2009: 139. The American Opera Singer

“A recurrent lament in Beverly Sill’s 1987 autobiography, Beverly, is the deplorable second-class status American singers must always endure in their uphill struggle for recognition.”

The American Opera Singer, Peter G. Davis

      So, I actually started this book in December of 2009 (it’s the book I’m referring to here in paragraph 3).  I first picked it up as part of last year’s classical music book resolution, and when I didn’t manage to finish it in December, it fell to the bottom of my book pile.  Until this December, when once again I turned my attention to that pesky “read about music” resolution, and thought, well, why not?  

       This isn’t a criticism of the book, per se (I didn’t put it down because it was dull, but rather because it was heavy).  The book is just what it seems like, a history of American opera singers.  Chapter by chapter, it gives brief sketches of various American opera singers, and in doing so we learn about the history of American music, and a fair bit about opera.  I’m not going to lie - it’s a bit dry in places, and especially with modern singers the author presumes that you have a real familiarity with opera and opera singers.  Which is why I preferred the earlier parts - first, the stories were much crazier and more interesting (like the stories of singers traveling through the west on stagecoach, surviving the San Francisco earthquake of 1901, marrying a Portuguese prince), and the author decided that we weren’t as familiar with the story and explained more.  So it’s a little inside baseball and a bit of a slog at parts, but despite that, I definitely learned a ton and feel like I know more about opera than I did before I started, which is the point of my book resolution! 

Date/Place Completed:  December 2009; Flying back from Dallas

Categories: Non-Fiction; Book Resolutions

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017