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Dive into the books behind the 2019/20 season!

Posted on: April 5, 2019

Can’t wait to experience all the operas in our 2019/20 season? Or do you have one favorite opera that you can’t get enough of? (It’s okay, we have our favorites too). You’ll have to wait until opening night to see the magic live onstage, but that doesn’t mean you can’t immerse yourself in the stories and histories behind your favorite operas in the meantime.

To kick off the LA Times Festival of Books, we’ve rounded up the books our 19/20 season favorites are based on. Read the play that helped spark both the French Revolution and Mozart’s imagination – The Marriage of Figaro. Or pick up a copy of Psycho: A Novel, the book that Alfred Hitchcock based his film on (and that he famously purchased all copies of to prevent avid readers from spoiling the surprise of the classic film).

La Bohème

La Vie de bohème by Henri Murger

Puccini Without Excuses by William Berger

Bohemian Paris by Jerrold Seigel

The Light in the Piazza

The Light in the Piazza by Elizabeth Spencer

The Italians by Luigi Barzini

Musical Theater: An Appreciation by Alyson McLamore

The Magic Flute

Mateki: The Magic Flute by Edmund Shern

The Magic Flute Unveiled by Jacques Chailley

Mozart the Freemason by Jacques Henry


Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl

Georgics by Virgil

Metamorphoses by Ovid

Roberto Deveraux

The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir

Donizetti and His Operas by William Ashbrook

The Unhappy Favourite: or, the Earl of Essex by John Banks

Pelléas et Mélisande

Pelléas et Mélisande by Maurice Maeterlinck

Claude Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande by Roger Nichols and Richard Langham Smith

Debussy: A Painter in Sound by Stephen Walsh

The Marriage of Figaro

The Marriage of Figaro by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais

Mozart and His Operas by David Cairns

Memoirs by Lorenzo Da Ponte


Handel’s Operas 1704-1726 by Winton Dean and John Merrill Knapp

Handel by Christopher Hogwood

Handel and his Singers by C. Steven Larue


Psycho: A Novel by Robert Bloch

Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello

A Heart at Fire’s Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann by Steven C. Smith

Angel’s Bone

The Essential Abolitionist: What You Need to Know about Human Trafficking & Modern Slavery by John Vanek

Reconfiguring Myth and Narrative in Contemporary Opera by Yayoi Uno Everett

Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery by Siddharth Kara

Sure you can find these books online, but a visit to your favorite local bookstore has its own special magic.

Click here for more information on LA Times Festival of Books.