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Arizona Opera Book Club

Opera is all about telling compelling stories through music. Most of the stories you see on stage are inspired by great literary works, historical events, legendary people, or better yet, current issues. Whether you are a Book Club regular or joining the group for the first time, we are excited to introduce you to our new ONLINE format.

 

How to Join: 

All book club activities, announcements, meetings, and more will be announced via our new Facebook group. We invite you to participate, post, and discuss each book with us as we discover these new titles together.

  

 

Need Help?

Don’t know how to join our group? It’s easy! Follow the steps below:

     

If you do not have Facebook and do not wish to join, we will also be posting information and updates to this page so stay tuned!

 

Book Club Meetings:

All Book Club activities, announcements, meetings, and more will be announced via our new Facebook group. If you are not part of Arizona Opera's Book Club Facebook Group and would still like to participate in our virtual book club meetings, please fill out the webform below and you will receive a link 24 hours prior to the meeting.

 


2021/22 Book Club Selections:

 

Book 1: "The Ghosts of the Copper Queen Hotel" by Jean Nolan Krygelski (Editor), John David Krygelski (Introduction), Michael Nolan (Designer)
The Ghosts of the Copper Queen Hotel

Reading: September 27 – October 21, 2021
Meeting Date: October 21, 2021 at 6 PM MST
Location: Zoom (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81546378379)
Meeting ID: 815 4637 8379
Passcode: 300566
Where to buy:

 

Bisbee’s historic Copper Queen Hotel was finished in the year 1902. Originally built to accommodate investors for the copper mine, the Copper Queen’s luxurious rooms and its proximity to the entrance of the infamous Brewery Gulch, a rowdy and raucous street, jam-packed with saloons and houses of ill repute, attracted many of this area’s denizens of the night. Throughout its over 100-year history, the Copper Queen has had countless guests check in … but a few have never checked out. This book is an eerie collection of hundreds of real-life experiences at the Copper Queen Hotel – written by the guests … in their own words!

 

"Haunted Bisbee" by Francine Powers, Foreword by Debe Branning
Haunted Bisbee

Reading: September 27 – October 21, 2021
Meeting Date: October 21, 2021 at 6 PM MST
Location: Zoom (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81546378379)
Meeting ID: 815 4637 8379
Passcode: 300566
Where to buy:
    

*If you purchase at Changing Hands and indicate you are part of Arizona Opera's Book Club you get 20% off hardcover and 10% of paperback.

Once the world's richest mining site, Bisbee is now one of the most haunted towns in America. From an entity that screams in anguish in Zacatecas Canyon to the glorious woman that floats through a wall in the School House Inn, spirits lurk around every corner. A firefighter still haunts his beloved Bisbee Fire Station No. 2, saving lives even after death, while a vengeful apparition keeps guard over his family plot at Evergreen Cemetery. Copper mining might have faded, but the memories of those drawn to Bisbee live on. Join Francine Powers, award-winning journalist, author and paranormal historian, as she uncovers the truth behind the old ghost stories of her beloved hometown.

 

Book 2: "Lost in Oaxaca" by Jessica Winters Mireles
Lost in Oaxaca

Reading: October 25 – December 2, 2021
Meeting Date: December 2, 2021 at 6 PM MST
Location: Zoom (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86481366974)
Meeting ID: 864 8136 6974
Passcode: 882100
Where to buy:
    

*If you purchase at Changing Hands and indicate you are part of Arizona Opera's Book Club you get 20% off hardcover and 10% of paperback.

Once a promising young concert pianist, Camille Childs retreated to her mother’s Santa Barbara estate after an injury to her hand destroyed her hopes for a musical career. She now leads a solitary life teaching piano, and she has a star student: Graciela, the daughter of her mother’s Mexican housekeeper. Camille has been grooming the young Graciela for the career that she herself lost out on, and now Graciela, newly turned eighteen, has just won the grand prize in a piano competition, which means she gets to perform with the LA Philharmonic. Camille is ecstatic; if she can’t play herself, at least as Graciela’s teacher, she will finally get the recognition she deserves.

But there are only two weeks left before the concert, and Graciela has disappeared―gone back to her family’s village in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico. Desperate to bring Graciela back in time for the concert, Camille goes after her, but on the way there, a bus accident leaves her without any of her possessions. Alone and unable to speak the language, Camille is befriended by Alejandro, a Zapotec man who lives in LA but is from the same village as Graciela. Despite a contentious first meeting, Alejandro helps Camille navigate the rugged terrain and unfamiliar culture of Oaxaca, allowing her the opportunity to view the world in a different light―and perhaps find love in the process.

 

Book 3: "Carmen" by Prosper Merimee
Carmen

Reading: January 3 – January 20, 2022
Meeting Date: January 20, 2022 at 6 PM MST
Location: Zoom

Where to buy:
    

*If you purchase at Changing Hands and indicate you are part of Arizona Opera's Book Club you get 20% off hardcover and 10% of paperback.

