Conducting Opera discusses operas in the standard repertory from the
perspective of a conductor with a lifetime of experience performing
them. It focuses on Joseph Rescigno’s approach to preparing and
performing these masterworks in order to realize what opera can uniquely
achieve: a fusion of music and drama resulting in a whole that is
greater than the sum of its parts.
Opening with a chapter discussing his performance philosophy, Rescigno
then covers Mozart’s most-performed operas, standards of the bel canto
school including Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, five of Verdi’s
works including La traviata, a selection of Wagner’s compositions
followed by French Romantic operas such as Bizet’s Carmen, Puccini’s
major works, and finally four operas by Richard Strauss. A useful
appendix contains a convenient guide to the scores available online.
Conducting Opera includes practical advice about propelling a story
forward and bringing out the drama that the music is meant to supply, as
well as how to support singers in their most difficult moments. Rescigno
identifies particularly problematic passages and supplies suggestions
about how to navigate them. In addition, he provides advice on staying
true to the several styles under discussion.
“This is the book I always wanted to write but Maestro Rescigno beat me
to it.” —Arthur Fagen, Music Director, Atlanta Opera; Professor of
Orchestral Conducting, Jacobs School of Music, Indiana