Academic journal article Journal of Singing

The Memoirs of an Opera Bug

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

The Memoirs of an Opera Bug

Article excerpt

Beaumont Glass, The Memoirs of an Opera Bug. Geneseo, NY: Leyerle Publications, 2006. Paper, 221 pp., $20.00. ISBN 1-878617-69-9

www.leyerlepublications.com

Voice teachers and coaches are familiar with the lieder translations and phonetic transcriptions of Beaumont Glass. These have been published in seven volumes, encompassing the complete songs of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Wolf, and Richard Strauss, as well as a compilation of the most frequently sung repertoire of these composers. (All are published by Leyerele Publications, and all have been reviewed in JOS). His latest book, The Memoirs of an Opera Bug, is of a different ilk. The cover, sporting a caricature of a bug with a human face applauding a singer in Wagnerian garb, serves notice that the book is a personal, and personable, account of the author's lifelong love affair with opera.

In true operatic fashion, Glass offers an overture to whet the audience's interest with some random vignettes of his experiences as stage director, coach, and accompanist. The bulk of the book is comprised of a chronological outline of his affiliation with opera. Glass's operatic experiences began at the age of nine when he saw a marionette production of Faust. He saw his first opera, a production of Rigoletto at the Metropolitan Opera, a year later. Glass reminisces about performances that he saw at the Met, and-after he enlisted in the Navy-throughout Europe. After leaving active duty, he moved to San Francisco, where he was the accompanist for Lotte Lehmann's master classes at the Music Academy of the West. The experience inspired him to write a biography of the soprano (Lotte Lehmann: A Life in Opera & Song. Santa Barbara: Capra Press, 1988). Glass also served as studio accompanist for Maggie Teyte, and recital accompanist for Grace Bumbry, Martina Arroyo, and Simon Estes. He spent nineteen years with the Zurich Opera and eighteen years as the Director of Opera at the University of Iowa, with credits as stage director, coach, and accompanist with other companies. …

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