Most people coming to opera for the first time feel a calling of some sought- having been taken to an opera by chance or catching a snippet as part of a movie soundtrack etc. This really isn't the book to inspire a lasting passion for the art. The content dwells on particulars which aren't that interesting (eg. how you applaud/ express disapproval at an opera) and suggests kinds of attendance and audience behaviour (all better learnt by going or watching a video of a live performance). Sections looking at the great opera are basic, not revelationary and well, the actual reading/performance of this book makes the content even less engaging. Not particularly inspiring! Money better spent on a good opera recording or a cheap back row ticket would be much more enjoyable. After all opera isn't that scarry.
This is a book for people who like to dwell in language. It is descriptive and the choice of language and phrasing matches perfectly the period of the setting: the early 1800s. It reflects, too, the types and class of people who it describes. The story is compelling, gently unfolding, drawing the listener into the world, both through the description of events, and the weaving in of magical "theoretical" texts which anchor the story into its bigger mythology of lost English magical traditions.
This is a long audio book and not suited to people who want to be swept along by a fast-paced narrative. If you are the kind of person who claimed that Tolkien's Lord of The Rings was too long or tedious, then you should avoid this book. For those who like deeply formed characters and a narrative that builds momentum steadily then this is a wonderful choice (& extremely well performed in this audio version).
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