Overture opera guides – now available as eBooks

The publisher John Calder began the Opera Guides series under the editorship of the late Nicholas John in association with English National Opera in 1980. It ran until 1994 and eventually included forty-eight titles, covering fifty-eight operas. The books in the series were intended to be companions to the works that make up the core of the operatic repertory. They contained articles, illustrations, musical examples and a complete libretto and singing translation of each opera in the series, as well as bibliographies and discographies.

The aim of the present relaunched series is to make available again the guides already published in a redesigned format with new illustrations, updated reference sections and a literal translation of the libretto that will enable the reader to get closer to the meaning of the original. New guides of operas not already covered will be published alongside the redesigned ones from the old series.

We are slowly making the guides available as eBooks, and the first in the new eBook series are below – available through all the major eBook retailers, including Amazon’s kindle, Apple’s iBooks, Kobo, and many more besides, all priced at £4.99.




Georges Bizet

Carmen is one of the most enduringly popular of all operas and the most successful of Georges Bizet’s works. Following its premiere at the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 1875, it went on to be performed at all the major opera houses in the world. With its searing depictions of passion, obsession and jealousy, it has never lost its hold on the opera-going public.

eBook ISBN 9781847495693



Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Richard Wagner

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is the only comedy among Richard Wagner’s mature works. Unusually for Wagner, it is set in a historically specific time and place, sixteenthcentury Nuremberg, and tells of a song contest among the town’s guildsmen. It nevertheless explores the same themes of renewal, renunciation and human love as Wagner’s other great music dramas. The finely drawn humanity of its principal characters and the brilliance of its musical invention make it one of the most rewarding operas in the repertory.

eBook ISBN 9781847496430



Le nozze di Figaro

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Le nozze di Figaro is one of Mozart’s best-loved and most enduring works. The first of the three operas he wrote with Lorenzo da Ponte and based on Beaumarchais’s play, it established the thirty-year-old Mozart as an opera composer of the very first rank. Its combination of wit, acute psychological observation and sublime music has enthralled audiences ever since its premiere in Prague in 1786.

eBook ISBN 9781847496423



La traviata

Giuseppe Verdi

La traviata was Giuseppe Verdi’s eighteenth opera and shows him at the height of his middle-period powers. Adapted from La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils, it portrays the love between the courtesan Violetta Valéry and the young Alfredo Germont in fashionable Parisian society, with its inevitable tragic outcome. It had its premiere at La Fenice in Venice in 1853 and has gone on to become one of the most performed and greatly loved of all operas.

eBook ISBN 9781847495570