I Remember Too Much: 89 Opera Stars Speak Candidly of Their Work, Their Lives, and Their Colleagues

Dennis McGovern, Author, Deborah Grace Winer, With William Morrow & Company $27.95 (415p) ISBN 978-0-688-08447-9
A unique opportunity goes awry in execution here. McGovern, archivist at Manhattan's Metropolitan Opera, and Winer, contributing editor to Opera News , had the enviable fortune to interview some 90 opera stars, yet in the resulting book we hear the likes of Birgit Nilsson, James Morris, Johanna Meier, Richard Cassillyok/g , Grace Bumbry, Paul Plishka et al. as atonal voices. Arranging chapters to simulate performance programs--of Otello , Der Ring Des Nibelungen , Aida and eight other operas--the authors intercut the singers' comments, on occasion quoting a paragraph, sometimes just a sentence, often making their observations seem like non sequiturs, random and rambling. The book also does disservice to the interviewees by quoting them at their most mundane: ``I don't know one of us who's perfect''; ``You really must take care for the high C.'' And one questions the authors' judgment in allotting 23 pages to a discussion of the Ring tetralogy but fuller space to certain single operas, for example, 38 pages to La Traviata . Photos not seen by PW . (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1990
Release date: 08/01/1990
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