Opera Production II was first published in 1974. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
For the world of opera this is an indispensable basic reference work which provides essential information about more than 350 operas. Producers, singers, directors, students, orchestras, and audiences will find useful, concise information in this handbook, a sequel to the author's earlier book Opera Production I: A Handbook, which contains similar information about more than 500 other operas. While the first volume concentrates on more familiar operas, this book is devoted principally to lesser known works, both old and new, including many as yet unperformed contemporary operas.
The details given about each opera are those needed to assess the production requirements for a given work: the number and importance of settings; size of orchestra, chorus, and ballet; number of singers, their relative importance and individual requirements; vocal and acting demands of performers, including vocal ranges in most cases; plot synopsis; and brief historical material to anchor the reader in the necessary knowledge of the period and source of the libretto. The information is compressed into capsule form so that anyone using the book can tell at a glance the suitability of a work to the particular facilities, talents, or tastes of an opera company or its public.
In addition to the reference material, there is a chapter "Production Problems in Handel's Opera" by Randolph Mickelson, a helpful feature since nine of Handel's operas are included and they are apt to pose special production problems.