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by Manuela Hoelterhoff

A wickedly funny look at opera today--the feuds and deals, maestros and managers, divine voices and outsized egos--and a portrait of the opera world's newest superstar at a formative point in her life and career.        In Cinderella & Company, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Manuela Hoelterhoff takes us on a two-year trip on the circuit with Cecilia Bartoli, the young mezzo-soprano who has captured an adoring public around the world.        Rossini's Cenerentola is Bartoli's signature role, and Cinderella & Company tells the fairy-tale story of her life, which started on a modest street in Rome where the Fiat was the coach of choice. The lucky break, the meteoric rise, the starlit nights and nail-chewing days are all part of a narrative that shows Bartoli rehearsing, playing, traveling, eating, and charming us with her vivacity and dazzling virtuosity.          Along the way, Hoelterhoff gives us an unusually vivid, behind-the-scenes look at the opera world. The first stop is Houston, where Bartoli brightens a droopy Cenerentola production; later scenes follow her to Disney World and to the Metropolitan Opera, where a fidgety cast awaits the flight-phobic mezzo's arrival for Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. Traveling to Santa Fe, Paris, Rome, Venice, and London, Hoelterhoff drops in on opening nights and boardroom meetings, talks to managers and agents, describes where the money comes from, and survives one of the longest galas in history.          Here too are tantalizing glimpses of divinities large and small: Kathleen Battle's famously chilly limousine ride; Plácido Domingo flying through three time zones to step into the boots of an ailing Otello; Luciano Pavarotti aiming for high C in his twilight years. And we meet the present players in Bartoli's world: Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu, a.k.a. the Love Couple; Jane Eaglen, the Wagnerian web potato monitoring her cyberspace fan mail; the appealing soprano Renée Fleming, finally on the brink of stardom.           At once informed and accessible, Cinderella & Company brings the world of grand opera into sharp focus--right up to the last glimpse of Cecilia Bartoli waving triumphantly from Cinderella's wedding cake.
Download Cinderella and Company: Backstage at the Opera with Cecilia Bartoli epub
ISBN: 0375707123
ISBN13: 978-0375707124
Category: Photography
Subcategory: Music
Author: Manuela Hoelterhoff
Language: English
Publisher: Vintage (October 5, 1999)
Pages: 304 pages
ePUB size: 1797 kb
FB2 size: 1138 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 945
Other Formats: lit mobi azw mbr

This is a delightfully acerbic and gossipy account of Cecilia Bartoli's introduction to the Metropolitan Opera Company. Hoelterhoff's wit and sharp observation of the movers and shakers in the world of opera is informative, amusing and well-written.
Hoelterhoff has written precisely the kind of book that will sell to opera aficionados of every calibre. The neophyte will find its back-stage atmosphere intoxicating; the seasoned opera queen will nod sagely (and with nostalgia) over the remembrances of things past.
Yes, there's a lot of gossip. It is NOT the back-biting, hair-pulling, cat fight fodder that made up, say, the Callas-Tebaldi fracas. Hoelterhoff's years as a journalist pay off here; she lets people speak for themselves.
Hoelterhoff's love of the subject is as obvious from the many ways in which music and opera show up in her life as it is in her writing. She covers well the patchwork state of the international opera roster (e.g., why are the two greatest tenors in the world closer to 60 than to 40?) and the ways in which current management, both of the singers and companies, make it virtually impossible to have a lifelong career of quality work as an opera singer. This theme is thoroughly interwoven with the gossip and hard information. It wasn't until the book was back on the table that I found myself disturbed by this extremely subtle worrying about the future of the art form.
This is not a book for the stupid. Buy it for the opera-lover in your life. S/He'll thank you!
This book amused me no end, and, as one who likes opera but knows little about the opera world, I found it quite informative. I wrote this in 1999, after reading the earlier reviews, but wanted to get my name on it, so it's on top even though it belongs chronologically near the bottom.

I decided to write this note after reading all the nasty reviews by the sourballs above. If you are a sourball, don't read this book. If you aren't, you'll find that the five-star reviews are correct.
This excellent book about the inside of the world of opera is amusing, well-written, to the point and short.

Initially, an impression comes to the reader. The book is a story of antedotes - the opera in the 1990s and in the past - but there is more.

A growing realization comes that the author has written the outline for a new opera libretto: Singers of all sexs, shapes and ages are themselves; most have great talent but do not want to sing. Every singer in a libretto based upon this book can sing a few bars from a famous aria and quit, as if to say, “see I know the whole thing.” In the songs of the opera singers sound out their excuses, reasons, or disgust why they will not perform. NOTE: Sets for the new opera cost zero because everything is backstage. It is all in this book including the ending where some singers mature and otherwise grow up, getting over their juvenile, wanton ways in order to return to the silly world of the opera stage. There’s a lot of money at stake.

Read this book to be entertained, or to write a libretto.
I thoroughly enjoyed this perspective of the opera world. I studied voice in the 1980s and became acquainted with singers from this period. Cecilia Bartoli was the latest star rising. However, the book doesn't focus simply on her. I did like Cecilia in that she was such a joyous singer to watch. Other singers are mentioned and what transpired in their careers in the 80s and early 90s.

The book also takes you to the management side of the business. I am not an opera expert by any means but I loved the chapter "The Long Goodbye" where the author relates her conversation with Herbert Breslin.

If it can keep the interest of a non opera aficionado, an opera lover might love or hate it; but, I think it would keep the reader interested.
This book belongs in the library of everyone with a passing interest in the world of opera, not so much for what it reveals about Ms. Bartoli (which is precious little except that she is perpetually in the midst of a family crisis), but because of Manuela Hoelterhoff's deliciously wicked, slightly skewed view of the art form that brings together the best, and worst, aspects of drama and music. Ms. Hoelterhoff's several years honing her word craft as opera reviewer for the Wall Street Journal were not wasted. She is masterful with a well-turned phrase, as shown in her description of a famous operatic manager, "a motor-mouthed, bullet-headed, forever-tan egomaniac who is adored and loathed in about equal proportions among those who've had the joy of doing business with him." And her knowledge of opera and singers is encyclopedic. Sometimes she is laugh-out-loud funny-her one run-on sentence synopsis of Bellini's La Straniera is a knee-slapper-other times, she elicits an internal smile, but always, she offers insightful commentary on the world of opera. (Her insider's view of Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu, for example, clarifies why they are the operatic couple everyone loves to hate.) Buy this book for your permanent library-and mark the passages that tickle your funny-bone so that you can find them quickly if you need to brighten your day. (If this book is had an index so that one can easily find his or her favorite parts, I would have given it five stars.)