Welcome to Opera Stories

The heart of the Opera Story site is a collection of opera plots available free to anyone.  But there are more stories involved in an opera than just the plot: there are the life stories of the composer and the librettist, and there is the relationship between them, the tension between words and music which makes opera so fascinating.

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Gustav Holst The Wandering Scholar

Chamber opera in one act. Libretto by Clifford Bax based on a story told in Helen Waddell’s book The Wandering Scholars (1928). First performed in the David Lewis Theatre in Liverpool on 31 January 1934 The action takes place in thirteenth century France and is set in...

Umberto Giordano – Fedora

Opera in three acts. Libretto by Arturo Colautti based on the play Fedora (1882) by Victorien Sardou, written for the actress Sarah Bernhardt. First performed in the Teatro Lirico in Milan on 17 November 1898. Act 1 St Petersburg in the winter of 1881: the palace of...

Gaetano Donizetti Anna Bolena

Opera seria in two acts. Libretto by Felice Romani, based on Ippolito Pindemonte’s Enrico VIII (a translation of a play of the same name by Marie-Joseph de Chénier) and Alessandro Pepoli’s Anna Bolena. First performed in the Teatro Carcano, Milan, on 26 December 1830...

Bizet Pearl Fishers

Opera in three acts. Libretto by Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré. First performed at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris on 30 September 1863. Act 1 On a wild and arid beach on the island of Ceylon, a group of pearl-divers are setting up their camp.  Some are pitching the...