Book Review: 'Opera As Opera' By Conrad L. Osborne

Oct 15, 2018

What rocker wouldn't want to sit on Mick Jagger's lap? What painter wouldn't want to clean Picasso's brushes?

My lap-sitting days are over, and cleaning has never been my thing. But anyone who loves opera, music, words, theater or any combination thereof should run, not walk, to buy the new book Opera as Opera: The State of the Art by Conrad L. Osborne.

Recently I had a chance to visit with Osborne from his home in Manhattan. Take a listen.

Osborne is a writer, singer, actor and teacher – a quadruple threat (take that, Mick!).

His contributions to The New York Times, High Fidelity/Musical America, Opera News and the Financial Times, among others, have made for superb reading for years. Check out his incredible blog.

Book cover for 'Opera as Opera: The State of the Art' by Conrad L. Osborne
Credit Proposito Press /

Opera as Opera is an 800-page book, and you must read the footnotes! (Like David Foster Wallace but ostensibly not on drugs.)

It's all here: history, composers, repertoire new and old, singers new and old and out of tune (and glorious), stage directors (Felsenstein, Corsaro) and the audience.

Osborne is one of the few scholars who combine erudition with humanity – and fun!