The classical music and opera giants have always delivered magnificent drama on and off the stage: a majestic elephant marching with the triumphant warriors in Verdi’s Aida; flames engulfing Valhalla in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung; Beethoven mobilizing a mighty chorus for his towering Ninth Symphony; the cancer-stricken Puccini failing to finish his stirring Turandot.
Kirkus Indie recently reviewed three novels that focus on that world of mercurial maestros, transcendent tenors, lavish sets, and ethereal music that can shatter an opera fan’s heart.
In Yorker Keith’s The Other La Bohème, a quartet of young singers stars in Leoncavallo’s version of the tale that Puccini transformed into an opera-house juggernaut. The four friends hope that this production will lift their careers. But as they prepare for opening night, their lives in New York begin to mirror the work’s plot. Keith delivers, according to Kirkus’ reviewer, “an engaging twist on a classic opera, lush with drama and romance in a contemporary setting.”
The gifted American flutist Elizabeth Morgan suffers a devastating hand injury in a car crash in Patricia Minger’s Magic Flute. This forces the young artist, the daughter of a famous diva, to switch careers: Liz moves to Wales and auditions for soprano roles at a Cardiff opera company. She soon encounters the troupe’s attractive and demanding music director. “A smart and uplifting tale of personal and musical renewal,” our critic writes.
L.A. Hider Jones’ My Interview with Beethoven follows George Thompson, who believes the brilliant German composer is his father and devises a plot to meet him. In 1826, George leaves Virginia and travels to Vienna, pretending to be an English nobleman writing for the Williamsburg Post.Eventually, he lands an appointment with the troubled genius. Our reviewer calls the book—which earned a Kirkus Star—a “deeply researched, accomplished work of historical fiction.”
Myra Forsberg is an Indie editor.