Suggestions for those putting together their own opera bookshelf.
- Bravo! A Guide to Opera for the Perplexed
- by Barrymore Laurence Scherer. Witty and informative, this introduction to opera is a fun, fast read.
- Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera
- by Fred Plotkin. A user-friendly guide that takes you step by step through the great operas, referencing recordings (not included) to illustrate the author's descriptions.
- Opera For Lovers
- by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. This contemporary diva gives a behind-the-scenes look at opera as only one who has sung in the greatest opera houses of the world can.
- When the Fat Lady Sings
- by David Barber. A irreverently funny history of opera where the author's skewed take on personalities and events find a perfect match in Dave Donald's illustrations.
- Opera: A New Way of Listening
- by Alexander Waugh. This beautifully illustrated book includes a CD with over seventy minutes of opera excerpts, which highlight specific points in the text.
- First Intermissions
- by Owen Lee. A slim volume that analyzes many popular operas with delightful and frequently touching commentary from the scripts of the author's Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts.
- 100 Great Operas and Their Stories
- by Henry W. Simon. Easy-to-follow synopses of the best-known operas, each prefaced by a lively introduction.
And for insomniacs who want to become overnight opera buffs:
- A Short History of Opera
- by Donald Jay Grout. At 913 pages, this standard reference volume is hardly short, but it does offer well-written and informative insights.
- The Story of Opera
- By Richard Somerset-Ward. A beautiful, fully-illustrated coffee table book with a readable history of opera.
- A Night at the Opera: An Irreverent Guide to The Plots, The Singers, The Composers, The Recordings
- by Denis Sir Forman. Amusingly catty.
- The Viking Opera Guide
- A treasure-trove of information about almost every opera you’ll ever hear or even hear about.
- The King and I: The Uncensored Tale of Luciano Pavarotti's Rise to Fame by His Manager, Friend and Sometime Adversary
- By Herbert Breslin. The title says it all.
- The Inner Voice: The Making of a Singer
- By Renee Fleming. A recent memoir written by one of today’s leading sopranos.
- The Toughest Show on Earth: My Rise and Reign at the Metropolitan Opera
- By Joseph Volpe. The inside story from the Metropolitan Opera’s former General Director.
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