Daniel Snowman: writer, lecturer, broadcaster

Books by Daniel Snowman

Giuseppe Verdi

(The History Press [Pocket Giants series], 2014).

The Gilded Stage: A Social History of Opera

(Atlantic Books, 2009; paperback edition, 2010; Italian edition (Il Palco d'oro) Elliot Edizioni, 2010; Chinese edition: Shanghai People's Publishing House, 2012; Spanish edition (La Ópera: Una historia social) Siruela, 2012)

The Gilded Stage is the first book to see the entire history of opera from the perspective of the 'demand' rather than the 'supply', the consumption rather than the production. Daniel Snowman explores the world of opera houses and impresarios, monarchs and money makers, artists and audiences. On this operatic Grand Tour, he leads us through Renaissance Florence and Mantua to the Paris of Louis XIV, Handel’s London and the Vienna of the Emperor Joseph II and Mozart.

By the nineteenth century, opera was no longer a European monopoly and we follow Mozart’s librettist and Rossini’s first Count Almaviva to New York and beyond. We catch glimpses of performances alongside the bravado and bawdiness of the American and Australian frontiers where Gold Rush millionaires flaunted their flamboyant claims to high culture. Towards the end of the century a WASP patron of New York’s Metropolitan Opera could watch a French work sung by a Czech, Polish and Italian cast led by a German conductor. Twenty years later, Caruso sang Puccini in Havana and Toscanini performed Wagner in Buenos Aires.

Even Caruso and Toscanini could scarcely have imagined the global reach of opera in our own times. More opera is performed, financed, seen, heard, filmed and broadcast than ever before, and the world’s leading performers are worshipped and paid almost like pop stars. Yet the art form is widely derided as ‘elitist’, and parts of the classical recording business appear close to bankruptcy. But the world of opera has always had to face crisis and uncertainty. And, as Daniel Snowman shows in The Gilded Stage, the resulting struggles - social, political and economic - have often proved every bit as dramatic as those portrayed onstage.

The Gilded Stage in now available in the USA (Overlook Press), and in Italian (Il Palco d'Oro, published by edizioni Elliot). Further foreign-language editions will be published later in 2011.

Click here for critics' quotes on The Gilded Stage...

Historians

(Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)[show/hide details]

History in all its forms is more popular nowadays than ever. History programmes on television can attract audiences in the millions, as do top heritage sites, while growing numbers of people pursue family and local history and join historical re-enactment societies.  A bestselling history book can nowadays outsell a popular novel, something almost unimaginable fifty years ago.

Who are the men and women who have helped make the past of such absorbing interest to the present, and how have they done so?  In this stimulating collection of essays about the life and work of some of our leading historians, Daniel Snowman provides a vivid snapshot of history and historians in our new century. Included in Historians are: Jeremy Black, John Brewer, Asa Briggs, Peter Burke, David Cannadine, Linda Colley, Norman Davies, Natalie Zemon Davis, Christopher Dyer, Richard J. Evans, Niall Ferguson, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Orlando Figes, Eric Foner, Antonia Fraser, Eric Hobsbawm, Geoffrey Hosking, Lisa Jardine, John Keegan, Ian Kershaw, John Morrill, Laurence Rees, Lyndal Roper, Simon Schama, Peter Stansky, David Starkey and Theodore Zeldin.

The Hitler Emigrés: The Cultural Impact on Britain of Refugees from Nazism

(Chatto & Windus, 2002; Pimlico paperback, 2003.)[show/hide details]

'Wonderful, inspiring... Daniel Snowman tells the story with sober respect and restraint...he has told the extraordinarily moving story very well.'
Philip Hensher, Spectator

The Hitler Emigrés is the story of those Central Europeans, many of them Jewish, who escaped the shadow of Nazism, found refuge in Britain and made a lasting mark on the nation's intellectual and cultural life. The book features colourful portraits of some of Britain's most celebrated artists, architects, musicians, choreographers, film makers, historians, philosophers, scientists, writers, broadcasters and publishers - all skilfully woven into the wider context of British cultural history from the 1930s to the present.

Emigrés helped create the Glyndebourne and Edinburgh Festivals, the magazine Picture Post, films like The Red Shoes, the Royal Festival Hall and the cartoon character 'Supermac'. The founders of the publishing companies Phaidon and Thames & Hudson were émigrés, as were Ernst Gombrich (author of The Story of Art), Nikolaus Pevsner (who documented 'The Buildings of England') and such key intellectual figures as the philosopher Karl Popper, the biochemist Max Perutz and the historians Eric Hobsbawm and Geoffrey Elton. Daniel Snowman considers the irony that many refugees (including three quarters of the future Amadeus Quartet) were interned by the British authorities as 'enemy aliens' - and some of them deported to Canada and Australia. And he writes of the mordant humour of George Mikes, 'Vicky' and Hoffnung, the entrepreneurial skills of Claus Moser and George Weidenfeld - and the sheer magnetism of such personalities as Arthur Koestler and the musician and broadcaster Hans Keller.

Hitler émigrés became natural bridge-builders who helped enrich their new homeland with fresh insights from continental Europe. A number moved on to North America and elsewhere. Thus, Hitler, far from eliminating the cosmopolitan culture he so abhorred, helped spread it throughout the world.

'Imaginative, well-written...crammed with fascinating gobbets of information'
Tablet

'An opportune study of an important subject.'
Piers Brendon, Sunday Telegraph

'Intelligent, informative and highly readable'
Matthew Reisz, Daily Telegraph

For full bibliography click here