Quotable Opera: Aria Ready for a Laugh?


136 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-920151-54-X
DDC 782.1





Edited by Compiled and edited by Stephan Tanner and Nancy Tanner
Illustrations by Umberto Tàccola
Reviewed by Ann Turner

Ann Turner is the financial and budget manager of the University of
British Columbia Library.


From the pun in the subtitle to the “Final Curtain” explanation of
why singers hold hands during curtain calls, Quotable Opera will keep
you in stitches. The personalities of the opera world are
characteristically larger than life. This collection of their thoughts
on their art and each other, as reported in their correspondence,
writings, and overheard comments, reveals not only colossal egos but
also the wit, timing, and yarn-spinning skills of professional

The quotations, which range in length from a few words to several
pages, are organized into chapters with common themes such as
“National Tastes and Distastes” and “Managers, Money and
Malarkey,” with an index of names and opera titles. Tracking down the
source of any given quote would be difficult. Only the name of the
person being quoted is cited with each one. There is a three-page
bibliography of sources, but it is arranged by the titles of the books
and they are not identified with any particular quote. But then serious
scholarship is not the intent of this collection, which will provide
hours of amusement for anyone with even a smattering of operatic


“Quotable Opera: Aria Ready for a Laugh?,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/17318.