Music: Opera in Prose

Generations of U.S. operagoers have wondered vaguely just what the words meant that the singers were singing. Perhaps they were well off not knowing. In too many English translations attempted by U.S. opera troupes in recent years, the English words (if they could be heard at all) only revealed the silliness of the librettos. This week RCA Victor is releasing a series of records entitled Arias Sung and Acted which present the dramatic contents of selected arias together with the original words: first, well-known actors act out the scenes in English, then the music starts up and big-name artists sing them...

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