Daniel Snowman: writer, lecturer, broadcaster

The Gilded Stage: what the critics say

‘Surely the most comprehensive history of opera ever written. Everything is explored from Monteverdi’s Renaissance Mantuan Court Opera up to the present day… [with everything in between] discussed in huge and fascinating detail… It seems to me that this wonderful book will become the standard history of opera, written as it is in such an attractive style, covering literally every aspect of operatic history’
Sir Charles Mackerras

‘Consistently entertaining and stimulating… Drawing on a knowledge of musical history distinguished by both depth and breadth, Snowman manages to keep four kind of analysis going in a mutually supportive way: political, social, cultural and financial… He writes with real insight and understanding… This book is a mighty achievement, by far and away the best history of opera available’
Tim Blanning, Literary Review

‘Companionable, crisp, witty, its broad research lightly dispensed, The Gilded Stage embodies Daniel Snowman's challenge to meld social and artistic history...  The longue durée chronicled here leaves one marvelling at how opera repeatedly attains a certain perfection then deconstructs, to regenerate itself afresh’
Warren Keith Wright, OPERA 

‘A tremendous achievement. With its eye for detail, always enlivening prose and great good sense, The Gilded Stage covers the entire history of opera, giving as never before a balanced but comprehensive view of the way the genre has adapted to different times and places. A wonderful book for any music lover’
Roger Parker, Thurston Dart Professor of Music, King's College, London

‘Here is a marvellous book... (It) manages to throw light on every part of its vast canvas... (Snowman) is fortunate in having found a publisher who is prepared to be lavish with illustrations but essentially his book's success is due to his own full mind and the sharpness of his selectivity. He also writes naturally, with a lively turn of phrase and a blessed freedom from pretentiousness... (T)he book is an ideal present for birthday or un-birthday, Christmas or without seasonal excuse, for friend, family or (after all why not?) oneself’
John Steane, Gramophone

‘There have studies aplenty of the composers and singers but the historian Daniel Snowman takes a holistic approach… Snowman is especially astute in mapping the piecemeal process by which opera came to be taken so very seriously… Cumulatively, this is a social history of Western man's repeated (usually failed) attempts to make money out opera-lovers' extravagant tastes… a box of delights for operamanes and the cloth-eared curious alike
Patrick Gale The Independent

‘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

‘Snowman's ambitious and meticulously researched undertaking…’
Joanne Sydney Lesser, Opera News

‘The Gilded Stage is not just good opera history, or good social history, but very solid historical writing... Snowman is excellent on opera's historical spread... The Gilded Stage guarantees years of valuable reference and a racingly good read. The perfect Christmas gift for an opera-lover’
Brian Morton, Sunday Herald (Glasgow)

‘Snowman has a forthright style that makes this book a treat to read; he's never short of a vivid image or a telling detail’
The Scotsman

‘Snowman's Gilded Stage is a witty, erudite, but effortlessly readable, single-volume history of opera. It helps us sketch back in...precisely those human and historical actualities which the dimming lights and (the) music manage to drown out... Snowman excels in evoking the changing nature and behaviour of audiences, patrons and performers’
Aveek Sen, The Telegraph (Calcutta)

‘This compulsively readable book... Daniel Snowman's social history of opera swarms with intriguing insights.’
Neville Cohen, The West Australian

‘The opera world is history's first example of globalisation... How this came about is told with fantastic adecdotal brio by Daniel Snowman’
Duncan Fallowell, The Daily Express

‘This glorious book tells the entire story of opera, from medieval Italy to the present day. It's scholarly but wonderfully readable, setting operas firmly in the context of their times’
Iain Finlayson and Kate Saunders, Saga Magazine

‘Daniel Snowman canters con brio through 500 years of opera from its 17th-century roots in Italy to today's global business.’
Christopher Cook, BBC Music Magazine

The Gilded Stage: A Social History of Opera makes an easy, enjoyable read...  Snowman rightly emphasises how many things have to coalesce and to go according to plan for great opera, and great operatic performance, to come into being’
Michael Tanner (BBC History Magazine)

‘Daniel Snowman’s hugely informative, and equally enjoyable, social history of opera’
The Jewish Chronicle

‘Snowman offers a grand-circle view of opera’s social function down the centuries.  He traces its popular and aristocratic origins in post-renaissance Italy, its spread to the courts and salons of northern Europe, its role as a socially exclusive entertainment in democratic New York and its global reach in the 21st century’
Financial Times (Books of the Year)

‘Thought-provoking...   Snowman argues his points with a sound knowledge of the subject’
The Sunday Times

‘A fascinating and atmospheric portrayal of opera, from its origins in candle-lit theatres in 17th-century Italy through its gradual global spread’
Irish Times (Books of the Year)

‘Snowman’s book recounts the rise of prima donnas and star tenors with gusto, and will open the eyes and ears of even the most operaphobic reader’

‘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

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