Opera and Its Characters: A Spectacularly Illustrated Witty Book Full of Historical Information and Performance History of Twenty Operas

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Opera and Its characters is a new book by Francis Keeping and Roberta Prada published by Vox Mentor LLC, a New York City boutique publisher founded in 2003. It is aimed at a broad audience from opera scholars to music lovers and those with little or no opera experience.

A spectacularly illustrated witty book full of historical information and performance history of twenty operas - informative, beautiful, and clever all at the same time.

Opera and Its characters is a new book by Francis Keeping and Roberta Prada published by Vox Mentor LLC, a New York City boutique publisher founded in 2003. It is aimed at a broad audience from opera scholars to music lovers and those with little or no opera experience.

It is an engaging and informative assemblage of original illustrations by Francis Keeping and stories contributed by twenty authors ranging from opera experts to teens with a keen interest in music and art.

The idea for the book, the caricatures, and the accompanying stories developed naturally from discussions with friends about a way to share opera and its characters with a wider public. The illustrations exaggerate, but after all, opera is about extremes, and the text presents each plot from the viewpoint of the character illustrated.

For the scholars and trivia buffs, there are original casts, first performances and biographical information on composers and librettists. To give a sense of opening night excitement, this is provided in the form of a theatrical poster.

A reception, panel and book signing for Opera and Its Characters will be held at Barnes & Noble/Lincoln Triangle, 1972 Broadway @ 66th Street on Monday, November 10th at [insert time]. A panel of participants will include Andrew Farkas, Aloma Bardi, and Randolph Mickelson. For more information about the event, please contact Jennifer Stark at [insert main number for B&N here].

My visceral response to opera led me to create these drawings. Having spent years both behind and in front of the footlights, these pages represent the feelings that resonate when I conjure these characters in my mind or see them on the stage. They will evoke a wide variety of responses in others, but I am happy to report that they all have a bond to the crazy inner workings of my imagination. - Francis Keeping, New York, 2008


…What a magical book full of wisdom. I'm very proud to have it… The endeavor … is inspiring!
Jack Lee, Professor, Musical Theater, Tisch School for the Arts. NYC.

…a quick glance through it over my porridge this morning made for delightful entertainment.
Michael Tuffin, Cape Town, South Africa

… delightful and interesting… the illustrations are marvelous and the cover art alone worth the entire book.
William Hicks, Conductor, pianist and voice coach. New York, NY.

At last I will now know what is going on in opera and who the characters are! I am such a philistine and it will help tremendously with my social skills!! The book is really great - the images fantastic and I love the concise information. Congratulations. Mervyn Gers. Communications entrepreneur Cape Town South Africa

… What a nice surprise! It's clever, beautiful, and informative - all at the same time. - Richard Sjoerdsma. PhD, Editor in chief, Journal of singing

The content is unique to match the style. The character chosen to illustrate the opera and as the focus of the synopsis is not necessarily the first that comes to mind. For example, Elisir is seen from Dulcamara's contribution - quite logical when one thinks about it, but not what one might expect. It will be fascinating to see where this stunning book finds its place. Mike Richter, mrichter.com

Cute? It's simply fantastic!!! - Lucia Toso, Writer

About the authors:
Roberta Prada: contralto, studied in Buenos Aires at the Teatro Colon. She has sung leading roles in opera, concert and recital worldwide.

She is author with Francis Keeping and Pierre Sollier, of the English adaptation of The Ear and The Voice by Alfred A. Tomatis, Scarecrow Press, 2004, and translator with Francis Keeping of the expanded English version of J. Faure's The Voice and Singing, Paris, 1886 published by Vox Mentor, 2005, and co-authored Opera and its Characters, Vox Mentor, New York, 2008. She graduated from Wellesley College, is trained in Neurolinguistic Programming, and in the work of Dr. Tomatis.

Prada lives in New York and is president of Vocalimages Inc., a 501 C (3) entity producing a documentary on vocal longevity and Vox Mentor LLC, a company that furthers excellence in the performing arts, especially classical singing.

Francis Keeping: Baritone Francis Keeping, a musician, writer and illustrator, moved to New York in 2000 after a twenty year stay in Italy and the UK where he performed in opera and recital in the principal theaters of Europe.

He teaches voice in New York and in Italy, and is a principal in Vox Mentor LLC and Vocalimages, the latter a nonprofit corporation fostering music in education.
In 2003 he designed the graphic art elements including the stage curtain seen in the Broadway Hit Musical 'Wicked'.

As a writer he has co- authored The Ear and The Voice with Roberta Prada, a translation and adaptation of the work of Dr. A. A. Tomatis and the first English version of J.B. Faure's The Voice and Singing. He is illustrator and co-author of Opera and its Characters.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Grace E. Mangum
GEMangum @ gmail.com


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