Liebestod: Opera Buffa with Leib Goldkorn

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Liebestad returns readers to Leslie Epstein’s most compelling literary character, “that apostle of imagination and surprise, Leib Goldkorn, whose final years as a randy centenarian in New York City end in one of the most memorable swan songs in recent fiction. On his return to New York with his new family in tow, Leib sets about arranging for the production of Rubezahl, the only opera his true father ever wrote. For this event, the greatest stars of the Metropolitan Opera, including its most famed diva, gather on stage for the opening night. Unfortunately, the much-heralded premiere turns into a fiasco of unimaginable proportions. In this literary opera buffa, Leib Goldkorn once more employs his art and his love of music to stand against what are otherwise all-powerful forces of violence, irrationality, and nihilism. And in Liebestod, which must be one of the most memorable swan songs in all of modern fiction, he not only succeeds in this task but “illuminates the mystery of our common humanity and mortality.” 299p.

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