English National Opera Guides are ideal companions to the opera. They provide stimulating introductory articles together with the complete text of each opera in English and the original. Although it is impossible to trace any one particular theme running through the operas of Michael Tippett, the libretti of his four operas are fascinating to compare. The dense allusions of The Midsummer Marriage (1955), here annotated, gave way to the classical formality of King Priam (1962); the psychoanalytical preoccupations of The Knot Garden (1970) hardly foreshadow the contemporary political commentary of The Ice Break (1977). Each work breaks new ground and provokes unexpected responses. The libretti offer unique introductions to the music, and throw a searching light on the direction of British theatre since 1945.
Sir Michael Kemp Tippett (1905 - 1998) is generally acknowledged to be one of the most important British composers of the twentieth century. His deeply-held humanitarian and pacifist beliefs shaped both his life and his music, serving a prison sentence as a conscientious objector in the Second World War and being one of the first openly gay composers to explore issues of sexuality in his work.
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