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Books to Inspire Your Season of Opera

books about opera


Looking to add an interesting new book to your summer reading list?  If you’re curious about opera, or need something to hold you over until the season starts back up again, we’ve collected six opera-inspired reads for every type of opera lover.

Whether you’re new to the art form or a seasoned pro, check out these six books below that are sure to inspire your upcoming season of opera:

The Queen of the Night

Alexander Chee’s bestselling novel is perfect for the fiction lover who may also be new to opera. The story follows a legendary soprano who finally gets the chance to sing an original role – but at a price she’s not sure she’s willing to pay. Much like an opera, The Queen of the Night is full of drama, complete with death, deception, betrayal and a web of romance.

Opera 101: A Complete Guide To Learning And Loving Opera

Great for history buffs, or readers looking for an everything-you-need-to-know guide to opera, Opera 101 covers it all and is an easy read. Fred Plotkin leads you through the history of opera, goes over operatic concepts and voice types, recommendations, and insight into how to best enjoy opera.

A Night at the Opera

For a more in-depth look into the world of opera, check out Denis Forman’s informative insider’s guide. Forman walks readers through 83 of the most popular operas recorded, dissecting each of their plots, characters and histories in detail. Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the book, Forman includes unabashed critiques and praises of each piece, providing readers with great debate material and potential trivia answers for years to come.

Bel Canto

Another nonfiction opera-inspired pick, Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto (now a major motion picture) tells the thrilling story of an elegant evening gone wrong in South America. What begins as a lavish birthday party for a government official, featuring an exclusive concert with an acclaimed opera singer, turns into a hostile and dangerous situation.

Mozart’s Women: His Family, His Friends, His Music

Mozart’s Women offers readers a unique perspective on the brilliant composer, and how his relationships with women influenced and inspired his work. For those looking to learn more about the genius behind some of opera’s most famous works, and his life through the lens of the women surrounding him, Jane Glover has covered it all in this biographical book.

A History of Opera

Referred to as one of the best books on the subject by many, A History of Opera explores how—and why—opera has continued to transfix audiences for centuries. Carolyn Abbate examines opera’s societal role, its timeless narratives, and the enduring works that despite their age, stand the test of time.

Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below! 

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