Book: Opera in America

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Opera in America: A Cultural History

Author: John Dizikes
Publisher: Yale Univ Pr

America has had a love affair with opera in all its forms since it was first performed here in colonial times. This lively and handsomely illustrated book- the first comprehensive cultural and social history of musical theater in the United States-includes vignettes of productions, personalities, audiences, and theaters throughout the country from 1735 to the present day.


A dozen years in the making, Dizikes’ work, which won the 1993 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, is a milestone achievement. He begins his chronicle in the early 19th century, tracing the expansion of opera in the United States while exploring its influences at the hands of politics, war and immigration. The staging of “The Bohemian Girl” in 1844, writes Dizikes, marked the birth of modern opera in the U.S. He fills out his research with rich detail about the singers, conductors, composers, patrons and fans who collectively have shepherded opera into every corner of the country—from large urban centers to rural backwaters.

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