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  • About This Issue
  • Joe K. Law (bio)

Seeing the "Special Issue" designation on the cover, longtime readers of The Opera Quarterly will know that each year one issue of the journal is designated a commemorative issue, often focused on a single figure, usually a composer. That pattern was established in the first year of OQ's existence, when volume 1, number 3 (autumn 1983) was devoted to Richard Wagner, the centennial of whose death was observed that year. With some variations, that tradition has continued though successive editorships and press affiliations, most recently in our celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Hector Berlioz in volume 20, number 3 (summer 2003). The present commemorative is intended as a departure of sorts. Rather than a single issue devoted to a single figure, it is the beginning of a two-part look at significant singers of the twentieth century.

Sadly, this issue and the next are commemorative in another sense. They are the last planned and overseen by E. Thomas Glasow (1947-2004), who became editor of The Opera Quarterly in fall 1997. When his cancer was diagnosed, Tom chose to continue working on The Opera Quarterly as long as possible. His concentration on taking care of business, together with his refusal to complain, meant that most who dealt with him did not realize the seriousness of his condition; in many cases, they remained completely unaware of its existence. Such was his dedication that he edited the manuscripts for this issue from a hospital bed. But despite his determination to continue working, he was able to take the present issue through only the early stages of completion. Tom passed away on 15 June 2004. While loss is felt deeply by all who knew him, those who had the opportunity to work with him as an editor are unanimous in praising not only his skill and dedication but also his ability to nurture "his" authors and help guide them to reach their full potential as writers. A more substantial tribute to Tom, by editor emeritus Bruce Burroughs, will open the fall issue.

The original plan for this two-part commemorative was to divide its contents at mid century, devoting the summer issue to singers whose careers began [End Page 351] before 1950 and concluding in the fall with those active principally in the second half of the century. Tom's illness inevitably slowed progress on the project, and to prevent further delay, several features promised for this issue will be postponed until fall. Thus Nicholas E. Limansky's "Luisa Tetrazzini: Coloratura Secrets" and Robert Baxter's "Reverenza! Fedora Barbieri 1920-2003" will appear in the company of articles dealing with later singers. Likewise, the amusing and sometimes moving anecdotes collected from contributing editors and reviewers will comprise a single fall offering.

While anticipating those upcoming features, readers will find a good deal to occupy them in the present issue. Even today, the name of Enrico Caruso remains synonymous with opera. As Andrew Farkas notes in this issue, it is no exaggeration to say that "by his singing, personality, and records [Caruso] changed the world of opera." The first four articles constitute a mini-symposium on the great tenor. In "Researching Caruso" Farkas demonstrates the continuing fascination this singer holds, further evidence of which can be found in two featured reviews that frame Farkas's survey of Caruso scholarship. In the first William Ashbrook examines a four-CD "biography in sound" designed to introduce the great tenor to new audiences; in the second, James A. Drake welcomes John R. Bolig's Caruso discography. Farkas returns to close this section by providing a previously missing chapter from the Caruso saga, the story of the final years of Park Benjamin, the singer's combative father-in-law.

Elsewhere, Vicki Kondelik directs our attention to a lesser-known singer, Meta Seinemeyer. She focuses specifically on her United States debut with the Wagnerian Opera Festival, an enterprise carried out under the auspices of the Berlin-Charlottenburg Opera, and the significance of that company (its members also included Friedrich Schorr and Alexander Kipnis) in reintroducing the music of Richard Wagner following World War I. And in "From Another...


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pp. 351-353
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