Arizona Opera Book Club
Arizona Opera’s Book Club (not to be confused with Oprah’s Book Club) is a great way to share the love of literature and opera! This is a wonderful way to meet fellow audience members and discuss, learn, and connect.
2017/18 Season Membership
Membership for the 2017/18 season is free! By signing up, you'll receive notifications regarding events, discussion questions and more.
Individual events outside of regular book club meetings may have a registration fee.
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To purchase books, please visit Changing Hands Bookstore.
2017/18 Arizona Opera Book Club Selection
Hercules vs Vampires
Fool—the bawdy and outrageous New York Times bestseller from the unstoppable Christopher Moore—is a hilarious new take on William Shakespeare’s King Lear…as seen through the eyes of the foolish liege’s clownish jester, Pocket. A rousing tale of “gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity,” Fool joins Moore’s own Lamb, Fluke, The Stupidest Angel, and You Suck! as modern masterworks of satiric wit and sublimely twisted genius, prompting Carl Hiassen to declare Christopher Moore “a very sick man, in the very best sense of the word."
A timeless tale of love, lust, and politics, Tosca is one of the most popular operas ever written. In Tosca's Rome, Susan Vandiver Nicassio explores the surprising historical realities that lie behind Giacomo Puccini's opera and the play by Victorien Sardou on which it is based.
Tosca is set in a very specific time and place: Rome, from June 17 to 18, 1800. But as Nicassio demonstrates, history in Tosca is distorted by nationalism and by the vehement anticlerical perceptions of papal Rome shared by Sardou, Puccini, and the librettists. To provide the historical background necessary for understanding Tosca, Nicassio takes a detailed look at Rome in 1800 as each of Tosca's main characters would have seen it—the painter Cavaradossi, the singer Tosca, and the policeman Scarpia. Finally, she provides a scene-by-scene musical and dramatic analysis of the opera.
Candide is the story of a gentle man who, though pummeled and slapped in every direction by fate, clings desperately to the belief that he lives in "the best of all possible worlds." On the surface a witty, bantering tale, this eighteenth-century classic is actually a savage, satiric thrust at the philosophical optimism that proclaims that all disaster and human suffering is part of a benevolent cosmic plan. Fast, funny, often outrageous, the French philosopher's immortal narrative takes Candide around the world to discover that -- contrary to the teachings of his distringuished tutor Dr. Pangloss -- all is not always for the best. Alive with wit, brilliance, and graceful storytelling, Candide has become Voltaire's most celebrated work.
The Barber of Seville
Behind the gold curtains of The Metropolitan Opera House, amidst the elaborate sets, bejeweled costumes, and labyrinth of administrative offices, the Met has traditionally operated in great secrecy. Until now.
Molto Agitato is a tale with an appropriately operatic cast of characters haughty blue bloods, ambitious social climbers, determined administrators, stubborn board members, temperamental artists all maneuvering to use their power and influence to make The Met conform to their own agendas. Fiedler brings to life the early days of The Met, with the imperious Toscanini arriving from Italy and Caruso filling the house; the post-WW II years, when the unions gained strength and plagued the company with strikes; and the ever present passions of tenors and sopranos, clashing offstage as well as on. But most revelatory are Fiedler’s portrayals of James Levine and Joseph Volpe and their practically parallel ascendancies Levine rising from prodigy to artistic director, Volpe advancing from stagehand to general manager and their once strained relationship that was compounded by Volpe’s much publicized firing of the soprano Kathleen Battle.
First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic, lauded for its brilliant synthesis of “mystery, satire, sex, horror, and poetic prose” (Washington Post) and as a modern phantasmagoria that “distills the essence of America” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). It is the story of Shadow—released from prison just days after his wife and best friend are killed in an accident—who gets recruited to be bodyguard, driver, and errand boy for the enigmatic trickster, Mr. Wednesday. So begins Shadow’s dark and strange road trip, one that introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. For, beneath the placid surface of everyday life, a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and Shadow is standing squarely in its path.