Guides for Musicals, Plays, Operas & Operettas

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


Serse (Xerxes)

Xerxes, the King of Persia, resolves to marry Romilda. However, Romilda is also loved by Arsamene - the brother of Xerxes. Meanwhile, Atalanta is in love with Arsamente. Amastre, Xerxes fiancé whom he has abandoned, disguises herself as a man and seeks revenge. Atalanta's pretence that Arsa... read more

La serva padrona

Considered by many to be the first example of opera buffa, Pergolesi’s short opera La serva padrona employs stock characters from commedia dell'arte in a farcical plot.Uberto has raised the young Serpina as his servant, and now laments her insubordination. She will not listen to his instructions... read more

Simon Boccanegra

A child born out of wedlock, to the daughter of a wealthy family, is hidden away by her father until the two of them can be reunited. He puts her into the care of an old lady, while he is working at sea. When the old lady watching over her dies, the young girl wanders until no one could find her.... read more

The Sorcerer

The rich but witless Alexis has a vision that the joy of marriage shall overrule all earthly unhappiness. Practicing what he's preached, Alexis is recently betrothed to the beautiful Aline. At his wedding ceremony, he plots the final realization of his vision: to bring the joy of marriage to the... read more

Suor Angelica

Suor Angelica is the tragic tale of a woman who bears a child out of wedlock and is sent to a convent to repent for her sins. The opera follows the sisters on a particular holiday in their year, a celebration of May and the start of spring, when the evening sun lights the font in their courtyard... read more


A dark twist on the apocryphal story of Susannah and the Elders, Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah is one of the most-performed American operas of all time. Susannah Polk, a wide-eyed and lovely young woman, lives a simple and happy life with her older brother Sam, who raised her. She finds herself vic... read more

The Tender Land

In the American heartland during the Great Depression, the provincial existence of a rural farming family hinges upon the high school graduation of the eldest daughter, Laurie Moss. However, on the eve of her graduation, Laurie finds herself questioning her place in the world and wondering what... read more

Tristan und Isolde

Tristan has been tasked with deliver the Irish princess, Isolde, to his uncle and her husband to be, King Marke of Cornwall. Isolde is furious at Tristan, and regrets sparing his life as he lay wounded on the battlefield, defeated by Isolde’s betrothed, Morold. She pitied him then and despises hi... read more

La voix humaine

Lying alone in her apartment, a young woman waits for a telephone call from her ex. Several wrong numbers come through first, and each time she answers with increasing excitement, until finally she hears the voice she wants to. Through a series of anxiety-laden moments when the telephone call dro... read more

After the Ball

After the Ball tells the story of the twenty-one-year-old Lady Windermere who wrongly thinks her husband is having an affair with a woman who turns out to be her mother. read more