FAMOUS MOZART OPERAS, by Spike Hughes (Robert Hale, 35s.).
By Grace Conway I N this analytical but eminently readable survey of Mozart's operas Spike Hughes makes a useful contribution to the works that have marked the great composer's bicentenary year.
Outside London and Glyndebourne opportunities of hearing the " big five "-" Die Entfiihrung ails dem Sefail," "The Marriage of Figaro," " Don Giovanni," "Cosi Fan Tutti " and " The Magic Flute"-are rare indeed.
But now that there have been long-playing records of all five made by the principal record companies, the operas can he listened to at home. I can think of no more valuable adjunct to this listening than Mr. Hughes' book.
There are liberal annotations from the musical scores and this no doubt added to the cost of the book.
The lively chapter on " The Magic Flute " describes it as an all-Masonic product hut suggests that instead of trying to follow the complicated plot one should just sit back and listen to the music. " For me," says the author, " it has the eternal fascination and moving sublimity of M ich elangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes."