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Abbate and Parker’s A History of Opera is the first full new history of opera in sixty years – now in paperback in an updated second edition ‘The best single volume ever written on the subject’ The Times Literary Supplement Why has opera transfixed and fascinated audiences for centuries? Carolyn Abbate and Roger Parker answer this question in their scrupulous and provocative retelling of the history of opera, examining its development, the means by which it communicates, and its societal role. In a new revision with an expanded examination of opera as an institution in the twenty-first century this book explores the tensions that have sustained opera over 400 years: between words and music, character and singer, inattention and absorption. Abbate and Parker argue that, though the genre’s most popular and enduring works were almost all written in a distant European past, opera continues to transform the viewer with its enduring power.