B0529. (PUCCINI) William Ashbrook. The Operas of Puccini. New York, Oxford, 1968. 269pp. Index; Bibliography; Summaries of Opera Plots; Music Examples; DJ. Original hardbound edition. - 978-0801493096
"William Ashbrook's THE OPERAS OF PUCCINI is an accurate, gracefully written, and thoroughly interesting account of its subject. For each opera, Ashbrook methodically examines literary sources, discusses relevant biographical evidence, and analyzes musical 'fingerprints' of Puccini's style. Ashbrook clearly loves his subject. I frequently return to Ashbrook's text to check some detail or merely to reacquaint myself with an opera I haven't seen recently, and I always come away from the book with renewed respect for its author and subject. In the tradition of Ashbrook's magisterial account of the life of Donizetti, THE OPERAS OF PUCCINI is a cornerstone text for opera fans."
John H. Flannigan
"William was an American musicologist, writer, journalist, and academic. Born in Philadelphia, his education including a BA in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania in 1946 and a MA in musicology from Harvard University in 1947. Ashbrook began an academic career by teaching humanities and then, for nearly twenty years, was a member of the English Department at Indiana State University at Terre Haute, from which he retired in 1974 as Distinguished Professor Emeritus. From 1974 to 1984 he was professor of opera at the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts (now the University of the Arts).
Opera studies, however, were his lifelong passions, especially the life and operas of 19th Century Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti.
He is best remembered for his 1965 biographical work on Donizetti and for the books THE OPERAS OF PUCCINI (1968; rev. 1985) and DONIZETTI AND HIS OPERAS (1982), the latter described by Gossett as 'for any serious study of a Donizetti opera today, it is with (this book) that one must begin'.
Ashbrook was also a regular contributor to several classical music journals, magazines, and other publications, including OPERA NEWS, OPERA, DONIZETTI SOCIETY JOURNAL and THE GROVE DICTIONARY OF MUSIC AND MUSICIANS. He was editor of OPERA QUARTERLY from 1993 to 1997."
- Z. D. Akron