Unique and Spectacularly Illustrated Book Full of Information, Trivia and Fun Facts on Opera; Beautiful and Clever at the Same Time

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Behind the scenes at the opera house there is a zany world of outsized characters, both on and off stage. Irreverent discussions of opera are usually held behind closed doors. Opera and Its Characters is filled with exceptional and matchless tales as told by two singers and their friends giving you their take on twenty operas through the eyes of the characters, shown in full-page color illustrations by Francis Keeping.

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

Behind the scenes at the opera house there is a zany world of outsized characters, both on and off stage. Irreverent discussions of opera are usually held behind closed doors. Opera and Its Characters is filled with exceptional and matchless tales as told by two singers and their friends giving you their take on twenty operas through the eyes of the characters, shown in full-page color illustrations by Francis Keeping.

While the book is chockfull of information - history of the individual opera, its cast, composer and librettist, the idea is to set the scene for the opening night. The show business aspect of opera and the nuttiness of its characters and stories are the source of inspiration.

The stories in Opera and Its Characters include: The Queen of the Night, aka the world's worst mother-in-law; Don José, the quintessential mama's boy and murderer; opera's most dysfunctional family, King Nabucco of Babylon and his unhinged daughters, Lakmé and her rather unusual Gerald, who falls in love with her even after she says, You know, I could have had you killed. These and many familiar and uncommon characters' stories are contained in this book and are told in a scholarly yet uniquely whimsical fashion.

My visceral response to opera led me to create these drawings in Opera and Its Characters. 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 with the crazy inner workings of my imagination.
Francis Keeping, New York, 2008

Opera and its characters is a new book by Francis Keeping and Roberta Prada, Vox Mentor LLC, New York City, 96 pages, 21 full color plates. Signed copies of this entertaining, informative and beautifully illustrated book may be purchased at Barnes & Noble/Lincoln Triangle, 1972 Broadway @ 66th Street. The book and signed 18 x 24" high quality prints of the illustrated characters contained in Opera and Its Characters are also available for purchase through http://www.voxmentor.com, and Amazon.com. They make incredible holiday/Christmas gifts.

Praise for Opera and Its Characters

…What a magical book full of wisdom. I'm very proud to have it… The endeavor … is inspiring! - Jack F. Lee, Broadway Musical director, arranger, conductor. Drama faculty, Tisch School of the Arts. NYC.

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

…(reading) through it over my porridge this morning made for delightful entertainment. - Michael Tuffin, Composer, senior lecturer, South African College of Music, Cape Town, South Africa

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, Radio and television 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, Venice, Italy.

About the authors:
Contralto Roberta Prada 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.

Baritone Francis Keeping, 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.

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