A Night at the Opera

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Long week at work? Sit back and relax with some opera! Alexander Chee’s The Queen of the Night is a fictional tale of one orphan’s rise as the prima donna soprano of French opera during the Second French Empire. Paired with this selection is the inspiration for Chee’s book:  Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute. The Magic Flute’s Queen of the Night Aria is one of the most recognizable and difficult arias ever written for soprano. Singing this aria can make or break a performer’s career because of its range up to the impossibly high F6. These soaring stories will take you on a journey away from your stressful work week and into the scandalous world of opera.

The Magic Flute

The Magic Flute is a singspiel: an opera form characterized by both singing and speaking. In it, the Queen of the Night convinces Prince Tamino to save her daughter Pamina from the high priest Sarastro. The opera begins as any fairy tale: damsel in distress, evil sorcerer holding her against her will, and prince charming saving the day. The second act diverges from this fairytale format. The Prince and Princess endure many trials together, but will they end up together in their perfect fairytale ending?

Check out this glorious performance of the Queen of the Night Aria performed by Diana Damrau!

The Queen of the Night

On her journey to become one of the most celebrated voices on the planet, Lilliet Berne is offered the chance to be engraved into history: the leading role in an opera written specifically for her voice. When she realizes the opera is an account of her own secret past, she knows she was deceived by one of four people. To find the person who sold her out, Lilliet must overcome her former life by taking on multiple identities, navigating a world of politics, and accepting the patronage of unwanted, obsessive lovers. This book keeps you guessing what identity Lilliet Berne will adopt next to advance her skills and status. She has one of the most unique, exquisite voices ever heard, but will her unearthed past be the end of her career… or her?

Check out this collection of opera arias to listen to while you read!