For Children and Youth
It is never too early to introduce your child to the world of opera.
Listening to classical music at an early age can positively effect your
child's development. Including music and arts exposure as part of
a child's education will help your children exercise their creativity
and can help them succeed in other academic subject areas. Below are a
few of the many resources recommended by OPERA America that can help you
expose your child to this unique art form.
Infant - Pre-K
Ainger-Clark, Julie and Nadeem Zaidi. Baby Einstein: Baby Mozart:
Music Is Everywhere. Baby Einstein Co., 2004.
Weaver, Tess and Andrea Wesson. Opera Cat. Clarion Books, 2002.
West, Jim and Izen, Marshall. The Dog Who Sang Opera. Harry
N Marshall, 2004.
Auch, Mary Jane. The Bantam of the Opera. Holiday House, Inc.,
Clement, Gary. The Great Poochini. Groundwood Books, 1999.
Elliott, Donald. Lambs' Tales From Great Operas. Harvard Common
Mitchell, Janis. The Hamster Opera Company. W W Norton &
Co. Inc., 1988.
Neidorf, Mary. Operantics with Wolfgang Amadeaus Mozart. Sunstone
Thee, Christian and Robert Levine. Behind the Curtain: Hansel and
Gretel: Your Own Backstage Tour in Look-Through and Pull-Up Panels.
Workman Publishing Company, 1994.
Bennett, Roy. Adventures In Music: OPERA. Cambridge University
David, Ron. Opera for Beginners. Writers & Readers Publishing,
Ganeri, Anita and Nicola Barber. The Young Person's Guide to the
Opera: With Music from the Great Operas on CD. Harcourt: London,
Husain, Shahrukh. The Barefoot Book of Stories from the Opera.
Barefoot Books, 1999.
Rosenberg, Jane. Sing Me a Story: The Metropolitan Opera's Book of
Opera Stories for Children. Luciano Pavarotti (Introduction) Thames
& Hudson, 1996.
Siberell, Anne. Bravo! Brava! A Night at the Opera: Behind the Scenes
With Composers, Cast and Crew. Frederica von Stade (Introduction)
Oxford University Press Children's Books, 2001.
Taverna, Alessandro. Masters of Music: Opera. Barrons Juveniles,
The Random House Book of Opera Stories (Random House Story Collections).
Random House, 1998.
Davis, Peter. The American Opera Singer. Doubleday, 1997.
Plotkin, Fred. Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving
Opera. Hyperion, 1994.
Sadie, Stanley, ed. The Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Opera.
Billboard Books, 2004.
Grout, Donald J. A Short History of Opera. Columbia University
For All Audiences
The following recommendations, provided by OPERA America, are just a
few of the many books about opera and musical theater that are available.
Visit your local library, bookstore, or on-line bookseller to find these
and other resources that will help you learn more about opera and musical
Block, Geoffrey. Enchanted Evenings: The Broadway Musical From Show
Boat to Sondheim. Oxford University Press, 1997.
Through a behind-the-scenes look at some of Broadway's greatest 20th-century
musicals, this musicologist takes the reader on a journey to meet the
creative influences (composer, lyricist, librettist and director) behind
these success stories.
Bordman, Gerald. American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle. Oxford
University Press, 1978.
Among one of the most comprehensive single volume histories of the American
stage musical, this book covers every Broadway musical from the 1800s
Green, Stanley. Broadway Musicals Show By Show. Milwaukee: Hal
Leonard Books, 1985.
A show-by-show approach to the history of musical theater, with photos
and the essential statistics.
Kirk, Elise K. American Opera. University of Illinois Press,
Kirk traces the history of American opera through composers born in the
United States and longtime U.S. residents. She takes a chronological approach
to opera in the years 1730-2000, focusing on cultural contexts, historical
development, and production aspects, and including basic musical analysis.
Osborne, Charles. The Opera Lover’s Companion. Yale University
This engaging guide to the 175 most popular operas will enhance the experience
of anyone attending an opera. The book consists of entries that set each
opera within the context of its composer’s career, outline the plot,
discuss the music, and give relevant background information.
Peattie, Antony, ed. The New Kobbé’s Opera Book.
Putnam Publishing Group, 2000.
This comprehensive opera resource contains information on composers,
performers, and the rich history of opera, from its beginnings in the
Baroque period to modern day.
Scherer, Barrymore Laurence. Bravo! A Guide to Opera for the Perplexed.
Witty and informative, this introduction to opera is a fun, fast read.
Simon, Henry W. 100 Great Operas and Their Stories. Anchor,
An invaluable guide for both casual opera fans and aficionados, this
volume contains act-by-act descriptions of operas ranging from the early
seventeenth century works of Monteverdi and Purcell to the modern classics
of Menotti and Britten. Written in a lively anecdotal style, entries include
character descriptions, historical background, and much more.
Wilmeth, Don B. and Tice L. Miller, editors. Cambridge Guide to American
Theatre. Cambridge University Press, 1993.
A comprehensive single-volume reference on the American Theater.
Composers and Works
Alpert, Hollis. The Life and Times of Porgy and Bess: The Story of
An American Classic. Alfred A. Knopf, 1990.
An exhaustive and engrossing history of a masterpiece, with detailed
coverage of all major productions up to 1990.
Berger, William. Verdi with a Vengeance: An Energetic Guide to the
Life and Complete Works of the King of Opera. Vintage, 2000.
Written for a broad audience with little background on Verdi, this biography
paints an exciting and eye-opening portrait of the interaction between
Verdi and the political climate of his time.
Gossett, Philip, et al. The New Grove Masters of Italian Opera: Rossini,
Donizetti, Bellini, Verdi, Puccini. W. W. Norton & Company, 1997.
For those interested in learning more about the Italian operatic tradition
throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, this book provides an overview
of five major composers.
McClary, Susan. Georges Bizet: Carmen (Cambridge Opera Handbooks).
Cambridge University Press, 1992.
Part of the Cambridge Opera Handbooks series, this volume is an ideal
introduction to the opera Carmen – and includes a synopsis, historical
and biographical background, musical examples, and analysis.
Osborne, Charles. The Complete Operas of Puccini: A Critical Guide.
DaCapo Press, 1983.
This handy source provides information about all of Puccini's operas
– from the lesser known to the most frequently performed. This overview
will help guide the first-time listener and will fill in details of the
Puccini canon for the opera buff.
Osborne, Charles. The Complete Operas of Verdi. DaCapo Press,
This one-volume source contains background information about all of Verdi's
operas – a good introduction to the Verdi canon for those curious
to learn more.
Senici, Emanuele, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Rossini. Cambridge
University Press, 2004.
This collection of essays begins with an introduction to Rossini's
life and the development of his musical style, and then features information
about all of his major operas, including a chapter devoted to The Barber
Solomon, Maynard. Mozart: A Life. Perennial, 1996.
This study plunges into the psychological complexities and co-dependencies
of Mozart's family life, especially the inspiration and frustration
caused by the composer's relationship with his father.
Steptoe, Andrew. The Mozart-Da Ponte Operas: The Cultural and Musical
Background to Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte.
Oxford University Press, 1991.
This unique volume reviews Mozart's collaborations with librettist
Da Ponte, and how they drew upon – and forever changed – the
cultural and musical traditions of their time. Full of musical examples
and analysis, this book will challenge and inform even those already familiar
with the operas.
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