cover image Vienna Opera

Vienna Opera

Rizzoli, Seebohm. Rizzoli International Publications, $65 (275pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-0811-3

In this lavish tribute, six Viennese describe their opera house in terms that seem nearly as concerned with public relations as with music drama. Seebohm, who describes herself as a ""former musicologist,'' tells the story of opera in Vienna before 1869, and Egon Seefehlner, the most recent of its former directors, summarizes the regimes of his 20 predecessors (including Mahler, Weingartner, Bohm and Karajan). Other specialists discuss the architecture and construction of the building, set designs and costumes, the opera's ballet company and the history of its orchestra. Giving body to the book is the collection of more than 300 illustrations (80 in color), which doubtless will provide more pleasure to opera buffs than the undistinguished text. (August 21)