Daniel Snowman is a social and cultural historian. He was born in London, educated at Cambridge and Cornell, and at 24 was a Lecturer at the University of Sussex. For many years, he worked at the BBC where he was responsible for a wide variety of radio series on cultural and historical topics, and since 2004 has held a Senior Research Fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research (University of London). A long-time member of the London Philharmonic Choir, he has always had a strong and informed interest in music and musicians, his books on the Amadeus Quartet and Plácido Domingo combining close-up portraiture of the artists concerned with the broader brush of the social historian.
Recent books include a study of the cultural impact of the ‘Hitler Emigrés’ and a collection of critical essays on the life and work of today's leading historians. His most recent book is The Gilded Stage: A Social History of Opera. This has been published throughout the English-speaking world, is now available in Italian, Spanish and Chinese, and in due course will appear in a number of other languages.
Daniel Snowman is a frequent lecturer for a variety of academic groups, arts festivals, cultural organisations, luncheon clubs etc. Each year, he leads music tours to several of the world’s great cultural capitals.
In winter 2010/11, he presented a six-part series of public lectures at the Royal Academy of Music on the Social History of Opera. His Short History of Opera (and pages about voice types, libretti etc) was used on the official website of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and in spring 2011 he was commissioned by the ROH to undertake an academic assessment of their Archives and historical Collections.
What the critics say about The Gilded Stage
‘Surely the most comprehensive history of opera ever written... This wonderful book will become the standard history of opera’
Sir Charles Mackerras
‘Companionable, crisp, witty, its broad research lightly dispensed, The Gilded Stage embodies Daniel Snowman's challenge to meld social and artistic history’
Warren Keith Wright, OPERA
‘A box of delights for operamanes and the cloth-eared curious alike’
Patrick Gale The Independent
‘A mighty achievement, by far and away the best history of opera available’
Tim Blanning, Literary Review
‘Daniel Snowman's magnificently comprehensive, joyously readable The Gilded Stage: A Social History of Opera is by far the best, certainly the most enjoyable one-volume survey of the subject to have been published…’
Michael Quinn, The Stage
‘This compulsively readable book... Daniel Snowman's social history of opera swarms with intriguing insights.’
Neville Cohen, The West Australian
‘Snowman's ambitious and meticulously researched undertaking…’
Joanne Sydney Lesser, Opera News
‘This comprehensive, scholarly and witty book.’
Brian Maye, The Irish Times Weekend Review
‘This charmingly written and endlessly fascinating book... What a treasure this book is!’
American Record Guide
‘A tremendous achievement... A wonderful book for any music lover’
Roger Parker, Professor of Music, King's College, London
‘...witty, erudite, but effortlessly readable’
Aveek Sen, The Telegraph (Calcutta)
‘A treat to read’
‘...told with fantastic adecdotal brio’
The Daily Express
‘This glorious book’