Covent Garden, the Untold Story : Dispatches from the English Culture Wars, 1945-2000

Covent Garden, the Untold Story : Dispatches from the English Culture Wars, 1945-2000

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  • 製本 Hardcover:ハードカバー版/ページ数 580 p.
  • 言語 ENG,ENG
  • 商品コード 9781555534882
  • DDC分類 782.1094213209045

Full Description

From 1732 until World War II, London's privately owned and operated Royal Opera House (ROH) at Covent Garden was reflective of the country it served -- the rich and noble enjoyed performances in the luxury of the theater and concert hall while the rest of the classes viewed the shows from the dimly-lit top gallery. In 1945, with Britain in financial crisis, its cities in ruins, and its citizens living on strict food and fuel rations, Covent Garden was reborn as a public company after economist Maynard Keynes called for state money to support an Arts Council and Royal Opera House, under his own chairmanship, that would resurrect the nation's fortunes and spirit through the preservation of English culture and performing arts. From that point on, says Norman Lebrecht, ROH, with its Royal Opera and Royal Ballet companies, purported to conduct this postwar national mission while attaching itself to the social elite, creating a recipe for disaster that finally exploded half a century later when the world-class Covent Garden was pushed to the brink of bankruptcy. In this comprehensive and unvarnished history, Lebrecht explains the astonishing failure of an institution that was designed to define a nation. Four chief executives came and went in eighteen months, and the off-stage dramas, catastrophes, misadventures, and infighting became comic fodder for the press and Parliament. Lebrecht's illuminating account of the rise, decline, and fall of the ROH during the second half of the twentieth century is situated within the broader context of upheavals and changes in English cultural life that have eroded the very notion of "Englishness" and transformed the country from heroic poverty toheartless wealth. With unprecedented access to private archives and key players, Lebrecht recounts an intriguing tale of special relationships between internal management and successive governments and arts councils, hidden public cash, corruption, anti-semitism, and campaigns against homosexuals. He also provides colorful details about the many celebrated performers and personalities, including Maria Callas, Rudolf Nureyev, Margot Fonteyn, Georg Solti, and Kiri te Kanawa, who helped shape Covent Garden's storied traditions. Lebrecht concludes by offering thoughts on what the future holds for this notable institution, arguing that Covent Garden should be privatized along the same lines as the Metropolitan Opera.

Table of Contents

  Come into the Garden, Awed                       1  (10)
The place of the Royal Opera House on the
map of England
Drinks at the Bar, 6.45 (1945 European time) 11 (37)
England at war's end: how Maynard Keynes
put culture ahead of our daily bread
Enter the Leader (1946--47) 48 (39)
A Shopkeeper as chief executive, a
bomb-shelter for chairman and a dynamo in
charge of the ballet
Overture and Beginners (1947--51) 87 (42)
Tuning up with crabby Rankl, Blooming
Fonteyn and the dangerously young Peter
First Act, Forbidden Acts (1951--59) 129(63)
The gay traumas of David Webster and
Benjamin Britten: the blinding aura of
Maria Callas
Short Interval: Champagne, Canapes and Nature 192(21)
Calls (1959--60)
Earls in ermine, coups in Panama and a
blood-stained frock
Act Two, Enter the Jew (1961--70) 213(70)
Georg Solti and Arnold Goodman awaken
English racism and a Tatar adds sauce to
the ballet
The Long Interval: Propping UP the Crush Bar 283(76)
`The management of decline' as practised in
the Cabinet Office and Covent Garden
Act Three, On a Spree (1987--96) 359(50)
Jeremy Isaacs Presides as television turns
Covent Garden into soap opera and closure
Act Four, Where's the Door? (January to 409(15)
August 1997)
The brief, enigmatic reign of Genista
Coming Up for Eyre (September 1997 to 424(40)
November 1998)
An official investigation, a parliamentary
tribunal, and two more chief executives
come and go
And So to Bed (December 1998 to December 1999) 464(15)
Michael Kaiser Settles the panic and
reopens the house
Lie Back and Think of England (2000, or 2100 479(18)
European Time)
What the future holds --- for opera in a
soundbite society, for Englishness in a
multicultural universe, for the stubborn
urge to create art against overwhelming odds
Notes 497(32)
Bibliography 529(8)
Index 537