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  1. 2.5 hrs • 12/9/2014 • Unabridged

    Of all the trademarks of Venice—and there are many, from the gilded Basilica of San Marco to the melancholy Bridge of Sighs—none is more ubiquitous than the gondola. The internationally acclaimed “American with the Venetian heart” Donna Leon tells its fascinating story. First used in medieval Venice as a deftly maneuverable getaway boat, the gondola evolved over the centuries into a floating pleasure palace, bedecked in silk, that facilitated the romantic escapades of the Venetian elite. Today the gondola wears black—a gleaming, elegant hue, and is manned by robust gondolieri in black and white striped shirts and straw hats. A tourist favorite, the gondola has never ceased to be a part of authentic Venice. Each boat’s 280 pieces are carefully fashioned in a maestro’s workshop—though Leon also recounts a tale of an American friend who attempted to make a gondola all on his own. The feat took five years and countless do-overs. But the gondola is a work of art well worth the labor. And once its arched prow pushes off from the dock, the single Venetian at its oar just might break out in a barcarole, a popular Italian boat song.

    Available Formats: Download


    2.5 hrs • 12/9/14 • Unabridged
  2. 1.2 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Unabridged

    The Magic Flute almost defines a masterpiece, because it can be enjoyed on every level. It is a superb fairy story, complete with dragons, demons, a handsome prince, and a lovely maiden seriously in need of rescue; it is a political satire, social commentary, and psychological drama; it is full of tunes from the playful to the heart-stopping, jolly songs, and deeply spiritual outpourings. It is, in short, “Mozart”—and there is no greater compliment than that. This audiobook presents wonderful insight into possibly the most remarkable work ever written for the stage. Beginning with an enticing overview of Mozart’s astonishing output, David Timson then takes the listener through The Magic Flute with infectious pleasure at every turn of genius. From the delightfully comic Papageno rudely trying to sing with his mouth full of padlock to The Queen of the Night’s Vengeance aria, we enjoy the full spectrum of dramatic situations.

    Available Formats: Download, Digital Rental

    The Magic Flute

    1.2 hrs • 8/21/14 • Unabridged
    Also: Digital Rental
  3. 1.1 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Unabridged

    The Flying Dutchman is the perfect opera with which to approach the operatic mountain that is Richard Wagner. It is short, has a great story—the legend of the Dutch captain doomed to sail forever unless redeemed through love—and the striking score has many pre-echoes of Wagner’s later great music dramas. Its arias, ensembles, big choruses, and the orchestral writing—from the gale that blows out of the overture to the final theme of “Redemption through Love”—will “blow you away.” These wonderful tunes are enriched by a lively explanation of their context. From the opera’s dramatic opening, which reflects Wagner’s own nautical experiences as he fled from creditors and the law, we see how it contains many of the hallmarks of his later, greater works. And we find out why The Flying Dutchman was such a blazing triumph for this most controversial and romantic of composers.

    Available Formats: Download, Digital Rental

    An Introduction to Wagner

    1.1 hrs • 8/21/14 • Unabridged
    Also: Digital Rental
  4. 18.2 hrs • 5/1/2004 • Unabridged

    Opera is the fastest growing of all the performing arts, attracting audiences of all ages who are enthralled by the gorgeous music, vivid drama, and magnificent productions. If you’ve decided that the time has finally come to learn about opera and discover it for yourself, this is the book for you. Opera 101 is recognized as the standard text in English for anyone who wants to become an opera lover. It is a clear, friendly, and truly complete handbook for learning how to listen to opera, whether on the radio, on recordings, or live at the opera house. Fred Plotkin, an internationally respected writer and teacher and former performance manager of the Metropolitan Opera, introduces listeners, whatever their level of musical knowledge, to all the riches of opera.

    Available Formats: Download, CD, MP3 CD, Digital Rental
    Opera 101 by Fred Plotkin

    Opera 101

    18.2 hrs • 5/1/04 • Unabridged
    Also: CD, MP3 CD, Digital Rental
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