A Night at the Opera

By Domenica Di Piazza, Editorial Director, TFCB

GREAT NEWS! TFCB just got starred reviews from Booklist for three of our Fall 2010 USA TODAY Lifeline Biographies: Danica Patrick, Stephenie Meyer, and Tupac Shakur! For the full text of the review for these titles, check out the Lifeline series on our company website tomorrow and scroll down to the individual book titles.



Mention opera, and many people’s eyes glaze over. They share Groucho Marx’s famous pronouncement that “There’s nothing stuffier than grand opera.” But my 13-year-old neighbor, Grace, doesn’t go in for this assessment. She’s intrigued by opera, partly because I am, but also because she loves Nancy Drew. And Nancy Drew #171-Intrigue at the Grand Opera—is one of her favorites.

In this Nancy Drew tale, the young sleuth solves mysterious murders that plague the American Grand Opera company, which is on tour in River Heights. I won’t give away the ending, but it hinges on a human emotion that drives a lot of operatic stories—jealousy.

Grace also loves myth and intuitively understands that opera functions on a mythic plane. Accordingly, I’ve been feeding her volumes of the Graphic Myths and Legends series in our Graphic Universe imprint, and she loves them all.

Last week, Grace was excited because I saw opera megastar Renee Fleming in recital in St. Paul as part of the Schubert Club season. On the evening of the big event, Grace had her mother drive past our house on their way to volleyball practice with the car radio blasting arias from the local classical music station. A sort of 13-year-old “Enjoy your evening!”

So, for those teachers and librarians out there introducing students to art and literature, don’t give up on opera. It’s a great entrée to myth, which is a great point of entry into literature, history, and human psychology. If nothing else, rent the Marx Brothers classic film A Night at the Opera and get a chuckle out of the upset dignity the brothers perpetrate against the stuffy set.

TFCB Opera Quiz: The first non-Lerner Publishing Group blog reader to answer the opera quiz question gets a free book!

Which new Peter Sellars opera production is based on a famous Greek myth that was set to music by George Frideric Handel in the 1700s? If you think you know the answer, send it to us at info@lernerbooks.com with TFCB Opera Quiz in the subject line. The first person to get the right answer gets a free copy of the book itself, which we just happen to have in our Graphic Myths and Legends series!

And check in again next week for more from TFCB.

[movie poster above: Wikipedia.com]