A Mad Love: An Introduction to Opera — by Vivien Schweitzer

$19.50 USD

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"Vivien Schweitzer is also under opera's spell, and in her delicious history, A Mad Love: An Introduction to Opera, she regales us with all you need to know..."

― New York Times

"A Mad Love provides such a breezy yet thorough introduction to opera that die-hard fans may want to read it first before gifting it to nieces or nephews. An experienced critic, Schweitzer has a knack for concision, and she covers plenty of ground here, hitting major points about repertoire while tucking in musical terminology, historical developments, cultural movements, and the social aspects of operagoing."

― Opera News

From the Renaissance to the twenty-first century, there are few art forms as visceral and emotional as opera — and few that are as daunting for newcomers.

A Mad Love, An Introduction to Opera offers a spirited and indispensable tour of opera’s eclectic past and present, beginning with Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo in 1607, generally considered the first successful opera, through classics like Carmen and La Boheme, and spanning to Brokeback Mountain and The Death of Klinghoffer in recent years.

Musician and critic Vivien Schweitzer acquaints readers with the genre’s most important composers and some of its most influential performers, recounts its long-standing debates, and explains its essential terminology.

Today, opera is everywhere, from the historic houses of major opera companies to movie theaters and public parks to offbeat performance spaces and our earbuds. A Mad Love, An Introduction to Opera is an essential book for anyone who wants to appreciate this living, evolving art form in all its richness.


  • Condition: New
  • Format: Hardback
  • Published: 1st Edition, September 18, 2018
  • Publisher: Basic Books 
  • ISBN-10: 046509693X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465096930
  • Pages: 288
  • Dimensions: 5.88 (W) x 1 (D) x 8.63 inches (H)
  • Rating: ★★★★1/2  


    Vivien Schweitzer is a writer and pianist based in New York. She worked for ten years as a classical music and opera critic for the New York Times. She has also written for the BBC, the Moscow Times, and The Economist