13 MAY 1943, Page 20

Annals of Opera (1597-1940). Compiled by Alfred Loewenberg with an

Introduction by Edward J. Dent. (Hefter. L4 0.) THIS exhaustive work is indispensable as a reference book to all libraries. It contains details of about 4,000 operas, including grand opera, opera with recitatives and opera with spoken dialogue, together with such offshoots as English ballad opera and modern divergents from -the main stem, such as Stravinsky's Histoire du Soldat. Mr. Loewenberg gives perhaps too much information about the performances in different countries, some of which might have been spared to give room for a little more information about the librettos. For example, Lorenzo da Ponte in his memoirs states that the best of his own opera texts was that written by him for Martin's L'Arbore di Diana. As this text is today unprocurable, a synopsis of the plot of this opera (as of that of Weber's Oberon) would have been very welcome. Apart from this, we have found everything in the book we have looked for. It is indeed a monu- mental work.