The theme of this week’s book cover poll is music. You can find out more about each of these books below. But first, pick your favourite cover!
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True Tales from the Mad, Mad, Mad World of Opera (by Lofti Mansouri): Everything about opera is larger than life, but the bigger the art form, the bigger the potential for disaster. When things go wrong at the opera house, they really go wrong. No one has a greater or more intimate knowledge of such moments than Lotfi Mansouri. Over the course of a career that has spanned five decades, Mansouri has directed nearly 500 productions at major opera houses around the globe.
Mansouri has gathered a collection of discrete vignettes that recount unforgettable and revealing moments at the opera as personally experienced or witnessed by him. From unbelievable snafus to unfortunate mishaps to astounding coincidences, these vignettes feature some of the biggest names in opera, as well as prominent figures from politics and more. From the hilarious to the bizarre, this is a reader-friendly look at what is often thought of as an overly serious, even mysterious form of art.
The Fallen One (by Rick Blechta): Marta Hendriks is onstage at the Metropolitan Opera in New York when she learns of her beloved husband’s death in a house fire. Overcome, she collapses and has to be carried off the stage.Fast-forward two years and countless therapy sessions, and Marta is ready to resume her career. In a stroke of luck, she’s hired at the last moment to sing Violetta for the Paris Opera. She manages to keep her emotions under tight control and triumphs in the opening-night performance. During one of her rare days off, relaxing for the first time since her husband’s accident, something threatens her newfound peace. When Marta is caught in a sudden downpour, she dashes for the shelter of a subway station and spots someone doing the same. It is her husband. Marta fears she’s losing her mind – or did she actually see him? Back home in Toronto, she struggles with her need for the truth at the precipice of madness.
Free Form Jazz (by Lee Lamothe): Disgraced city cop Ray Tate and outcast state trooper Djuna Brown track down a wealthy sexual sadist and a depressed career criminal flooding a Midwestern U.S. city with killer ecstasy pills. Mismatched and mutually suspicious of each other, Tate and Brown hunt the mythic Captain Cook and his henchman, the homicidal Phil Harvey. But as Captain Cook sinks deeper into a spiral of sexual depravity, Phil Harvey begins to question his role as a lifelong gangster.
Tate and Brown discover, as they sift through the rubble left by their targets, that no one is what they appear to be not even themselves. Travelling through the Chinese underworld, clandestine drug laboratories, and biker-ridden badlands, the troubled duo encounter murder, political corruption, police paranoia, and psychosis, but can they find redemption?
Opening Windows (by Stuart Hamilton): Stuart Hamilton is a well-known Canadian musician who has been in the forefront of music in Canada for more than 60 years. Here, in this memoir, he recounts his sometimes hectic assault on the Canadian music world. Along the way, Hamilton encountered, as a vocal coach and accompanist, most of the great Canadian singers of the last half of the 20th century and some international ones, as well.
For 27 years Hamilton was an erudite and funny personality on CBC’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera. He has appeared across Canada with such beloved artists as Lois Marshall, Maureen Forrester, Richard Margison, and Isabel Bayrakdarian. In Opening Windows, Hamilton takes the reader into his confidence on numerous matters that have influenced musical life in Canada for decades.