Opera Biography Series, biography, Leonard Warren


I tame 10 Mary Jane Phillips-Ma12' life of Leonard Warren not as a stranger, having read her monumental life of Verdi only a year ago. As Opera News said (February 2001), her Verdi is "an account of composer and milieu more thoroughly pondered, researched and understood [emphasis mine] than any other biography." In the course of some nine hundred pages, I got to know Verdi, first, through her remarkable ability to gather and document literally thousands of sources. Not only did she amass this widespread and inchoate material, but she wove it into a seamless narrative which veritably flew by. Though she does not intend to be a stylist in the mode of, say Lytton Strachey or Oscar Wilde, in Verdi she is a stylist in the sense of producing sentences, paragraphs, sections, and chapters through which the reader moves effortlessly.

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