June 18, 2023
I'm sincerely grateful that the book has been chosen for review in the April/May 2023 edition of Ink Pellet, the arts magazine for teachers. Susan Elkin has focussed her review on Chapter 22:
This is the front cover of the April/May 2023 edition of Ink Pellet:
April 29, 2023
Many thanks to all who posted reviews!
April 04, 2023
The book is now in store at the Juilliard Store in New York, which stocks music for the Juilliard School:
And the book is on sale at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, where it became the bestselling book on opera:
Soon after publication the book was purchased by the libr…
April 01, 2023
I found opera through Wagner.
I can still remember coming home in early 1977 (aged either 13 or 14, I don't have the exact date) with a new £1.25 EMI Classics for Pleasure LP which I'd bought in town after school, on the way to the bus stop. Highlights from Götterdämmerung with Rita Hunter and Alberto Remedios, sung in German, LPO conducted by Charles Mackerras. The Arthur Rackham immolation drawing on the cover. I remember where I was s…
January 27, 2023
Many thanks to the Federation of Recorded Music Societies for the January 2023 featured link on the Federation home page. Yes, and yes again, to the two questions on the yellow welcome banner below!
The Society's website can be found here: https://www.thefrms.co.uk/
December 06, 2022
This autumn I've got to know Canadians whose professional work and hedonistic websites are treasuries of enthusiams of all kinds.... none more so than Leslie Barcza, whose BARCZABLOG postings season the inexhaustible, disruptive curiosity of a playful child with the kindly forebearance of maturity. His recent generous review ( https://barczablog.com/2022/11/30/simon-banks-opera-the-autobiography-of-the-western-world/ ) I think, reflects extraordinarily empathet…
December 01, 2022
A warm welcome to all who found their way here through the blog of the composer Robert Hugill. His reviews of musical events form a cornucopian record of London at its best. I recommend anyone who is unfamiliar with it to explore Robert's site, and his music is a once-heard never-forgotten meditative soundworld.
This was my first ever blog review (although I was following Planet Hugill reviews of music in London long before I knew what a blog was). I sometim…
November 12, 2022
The Amazon bestseller lists are updated several times a day and the positions in Opera Music keep changing. I first noticed the book on the lists in early November 2022. On 22 November the book reached #1 bestseller in Opera Music:
Here, the paperback is #4 and the hardback #6 of Amazon's list of the 100 "most wished for" Opera Music books:
The hardback is here #1 in "Most Gifted in Opera Music".
November 12, 2022
"Novel and ambitious... Banks's knowledgeable and above all thoughtful explorations are wide ranging... Though his discussions are inevitably short (around 200 works are looked at), they are invariably to the point and well argued... and his views are stimulating" (George Hall in the December 2022 edition of Opera).
I've been enjoying George Hall's writing for decades, in the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Stage and elsewhere. For many years Editor-in-Chi…
November 09, 2022
English National Opera has been extraordinarily good to me, and I am disturbed by the recent news.
Paris, Berlin and St Petersburg all have three opera houses.
If London has only one, can it survive as the world's cultural capital?
This is a link to Sir Bryn Terfel's petition
November 07, 2022
By kind permission of ENO, here is the video of my "in conversation" with Damien Kennedy on 12 October.
https://vimeo.com/759850920/58e797a503 The video is also available to watch on the ENO website - along with a wide range of other recorded events - which are accessible to all Friends of English National Opera.
If the link isn't working, a transcript of the conversation is also provided below:
Damien Kennedy (Music Library and Surtitles Manager at ENO)…
November 06, 2022
Great to hear that the book will be reviewed in the December 2022 edition of Opera magazine, available online from 8 November, in-store from 15 November.
Looking further ahead, a review of the book will also appear in the January 2023 edition of Opera Now, available from mid-December.