Guides for Musicals, Plays, Operas & Operettas

Read expert-written show guides with context, plot, characters and video examples.


Dead Man Walking (opera)

Set in 1980s Louisiana, Dead Man Walking concerns the relationship between a death row inmate, Joseph De Rocher, and the nun, Sister Helen, who gives him love and support. Even though Joseph has committed a horrible crime and the public has condemned him, Sister Helen agrees to be his spiritual... read more

Death in Venice

In Death in Venice, the German writer, Aschenbach, decides to travel to Venice. Upon his arrival, he starts to lust after a young Polish boy, Tadzio. He becomes obsessed with the boy. When he hears of a cholera outbreak in Venice, he debates whether or not he should warn the boy's mother. One... read more

Der fliegende Holländer

The Flying Dutchman has been doomed to an eternity of wandering the seas. Once every seven years, he is able to leave the ship to search for a woman whose perfect love will redeem him. This time, when his seven years are up, he lands just outside a Norwegian village. He meets a man named Daland a... read more

Dialogues des Carmélites

Set in the French Revolution, between the years 1789 and 1794, Poulenc’s tragic opera Dialogues des Carmélites tells the horrifying story of the martyring of the entire Carmélite order. Blanche, the daughter of the Chevalier de la Force, has had a tremendous fright, when she was caught up in a st... read more

Dido and Aeneas

Based on Book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid, Dido and Aeneas is Purcell’s only true opera, and his first composition which was written to be sung throughout. Having its first performance at the Josias Priest’s Boarding School for Girls in 1687, it is the perfect opera for student casts, as many of the vo... read more

Die Entführung aus dem Serail

Belmonte, a young Spanish nobleman, has travelled to Turkey to rescue his beloved from the Pasha who is holding her prisoner, along with her maid Blonde and Belmonte’s servant Pedrillo. When Belmonte sees Osmin, the Pasha’s palace overseer, he asks about the whereabouts of Pedrillo, but Osmin, wh... read more

Die Walküre

Die Walküre is the second of the four operas that comprise Richard Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen" . The opera concerns the god Woton’s son by a mortal woman, Siegmund. Siegmund flees his foes and ends up in the house of Hunding. He falls in love with Hunding’s wife, who turns out to also be... read more

Don Carlos

Verdi’s grand opera Don Carlos is a story of love and devotion conflicting with political and religious upheaval. Lost on a hunting expedition, Elisabeth de Valois runs into the young Prince of Spain, Don Carlos. They immediately fall in love, and are delighted to find out that they are actually... read more

Eugene Onegin

A dramatic tale about young lovers, Eugene Onegin portrays the interplay of friendship, jealousy, callousness, and pride and has resonated with audiences for hundreds of years. When the narcissistic Onegin spurns the affections of the young Tatiana, and kills his friend in a duel, he is filled wi... read more


The opera's story is based on Ovid's Metamorphoses. It contains one of the first examples of recitative . read more