[UCP Books]: From the Score to the Stage: An Illustrated History of Continental Opera Production and Staging

“I took deep enjoyment and enrichment from Evan Baker’s rigorous and intensive history of opera production. This important view of what we do every day in the serious work of our companies is often lost in a haze of trifle about diva fits, egos, and other dull social clichés about the arts. I admire how aligned this book is with what is lasting and true about these great works we are so privileged to perform: their lasting ability to be interpreted, reinterpreted, and loved.” 
Patrick Summers, Artistic Director, Houston Grand Opera
“There can be few people in the world capable of writing a book such as the present one, which deals with the staging of opera from its beginnings until the present day. For the history of directing, stagecraft, and lighting in particular, Baker is superb. He understands the profound changes that have accompanied operatic spectacles in modern times as nonmusical influences have been increasingly felt, and treats them sympathetically, although not unreservedly so. For anyone wishing to learn more about how operas function onstage, there is no better place to start than with Evan Baker’s book.”
Philip Gossett, author of Divas and Scholars

An Illustrated History of Continental Opera Production and Staging
Evan Baker


Publication date: 15 November 2013 $65.00 • £45.50
International publication date: 25 November 2013 ISBN: 978-0-226-03508-6 (Cloth)

Seated in the audience of an opera house, we don’t think of the stagehands, the scenic artists, the electricians, the stage manager—all the people necessary for bringing to life the production we are about to see. But without scenery, costumes, and stage action, an opera would be little more than a concert. The first comprehensive history of the behind-the-scenes world of opera production and staging, From the Score to the Stage follows the evolution of visual style and set design in continental Europe from its birth in the seventeenth century up to today.
In clear, witty prose, Evan Baker covers all the major players and pieces involved in getting an opera onto the stage, from the stage director who creates the artistic concept for the production to the blocking of singers and placement of scenery. He delves into the absorbing and often neglected history of stage directing, theater architecture and technology, and scenic and lighting design, nimbly linking these technical aspects of opera to actual performances and the social context in which they appeared. Out of these details arise illuminating discussions of individual productions that cast new light on the operas of Wagner, Verdi, and others. Packed with nearly two hundred color illustrations, From the Score to the Stage is a revealing, always entertaining look at what happens before the curtain goes up on opening night at the opera house.
Evan Baker is an independent scholar based in Los Angeles. He has worked as both a dramaturge and a stage director and lectures frequently to opera audiences.

For additional information, please contact Laura Avey at (773)702-0376 or lavey@press.uchicago.edu.


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