi+432
Chapters: 81
© 2015 Robert Anderson
Reviewer: Gerald Fenech
Review of Opera Nights and Nightmares published on 11 October 2015

List of Illustrations

Thomas Arne
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ján Levoslav Bella
Vincenzo Bellini
Alban Berg
Hector Berlioz
Georges Bizet
Alexander Borodin
Rutland Boughton
Benjamin Britten
Geoffrey Bush
Francesco Cavalli
Antonio Cesti
Francesco Cilea
Claude Debussy
Frederick Delius
Gaetano Donizetti
Edward Elgar
Gabriel Fauré
John Gay
George Gershwin
Umberto Giordano
Philip Glass
Mikhail Glinka
Christoph Willibald Gluck
Charles Gounod
Carl Heinrich Graun
George Frideric Handel
Franz Joseph Haydn
Gustav Holst
Leoš Janáček
Ruud Langgard
Ruggiero Leoncavallo
Pietro Mascagni
Jules Massenet
Simon Mayr
Saverio Mercadante
Claudio Monteverdi
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Modeste Musorgsky
Carl Otto Nicolai
Jacques Offenbach
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Hans Erich Pfitzner
Francis Poulenc
Sergei Prokofiev
Giacomo Puccini
Henry Purcell
Jean Philippe Rameau
Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Gioacchino Rossini
Oliver Rudland
Alessandro Scarlatti
Franz Schubert
Dmitri Shostakovich
Bedrich Smetana
Ethel Smyth
Gasparo Spontini
Richard Strauss
Igor Stravinsky
Arthur Sullivan
Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky
Ambroise Thomas
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Giuseppe Verdi
Leonardo Vinci
Richard Wagner
William Walton
Carl Maria von Weber
Scott Wheeler
Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari
Bernd Alois Zimmermann

Chronology of Operas
Chronology of Reviews
Index of Singers
Index of Orchestras
Index of Conductors
Index of Stage Personnel
General Index

Robert Anderson studied Classics and Egyptology at Cambridge, England. During his time there the library of the music department was next door to that of Egyptology. This involved much lingering in the former and slow progress towards the latter. Eventually the music librarian, who was a good friend of the founder and editor of Record News, claimed that this visitor from other disciplines knew more about Bach than anyone else he had come across in Cambridge, where he had also started conducting. The result was a suggestion that he might like to review for the magazine, and possibly become its assistant editor. The offer proved timely, as Coptic research had just reached a natural conclusion, with translation into English of the life and writings of the Egyptian monk St Shenoute, a project since published.

Opera did not feature much in those early days of reviewing, but concerts and innumerable recordings did. There was also much chamber music as both pianist and cellist. Among the players was a German refugee violinist, who spoke glowingly of the music department at Gordonstoun School, where he happened to teach. By a series of strange coincidences, while on holiday in the Shetland Islands, Dr Anderson was asked by the headmaster of Gordonstoun if he too would be willing to join the Gordonstoun staff for a brief period. Again a new and unexpected experience beckoned. Classics was initially combined with music until he was appointed Director of Music, and resurrected the local Moray Choral Union.

Six years later he was back in London via Menotti's festival at Spoleto. Chamber music reached new heights because of friendship with the cellist Jacqueline du Pré, and conducting led gradually towards the Albert Hall in company with his choral society and major London orchestras. Opera reviews gathered pace, as did concentrated work on the Elgar Complete Edition. When approaching what seemed a reasonable age to give up conducting, his continued interest in Egyptology, Classics and Music has led to a lengthening series of books, of which this is the tenth.



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