First Nights at the Opera Thomas Forrest Kelly

Publication date:
01 May 2006
Yale University Press
464 pages: 254 x 178mm
88 b-w illus.
Sales territories:


A behind-the-scenes look at the premieres of five extraordinary operas

What was it like at the opening night of Mozart’s Don Giovanni or Wagner’s Das Rheingold? This glittering introduction to the world of opera takes us behind the scenes during premiere performances of five extraordinary operas.

"A rare and wonderful cultural history."—Philip Kennicott, Washington Post

“An absorbing tangle of minutiae about performing circumstances, personalities, conventions, expectations, critical responses, gossip. . . . This book is readable. Addictively.”—Michael White, Opera Now

“This thoroughly enjoyable and informative book will delight all opera lovers; highly recommended.”—Library Journal

Thomas Forrest Kelly is Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music at Harvard University.

'A book to keep going back to, it contains everything you ever wanted to know about the operas and much more besides. By the end, you appreciate just what everyone involved in putting on each opera had gone through. It's an addictive page-turner that will delight all opera-lovers.' - Richard Fawkes,