 

I have been told that one day a party of good-for-nothing fellows banded themselves together, and bribed the bell-ringer at the cathedral to ring the Angelus some twenty minutes before the proper hour. Though it was still broad daylight, the nymphs of the Guadalquivir never hesitated, and putting far more trust in the Angelus bell than in the sun, they proceeded to their bathing toilette—always of the simplest—with an easy conscience. I was not present on that occasion. In my day, the bell-ringer was incorruptible, the twilight was very dim, and nobody but a cat could have distinguished the difference between the oldest orange woman, and the prettiest shop-girl, in Cordova.

One evening, after it had grown quite dusk, I was leaning over the parapet of the quay, smoking, when a woman came up the steps leading from the river, and sat down near me. In her hair she wore a great bunch of jasmine—a flower which, at night, exhales a most intoxicating perfume. She was dressed simply, almost poorly, in black, as most work-girls are dressed in the evening. Women of the richer class only wear black in the daytime, at night they dress a la francesa. When she drew near me, the woman let the mantilla which had covered her head drop on her shoulders, and “by the dim light falling from the stars” I perceived her to be young, short in stature, well-proportioned, and with very large eyes. I threw my cigar away at once. She appreciated this mark of courtesy, essentially French, and hastened to inform me that she was very fond of the smell of tobacco, and that she even smoked herself, when she could get very mild papelitos.

- Taken from "Carmen" written by Prosper Merimee

 

Book 4: "Stephen Sondheim: A Life" by Meryle Secrest
Stephen Sondheim: A Life

Reading: January 24 – February 24, 2022
Meeting Date: February 24, 2022 at 6 PM MST
Location: Zoom

Where to buy:

 

 

 

The first and only full-scale and definitive biography of the most important composer-lyricist in musical theater today.

Drawing on personal conversations with Sondheim himself, as well as interviews with his friends, family, collaborators, and lovers, Secrest offers new insight into the enigmatic and very private Stephen Sondheim. Here, we learn about his childhood on New York’s Upper West Side, his parents’ devastating divorce, and his ascent to the peaks of the Broadway musical. Secrest vividly recreates the energy, passion, and despair that went into each beloved show, from Sondheim’s fabled collaboration with Hal Prince on Sweeney Todd and A Little Night Music, to his disagreements with co-lyricist Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story. A fascinating and remarkable portrait of the man, the music, and the genius of Stephen Sondheim: star of his own fascinating and unfinished life.

 

Bonus Book: "Art Isn't Easy - The Theater of Stephen Sondheim" by Joanne Gordon
Art Isn't Easy - The Theater of Stephen Sondheim

Reading: January 24 – February 24, 2022
Meeting Date: February 24, 2022 at 6 PM MST
Location: Zoom

Where to buy:
    

*If you purchase at Changing Hands and indicate you are part of Arizona Opera's Book Club you get 20% off hardcover and 10% of paperback.

 

The musical theatre of Stephen Sondheim probes deeply into the most disturbing issues of contemporary life. By challenging his audience with intricate music, biting wit, and profound themes, he flouts the traditional wisdom of the musical theatre. Tracing Sondheim's career from his initial success as lyricist for "West Side Story" and "Gypsy" to his most recent work--"Into the Woods" and "Assassins"--Joanne Gordon emphasizes not only the disturbing content of Sondheim's work, but his innovative use of form. In shows such as "A Little Night Music," "Sweeney Todd," and "Sunday in the Park with George," Sondheim's music and lyrics are inextricably woven into the fabric of the entire work.

 

Book 5: "Mozart's Women" by Jane Glover
Mozart's Women

Reading: February 28, 2021  – March 31, 2022
Meeting Date: March 31, 2022 at 6 PM MST
Location: Zoom

Where to buy:

 

 

 

Throughout his life, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was enchanted, amused, aroused, and betrayed by women—his mother, sister, wife, sisters-in-law, female patrons, friends, lovers, and fellow artists—and he was equally complex to them. But ultimately the great composer loved and respected the women he knew intimately and those whom he admired from afar. In this fascinating, evocative, and compellingly readable biography, Jane Glover, acclaimed conductor and acknowledged expert on Mozart's life and work, brings these remarkable ladies vividly to life—the real women who shared the composer's tumultuous world and inspired some of his greatest musical achievements, as well as those he dramatized in his magnificent operas.

 


Suggested Resources from Book Club Members:


Arizona Opera’s Department of Education and Community Engagement programs are made possible through the support of: Karen Fruen, The Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation, Dr. Rex Brewster, Invest in Kids Charitable Gift Fund, The Moreno Family Foundation, The Arizona Republic, Fillman Gorin Fund held at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, The City of Peoria, and Desert Diamond Casino West Valley.