Why are they singing and why should I listen? With opera this is the perennial question. Why tell a dramatic story not in speech but in song? For many, traditional opera can often seem a strange activity and is loved and hated today with the same fervour that it was when it conquered England in the 18th century. Yet, whether at the World Cup or on reality television, it has found its way into every generation and class. Marks analyses why we seem to turn to opera time and again.
Opera is all about intense emotion, magical music and overwhelming theatrical spectacle. The Knowledge: Opera is an exciting new guide, in which the many myths that surround opera are exploded, while its transformation from inaccessible high art to affordable, dramatically realistic and easy-to-encounter drama is revealed. The powerful principal players in the opera world - the maestros, superstar divas and directors - are examined in fascinating detail, and questions are asked of opera's future in a world where such extravagant entertainment can seem at odds with the rest of today's popular culture. Whether you are completely new to the genre or a regular opera-goer wanting to learn more, Opera makes for essential reading.